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The federal student loan interest rate for undergraduates is 5.50% for new loans taken out for the 2023-24 school year, effective from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024. Federal rates for graduate student loans and PLUS loans are higher — 7.05% and 8.05%, respectively. These rates are the highest they've been in at least a decade.
Private student loan interest rates can sometimes be lower than federal rates, but approval for the lowest rates requires excellent credit. If you have good credit, you may be able to refinance existing student loans to get a lower rate. Keep in mind that you'll lose access to borrower protections like income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs if you refinance your federal loans with a private lender.
Current student loan interest rates
Rates updated monthly.
Average student loan interest rate
The average student loan interest rate is 5.8% among all households with student debt, according to the Education Data Initiative, an organization that collects statistics on the U.S. education system. That includes both federal and private student loans — about 90% of all student debt is federal.
With a 5.8% interest rate on $30,000 of student loans, a borrower would pay about $9,600 in interest over 10 years.
The average student loan interest rate is higher among some groups, according to the report. For instance, the average rate is 6.3% among households where the borrower didn’t complete a college degree, and 6.6% among households with incomes less than $24,000.
If you have multiple student loans with different rates, the weighted average interest rate is the rate you'll have if you consolidate the loans through the federal government. Federal consolidation won't lower your average interest rate, but refinancing with a private lender could.
Student loan interest rate calculator
How student loan interest rates work
Student loan interest rates work differently, depending on whether the loan is federal or private. For federal loans, every borrower taking out the same type of federal loan in a given year has the same interest rate. For private loans, borrowers with higher credit scores generally qualify for lower rates and borrowers with lower credit scores get higher rates.
Federal student loans:
Congress sets interest rates yearly based on the 10-year Treasury note
Most have fees charged as a percentage of the total loan amount
Rates are fixed for the life of the loan
Private student loans:
Interest rates are typically credit-based
Most private lenders don't charge origination fees
Borrowers can choose either a fixed or variable interest rate
Variable rates are subject to change monthly or quarterly
Key terms in this story
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