Refinancing student loans is a great way to potentially save money on the overall loan cost — but if you’ve gone through the process once, you already knew that. If you’ve previously refinanced your student loans, you may still be wondering, “Can I refinance my student loans twice?” The short answer is most likely yes. However, there are special considerations to take into account before you refinance your student loans again.1
Here are some of the possible upsides of refinancing your student loans a second time, as well as factors to consider before and during the process.2
Upside No. 1: Potentially paying less in student loan interest over the life of your loans
How it works: One of the most popular reasons people consider refinancing student loans, in general, is to save money on the overall loan cost. These savings usually come in the form of a reduced interest rate or shorter term on the loan, meaning the borrower would be paying less in interest over the life of the loan or pay off their student loans faster. Refinancing your student loans for the second time could provide you with an additional opportunity to get an even lower interest rate than you did the first time around.
Caveats to consider: A lower interest rate may seem nice on paper, but there are still a few things to keep in mind. Be sure to calculate the total interest you will pay – refinancing into a loan with a longer term could mean you will pay more over the life of the loan, even if your interest rate goes down.
If you’ve already gone through the refinancing process with your federal loans, they would be privately held now, and you could no longer take advantage of the special features — forbearance and income-based repayment, for example — that are specific to federal loans.
However, if getting a lower interest rate is your ultimate objective with a second refinance, keep in mind that private loan interest rates are often tied to multiple factors, like elements of your personal finances (including income and credit score, to name two big ones), as well as the current market rates. Some or all of these factors may be either better or worse than when you refinanced your loan for the first time. How often can you refinance your student loans? There’s no set limit, but if your goal is to save money on interest, it may make sense to refinance again after your financial standings have improved significantly or you qualify for a better interest rate.
If you think that your overall financial health makes you a more desirable candidate than it did when you previously applied to refinance, now is a great time to check your rates again. However, if some of those factors have gone downhill (maybe you haven’t had a job in a while or have accrued more credit card debt), then it might be worth waiting to build those areas back up before applying to refinance again. Learn more about what you should do before applying for a student loan refinance.
Upside No. 2: Potentially shortening the amount of time you need to make payments on your student loans
How it works: Another factor that is highly desirable when it comes to refinancing is the opportunity to make payments for a shorter length of time. For example, if your current plan has you making monthly payments for the next 15 years and you can refinance to a five- or 10-year plan, you could end up saving a good amount over the course of your student loans.
Caveats to consider: A shorter payment time frame could mean less in overall interest, but higher monthly payments. Also, if you’ve already been making payments on your first refinanced plan for a number of years, refinancing again — even to a plan with a smaller number of years — may extend the life of your loans overall. For example, if you refinanced your original student loans to a 10-year plan and are six years into those payments, refinancing to a new five-year plan means you’ll be making payments for 11 years overall, as opposed to 10. This could mean more interest than if you stuck with your current plan, even if your second refinancing offers you a lower interest rate.
Upside No. 3: Revisiting the details of your current student loans
How it works: Checking out opportunities to refinance your current student loans also gives you a chance to go over the details of your existing plan with a professional.
Caveats to consider: Besides walking through the general math of a second refinance to ensure it makes overall fiscal sense, discuss with your provider any additional fees that might make refinancing for a second time undesirable. For example, some things you’ll want to discuss are any prepayment penalties that come with paying off your loans before they’re originally due, as well as what would happen to your loans if you were to take advantage of any loan forgiveness opportunities.
Upside No. 4: Moving on to other financial goals more quickly
How it works: Paying off your student loans more quickly through a second refinance and/or paying less on your loans per month could mean that you’re able to start saving for additional financial goals — like retirement, an emergency savings or the down payment on a house — sooner than you may have thought possible.
Caveats to consider: Paying off your student loans more quickly may require making higher monthly payments, which could cause you to defer savings for other financial goals in the meantime. Learn more about whether paying off student loans or paying for retirement makes more sense for you.
Bottom line: A second student loan refinance may be good for you
Before applying for a second student loan refinance, it’s good to determine what your overall financial goals are for the foreseeable future and how to best pay off your student loans given your current monthly budget. With that information on hand, you can make an educated decision about whether or not a second refinance is right for you. Check out our student loan refinance calculator or speak to a financial advisor about your specific needs.