Eight million Americans could refinance $242 billion in student loans at lower interest rates, and refinancing is not just for graduates with six-figure incomes and perfect credit. Yet more than half of borrowers haven’t looked into refinancing.
That’s according to the “2016 Credible Student Loan Refinancing Report,” an unprecedented look at the refinancing strategies employed by different types of borrowers — recent graduates, mid-career borrowers, high-debt borrowers, and borrowers 50 and older — and the results they achieve.
Credible’s analysis of thousands of loans refinanced by multiple lenders in the last 1 ½ years found that recent graduates 27 and younger are refinancing student loan balances ($49,379) that are nearly as large as their annual salaries ($54,200). Recent graduates were most likely to refinance into loans that extended their repayment terms, knocking $221 off their monthly payments, on average.
Borrowers with six-figure student loan debt were the most likely to refinance into loans that reduced their repayment terms, helping them obtain the lowest interest rate and maximize overall savings. High-debt borrowers who took this approach can expect to save an average of $50,690 over the life of their new loan.
“So many graduates and parents are leaving thousands of dollars on the table because there’s a lack of awareness about student loan refinancing and how it works,” said Stephen Dash, founder and CEO of Credible.com. “Our latest Credible Insights report provides details on how different types of borrowers are approaching refinancing, and how they are benefiting.”
Other significant findings of the report include:
- Nearly six in 10 borrowers (59 percent) refinanced into fixed-rate loans.
- Borrowers 50 and older, who had higher incomes but lower student loan balances than the group as a whole, obtained the largest interest rate reductions — 2.34 percentage points, on average, when refinancing into loans with shorter repayment terms.
- Among all types of borrowers, those who refinanced into a loan with a shorter repayment term reduced their interest rate by 1.71 percentage points, and can expect to pay $18,668 less over the life of their new loan, on average.
Credible is a multi-lender marketplace that allows borrowers to get personalized rates and compare loans from vetted lenders, without affecting their credit scores.