3 Things You Can Do When Your Student Loan Rates Are Too High

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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

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Federal student loan interest rates start at 4.45% for the 2017-2018 school year. If your student loan rates are higher than that, there’s not a lot you can do about it while you’re in school.

But you’re not entirely without options. Here are some steps you can take to get better student loan rates in the future.

3 steps to take if your student loan rates aren’t the best

If you want to get on the right track with your student loan rates, it’s important that you understand how your rates stack up, prepare to get better rates the next time you apply, and start looking into your post-graduation options.

1. Know where you stand

To get an idea of whether your rates are high, it’s important to compare them with average student loan rates.

For example, if you have federal student loans, your rates are among the lowest you can get. Private student loan rates can vary by lender, but you can look at some of the top private student loan companies to see what rates they offer.

If you find that your student loan rates are reasonable, or even low, then you might not need to do anything else. If, however, your rates are high, you might want to start looking at some other options, especially if you plan to borrow again before you graduate. Keep in mind that some options, including private student loans, require a credit check.

2. Use a cosigner next time

You don’t need a cosigner for federal student loans. But if you applied for private student loans and got a high rate, a cosigner might be able to help you do better next time.

Pick someone who has a great credit history and solid income. Lenders consider both factors when determining your interest rate.

Getting a cosigner can be tough, though. You’re asking someone to take on the responsibility of paying off the debt if you miss payments or default. The loan also will show up on their credit report, potentially making it difficult for them to borrow in the future.

To make it easier, consider student loan companies that offer cosigner release. This feature allows you to apply to have your cosigner removed from the loan after two to four years of on-time payments. It’s not guaranteed, though. You’ll need to have good enough credit and income to continue repayment on the loan in your name only.

Opting for a student loan with cosigner release can alleviate some of the concerns a potential cosigner might have about making such a long-term commitment.

3. Start looking at refinancing opportunities

If you’re close to graduating, you’ll soon have an opportunity to potentially refinance your student loans with a lower interest rate.

Some of the best student loan refinancing companies offer low variable and fixed interest rates. But if you’re thinking of refinancing federal loans, take these facts into consideration:

Check to see if you can get a cosigner. The right cosigner can improve your chances of getting a lower interest rate when you refinance.

As you’re looking at different terms student loan refinancing companies offer, don’t look at just the interest rate. Consider what your new monthly payment would be. Even if you nab a low interest rate, you might regret refinancing if your monthly payment becomes unaffordable.

Avoid procrastinating and save money

The longer you take to address high interest rates, the more money you’ll end up paying in interest. This is especially the case for private student loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans through the federal government. These loans start accruing interest as soon as they’re disbursed.

Even if you don’t plan to take action anytime soon, start thinking about your options and what you’re going to do. That way, you’ll be ready when the time comes to make a decision.

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1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

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.

(1)All rates shown include the auto-pay discount.  The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

(2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.

Information advertised valid as of 11/4/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.


2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

3 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  2. View Auto Reward Debit Reward Terms and Conditions at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/AutoDebitReward.
  3. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  4. Lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest interest rate offered on the Discover Undergraduate Loan and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including Undergraduate, Graduate, Health Professions, Law and MBA Loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable Margin percentage. The margin is based on your credit evaluation at the time of application and does not change. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 2.50% as of July 1, 2019. Discover Student Loans will adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Please visit discover.com/student-loans/interest-rates for more information about interest rates.
Discover's lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

4 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restrictions. Loans are offered through CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS #1175900).

  1.  Rates are as of July 1, 2019 and include auto-pay discount. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

5 Important Disclosures for Citizens.

Citizens Disclosures

Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of November 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.80%. Variable interest rates range from 2.90% – 11.16% (2.90% – 11.01% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 4.72% – 12.19% (4.72% – 12.04% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown requires application with a co-signer, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan.

Citizens Bank Student Loan Eligibility: Borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution. Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or an international borrower/eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For borrowers who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank- participating school. 

Please Note: International Students are not eligible for the multi-year approval feature.

2.84%
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3.37%
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3.52% – 9.50%4Undergraduate and Graduate

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2.90% – 11.16%5Undergraduate and Graduate

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.