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dauber

Anybody ever refinanace a student loan?

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(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!

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I have not refinanced a student loan.  But I think you're pretty smart to see what your options are.  My suggestion would be to check out the website for one of my favorite radio show hosts, Clark Howard.  http://clark.com/   You'll probably find some useful information there, and can even send in this question to his support team for some advice. 

Good luck Dauber. 

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I consolidated and refinanced the loans from my undergrad through Sallie Mae (now Navient). It resulted in lower interest and a lower combined payment over the same term. I just started the 10 year repayment for my graduate program.

 

For me, the main thing to look out for regarding student loan refi is maintaining the ability to go into deferment or forbearance if your economic situation changes. The initial Federally backed loans have these options automatically but if you refi, the new loan might not. Fortunately, I have never been in the situation where I needed that flexibility but anything can happen.

 

Good luck!

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Thanks for the tips, guys...I wasn't aware you could refi through Navient -- that might be the best option! Before I do anything I'm going to get rid of the smallest of my loans; I have just under $500 left to go on that, and if my wife and I are wise with our money, I could get that wiped out within a month.

 

Big reason I'm really concerned about this is that my wife wants to get a new car...our 2007 Saturn Vue is still in excellent working condition but it's time to get a new vehicle, and I remember I was paying $408 a month on the Vue, and logic tells me I'll be lucky to get a lower monthly payment this time around. :(  (But at the same time, my wife was unemployed for the first eight months we had that car, and my job(s) didn't pay a lot; now we're both gainfully employed and I'm making a LOT more money now...no means rich at all, but still...)

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