Your options to lower payments and qualify for student loan forgiveness hinge on whether your loan is federal or private.
If you have FFEL Loans
You can get an affordable monthly payment based on your income and family size by switching to an income-driven repayment plan. The IDR plans also forgive your remaining loan balance after 20 or 25 years of monthly payments. Read more about what happens to student loans after 25 years.
You can also qualify for the interest-free payment pause forbearance and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program if you consolidate your loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. The interest rate of your new loan will be the weighted average of your previous rates.
Another reason to consolidate is to increase the likelihood that your loans will be included in any blanket student loan cancellation that President Biden or Congress approves.
Learn More: Are FFEL Loans Eligible for PSLF?
If you have private student loans
There are few options to lower your student loan payments. You can:
Request to pause your payments with a deferment or forbearance.
Ask for a temporary interest rate reduction.
Refinance for a lower interest rate.
Navient offers refinancing options, but you can also use a tool like Credible to prequalify with multiple lenders without adding a hard pull to your credit history. After you apply, you can compare refinance rates, loan terms, and origination fees.
You’ll need a credit score in the 700s or a cosigner with good credit to get the best refinancing options.
Learn More: Here’s the Credit Score You Need to Refinance