Student Loan Consolidation vs. Refinancing Calculator

When it comes to student loan consolidation, you have two options: a Direct Consolidation Loan or refinancing with a private lender. Both will combine your loans into one new loan with one monthly payment. But which is best? Our Consolidation vs. Refinancing Calculator (for federal student loans only) will help you compare. For refinancing private loans, check out our refinancing calculator.

Current loanDirect Consolidation
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Consolidating your federal student loans through the Direct Loan Consolidation program would set your new interest rate at , slightly higher than your current rate of . If you chose to remain on the standard repayment plan, you would pay and would finish paying off your loans in . If you refinanced your student loans, with a and 15 year term, you would pay and pay off your loans by .

Refinancing is the only way to lower your interest rate but you may lose some of the safeguards associated with having federal loans, so make sure you are fully educated on the decision by reading our recommended resources below:

Student loan refinancing rates as low as % APR. Check your rate in 2 minutes.

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Student Loan Consolidation vs. Refinancing Calculator FAQs

1. Will Direct Consolidation lower my interest rate and/or save money?

No, a Direct Consolidation Loan will not lower your interest rates or help you save money on interest directly. Rather, a Direct Consolidation Loan combines your loans with a weighted average interest rate of your old loans. This means that you’ll still pay the same amount of interest on your loans as it’s an average.

2. How do I calculate my average interest rate?

If you have multiple student loans, use our Weighted Average Interest Rate calculator to find your average interest rate.

3. What types of loans are eligible for each option (Direct Consolidation and refinancing)?

You may only consolidate federal student loans with a Direct Consolidation loan. Just about any type of federal student loan can be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Refinancing with a private lender is possible with both federal and private student loans.

4. What happens if I refinance federal student loans? Are there reasons I might not want to refinance?

Refinancing federal student loans will convert the loans to private student loans. This means that any refinanced loans will no longer be eligible for federal programs like student loan forgiveness, income-driven repayment, and federal deferment/forbearance.

For this reason we recommend borrowers think carefully about refinancing federal loans before they do so. You can read more about what considerations to make here. Additionally, some borrowers choose to refinance only their private student loans and leave their federal student loans as is.

5. Why does this calculator only work for federal student loans?

Private student loans are not eligible for Direct Consolidation, so they’re excluded from the comparison. To see how you can save by refinancing private student loans, check out our Refinancing Calculator.

6. What assumptions does this calculator make?

This calculator assumes:

  • You’ll stay on the standard repayment plan when choosing a Direct Consolidation Loan. The repayment term on the standard plan varies based on the size of your student loan balance as follows:
If your Total Education Loan Indebtedness is… …your Repayment Period will be…
At Least Less Than
$7,500 10 years
$ 7,500 $10,000 12 years
$10,000 $20,000 15 years
$20,000 $40,000 20 years
$40,000 $60,000 25 years
$60,000 30 years


If you wish to enroll in an income-driven repayment plan after obtaining a Direct Consolidation Loan, check out our Income-Based Repayment, Pay As You EarnRevised Pay As Your Earn, and Income-Contingent Repayment calculators for estimated monthly payments.


7. How do I find student loan refinancing rates and terms?

See our top partners for refinancing student loans here to view available rates and terms. To get your rates, please visit the lender websites. Most of the lenders we’ve partnered with are able to check eligibility and provide a rate with a “soft” credit pull in just two minutes.

8. Should I refinance my student loans?

That depends on many different factors. We recommend reviewing these posts to help you decide for yourself:

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