Weigh your Options

Loan Comparison Calculator

This student loan comparison calculator compares the monthly loan payments, total payments and total interest paid for two or more student loans.

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If you are dealing with multiple lenders and want to streamline your payments, you can consider consolidating or refinancing your student loans. If you will continue to pay multiple loans to different lenders, stay organized and keep track of your payments. Consider enrolling in automatic payments to ensure you won’t miss a payment.

To find your federal student loans, you can visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website to locate your federal loans. For private student loans, contact your lender directly. If you’re unsure of your lender, look back at any previous paperwork or emails you may have received. You can also get a copy of your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com to see what is listed.

For federal student loans, you can apply to be enrolled in an Income-Driven Repayment Plan. You could also consider a Graduated Repayment Plan, which increases every two years, or an Extended Repayment Plan, which can allow for a longer repayment term. Private loan lenders are also able to work with you to figure out how to reduce your monthly payment. You could also consider refinancing student loans into a new loan with a longer repayment term, thus lowering your monthly loan payment.

If you have federal student loans, you could explore options for student loan forgiveness, depending on your job. You can also find a job that offers student loan repayment assistance. There are even some cities and states that will help you repay student loans if you move there and meet certain qualifications.

Consolidating federal loans could help streamline payments and make managing your student loans easier. Consolidating federal loans doesn’t offer a lower interest rate. Instead, your interest rate will be a weighted average of your current interest rates. If you’re enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, consolidating loans will reset the number of qualified payments to zero, so it will take longer to have the loans forgiven.

Refinancing student loans trades in your current student loans for a new private student loan with, ideally, a lower interest rate. A lower interest rate on your loans means you’re paying less on interest and saving money. Refinancing could also lower your payment, making the payments fit better in your budget. Refinancing can also be used to release a cosigner from their repayment obligation. However, refinancing federal loans means you’ll lose federal perks, including possibly getting your loans forgiven, enrolling in an income-based repayment plan, and generous deferment options. Understand your specific loans, your current financial situation, and your likely future financial situation to know what’s right for you.

What are the application requirements? Do they offer any type of deferment option if you have trouble making payments? If you’re applying with a cosigner, do they offer a cosigner release? How many on-time payments are required for cosigner release? Are there any other perks that come along with the student loans, such as choosing your payment day or skipping a payment?

Many student loan lenders offer the option for a 0.25% interest rate reduction if you enroll in automatic payments. If you have good credit, you can consider refinancing your student loans for a potentially lower interest rate. Having a cosigner with good credit as well could help you score an even better interest rate.

If you miss a payment, your lender may charge you a late fee. After 90 days, your late fee will be reported to the major credit bureaus, negatively impacting your credit. This will make it harder to open a new account, including credit cards, a phone plan or even rent an apartment. After 120 days on private student loans and 270 days on federal student loans, your student loans will be in default. This means you are subject to wage garnishment, a tax offset, and the loss of federal loan benefits.

For federal loans, you can apply for an income-driven repayment plan to lower your payment. You can also apply for a temporary deferment to pause payments, while interest accrues on unsubsidized loans. For private loans, contact your lender immediately to see what options they offer.