Am I eligible to refinance my student loans?

Student Loan Repayment Options for Consolidation and Refinancing

When you consolidate or refinance your student loans, you typically have access to a number of repayment plans. Federal Consolidation Loans offer more options (including income-based repayment plans for some borrowers) than private refinance loans.

This table shows the options and eligibility rules for Federal Consolidation loans:

Name of Plan Description Loan Eligibility Rules Must Qualify?
Standard Equal, fixed payments each month throughout the repayment term None No
Graduated Payment starts out low, then gradually increases every 2 years  None No
Extended Borrowers choose Standard or Graduated payments, and the repayment term is extended up to 25 years None Yes — loan balance must be $30,000 or more and you had no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan Program loan as of October 7, 1998
Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Monthly payment is 20% of discretionary income (for most borrowers) Direct Consolidation Loan cannot include Parent PLUS Loans that entered repayment prior to July 1, 2006 No
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Monthly payment is 10% of your discretionary income (new borrower on or after July 1, 2014) or 15% of your discretionary income Direct Consolidation Loan cannot include Parent PLUS Loans Yes — borrower must meet the U.S. Department of Education's requirements for a "partial financial hardship"
Pay-As-You-Earn Repayment (PAYE) Monthly payment is equal to 10% of discretionary income Direct Consolidation Loan cannot include Parent PLUS Loans; Loan must meet U.S. Department of Education date and program rules  Yes — borrower must meet the U.S. Department of Education's requirements for a "partial financial hardship"
Revised Pay-As-You-Earn Repayment (REPAYE) Monthly payment is equal to 10% of discretionary income Only available to Direct Loan borrowers No income requirements
Income-Sensitive Repayment (ISR) Monthly payment is 4-25% of monthly gross income Must be a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Consolidation Loan Yes — borrower must meet the U.S. Department of Education's requirements for a "partial financial hardship"
Alternative Repayment Determined on a case-by-case basis Must be a Direct Consolidation Loan Yes — borrower must apply annually

*For an in-depth look at federal student loan repayment plans, including payment calculation formulas, visit the Repayment Plans section on Edvisors.com.

Repayment plans for private consolidation loans are set by each individual lender. Here are some common examples:

Repayment Plan Type Description Examples of Eligibility Rules
Extended Term Equal monthly payments, extended over a longer term, such as 15, 20, 25, or 30 years Loan balance must meet lender requirements
Interest-Only Monthly payments are equal to the interest only and do not pay down the principal balance of the loan Financial hardship, military service; Usually limited to short periods
Interest Rate Discounts Interest rate reductions, such as 0.25% or 0.50% Payments must be automatically deducted from a bank account

Losing Repayment Options

When you consolidate federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, you don’t lose any repayment options. However, when you refinance federal student loans into a private student loan, you will lose access to federal student loan repayment options. Remember, when refinancing private student loans, the lender typically offers far fewer repayment plans. When you refinance private student loans into a private refinance loan, you typically have access to the same payment plans as you did before you refinanced — if you stay with your current lender. If you are refinancing with a different lender, you will need to check with the new lender to find out what payment plans they might offer.

More Must Read Articles

Why Consolidate or Refinance Your Student Loans

Why Consolidate My Student Loans?

Learn the pros and cons of student loan consolidation and refinancing, like cutting interest rates and monthly payments, or losing federal loan benefits.

Benefits of Student Loan Consolidation and Refinancing

Benefits of Student Loan Consolidation and Refinancing

Student loan consolidation or refinancing has several key benefits. You might be able to cut your payments & get a better rate. See if it's right for you.

How Student Loan Consolidation Works

How Student Loan Consolidation Works

Wondering what the first steps are in consolidating or refinancing your student loans? Check out these step-by-step instructions on how to get started.

Basics of Student Loan Refinancing

The Basics of Student Loan Refinancing for 2018

Deciding if you should consolidate or refinance your student loans can get pretty confusing. Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of refinancing.

5 Common Myths About Student Loan Refinancing

5 Common Myths About Student Loan Refinancing

When it comes to refinancing student loans, what's true, and what's not? We're clearing it up with five common myths and the facts behind them.

Should You Find a Student Loan Cosigner or Go It Alone

Student Loan Refinancing: Cosigner or No Cosigner?

