(I thought for a change I should post something other than link to one of my podcasts!)
Here's the sitch..I currently owe about $28,000 in change in student loans for the two, maybe two and a half years I was in grad school. Part time, Usually one class at a time, a couple of times two. (And I literally went with the cheapest option.)
Right now I'm on a ten-year graduated repayment plan, meaning that every couple of years my repayment amount goes up. This year was one of those years...I'm starting to really feel the pain of the monthly payments now (and if I stay on this plan, I'll be paying $600-$700 a month in the last two years; right now I'm a bit over $300). I think I'm currently on year 4 of the plan.
I have the option to switch to the non-graduated plan at any time. The pros are that the monthly payments would be much lower, but the cons are 1) it's a 20-year plan (and I'm 43 right now!), and 2) I'd end up paying a lot more in the end (and yes, I know I can pay more than the monthly to cut it down a bit).
Since I really don't relish the thought of paying a loan that covered two years of part-time school when I'm in my 60s (really, this is an effed-up education system we have in this country), I sometimes think of refinancing all together. For one thing, it'd be a way to consolidate my debt -- I currently have four loans going right now (with one almost paid in full). Also, I can probably get a lower interest rate. The one thing with refinancing, though, is that I'd have to do it through a bank; using a student loan "service" such as Navient or Sallie Mae actually gives you a bit of leeway in the case of financial hardship (like if I lose my job I can stop paying on the loan, albeit while still accumulating interest), but a bank loan doesn't have that luxury.
Just wanted to see if any of you refinanced a student loan, and if so, how easy was it? Glad you did it? Better interest rate? (I'm paying 6.55% on my current loans.)
BTW, loan forgiveness is NOT an option -- I didn't finish the degree (if I stayed in school long enough to finish, I literally would be homeless with the monthly repayments), and I've yet to find any kind of loan forgiveness programs that will talk to you if you didn't finish!