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10-year fixed-rate loans

The typical rate on a 10-year fixed-rate loan averaged 5.56% last week, up from 5.46% the week before, according to the latest report from Credible, a student loan marketplace. A year ago, the typical refi rate was 3.60%.

The 10-year rate hit a record low of 3.3% in December 2021, but generally, it’s been on an upward trajectory ever since.

While the days of 3-percent-ish rates are well in the past, some borrowers can get close. Lenders give the best rates to those with the highest credit scores.

If you have top-notch credit — a score of 780 or above — you might be able to bag a rate in the mid-4% range, according to Credible.

Though fixed-rate loans generally come with higher borrowing costs than their variable-rate cousins, the interest rate is guaranteed to hold steady for the entire term of the loan.

Plus, with 10-year loans, your monthly payments are likely to be more affordable — but you’ll spend more on interest over time than you would with a five-year term.

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5-year variable-rate loans

A five-year refi with a variable rate — one that adjusts based on market conditions — can allow borrowers to get rid of their student debt more quickly.

Rates on those loans fell last week to an average of 3.40%, compared with 3.67% the previous week, the data shows.

A year ago, the typical five-year refi rate was 2.96%, while the record low of 2.41% was recorded in November 2021.

While variable-rate loans typically come with lower rates initially, they can rise over time.

How to know whether it’s right to refi

Thanks to the rising cost of education, it’s not unusual for young borrowers to be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt.

After mortgages, student loans make up the biggest chunk of household debt at more than $1.5 trillion, according to the Brookings Institution.

Refinancing can often bring those costs down — but there are caveats. If you’re considering refinancing a federal student loan into a private one, be sure you understand what you may give up by doing so.

Federal student loan payments have been frozen since the start of the pandemic. The freeze has allowed consumers to use that money elsewhere. Many saved up to buy homes, pay off credit cards or catch up on other bills.

While the government expects borrowers to resume those payments on Aug. 31, there's a chance it pushes that date back.

In an even loftier proposal, the White House has been considering ways to eliminate a portion of federal student loan debt for most borrowers. Some have already gotten their debts wiped out.

If you decide a refi is worth the risk — or you have a private student loan already — make sure to get multiple quotes, since different lenders will weigh your qualifications differently.


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About the Author

Nancy Sarnoff

Nancy Sarnoff

Freelance Contributor

Nancy Sarnoff is a freelance contributor with Moneywise. Previously, she covered commercial and residential real estate for the Houston Chronicle where she also hosted Looped In, a podcast about the region’s growth, development and economy. Her work has been recognized by the National Association of Real Estate Editors and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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