There’s about $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the United States. Most of that consists of federal student loans, but there are several hundred billion dollars in private student loans, as well.
Both federal student loan lenders and private student loan lenders charge interest – a percentage of the loan principal balance that acts as the cost of borrowing and a way of reducing risk to the lender. But borrowers have no real control over their interest rate and are largely stuck with it – federal student loan interest rates are set by Congress, and private student loan interest rates are set by the terms of the underlying loan contract. Given these limitations, the only option available to borrowers to lower their rates is to refinance their loans through a private lender (there is no federal student loan refinancing program that results in a lower interest rate). This is a major undertaking, and borrowers who are considering student loan refinancing should be aware of the potential risks and rewards.Read More