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Want to lower the interest rate on your student loans? We know it can be difficult to find the right lender to refinance or consolidate your student loans.

So, we vetted 33 of the best banks that can help refinance and consolidate both federal and private student loans. Our analysis is divided into four categories — legal compliance, product coverage, attributes, and customer experience.

Compare the Best Student Loan Consolidation Companies

Rates and terms

Credible’s Picks
Advantage Educational Loan
Brazos
Citizens Bank
Connext
EDvestinU
iHELP
MEFA
RISLA
Credible’s Picks
Advantage Educational Loan
Brazos
Citizens Bank
Connext
EDvestinU
iHELP
MEFA
RISLA
Rates From (Variable / Fixed)
N/A / 4.09%
2.81% / 3.05%
3.11%¹ / 3.35%¹
2.63% / 3.25%
3.39% / 4.25%
4.32% / 4.69%
3.94% / 4.65%
4.36% / 4.95%
N/A / 3.49%
Fixed Rates
4.09%
3.05%
3.35%¹
3.25%
4.25%
4.69%
4.65%
4.95%
3.49%
Variable Rates
N/A
2.81%
3.11%¹
2.63%
3.39%
4.32%
3.94%
4.36%
N/A
Loan Terms
10, 15, 20, 25
5, 7, 10, 15, 20
5, 10, 15, 20¹
5, 7, 10, 12, 15
5, 10, 15, 20
10, 15, 20
10, 15, 20
15
5, 10 ,15
Compare Rates

Loan details

Credible’s Picks
Advantage Educational Loan
Brazos
Citizens Bank
Connext
EDvestinU
iHELP
MEFA
RISLA
Minimum Lending Amount
$7,500
$10,000
$10,000
$5,000
$10,000
$7,500
$10,000
$10,000
$7,500
Maximum Lending Amount
No max
$150K undergrad, $250K graduate degrees
$90K for Bachelor's or Associate, up to $350K for other degrees
$150K for Bachelor's or Associate, up to $250K for other degrees
$250K
$200K
$250K
No max
$100K for Bachelor's or Associate, up to $300K for other degrees
Auto-Pay Interest Rate Reduction
Yes0.50%
Yes0.25%
Yes0.25%
Yes0.25%
Yes0.25%
Yes0.25%
Yes0.25%
Interest-Only Payment Option
Death Discharge
Compare Rates

Loan details, continued

Credible’s Picks
Advantage Educational Loan
Brazos
Citizens Bank
Connext
EDvestinU
iHELP
MEFA
RISLA
Origination Fees
None
None
None
None
None
None
None
None
None
Prepayment Penalty
None
None
None
None
None
None
None
None
None
Refinance Parent PLUS Loans
Parent PLUS Transfer From Parent to Grad
Compare Rates

Eligibility

Credible’s Picks
Advantage Educational Loan
Brazos
Citizens Bank
Connext
EDvestinU
iHELP
MEFA
RISLA
Eligible Degree Types
DNG, Undergraduate, and Graduate
Undergraduate and Graduate
DNG, Undergraduate, and Graduate
Undergraduate and Graduate
Undergraduate and Graduate
DNG, Undergraduate, and Graduate
Undergraduate and Graduate
DNG, Undergraduate, and Graduate
Undergraduate and Graduate
Eligible Loans
Private and Federal
Private and Federal
Private and Federal
Private and Federal
Private and Federal
Private and Federal
Private and Federal
Private and Federal
Private and Federal
Ability to Apply with a Cosigner
State Residency
AL, AR, AZ, CO, CN, FL, GA, HI, IN, KS, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, NE, NM, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI, WV, and WY
Texas
Any state
Any state
Any state
Any state
Any state
Any state
Any state
Compare Rates

Eligibility, continued

Credible’s Picks
Advantage Educational Loan
Brazos
Citizens Bank
Connext
EDvestinU
iHELP
MEFA
RISLA
Cosigner Release Option
Ability to Apply While Enrolled in School
Minimum Required GPA
No minimum
No minimum
No minimum
No minimum
No minimum
No minimum
No minimum
No minimum
No minimum
Compare Rates

Ready to start saving?

Credible simplifies student loan refinancing by letting you compare rates from top lenders in minutes. Check your rates today to see how much you could save.

Check Your Rates Now

1. Advantage

Borrowers from 26 different U.S. states are eligible to refinance a minimum of $7,500 with an Advantage Refinance Loan.

