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Student Loan Consolidation Basics
Consolidation simply combines multiple student loans into one. That means one monthly payment instead of having to juggle many different ones, sometimes with multiple servicers. When you consolidate, your interest rate will be a weighted average of the interest rates on the loans you combine. You won’t save money on interest rates — but it can make life easier by reducing the amount of time you spend managing different payments.
Refinancing can be done with one loan or several, and involves getting a new loan with a different (usually lower) rate than before, due to changes in your financial situation. When you refinance, you typically work with a company to pay off the original loan(s) and get a new unified loan at a lower rate.
Once you’re approved, you are automatically approved for the total eligible student loan amount listed on your credit report. When you’re ready to accept your loan, you can choose to refinance less than the requested amount (as long as it’s above $5,000) or up to 105% of your approved amount.
During the agreement process for your Earnest loan, you will list the exact loans you would like Earnest to pay off. If there are any loans you wouldn’t like us to pay off, you will be able to indicate which ones to omit. Once you’ve done this, we will manage the payoff process with your loan servicer(s).
When choosing between a fixed or variable interest rate loan, you should consider the length of the loan, how much you value predictability in your budget, and the current interest rate environment.
A fixed rate loan has the same interest rate throughout the life of the loan. One reason borrowers, especially those with long-term loans, like fixed rate loans is that they provide a kind of “interest rate insurance” — they cost a little more, but that premium protects you against price changes down the road.
A variable interest rate loan’s APR will fluctuate over time based on an interest rate index known as 1-Month LIBOR. This means that your monthly payment can also change as interest rates change. You can view historical 1-month LIBOR rates here. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 8.95%, 9.95%, or 11.95% depending on the term of your loan and state Regulations.
Absolutely. When considering refinancing your federal student loans, it is important to review the current protections and benefits you are granted with those loans and understand which of those you may be giving up when refinancing with a private lender like Earnest.
The short answer is, the sooner you refinance the more you could save. The longer you hold your loan at a higher rate, the more interest you are accruing, even if you are in a grace period. Not only will we honor your existing grace period up to nine months, but, with no origination fee, there is no cost to refinancing with Earnest.
If you have loans accruing no interest until after graduation, then you would save money by waiting. Furthermore, if you do not yet have a job/job offer or income that supports payments for your loan, it is recommended that you do not apply yet. For more details, check out our Eligibility Guidelines.
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