Private Student Loan Refinancing Interest RatesEmail This Article
Unlike federal loans, interest rates for private student loan refinancing are set by each individual lender, not the government. Most lenders offer both fixed and variable interest rate options. Once you have passed the credit approval process, your lender may offer you a choice between fixed and variable rate for refinancing your private student loan. Not sure what the difference is? We’ll explain.
If you’re not much of a risk taker, fixed interest rates are probably for you.
Fixed rates stay the same for the entire life of the refinanced student loan, so the rate you start with is the same one you’ll have until you make your last payment. Unlike variable interest rates, which can change as you repay your loan, fixed interest rates make budgeting and planning your financial future easy, because your payments won’t change.
Variable Interest Rates
If you want to start out with the lowest rate available to you, variable interest rates may be the way to go. Variable rates are typically lower than fixed rates.
Why? Because you are sharing some of the risk with your lender. If interest rates go up, you pay more, and the lender receives more money. If interest rates go down, you pay less, and the lender receives less money.
Variable rates are most commonly based on either the London Interbank Offering Rate (LIBOR) or the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate index, plus a margin determined by the borrower’s or cosigner’s credit rating. The margin that is added to the variable rate will be detailed in your student loan refinance documents. For example, imagine that your interest rate is based on the 1-year LIBOR rate plus a 2.5% margin. If the 1-year LIBOR is at .87%, then your rate would be: .87 + 2.5 = 3.37%.
The only way to find out what your actual interest rate will be is to contact the lenders. Many lenders can let you know what your student loan refinance interest rate will be before you apply. Borrowers and cosigners with good credit are typically offered the most competitive interest rates. Visit our lending partners page to compare current private student loan interest rates.
TIP: For a better understanding of how credit risk is determined check out “Credit Scores and Good Credit Explained.”
It’s not just interest rates you need to compare before choosing a lender. Most lenders offer private student loan refinancing with no origination, application, or disbursement fees, but, in some cases, a fee may be due at loan closing. Be sure to take these fees into account when comparing lenders.
How to Get the Best Private Student Loan Interest Rate
Applying with a cosigner with strong credit history is the best way to qualify for a lender’s lowest interest rates. If you are thinking of applying on your own, keep in mind that you will need excellent credit and at least one year of steady income to qualify. If you want to go it alone but don’t have the credit history to qualify on your own, consider applying for private student loan refinancing with a cosigner. Many lenders offer options to release your cosigner after you’ve made a set number of on-time payments (usually ranging from 12 to 48 months).
How Interest Rates and Repayment Terms Affect Loan Costs
The following tables are based on a hypothetical $25,000 private refinance student loan with no origination or application fees. Interest rates and repayment terms can have a bigger influence on the cost of your refinance loan than you might think, so compare carefully before signing on the dotted line!
(Rate fluctuates based on the index)
|Number of Payments||180||180||240||240|
|Minimum Monthly Payment||$175.55||$242.39||$141.67||$212.86|
|Total Interest Charges||$6,598.23||$18,630.14||$9,001.32||$26,086.28|
|Total Repayment Amount||$31,598.23||$43,630.14||$34,001.32||$51,086.28|
(Rate stays the same for the life of the loan)
|Number of Payments||180||180||240||240|
|Minimum Monthly Payment||$210.96||$264.84||$179.11||$237.13|
|Total Interest Charges||$12,973.56||$22,671.32||$17,985.86||$31,911.01|
|Total Repayment Amount||$37,973.56||$47,671.32||$42,958.86||$56,911.01|