  • Fixed rates: 4.09%+
  • Variable rates: N/A
  • Loan terms: 10, 15, 20, 25 years

2. Brazos 

Brazos offers student loan refinancing to Texas residents. With a wide variety of loan terms available, a Brazos Refinance Loan can help you meet your specific financial goals, whether you want to reduce your monthly payment or lower the total interest cost of repaying your loan.

  • Fixed rates: 3.05%+
  • Variable rates: 2.81%+
  • Loan terms: 5, 10, 15, 20 years

3. Citizens Bank

Refinance up to $90,000 for undergraduate degrees or $225,000 for graduate degrees at very low rates with Citizens Bank.

¹Citizens Bank Disclosures

4. College Ave 

You can refinance up to $150,000 for undergraduate degrees or $250,000 for graduate degrees with College Ave.

5. Connext 

Connext Private Refinance Loan Powered by ReliaMax allows you to refinance federal and private student loans (up to $250,000) into one manageable payment.

  • Fixed rates: 4.25%+
  • Variable rates: 3.39%+
  • Loan terms: 5, 10, 15, 20 years

6. EdvestinU

Refinance with a new 15 or 20 year loan with EdvestinU to lower your monthly payments.

7. iHelp

iHelp allows qualified borrowers who have been employed for at least 2 years refinance up to $250,000.

8. MEFA

You can refinance with a 15 year fixed or variable rate interest loan with MEFA.

9. RISLA

RISLA allows residents of any U.S. state to refinance with a fixed interest rate loan.

More Student Loan Consolidation and Refinancing Banks

We recommend the lenders above because we thoroughly evaluated them. However, our team also researched other institutions and found some good alternatives for people that want to consider all options before they begin the process of refinancing or consolidating student loans. You can find each lender below, along with information on rates, terms, and other key details.

LenderRatesLoan Term (years)
Alliant Credit Union
View details
Variable: 3.75%+up to 25
Private and federal student loan consolidation and refinancing

  • Original loans cannot be from a for-profit institution, community college, or trade school
  • Minimum income of $40K and must have worked for current employer for 2 years
  • Must be member of Alliant to apply, which requires membership in specific groups
  • No application fee
  • CommonBond
    View details
    Fixed: 3.50%+
    Variable: 2.23%+
    5, 10, 15, 20
    Private and federal student loan consolidation and refinancing

  • Available to both undergraduate and graduate degree holders from over 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide
  • Deferment options and forbearance available for economic hardship
  • No prepayment penalty or origination fees
  • Darien Rowayton Bank
    View details
    Fixed: 4.45%+
    Variable: 3.89%+
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
    Student loan consolidation and refinancing for federal and private loans, including Parent PLUS loans

  • Must be working professional with BA or grad degree
  • Forbearance available for short-term economic hardship
  • No prepayment penalty or origination fee
  • First Republic
    View details
    Fixed: 1.95%+
    Variable: 1.98%+
    5, 7, 10, 15
    Student loan consolidation and refinancing for federal and private loans

  • Must have First Republic ATM Rebate Checking Account (which requires a$500 minimum deposit)
  • Must have worked in your current industry for 24 months
  • Must apply in-person
  • No prepayment penalty, origination fee, or annual fee
  • LendKey
    View details
    Fixed: 3.25%+
    Variable: 1.97%+
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
    Student loan consolidation and refinancing for federal and private loans

  • Offer interest-only repayment for first 4 years
  • Co-signer release option after 12-36 consecutive on-time payments
  • No origination fee
  • Loans funded by community lenders like credit unions and community banks
  • Link Capital
    View details
    Fixed: 3.38%+
    Variable: 2.79%+
    3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20
    Navy Federal Credit Union
    View details
    Fixed: 4.00%+
    Variable: 2.99%+
    15
    Purefy
    View details
    Fixed: 3.95%+
    Variable: 3.00%+
    5, 8, 12
    Student loan consolidation and refinancing for federal and private loans, including Parent PLUS loans

  • Must be 23 years old, have worked at least 2 years, and have strong credit history
  • Applicants must be employed for at least two years (waived for practicing MD/DO/DDS borrowers)
  • Rate discount of 0.5% if you open a Purefy Checking Account and enable autopay
  • SoFi
    View details
    Fixed: 3.50%+
    Variable: 2.24%+
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
    Student loan consolidation and refinancing for federal and private loans, including Parent PLUS loans

