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Since the 1970s, Sallie Mae has serviced or provided education loans for families to pay for college and graduate school.
Although Sallie Mae used to be government-sponsored, it’s now a private company that offers private student loans to student and parents. (Its offshoot company, Navient, continues to service federal student loans.)
This distinction is important if you’re exploring Sallie Mae consolidation, as your options will be different depending on whether you have federal or private student loans.
Sallie Mae consolidation loans are no more
Before 2008, Sallie Mae offered consolidation loans. If you had multiple student loans, you were able to combine them through Sallie Mae consolidation.
But Sallie Mae no longer offers a consolidation loan, nor does it offer student loan refinancing. The company now primarily provides private student loans for college, as well as for career training and K-12 schools.
Of course, just because Sallie Mae consolidation loans are no longer a thing doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Borrowers have a wide range of choices for repaying their student debt, whether they need consolidation (for federal loans only) or refinancing (for federal or private loans).
Consolidation for your federal student loans
If you have federal student loans, you can consolidate them with a federal Direct Consolidation Loan. Any recent Sallie Mae loans won’t count, since those are private, but people who borrowed years ago might have once had their federal student loans serviced by Sallie Mae.
Furthermore, federal student loans serviced by Navient could also qualify. According to Federal Student Aid, Stafford Loans, Direct Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans are all eligible for consolidation.
Consolidation can help you manage repayment more easily since you’ll only have a single bill to track. Plus, it lets you choose new terms for the loan, perhaps extending them to 20 or 25 years.
Extending your terms could help if you’re struggling to pay bills since it means your monthly payment will go down. But it also means you’ll be in debt for longer, so you’ll pay more interest over the life of the loan.
Plus, consolidation could cause your interest rate to slightly increase, as your new rate will be the weighted average of your previous rates rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percentage point. Still, this increase in interest might be worth it if you need the relief that comes with lower monthly student loan bills.
Refinancing for both federal and private student loans
Another repayment option is student loan refinancing. Although Sallie Mae doesn’t offer refinancing, other banks, credit unions, and online lenders do. Leading lenders in the refinancing space include Citizens Bank, SoFi, and Earnest.
Both private and federal student loans are eligible for refinancing. You can choose to refinance a single loan, perhaps to lower its interest rate, or multiple ones to combine them.
Note that if you refinance federal student loans, they essentially become private loans. As a result, you lose access to federal programs and protections such as income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
To refinance, you must meet a lender’s underwriting requirements for credit and income — or apply with a cosigner who does. Depending on your or your cosigner’s creditworthiness, you could qualify for lower interest rates than the ones you have.
Plus, you can choose new repayment terms, perhaps lengthening your term to lower monthly payments or shortening it to move up your repayment date.
Estimate the long-term costs before you make changes
Both consolidation and student loan refinancing give you the opportunity to restructure your debt in a way that makes it easier to repay.
Consolidation can simplify your debt and lower your monthly payments with a longer repayment term. But refinancing could save you money with a lower interest rate and also allow you to select a shorter or longer term, depending on your goals.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you understand how it could impact your finances.
Play around with our student loan payment calculator to estimate the short- and long-term costs of consolidating or refinancing. And if you chose refinancing, shop around to get the best available rates.
By getting a clear understanding of your costs of borrowing, you can make an informed choice about consolidating your Sallie Mae or federal student loans.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2018!
|1 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
2 Important Disclosures for Discover.
3 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB) or Turnstile Capital Management, LLC (TCM), which are not affiliated entities. Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. All loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Other terms and conditions apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of TCM and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for PNC.
PNC Bank is one of the nation’s largest education loan providers. For over 40 years, PNC has been committed to helping students and their families make possible the adventure of college.
6 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
8 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
9 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|3.69% – 10.94%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit CollegeAve|
|3.82% – 12.82%3||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit Ascent|
|4.34% – 12.99%2||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit Discover|
|4.12% – 10.98%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit SallieMae|
|5.03% – 11.23%5||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit PNC|
|3.88% – 12.88%6||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit SunTrust|
|4.72% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit LendKey|
|3.72% – 9.68%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit CommonBond|
|4.04% – 12.01%9||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit Citizens|