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Anybody paying a monthly student loan bill would be thrilled to pay less per month or pay off their loan faster. Over 44 million Americans carry a total of $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. That’s an average of $32,731 each. Millions could pay less but don’t take advantage of loan consolidation or refinancing. One reason is that the process seems too complex. Is it really?

Simplify Many Variables

It really is a chore to gather information about consolidating or refinancing student loans. You basically have to visit each lender website, one-by-one, and jot down data, such as:

  • Interest rates (fixed and variable)
  • Loan terms – How long you have to pay back your loan.
  • Minimum and maximum loan amounts – The least and the most you are allowed to borrow.
  • Benefits and features – For example, discounts if you set up auto-payment.
  • Eligibility – May depend on enrollment status, where you live, or cosigner status.

Who wants to collect all this data? Well, thankfully, there are online resources that put all the information on one page. These details matter, and later you’ll learn how much you can save if you refinance your student loan.

Consolidation vs. Refinancing

Loan consolidation means bundling several outstanding loans together and replacing them with one single loan. This may or may not give you an interest rate advantage, but it will certainly make bill paying easier. You may also be able to modify your loan terms to fit your personal preferences.

Student loan refinancing, on the other hand, means exchanging an existing loan for a new one with lower interest rates. When you refinance, you basically have two options for paying back your new loan:

  1. Reduce your monthly payment and keep the same payment terms.
  2. Maintain the same monthly payment but pay off your loan faster.

Does It Make A Difference?

If you still aren’t convinced, consider the raw numbers. Approximately 8 million borrowers could lower their student loan debt by an average of $18,600 through refinancing. If you have a large amount of debt, your savings might be substantially higher. The only way you’ll know is if you investigate. The beauty of refinancing is that once you complete the process, you’re done. Then you begin to enjoy the savings every month.

Conclusion

Consolidating or refinancing student loan debt doesn’t have to be hard. These strategies give you more than one option to choose from. Take a look at your financial situation and decide how you want to apply your savings and read more about how to get out of debt if that has become a problem.