  • Must be employed or hold job offer to start work within 90 days
  • Must hold degree from accredited school
  • Not available in Nevada
  • Forbearance and unemployment protection for up to 12 months
  • Offers career assistance like interview coaching, resume review, and negotiating tactics
  • No prepayment penalty or origination fee
  • Wells Fargo
    View details
    Fixed: 6.24%%+
    Variable: 3.74%+
    15, 20
    Student loan consolidation and refinancing for private loans only with Wells Fargo Private Consolidation Loan

  • Interest rate discount of 0.25% for autopay, discount of .25% with previous Wells Fargo student loan or other qualifying account
  • Co-signer release option after 24 consecutive on-time payments
  • Up to 2 months of forbearance
  • No prepayment penalty or origination fee
  • Frequently asked questions about student loan consolidation and refinancing

    1. What is student loan consolidation or refinancing?
    2. Can I consolidate private and federal loans together?
    3. Is student loan refinancing right for me?
    4. Should I refinance my student loans with fixed or variable interest rates?
    5. How do I consolidate or refinance my student loans?
    6. How much can I save by refinancing my student loans?

    What is student loan consolidation or refinancing?

    As a borrower, it’s important you understand the differences between student loan refinancing and student loan consolidation.

    Student loan consolidation: Consolidation is the process of combining your government loans so that you can make a single monthly payment. You can also extend the term of your loan, at the same interest rate.

    If you’re concerned about lowering your monthly loan payments, consolidation could be a good option for you. But remember, lowering your monthly payments could mean that you end up paying more in interest overall.

    Student loan refinancing: Refinancing is when a student loan lender buys out your existing loans and gives you a single new loan with a potentially lower interest rate. So if you feel like your interest rate is too high, refinancing could help.

    This process will also combine all the loans you refinance into one convenient payment. While a lower interest rate is good news, your new loan may not come with all the borrower benefits associated with government loans.

    If you’re still confused, think about it like this: consolidation is like getting your house cleaned up and organized, whereas refinancing is like getting a whole new house.

    Can I consolidate private and federal loans together?

    You cannot consolidate federal and private student loans together into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan. This is because federal student loans come with certain borrower benefits that you would lose if you chose to refinance federal and private loans together.

    For example, borrowers with federal student loans can take advantage of federal income-driven repayment programs, or benefits like loan forgiveness, which borrowers with private student loans typically don’t have access to. If you do decide you want to refinance your federal loans with your private loans, you will have to work with a private lender.

    Is student loan refinancing right for me?

    If you’ve been making your student loan payments every month, but you still feel like it’s going to take decades to pay everything off, your student loan interest rates might be the problem. 

    If you can lower your interest rates, more of your money can be used to reduce your debt, instead of paying off only your interest. Refinancing doesn’t guarantee lower payments, but it could help you get a lower interest rate and enable you to pay off your loan faster.

    Remember though, refinancing your federal loans could mean giving up your certain borrower benefits like deferment and forbearance, loan forgiveness, and income-driven repayment plans. Learn more about whether refinancing is right for you.

    Should I refinance my student loans with fixed or variable interest rates?

    Many college and personal finance advisers recommend that you take advantage of all available financial aid, scholarships, and federal student loans before turning to private lenders. 

    This is because federal student loans typically have fixed interest rates, which means your rate will remain the same over the life of your loan. Private student loans usually have variable interest rates, which can change depending on economic conditions.

    Fixed interest rates don’t change for the life of your loan, so you’ll always know how much you’re expected to pay. But by opting for a fixed-rate loan, you might be passing up the chance to start out making lower monthly payments.

    Variable rates can either work for you or against you. During tough economic times, the Federal Reserve and other central banks can lower interest rates. But if the Fed starts worrying about inflation, policymakers may decide to raise rates to keep prices from rising too sharply.

    How do I consolidate or refinance my student loans?

    Each refinancing lender determines the rate they’ll offer a borrower on a case-by-case basis, so if you want to take advantage of the lowest interest rate available, it’s best to apply to many different lenders.

    Student Loan Consolidation: Private and Federal

    For borrowers juggling multiple loan payments, federal student loan consolidation can help them lower their monthly payments, by packaging several debts into a single loan.

    Student loan consolidation is often dismissed by borrowers because it can be confusing to understand the process of consolidating student loans.

