For students looking to lower their student loan interest rates, refinancing is currently the only option available. You can see the best student loan refinance options here.
While many borrowers can save big money through refinancing— a borrower with an average amount of debt can save around $5,000 over 10 years—experts say the real savings comes when you’re able to pay your balance off within five years.
LendEDU recently published a study analyzing over 20,000 student loan refinancing applicants. The study found that 43 percent of refinancing applicants are denied and that one-third of those approved actually go through with refinancing.
It shouldn’t be surprising that borrowers who opt for a five-year term save the most money. For one, these borrowers are making repayment a top priority, as well as making higher monthly payments. These borrowers also often use variable interest rates, which can change monthly and over the life of the loan. That means the longer you take to pay off the loan, the bigger risk you’re taking with the variable rate—especially since interest rates appear to be rising right now.
And let’s not forget that those in a position to pay off their loans quicker are making the money to do it. The study found that the incomes of those approved for refinancing start at $60,000, and these borrowers have an average credit score of 748. One point of solace: They also owe more money than the average borrower – $53,892. The average student loan borrower graduates with $27,857.
Can’t pay off your loan in five years? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t refinance. Nate Matherson, CEO of LendEDU, points out that 32 percent of refinanced loans had a cosigner.
A cosigner can also help applicants qualify with a lower credit score and income, as well as saving around 0.15 percent monthly in interest. Of course, cosigning can be risky if the borrower fails to make payments each month on the loan.
*LendEDU is owned by Shop Tutors, Inc., the parent company of Student Loan Report, LLC.
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