How to Get or Refinance New York Student Loans

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If you’re attending college in the Empire State, you might be looking to borrow New York student loans. Student loans can be a useful tool for paying for tuition as long as you don’t get slapped with high interest rates or borrow too much.

To get your best New York student loans, and to save money or change your repayment on the ones you have, check out this guide:

How to get New York student loans

As a New York student, you can borrow federal or private student loans to pay for school. Here’s what you need to know about each type.

New York student loans: Federal options

Although the state of New York doesn’t offer student loans itself, it does have a Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for eligible residents. TAP grants can be for as much as $5,165 — and you may not have to pay them back.

You should apply to as many grants or scholarships you can before borrowing student loans. But if you still have a gap in funding, student loans could help you cover education costs.

Your best option is a federal student loan from Federal Student Aid. You might qualify for subsidized or unsubsidized direct loans, both of which come with a fixed interest rate of 2.75% for undergraduates for the 2020-21 year.

Federal student loans tend to be a better option than private ones since any U.S. citizen or qualifying noncitizen attending an eligible school can obtain them. Plus, they’re eligible for income-driven repayment (IDR) plans and federal student loan forgiveness programs.

That said, you can only borrow a certain amount in direct loans each year, so you might still need extra money to pay for school. If that’s the case, your parents could consider taking out a federal parent PLUS loan, which comes with a 5.3% interest rate.

Alternatively, you could explore your options for a private student loan.

New York student loans: Private options

If you’ve exhausted your options for federal financial aid but still come up short, you might borrow a private student loan from a bank, credit union or online lender. Unlike federal student loans, private lenders check your credit before approving you for a loan, so you might have to apply with a credit-eligible cosigner to qualify.

Once you’ve been approved, you can typically choose between a fixed and variable rate. You’ll also choose repayment terms, which often start at five years and go up to 15 or 20 years.

Note that unlike federal student loans, private loans aren’t eligible for IDR plans. They also don’t qualify for federal forgiveness programs, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Some private lenders offer forbearance or deferment if you go back to school or lose your income, but you’ll have to check with each lender to see if it has this protection.

If you decide taking out a private student loan is right for you, consider these lenders for student loans in New York:

  • ACMG Federal Credit Union
    • Finances a student line of credit
    • Offers variable APRs between 4.50% and 7.25% as of Aug. 10, 2020
  • Money Federal Credit Union
    • Finances a student line of credit of up to $50,000
    • Offers variable APRs between 4.25% and 5.74% as of Aug. 10, 2020
  • Citizens Bank
    • Finances loans up to $170,000, depending on your education level
    • Variable APRs from 1.23% up to 11.38%
  • College Ave Student Loans
    • Provides loans from $1,000 up to the cost of attendance for your school
    • Has student loan repayment terms of five, eight, 10, or 15 years
    • Variable APRs from 1.09% up to 11.98%
  • Ascent
    • Variable APRs: 2.69%12.98%
    • Fixed APRs: 3.58%14.50%
    • Has student loan repayment terms of five, 10, or 15 years for undergrad borrowers, and 10 or 15 years for graduate students
    • Has an award of 1% cash back upon graduation if you meet certain terms and conditions

Since private student loans have various terms and conditions, make sure to shop around with several lenders to find your best rate.

How to refinance New York student loans

One of the biggest challenges of paying off debt is keeping up with interest. Fortunately, you might be able to refinance your student loans for a lower interest rate.

To qualify to refinance student loans, you’ll need a decent credit score and steady income (or you can apply with a creditworthy cosigner). Not only can refinancing potentially get you a lower rate, but it also lets you choose new repayment terms.

You could choose a shorter term, which could raise your monthly payments but get you out of debt faster. Or you could go with a longer term, which would result in lower monthly bills. Before you make your selection, use our student loan refinancing calculator to estimate the long-term costs of your new student loan repayment plan.

A third benefit of refinancing is that it can simplify your debt repayment. If you refinance multiple student loans, you combine them into one. So instead of keeping track of multiple payments, you will only have to manage a single bill each month.

Note that refinancing is different from federal consolidation, which involves combining multiple federal student loans into a direct consolidation loan and does not lower your interest rate. With refinancing, you can combine both types, federal and private.

Before you refinance student loans, though, consider this potential downside: When you refinance a federal loan, you turn it into a private one. As a result, you lose access to federal IDR plans and forgiveness programs. If you’re relying on either, refinancing likely wouldn’t be a good move.

But if you’re comfortable turning your loans private, then consider these lenders for refinancing student loans in New York.

  • ACMG Federal Credit Union
    • Refinances student loans up to $150,000
    • Offers student loan repayment terms of five, 10 or 15 years
    • Has fixed and variable APRs between 0.75% and 6.80% as of Aug. 10, 2020
  • Earnest
    • Refinances student loans starting at $5,000
    • Variable APRs from 1.99% to 5.34%
  • SoFi
    • Refinances student loans from $5,000
    • Variable APRs from 2.25% to 6.09%
  • Citizens Bank
    • Refinances student loans of $10,000 or more
    • Has terms Up to 20 years
    • Variable APRs from 1.99% up to 8.24%

You have your choice of institutions for refinancing student loans, including banks, credit unions and online lenders. Before choosing, make sure to shop around with multiple providers to find a loan with your best rate.

Compare your options to find your best student loans in New York

Whether you’re headed upstate or packing your bags for the Big Apple, take time to explore your financing alternatives for college. If you’ve maxed out your eligibility for federal student loans and need a private one, look around so that you can find a loan with the best terms for you.

And if your goal is to refinance student loans, compare offers from multiple lenders before choosing the right one. Beyond finding the lowest rate, you might also look for extra perks, such as great customer service reviews or the option to remove a cosigner from your loan later down the road.

Managing debt can feel complicated, but if you’ve done your due diligence, you can make strategic decisions that save you money. Although it might take a few years, eventually you’ll be free of debt — and you’ll have earned your valuable degree along the way.