    This section will cover the ins and outs of federal student loan consolidation, including the consolidation application process, and the differences between federal student loan consolidation and student loan refinancing.

    Can I refinance a student loan after consolidation?

    Generally speaking, you can’t consolidate a loan that’s already been consolidated, unless you add on another existing loan.

    However, because refinancing takes place with a private lender and not the federal government, you can refinance a consolidated loan, as long as you refinance the entire amount.

    Remember, since you’re refinancing a federal loan with a private lender, you will lose any federal borrower benefits that came with your loan, such as access to income-driven repayment, deferment, or forbearance, which are not always available from private lenders.

    Is consolidation right for you?

    Answer the questions below to see if consolidating or refinancing your student loans is a better option for you.

    Benefits of student loan consolidation

    Juggling multiple student loans can be complicated, especially if you’re making payments to different loan servicers. Consolidation might help you simplify your monthly payments, by combining many different loans into a single new loan with new terms.

    The tables below illustrate an example of how federal loan consolidation can help you manage multiple student loans, by combining them into a single payment.

    Although it might seem that you are getting a lower interest rate, your new rate is actually the weighted average of your previous interest rates, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent. So unless you’re changing your loan term, your monthly payment and interest charges will be about the same, or slightly higher, after consolidation.

    Before consolidation

     

    Loans
    Balance
    Rate
    Loan A

    $15,000

    7.9%

    Loan B

    $12,345

    6.8%

    Loan C

    $56,433

    4.29%

    Total balance: $83,778

    Weighted average APR: 5.38%

    After consolidation

     

    Loan
    Balance
    Rate

    A single loan with one monthly payment

    $83,778

    5.38%

    Consolidating your loans could mean:

    • Simpler repayment: If you’re having trouble keeping track of multiple payments, consolidating your student loans can make the monthly task of repayment a little easier.
    • Avoiding default: Consolidation could help keep you organized, with fewer payments to worry about, which could help you avoid missing payments.
    • Lower payments: By consolidating your loans, you have the option to extend your loan term and lower your monthly payments. If you’ve been having trouble making your monthly payments, this could be especially beneficial. Just remember that a longer repayment term could mean that you pay more in interest overall.
    • Potentially lower interest rate: If you’ve been good about making your payments and managing your finance, your credit score might have improved since you first took out your loans. If so, you might be eligible for a better interest rate, but only if you consolidate by refinancing with a private lender.
    • Multiple repayment plans: When you consolidate your loans, you have the option to customize some aspects of your loan. For example, you change your loan term. You can also take advantage of a number of different repayment plans, such as the Standard 10-year repayment plan, income-based repayment plans, or a Graduated plan.
    • Consolidate defaulted loans: As an alternative to loan rehabilitation, you may be able to consolidate your defaulted loans into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan if you agree to repay the consolidation loan under an income-driven repayment plan. Contact your loan servicer for more information about loan rehabilitation and consolidation.

    Cons of student loan consolidation

    While the simpler and potentially lower monthly payments that consolidation offers can be helpful in the short term, there are some longer term costs to keep in mind.

    • Longer repayment term = higher repayment costs: Consolidation gives you the option to lower your monthly payments by extending your loan repayment term. While this may be beneficial if you’re struggling to make your monthly payments, stretching payments out over a longer period of time without an interest rate reduction could mean that you end up paying thousands of dollars in additional interest.
    • Loss of certain repayment plans: Some loans, like PLUS loans taken out by parents, aren’t eligible for the most attractive income-driven repayment programs, like PAYE, REPAYE and IBR. Parent PLUS loans only qualify for income-contingent repayment (ICR), and only if they have been consolidated. So if you consolidate PLUS loans with any other federal loans you have, you will no longer be eligible for repayment plans like PAYE, REPAYE, and IBR.
    • One shot only: Typically, you can only consolidate your loans with the federal government once (see more below). There is no limit on how many times you can refinance loans with a private lender to take advantage of lower rates.
    • A single repayment plan: Once you consolidate your loans, your new weighted interest rate applies to your entire balance. It’s no longer possible to target loans with the highest interest rates for faster repayment. Although you can accelerate payments (make more than the required minimum monthly payment) on the entire balance of your consolidation loan, you cannot repay portions of a consolidation loan under different repayment plans.

    Should I consolidate my student loans?

