Refinancing with Earnest
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If you borrowed federal student loans to pay for college, you might be paying them back with the help of Great Lakes. As one of the major federal student loan servicers, Great Lakes is the intermediary between you and the Department of Education.
This servicer handles billing, payments, and customer service, and it’s your point of contact if you ever want to discuss repayment options. Note that Great Lakes was recently bought by Nelnet, another federal student loan servicer, but it continues to do business under its own name.
This acquisition shouldn’t affect you much since you still have the same options for consolidating or refinancing your Great Lakes student loans. Here’s what you need to know about each option so that you can manage debt repayment most effectively.
Consolidating Great Lakes student loans with the federal government
Both consolidating and refinancing can help you take control of your student loans, but they do so in different ways. Let’s first consider federal student loan consolidation, which involves taking out a Direct Consolidation Loan.
When you consolidate federal student loans (private student loans aren’t eligible), you combine multiple loans into one. Instead of tracking several payments each month, you will only have to pay one bill.
You can also select new repayment terms when you consolidate student loans. You might stick with the standard 10-year plan, or you could lengthen your term to up to 30 years. A longer term could lower your monthly payments, but it will also mean you could stay in debt for longer and pay more interest over the life of the loan.
Along with choosing new terms, you have the chance to choose a new loan servicer. If you’ve had good experiences with Great Lakes, you can stick with it. If not, you can choose another federal servicer, such as Navient or FedLoan Servicing.
On the downside, consolidating your Great Lakes student loans could result in a slightly higher interest rate. This is because when you consolidate student loans, your new rate is the weighted average rate of your old loans rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percent.
Of course, this small increase might be worth it for the other benefits that consolidation provides.
Consolidating and refinancing Great Lakes student loans with a private lender
Applying for a Direct Consolidation Loan isn’t the only way to combine multiple student loans into one. Your other main option is to refinance student loans with a private lender.
When you refinance, you can combine several loans into one with a single monthly payment. But unlike federal consolidation, you can refinance both federal and private student loans.
Not only could refinancing simplify repayment, but it could get you a lower interest rate. If you have strong credit and a steady income — or can apply with a cosigner who does — you could qualify for better rates than the ones you have now.
That’s one of the major reasons people choose to refinance their student loans. With a lower interest rate, you can save money and pay off your student loans ahead of schedule.
You can also restructure your debt by choosing new repayment terms. You might choose a shorter term to get out of debt faster. Or you could go with a longer term to decrease your monthly payments.
If you’re debating between plans, make sure to use our student loan refinancing calculator to compare your options. By crunching the numbers, you’ll get a clear sense of the costs of each repayment term.
Furthermore, make sure to shop around with multiple lenders and compare offers. Many lenders offer the chance to get instant rate quotes with no impact on your credit score. By taking advantage, you can find the best student loan refinancing offer with the lowest rates.
Be careful about turning your federal student loans private
Before making any changes to your Great Lakes student loans (or any others), be sure you understand the consequences of refinancing your federal loans with a private lender.
When you refinance, you essentially turn your federal student loans into a private one. As a result, you lose access to federal programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-driven repayment plans.
Your new lender might offer some protections in the event of financial hardship or unemployment, but it probably won’t be as robust as those provided by the federal government.
So before you refinance student loans, make sure you understand the pros and cons of refinancing and are confident about your ability to pay back your loan.
Making the best decision with your student debt
Consolidating or refinancing your Great Lakes student loans could be a savvy way to take control of your student debt. Before making any changes, though, make sure to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of each.
As your student loan servicer, Great Lakes should also be available to talk you through repayment plans. By exploring all your options, you can find strategies for repaying your student loans in a way that works with your budget.
You might even discover ways to pay off your loans faster and say goodbye to student debt ahead of schedule.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.57% – 6.98%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.80% – 6.22%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.57% – 8.17%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|