Get the FAQs on Student Loan Consolidation
This calculator is a tool that can help you see if combining multiple student loans into one payment is right for you. The numbers you see here are rough estimates. The Earnest consolidation calculator was created for people who are researching whether they would like to consolidate or refinance student loans.
Student loan consolidation combines all of your education loans into a single payment. You can consolidate your loans through the federal government or choose a private lender. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, depending on your situation.
If you have federal student loans, you may be eligible for the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan, a type of loan that combines federal loan amounts into a single payment. With this type of consolidation, you will still have access to federal benefits, such as loan forgiveness, deferment, and any federal repayment plans. Learn more on the U.S. Department of Education site for financial aid.
Private student loan consolidation means that a private lender will consolidate all of your loans – both federal and private student loans into a single payment. Many, but not all, private lenders offer a lower interest rate when compared to federal rates. Interest rate payments can add up over time, and some people prefer to focus on paying off their loans faster.
However, once you consolidate federal loans with a private lender, you may lose benefits associated with your underlying federal and/or private loans if you refinance. Some of these benefits include, income-driven Repayment Plans, Economic Hardship Deferment, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or other deferment and forbearance options.
Student loan consolidation combines loans and produces a weighted average interest rate. The weighted average interest rate is a single rate that represents the average of several loans with varying balances and interest rates. Loans with a higher balance have more ‘weight’ on the final rate.
Variable interest rates can change over time while fixed rates stay the same. Suppose some of your loans have a fixed interest rate while others have a variable interest rate. In that case, consolidation allows you to convert all of your student loan interest into a single rate type.
Consolidation combines multiple student loans into one. When you consolidate, your monthly payment could change. You may get a lower monthly payment, or it could be higher. Your new interest rate will be a combined weighted average of interest rate from all of your loans. This could be more convenient than tracking multiple loans with different interest rates and payments.
With student loan refinancing, you typically work with a company to pay off the original student loan debt. In return, you will get a new loan with a new interest rate. Ideally, you will qualify for a lower interest rate if you have a good credit history and have made all of your student loan payments on time.
Both consolidation and refinancing may allow you to remove a cosigner if you have cosigned student loans.
While we cannot combine loans from two different individuals, we would be happy to consider two separate refinancing applications. We would consider only individual income for each application, but we can factor in any joint assets you might share.
As a private student loan lender, we cannot offer Federal Direct Consolidation Loans, but if you decide to take the route of refinancing your student loans, Earnest does give you the option of consolidating your loans into one refinanced student loan. Earnest does not charge any fees, such as origination fees or late fees, and offers low rates for those who qualify.
Refinancing is a great solution for employed or soon-to-be-employed graduates who have high-interest, unsubsidized Direct Loans, Graduate PLUS loans, and/or private loans.
We look for clients who have a strong history of financial responsibility, which can be demonstrated in many ways. For example, some clients may have a limited credit history but have healthy savings patterns and a career with strong earning potential. We also look for clients who have an income that supports both the life of the Earnest loan and their everyday living expenses. Positive payment history is another key part of our review process, as this demonstrates you are committed to making your payments in full for all of your existing debts.
You must also meet the following requirements:
- You are at least 18 years old
- You are a United States citizen or permanent resident
- You reside in a state in which we lend
- Your student loans were used to pay for a completed degree from a college or university that is accredited under Title IV. If you are unsure whether your school is accredited, you can consult this list.
- You graduated or are in your final semester
- You are employed or have a written job offer
Yes. Previous refinancing or consolidation does not affect the eligibility of your application. As long as the completed degree you have received was obtained at a school under the Title IV accredited list, we should be able to refinance your current loan.
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