    If you have federal student loans and a) have too many different payments to keep track off or b) would like to qualify for different repayment plans like income-driven repayment or Public Service Loan Forgiveness, consolidation might be a good idea!

    Consolidating your federal loans will give you the opportunity to consolidate multiple loans into one (lower) monthly payment, and also let you choose a new repayment term and repayment plan.

    When should I consolidate student loans?

    • You want to lower your monthly payment
    • You’d to stop juggling multiple, separate student loans
    • You’ll be earning more soon
    • You’re not close to paying off your loan

    If you answered “yes” to all of these, you might want to look into consolidating your loans. If you’re more concerned about lowering your interest rate, private student loan consolidation, or refinancing, might be the better option for you.

    Created with Compare Ninja

    *Refinancing your loans can lower your interest rate and your monthly payment. Federal loan consolidation can lower your monthly payment if you extend your loan term, but stretching out payments over a longer time period without an interest rate reduction can increase overall repayment costs.

    Can I consolidate a consolidated loan?

    According to the Department of Education, you cannot consolidate a loan with the federal government that’s already been consolidated, unless you add on an additional, existing eligible loan or loans. You can refinance loans with private lenders as often as you would like.

    Can I consolidate parent PLUS loans with other types of direct federal student loans?

    If you consolidate parent PLUS loans with other direct federal student loans into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan, the only income-driven repayment (IDR) program that loan will be eligible for is income-contingent repayment (ICR), the least generous of all IDR plans.

    You will not be eligible to enroll in PAYE, REPAYE or IBR to repay a federal direct consolidation loan that includes a parent PLUS loan.

    Consolidating loans with a private lender (refinancing) disqualify those loans from all federal IDR plans.

    What loans can you consolidate?

    Most federal student loans are eligible to be combined into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan, including:

    • Direct Subsidized Loans
    • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
    • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
    • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
    • Direct PLUS Loans
    • PLUS Loans from the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program
    • Supplemental Loans for Students
    • Federal Perkins Loans
    • Federal Nursing Loans
    • Health Education Assistance Loans

    However, there are some key points to keep in mind before you decide to consolidate:

    • You can’t consolidate your private loans with your federal loans into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan.
    • You need to have at least one student loan that is in repayment or in your grace period.
    • If your loans are in default, you must meet certain requirements before consolidating.
    • Parent PLUS loans taken out by parents cannot be consolidated with your other federal loans.
    • You must begin repayment 60 days after your Direct Consolidation Loan is disbursed or sooner, depending on your servicer.
    • You must keep making your loan payments to your original loan servicer until your consolidation is confirmed and your initial loans have been paid off.
    • Private loans are not eligible for federal loan consolidation. If you want to consolidate your private loans with your federal loans, refinancing might be a better option for you.

    Can you consolidate private and federal student loans together?

    You can’t consolidate your private loans with your federal loans into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan.

    However, if you have both private and federal loans, and wish to convert your federal student your loans into private student loans, you could consider refinancing your loans with a private lender.

    Keep in mind that when refinancing with a private lender, you lose federal borrower benefits such as access to income-driven repayment programs, forbearance, or deferment, and the potential to qualify for loan forgiveness after 10, 20 or 25 years of payments. Some private lenders may offer similar benefits.

    Can you consolidate student loans from different lenders?

    Yes, you can. Any eligible federal loans can be combined in a direct federal consolidation loan, regardless of who the loan servicer is. If you have private loans they are not eligible for federal loan consolidation.

    If you have a mix of both private and federal student loans, you can refinance them together with a private lender, even if you have private loans from multiple lenders.

    Can you consolidate student loans with bad credit?

    Debt consolidation with bad credit is possible, but it will likely take a bit of work.

    The good news is that bad credit doesn’t mean you don’t have options, although a low credit score might limit your options.

    • Know your credit score: Knowing your credit score before you consolidate your loans will save you time, and help you figure out what options you may qualify for.
    • Watch out for certain debt consolidation companies: There are a number of companies that provide debt consolidation. While these companies may offer low monthly payments, it’s important to read the fine print and understand exactly what interest rates and fees you will be charged.
    • Explore peer-to-peer lending: Peer-to-peer lenders, like Prosper, connect private lenders with borrowers looking for loans. While a bank may turn you down due to poor credit, some peer-to-peer lenders might not be as strict.

