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This week’s student loan refinancing rates: January 24, 2023

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Average interest rates on most refinanced student loans have increased from two weeks ago, according to Credible Student Loans. Rates on all 10-year loans are up, as well as five-year undergraduate loan rates. However, five-year graduate variable rates dipped by about 2.3%. 

The cost of borrowing for college has gone up over the past 12 months as the Federal Reserve has moved aggressively to combat inflation by bumping up the federal funds rate. Those higher rates ultimately make it more expensive for consumers to finance everything from college tuition to homes and cars.  

Federal student loan rates for the 2023-24 school year have risen by the widest margin in about 20 years. While private student loan rates aren’t directly affected by federal rates, they’re likely to increase because they don’t have to stay as low to remain competitive with federal ones.  

Important: Federal loans are usually a better choice than private ones. For instance, the Biden administration extended the repayment pause on federal student loans through the end of August 2023. You won’t qualify for this pause if you refinance your federal loans into private ones. You may also pay higher interest rates with private loans.

5-year variable student loan refinancing rates

This past week, five-year undergraduate variable rates have gone up by 83 basis points. They are about 3.5% higher than they were one year ago.

Meanwhile, five-year graduate variable rates went dowm about 2.35%. They are up roughly 3% from six months ago. 

 UndergraduateGraduateThis past week7.07%6.24%2 weeks ago6.24%8.59%6 months ago5.07%3.47%1 year ago3.60%3.75%

10-year fixed student loan refinancing rates

Rates on both undergraduate and graduate 10-year fixed loans have remained relatively consistent from two weeks ago. Undergraduate rates ticked down by two basis points, while graduate rates fell by eight basis points

From six months ago, undergraduate rates are up about 76 basis points and graduate rates have increased by 61 basis points. 

 UndergraduateGraduateThis past week6.97%6.28%2 weeks ago6.61%5.93%6 months ago5.81%5.33%1 year ago3.90%3.46%

Student loan interest rates by credit score

Borowers with better credit scores usually get lower rates, although that’s not always the case. The table below shows the 10-year fixed student loan rates by credit score:

 Below 680680-719720-779780+Average rateThis past week9.06%7.78%6.58%5.93%6.80%2 weeks ago7.50%6.97%6.40%5.92%6.42%

Example: Let’s say you’re repaying a $20,000 undergraduate loan over 10 years with the above interest rates. If you your credit score is below 680, the lifetime cost of your loan would be $30,480 with this past week’s rate of 9.06%. For borrowers with a score over 780, paying an average rate of 5.93%, the same loan would have cost $26,561, or $3,919 less.

Frequently asked questions

Should I refinance my student loan?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as your decision depends on your unique financial situation. You may consider alternatives such as a less expensive school, scholarships, or a side job to earn more money. Whatever your decision is, make sure you understand the terms of your  newloan before making a choice.

Do I need a co-signer to get a student loan?

For most younger students, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved without a co-signer. It is possible, but mainly for students who have an established credit history and an income.

Once you have some credit established, however, you may be able to remove your cosigner by refinancing. Some lenders also allow borrowers to remove cosigners after several years of consecutive payments. 

Can my private student loans be forgiven?

No, they aren’t eligible for any federal forgiveness programs, including the widescale forgiveness currently being challenged in court.

Should I keep paying my student loan during the repayment pause?

You might be able to save hundreds or even thousands on interest if you repay your student loans during the repayment pause, set to go through August 2023. This is because any payment you make on your student loans goes directly toward your balance. When you make a payment traditionally, a portion of it goes toward paying down interest.

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