With interest rates rising, there’s no better time to refinance student loans.
Student loan refinancing enables to you combine your existing federal and private student loans into a new, single student loan with a lower interest rate. As a result, you can lower your monthly payment and save significantly on interest costs, which can help you pay off your student loans faster.
(You can see how much you can save through refinancing with this free student loan refinancing calculator).
Here are 5 secrets to get approved to refinance your student loans:
1. Have a strong credit score
Lenders want to refinance student loans for borrowers with a history of financial responsibility.
One way they measure financial responsibility is through your credit score (or its underlying components). To increase your credit score, make sure that you meet your financial obligations and have a history of on-time payments. Don’t skip any payments and minimize your total debt as well as your credit card utilization.
If you don’t have a strong credit score, the good news is you can apply with a qualified co-signer, which can increase your chances for approval.
Insider Tip: Aim for a credit score of 700 or higher. However, lenders will refinance student loans for borrowers with credit scores starting at about 680.
2. Have a strong income
In addition to a strong credit score, student loan lenders want to ensure that you have stable and recurring income to repay your student loans.
How do you know if you have enough income to get approved?
Review your monthly after-tax income. When you subtract your monthly student loan and other debt payments, does a sufficient amount of income remain for other essential living expenses?
Insider Tip: If you do not have sufficient income after making student loan payments, you can increase your chances for approval with a qualified co-signer who has a strong monthly income.
3. Have no or limited other debt
Student loan lenders will evaluate all your debt – not just your student loan debt.
If you have credit card debt, mortgage debt or auto debt, lenders will sum all your debt payments together to understand your total debt obligations each month. The lower your monthly debt payments relative to your income, the better.
Insider Tip: This free lump-sum extra payment calculator can show you how much money can save by paying off some of your debt with a one-time payment. Pay off some of your debt obligations before applying to refinance student loans.
4. Have a relatively small debt-to-income ratio
Student loan lenders are interested in the relationship between your monthly income and your monthly debt obligations, which is known as your debt-to-income ratio.
For example, if you have $10,000 of monthly income and $3,000 of monthly debt expenses, then your debt-to-income ratio is 30%.
Insider Tip: The lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better. You can improve your debt-to-income ratio by increasing income or decreasing debt (or both).
5. Be employed
It’s best to be employed with 1-2 years of work experience to maximize your chances of being approved for student loan refinance.
However, if you have a written job offer when you apply to refinance student loans (even if you are in graduate school or residency, for example), you can still get approved for student loan refinancing.
If you are unemployed or do not have stable, recurring income, it will be difficult to be approved for student loan refinancing.
Insider Tip: If you are unemployed or underemployed, your best option is to apply with a qualified co-signer with a strong credit profile.
Here’s a bonus tip: Apply to refinance your student loans with multiple lenders at once, not just one. First, it will only count as a single credit inquiry, and second, you will also maximize your changes for approval.
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