Can You Refinance Student Loans After Consolidation?
Updated On September 28, 2022
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Many student loan borrowers want to know how to refinance student loans after consolidation. Can you refinance student loans after consolidation?
If you want to know how to refinance student loans after consolidation, the good news is you can refinance after consolidation, whether you previously consolidated student loans with the federal government or a private lender.
Student loan consolidation and student loan refinancing are different processes, and it’s helpful to understand how each process works. In this guide, we will discuss the following:
- Difference between student loan consolidation and student loan refinancing
- How to refinance student loans after consolidation
- The advantages of student loan refinancing
- The disadvantages of student loan refinancing
- How often can you refinance student loans?
- Can I refinance student loans after consolidation
Top Picks For Student Loan Refinancing
Difference Between Student Loan Consolidation and Student Loan Refinancing
Student loan consolidation and student loan refinancing often are used interchangeably, but they are different processes.
Student loan consolidation: Student loan consolidation is the process of consolidating federal student loans into a new, Direct Consolidation Loan with the federal government.
Student loan refinancing:Student loan refinancing is the process of consolidating federal student loans, private student loans or both into a new, single student loan with a lower interest rate.
Student Loan Consolidation: An Overview
Student loan consolidation is the process of combining your existing federal student loans into a new single student loan called a Direct Consolidation Loan. When you consolidate federal student loans, you can organize all your federal student loan debt into a single student loan with one interest rate, one monthly payment and one student loan servicer. You can consolidate federal student loans directly with the U.S. Department of Education at studentloans.gov.
Student loan consolidation with the federal government allows you to keep you federal student loans, and you will have access to income-driven repayment plans, deferment and forbearance, among other benefits.If you have FFEL Loans, and plan to apply for public service loan forgiveness, you need to consolidate FFEL Loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Many student loan borrowers want to know if federal student loan consolidation will lower your interest rate on your federal student loans. Unfortunately, student loan consolidation with the federal government does not lower your interest rate. With student loan consolidation, your new interest rate equals a weighted average of your current interest rates on your federal student loans, rounded up the nearest 1/8%. So, student loan consolidation may increase your interest rate slightly.
Student Loan Refinancing: An Overview
Student loan refinancing helps you to lower your interest rate on your federal student loans, private student loans or both. The federal government does not refinance student loans, so you can refinance with a private lender. When you refinance student loans with a private lender, you receive a new student loan with a lower interest rate, one monthly payment and one student loan servicer. The goal is to save money, pay off student loans faster and get out of debt more quickly.
When you refinance student loans, the student loan you receive is a private student loans. Therefore, you no longer will have federal student loans, including access to income-driven repayment plans or student loan forgiveness programs. However, student loan refinancing helps you choose new loan terms, so you can choose a fixed interest rate, variable interest rate and a new loan term (typically from 5-20 years), which best match your financial goals.
How To Refinance Student Loans After Consolidation
Let’s assume that you decided to consolidate federal student loans and now you want to refinance student loans. You can refinance student loans after consolidation with a private lender. The process is online and easy. Here’s how to refinance student loans after consolidation:
- Compare lenders
- Get interest rate estimates
- Choose a lender and select loan terms
- Sign documents
- Loan gets disbursed
When you compare the best student loan refinancing lenders, you can look at various features, including variable and fixed interest rates, loan payoff terms, minimum credit score and other terms. Most borrowers select the lender who approves them for the lowest interest rate so they can save the most money.
Check the latest student loan refinancing rates.
Get Interest Rate Estimates
Here’s a great part about student loan refinancing. Lenders allow you to check your new interest rate for free before applying. This is called a soft credit check and has no impact to your credit score. You can pre-qualify online in less than two minutes.
Choose a lender and select loan terms
Once you choose the best lender for you, it’s time to decide if you want a fixed interest rate or variable interest rate as well a shorter or longer repayment term. While a fixed interest rate will not change over time, a variable interest rate may change during your student loan repayment.
When you refinance student loans, you can choose a flexible loan repayment term, which typically ranges from 5-20 years. While a shorter repayment term has a higher monthly payment, you can save interest costs and pay off student loans faster. A longer repayment term has a lower monthly payment, but overall will cost you more money in higher total interest.
This student loan refinancing calculator shows you how much money you can save with student loan refinancing.
You can apply to refinance student loans with lenders directly online, and the process takes only about 10-15 minutes. Your lender may request various documents, which may include:
- Proof of citizenship or residency
- Valid identification
- Proof of income or written job offer
- Transcripts or proof of graduation
- Student loan statements
At this stage, your lender will do a hard credit pull to confirm your credit background. Lenders may evaluate your credit score, other debt obligations and your debt-to-income ratio. You can also add a co-signer when you apply to help you get approved and could help you get a lower interest rate.
Once you’re approved, it’s time to sign the final loan documents, including disclosures. You have a three-day rescission period if you decide to cancel your student loan after signing the loan documents.
Loan gets disbursed
Congratulations! You’re all done. Your new lender will pay off your existing student loans, and then you will start making payments on your new student loan.
The Advantages of Student Loan Refinancing
Why refinance student loans? There are several key advantages, including the ability to get a lower interest rate, save money and pay off student loans faster. Saving money is the top reason to refinance student loans. With student loan refinancing, you also have the flexibility to choose new loan terms. This includes your interest rate type, such as a fixed rate or variable rate, and your repayment period. The standard federal student loan repayment period is 10 years. Student loan refinancing allows you to choose a student loan repayment period between 5 and 20 years, which offers increase flexibility.
When you refinance student loans, you also simplify student loans because you consolidate all your student loans into a single student loan with one monthly payment. This can help save time, since you don’t have to manage multiple monthly payments to different student loan servicers. Student loan refinancing also helps you change student loan servicers. If you don’t like your current student loan servicer, student loan refinance can provide a student loan servicer with better customer service. With no origination fees, student loan refinancing is free. There are also no prepayment penalties, which means you can pay off student loans anytime with no fees. Finally, many lenders now allow you to pause student loan payments if you lose your job or are looking for a job.
The Disadvantages of Student Loan Refinancing
The disadvantages of student loan refinancing principally relate to giving up the benefits of federal student loans. This includes income-driven repayment plans and access to federal student loan forgiveness programs such as public service loan forgiveness. You should weigh these benefits with your potential cost savings from student loan refinancing to determine what is best for your financial situation and financial goals.
Private student loans typically do not come withspecial benefits associated with federal student loans. Therefore, you can refinance private student loans whenever you qualify for a lower interest rate.
How Often Can You Refinance Student Loans?
Many borrowers want to know how often they can refinance student loans. The answer is there is no limit to how often you can refinance student loans. You can refinance student loans after consolidation, and then refinance student loans again whenever you find a lower interest rate. Remember, there are no origination fees or prepayment penalties when you refinance.
Can I Refinance Student Loans After Consolidation?
The good news is that you can refinance student loans after consolidation. Student loan refinancing can be an effective way to lower your interest rate, save money and pay off student loans faster. Since there is no limit on how often you can refinance, you can refinance student loans each time you qualify for a lower interest rate.