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If you’re repaying Nelnet student loans and have heard about consolidation and refinancing, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.
Well, Nelnet student loan consolidation — or refinancing — could save you a ton of grief and a lot of cash. Here’s how to decide which measure will be most impactful for you.
Consolidating or refinancing your Nelnet student loans
One of nine federal student loan servicers, Nelnet’s student loan operation doesn’t actually include the ability to consolidate or refinance your debt.
You could consolidate (or group) your loans via a Direct Consolidation Loan with the federal government. You might also elect to consolidate or refinance them into a whole new loan from a private lender.
Taking either measure could be wise if you’re looking to simplify your repayment, lower your monthly dues, or avoid an unruly servicer.
If you’ve been unhappy with Nelnet — it’s among the most complained-about servicers — you’ll be glad to find that you can choose your consolidating servicer. But if you appreciate Nelnet’s servicing features, you could opt to stick with the company to service your new loan.
Consolidating and refinancing are also going to entail similar eligibility requirements, ranging from holding a college diploma to keeping pace with repayment on your debt.
Let’s explore the pros and cons of each repayment strategy.
Pros and cons of a federal Direct Consolidation Loan
Federal student loan consolidation won’t directly save you money, but it could put you in a better position to repay your debt. That’s because consolidating your student loans gives you one loan and one monthly payment.
You could also lower your monthly payment by consolidating and switching to a longer repayment term — if you don’t mind your interest accruing.
With that said, there are some cons to a Direct Consolidation Loan. For one, your interest rate will climb slightly, as it will be an average of your previous rates, rounded to the nearest one-eighth of a percent.
For another, taking out the newly consolidated loan could reset your progress toward a loan forgiveness program if you’ve been in repayment for a while.
But if you’re early into repayment, perhaps even enjoying your grace period, you might see a Direct Consolidation Loan as a fresh start. You could make your entire education debt eligible for a program such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and start working toward it.
Pros and cons of consolidation or refinancing with a private lender
When you consolidate your federal loans — Nelnet loans or otherwise — you give something up to get something else. You might agree to reset the clock on your PSLF progress, for example, in exchange for the convenience of one monthly payment to one lender of your choosing.
But if you consolidate your federal loans with a private lender, you’ll lose all your federal protections, such as the option for forgiveness or certain repayment plans. So you’ll have to ask yourself what you could receive in return to balance the equation.
Wells Fargo’s consolidation program, for example, offers 0.25% discounts on your consolidated interest rate if you sign up for autopay and are a returning customer of the bank. You could also select your repayment term.
To save more money during repayment of your Nelnet loans, though, you’ll want to consider the option of student loan refinancing.
Like consolidating, refinancing allows you to group your loans into one new loan. It allows you to lower your interest rate by more than mere percentage points. In fact, top refinancing companies are offering fixed and variable rates below 3.00% to borrowers with strong credit histories and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios.
Still, weigh the cons of refinancing, which are similar to the downsides of consolidating with a private lender. Some private lenders charge fees for many things, including originating, disbursing, and servicing your new loan.
Most importantly, you’ll want to make sure you won’t miss the ability to qualify for loan forgiveness, change your loan repayment plan, or utilize government-specific deferment and forbearance options. Private lenders won’t check those boxes.
Nelnet student loan consolidation vs. refinancing
You have all sorts of options for how to handle your Nelnet student loan consolidation. Chances are that one suits you better than the rest.
If you crave the convenience of one loan but aren’t keen on private lenders, you might apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan. You’d be excused for not wanting to yield the government’s more expansive repayment protections.
But if you won’t miss the federal loan perks, consider consolidating or refinancing your Nelnet loans with a private lender.
Scoring a lower interest could make up for any fees you might see as a result of the switch, especially if you can find a lender that offers some repayment protections. SoFi, for example, offers help if you lose your job while paying off your debt.
You might come across U-fi student loan refinancing while perusing Nelnet’s website since the companies are partners. Keep in mind that you don’t have to refinance with U-fi. Check out these refinancing lenders before finding the right one for you.
Keep in mind that your credit history and DTI ratio are taken into consideration when you apply. If you’d like more details, here’s everything you need to know about applying for student loan refinancing.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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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
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
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
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|