Student loan debt is now only second to mortgage debt in the amount consumers owe. According to The Institute of College Access and Success (TICAS), the class of 2018 had an average student loan debt in excess of $29,000. That is a substantial personal investment in education.
Fortunately, there are ways to get a college education and take advantage of repayment options to reduce your interest rate, lower your monthly payment, and shorten the time to pay back your student loan. Here are 3 things to consider.
Student loans often have high variable interest rates, which means your rate can significantly fluctuate. Considering a large amount of your payment goes towards interest, these types of rates can lead to borrowers wasting their time and money.
By refinancing your student loans, you can change your variable interest rates to fixed rates and pay off your loans sooner. It’s even possible to refinance multiple student loans into one monthly payment, thus making the repayment process simpler. These benefits to refinancing can translate into real savings over time.
For example, a borrower refinanced his loans and reduced his high variable rates to low fixed rates by 4-6.8%. He cut his term by 10 years and pays roughly the same monthly payment. Over time, he will save approximately $11,000.
In addition to potential cost savings, refinancing to a lower rate and monthly payment can free up money for other expenses and diminish your debt-to-income ratio. This may help you qualify for a mortgage or a car loan.
Another borrower reduced his interest to a rate between 2-4% and increased his term by 5-10 years. He lowered his payment by approximately $250 a month and still saved $8,000 over the course of the loan.
Pay interest while in school
Most student loans begin to accrue interest after they are disbursed. However, many students do not make monthly payments while they are still in school. By making payments while you are attending school, you can reduce the amount of interest that accrues, which ultimately saves you money in the long run.
If you are in a position where you can pay extra on your loan, the money will be applied to the principal balance. Doing so will reduce the amount of principal owed and pay off your balance sooner. If you have multiple student loans, pay extra on the higher interest rates first.
Many student loan organizations will incentivize borrowers to enroll in auto pay by offering an interest rate discount. Complete Student Loans, for example, offers a .25% reduction in the borrower’s interest rate when payments are set up on auto-pay. While it may not seem like much, it all adds up to savings.
Finding an organization that will offer the best terms can be difficult for those unfamiliar with the process. Due to their unique student-service missions and low costs, state-based entities and non-profit organizations like Utah’s Complete Student Loans are great places to start when exploring student loan refinance options and savings.
Complete Student Loans is Utah’s only nonprofit private student loan provider. With low fixed rates, no-prepayment penalties, and no fees, Complete Student Loans is your best option when it comes to savings on your student loan debt. Visit the Complete Student Loan website for more information.