Do the benefits of having a cosigner outweigh the drawbacks? Learn the pros and cons of sharing the weight of your debt with others.

Pros and Cons of Refinancing Parent Loans

The Pros and Cons of Refinancing Parent PLUS Loans

Many parents take out student loans to pay for a child's college education. Learn about the pros & cons of refinancing Parent PLUS Loans & private loans.

Private Student Loan Refinancing Interest Rates

Private Student Loan Refinancing Interest Rates

The interest rate on a private refinance loan is determined by the borrower's or cosigner's credit rating. See the impact of different rates on payments.

Private Student Loan Refinancing FAQs

Private Student Loan Consolidation and Refinancing FAQs for 2018

Get the answers to your questions about private student loan refinancing. Learn more about the benefits, which loans are eligible and how long it takes.

Federal Student Loan Consolidation

Federal Student Loan Consolidation

Learn about the benefits of federal student loan consolidation, what loans can be consolidated & how it can help you manage existing student loan debt.

Federal Student Loan Consolidation Interest Rates

Federal Student Loan Consolidation Interest Rates

When you consolidate your federal student loans, your interest rate will be roughly the same as your current loans. See an example of the rate calculation.

Federal Student Loan Consolidation FAQs

Federal Student Loan Consolidation FAQs for 2018

How do I combine multiple federal loans into one loan? How long does it take to consolidate student loans? Get the answers to these questions and more.

Lending Partners

Interest Rates
  • Fixed as low as 3.18% APR
  • Variable as low as 2.76% APR
  • Hybrid loan rates as low as 3.79% APR
  • Lowest APRs offered include an auto-pay discount
Max. Loan Limits Up to $500K
Min. Loan Amount $10,000 Degree Req. Required completion of one of the following degrees at a qualified school:
  • MBA
  • JD
  • MD
  • Engineering
Repayment Terms 5, 10, 15, 20 years
Interest Rates
  • Fixed as low as 3.37% APR
  • Variable as low as 2.35% APR
  • Lowest APRs offered include an auto-pay discount
Max. Loan Limits No Maximum
Min. Loan Amount $10,000 Degree Req. Required completion of degree Repayment Terms 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Interest Rates
  • Fixed as low as 5.24% APR
  • Variable as low as 4.74% APR
  • Lowest APRs offered include an auto-pay discount
Max. Loan Limits
  • $150K - Undergraduate or Graduate degrees
  • Higher limits may apply for specific fields of study
Min. Loan Amount $5,000 Degree Req. Students from any school could be eligible for our consolidation loan. Repayment Terms 10 - 20 years
Interest Rates
  • Fixed as low as 4.24% APR
  • Variable as low as 2.58% APR
  • Lowest APRs offered include an auto-pay discount
Max. Loan Limits Up to $300K
Min. Loan Amount $7,500 Degree Req. Repayment Terms 5, 8, 12, or 15  years.
Interest Rates
  • Fixed from 3.15% - 8.79%
  • Variable from 2.68% - 8.06%
  • Lowest APRs offered include an auto-pay discount
Max. Loan Limits
  • $125K - Undergraduate
  • $250K - Graduate
  • $300K - Medical, Dental, Veterinary
Min. Loan Amount $5,000 Degree Req. Graduated from a LendKey eligible school Repayment Terms 5, 10, 15, and 20 years
Interest Rates
  • Fixed as low as 3.74% APR
  • Variable as low as 3.63% APR
  • Rates above include 0.25% auto-debit discount
Max. Loan Limits
  • $120K
  • Minimum qualifying credit score is 660 with an eligible cosigner
Min. Loan Amount $10,000 Degree required. Must have graduated from an eligible school. Repayment Terms 5, 10, or 15 years
Interest Rates
  • Fixed rate range: 3.25% – 7.75% APR1
  • Variable as low as 2.75% – 7.25% APR1
  • No application or prepayment fees
Max. Loan Limits
  • Consolidate and refinance up to $250,0003
Min. Loan Amount $5,0003 Degree required. Must have graduated from a public or private, not-for-profit, degree granting institution. Repayment terms 5 – 15 years2
Am I eligible to refinance my student loans?