    Student loan debt can be considered “good debt” because it is seen as an investment in your future. If you’re able to make consistent, timely payments towards your student loans, you may see your credit score improvement over time.

    How do you consolidate student loans?

    If you’ve read about the pros and cons of student loan consolidation, and understand the differences between private and federal loan consolidation, you might have decided that federal loan consolidation is right for you.

    Applying for student loan consolidation shouldn’t take you very long, as long as you’ve done your research and have all your required information at hand.

    How to apply for federal direct loan consolidation

    Once you start the application process, you’ll need to complete it in one sitting. Remember, you’ll need to provide details about all the existing loans that you want to consolidate, and choose a new loan servicer and repayment plan when you apply to consolidate.

    Follow these three easy steps to consolidate your federal student loans:

    Step 1: Once you’re ready, head on over to studentloans.gov. Log in, and fill out the consolidation application. You can find the application under the ‘Repayment and Consolidation tab’, or go here.

    Select all the loans that you want to consolidate (you can consolidate all your existing loans, or just choose some to consolidate). And if you have any Parent PLUS loans, consolidating those with your other federal loans will mean you might lose access to certain repayment plans.

    *Consolidating with the federal government is always free. If you are asked to pay for anything, you’re probably not using a trustworthy site!

    Step 2: Once you’ve entered in the information about all the loans you wish to consolidate, you’ll need to choose a student loan servicer.

    It is your student loan servicer’s duty to help keep you in good standing, by ensuring you make timely payments, helping you change repayment plans, and providing the support you need.

    Step 3: Choose a new repayment plan. There are eight different repayment plans you can choose from for your new consolidated loan. Use this repayment estimator to figure out which plans you qualify for, and which ones may be best for you.

    That’s it, you’re done! Remember to review all your information to make sure it’s entered correctly and then hit submit.

    Student loan consolidation eligibility

    If you have eligible federal student loans and wish to consolidate them, keep in mind the following eligibility requirements:

    • Of all the loans you wish to consolidate, at least one must be a Direct Loan or an FFELP loan.
    • You must either be in the grace period for the loans you consolidate or be in repayment.
    • If your loans have already been consolidated, you cannot consolidate them again, unless you are adding on new loans.

    Remember to keep making your loan payments in a timely and consistent manner until your consolidation application is approved! Simply submitting an application for consolidation does not mean you can stop making payments.

    How to find the best student loan consolidation lender

    While federal direct consolidation is pretty straightforward, if you’re interested in private student loan consolidation, or refinancing, it’ll take a little more work.

    The only way to consolidate federal student loans is through the federal government, by using studentloans.gov, or by refinancing them through a private lender. But when it comes to private loans, there are a number of different lenders out there, all offering different interest rates and terms.

    But don’t let the number of options overwhelm you — if you have private loans, it can be really helpful to compare the various offers that are available.

    What are student loan consolidation interest rates?

    When you consolidate your loans, your new interest rate will be calculated as the weighted average of all the loans you choose to consolidate. There is no cap on the interest rate of a federal direct consolidation loan.

    What are the different repayment plans?

    There are eight different repayment plans for federal student loan consolidation. These include income-based repayment plans such as PAYE and REPAYE, as well as the Standard 10-year repayment plan, and the Graduated Repayment Plan.

    Keep reading for more information about the various repayment plans available.

    The federal government’s repayment estimator can help you decide which repayment plans you qualify for, and which options are best for you.

    When do I begin repayment?

    You can begin repaying a consolidated loan 60 days after it is disbursed, or sooner. Once your application for consolidation is approved, your loan servicer will contact you to let you know when your first payment is due.

    Depending on the amount and terms of your loan, and the type of repayment plan you have chosen, your loan repayment term can last anywhere from 10 to 30 years.

    If you consolidate a loan or loans that are still in the grace period, you may be able to postpone the start of your repayment until the grace period ends. If any of the loans you wish to consolidate are in the grace period, remember to make a note of this in your application.

    How to choose the right loan servicer

    Not all student loan servicers are built the same. Consolidating your loans gives you the opportunity to choose a servicer that’s right for you.

    When consolidating your federal direct loans, the government gives you the option to choose between FedLoan Servicing, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Nelnet, or Navient.

    FedLoan Servicing: this is the Direct Loan servicing branch of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

    If you can, and wish, to take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, keep in mind that your loan will automatically be transferred to FedLoan Servicing.

