3 Ways to Lower Your Student Loan Interest Rate

Refinancing and lender discounts can lower the interest rate on your student loans.
Ryan Lane
By Ryan Lane 
Updated
Edited by Des Toups

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A lower student loan interest rate could reduce your monthly payments, which could help you pay off student loans faster. Here’s how to lower the interest rate on federal or private student loans.

Student loan refinancing from our partners

SoFi Student Refinancing logo
Check Rate

on SoFi

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Student Refinancing logo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR 

5.24% - 9.99%

Min. credit score 

650

Check Rate

on SoFi

Earnest Student Loan Refinance logo
Check Rate

on Earnest

Earnest

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Earnest Student Loan Refinance logo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR 

5.19% - 9.74%

Min. credit score 

650

Check Rate

on Earnest

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance logo
Check Rate

on Splash Financial

Splash Financial

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance logo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR 

6.64% - 8.95%

Min. credit score 

650

Check Rate

on Splash Financial

1. Refinance student loans

When you refinance, you trade your existing loans for a new private loan, ideally with a lower interest rate. Your new lender will pay off your old lenders, and you’ll make payments to the new one going forward.

To qualify for student loan refinancing, you typically need:

  • Good to excellent credit. You’ll need a score that’s at least in the high 600s, or a co-signer with good credit. The higher your — or your co-signer’s — score, the lower the interest rate you’ll qualify for.

  • Comfortable cash flow. You'll need enough income to afford your student loan payments and other bills, like rent and credit cards, without feeling too squeezed.

The better your financial situation, the lower the interest rate you'll likely be offered. Lower rates also usually come with shorter repayment terms — the minimum most lenders provide is five years — and variable rate student loans.

If you’re ready to refinance, compare student loan refinance companies to find the lowest rate you qualify for. Refinancing isn’t a good option if you want to pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness or make lower payments through an income-driven repayment plan — you’ll lose access to those programs if you refinance federal student loans.

How much interest could you save?

Note: This calculator assumes that after you refinance, you’ll make minimum monthly payments.

Step 4: Compare NerdWallet's top-rated student loan refi lenders.

Student loan refinancing from our partners

SoFi Student Refinancing logo
Check Rate

on SoFi

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Student Refinancing logo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR 

5.24% - 9.99%

Min. credit score 

650

Check Rate

on SoFi

Earnest Student Loan Refinance logo
Check Rate

on Earnest

Earnest

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Earnest Student Loan Refinance logo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR 

5.19% - 9.74%

Min. credit score 

650

Check Rate

on Earnest

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance logo
Check Rate

on Splash Financial

Splash Financial

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance logo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR 

6.64% - 8.95%

Min. credit score 

650

Check Rate

on Splash Financial