    Great Lakes Higher Education: Great Lakes is a nonprofit that serves as a guaranty agency for the FFEL federal loan program.

    Nelnet: Nelnet is a for-profit company that services student loans throughout the U.S. and Canada.

    Navient: You’ve very likely heard of Navient – a for-profit company and the largest private student loan servicer in the country. Navient acquires, finances and services private education loans and federal loans in the FFEL program.

    It’s best to research each of these servicers and read their reviews before making your decision.

    Which repayment plan is right for you?

    There are eight different repayment plans you can choose from when you consolidate federal direct loans. It’s best to read up on the differences between the various plans before you make your choice.

    There are two basic buckets into which repayment plans fall — those that are income-based and those that are not.

      • Income-driven repayment plans determine your minimum monthly payment as a percentage of your annual income. Typically, these plans may also have a longer repayment term, ranging from 10 to 20 or 25 years.Income based plans do offer loan forgiveness for any remaining loan balance at the end of your repayment term.However, remember that any forgiven amount is considered income, and you must pay taxes on it(loan forgiveness granted after 10 years of payments under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is not considered taxable income)Further, if your repayment plan is longer with an income-based plan, you’ll end up paying more in interest overall, even if your monthly payments decrease.

    Income-driven repayment plans

     

    Repayment period (years)
    Minimum monthly payment
    Eligible loans
    Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)

    Up to 20 or 25 years

    10%

    – Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

    – Direct PLUS Loans made to students

    – Consolidation Loans that do not include PLUS Loans (Direct or FFEL) made to parents

    Paye As You Earn (PAYE)

    Up to 20 years

    10%

    – Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

    – PLUS Loans made to students

    – Direct Consolidation Loans that do not include PLUS Loans (Direct or FFEL) made to parents

    Income-based repayment (IBR)

    Up to 20 to 25 years

    10% or 15%

    – Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

    – Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans

    – All PLUS Loans made to students

    – Consolidation Loans  (Direct or FFEL) that do not include  Direct or FFEL PLUS Loans made to parents

    Income-contingent repayment (ICR)

    Up to 25 years

    20%

    – Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

    – PLUS Loans made to students

    – Consolidation Loans

    To learn more about income-driven repayment plans, check out our guide here.

      • Non-income-based plans do not depend on your income. These include the Standard 10-year repayment plan, the graduated plan, and the extended repayment plan.If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of re-applying for an income-based plan every year, you might look into one of the regular repayment plans.

    Standard repayment plans

     

    Term length (years)
    Eligible loans
    Standard repayment plan

    Up to 10 years

    – Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

    – Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans

    – All PLUS Loans

    – All Consolidation Loans (Direct or FFEL)

    Graduated repayment plan

    Up to 10 years

    – Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

    – Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans

    – All PLUS Loans

    – All Consolidation Loans (Direct or FFEL)

    Extended repayment plan

    Up to 25 years

    – Direct Unsubsidized and Subsidized Loans

    – Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans

    – All PLUS Loans

    – All Consolidation Loans (Direct or FFEL)

     

    Finding the best companies to help you refinance your student loans doesn’t have to be difficult. You can use the Credible platform to request personalized rate quotes from all the best student loan refinance lenders listed with a single application.

    You can even check your prequalified rates without sharing your personal information or incur a hard credit pull, so it won’t affect your credit.

    Check Your Rates Now

    How much can I save by refinancing my student loans?

    Borrowers save an average of $18,688 when they refinance their student loans using Credible. Check out our student loan refinancing calculator below to see how much you could cut your student debt by.

    Learn More About Refinancing:


    Credible is a multi-lender marketplace that allows borrowers to request competitive loan offers from vetted lenders, without affecting their credit scores.

     

    ¹Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Interest Rate Disclosure:

    Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of December 1, 2017, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.34%. Variable interest rates range from 2.89%- 8.24% (2.89%-8.24% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 3.35%-8.24% (3.35% – 8.24% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer.

    Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.

    We encourage you to provide honest and thorough feedback about your experience (not the experiences you’ve heard from other people), the good as well as the bad. But, we also want you to follow these content guidelines. The comments or responses that Credible posts under its official account are not provided, reviewed or endorsed by any of the financial institutions unless specifically stated otherwise in the response. Please keep in mind that the financial institution has no obligation to monitor any comments, questions or reviews you post and is therefore not responsible for ensuring your posts and/or questions are answered.