Can You Transfer Private Student Loans To Federal? Yes? No? Maybe?

This article helps you clear your doubts on transferring private student loans to federal, combining private and federal student loans, knowing alternatives to consolidate private to federal student loans. Know what is student loan refinancing and is it right for you. Compare lenders and conclude.

Updated by Kanishkar P on 17th July 2020

Private student loans may be useful, but they lack many benefits that are offered in Federal Student Loans. It is not always the federal loans that are better, there are few private student loan lenders also who provide decent offers on private student loans with good benefits. Compare all the available student loan lenders to find the best student loan offers.

 Private Student Loans may not be as flexible as Federal Student Loans. But one useful option offered by private lenders is refinancing. Refinancing student loans is a beneficial facility, offered by many private lenders. Refinancing can be done for both federal and private student loans. A private lender may offer you the option of refinancing your federal student loans at a lower interest rate. You may expect the other way round also. If you have a question that whether your private student loans can be transferred into federal loans, then this article is best to clear your doubts. Table of contents


Can I transfer Private Student Loans to Federal Student Loans?

Getting approval for a private student loan is very complicated when compared to that of federal student loans. In case of Federal student loan, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA) will be enough to approve you for the loan, whereas for a private student loan you will be approved based on various factors like your credit scores, income, debt, school, the field of study. Since qualifying for a private student loan itself demands various eligibility criteria and is a bit complex process, even the repayment policies, and other conditions laid on the loan may not be much flexible. This makes federal student loans more preferable than private student loans.

 Since private student loans don’t offer as many benefits as a federal student loan, it is most likely that people think of searching for some ways to transfer their private student loans to federal student loans.

Unfortunately, there is no such option. A private student loan cannot be transferred into a federal loan. 

A federal student loan can be transferred into a private student loan if a private lender refinances your federal loans. But the opposite cannot be done. Once if your debt is with a private lender it cannot be moved to the federal government. Instead, you can seek another private lender for refinancing your private student loans.

There are private lenders who offer benefits similar to the benefits included in federal student loans. It is always better to compare lenders and their repayment terms, interest rates, and other policies to choose the lender with generous terms. Private lenders call their refinancing program as consolidation. But this consolidation is not the same as federal student loan consolidation. It is not possible to include any of your private student loans in a federal consolidation loan.  


Can I combine Private Student Loans and Federal Student Loans?

There is always an option to combine federal and private student loans, which makes it much easier to manage your loan repayment. But combining many loans (might be federal or private) will lead to a unified private loan again. Combining private and federal student loans can be done by a process called student loan refinancing.


The best alternative to consolidating private student loans to federal loans

Although you don’t find the option of transferring private student loans into federal student loans, there is another way to resolve your problem of consolidating your private student loans. No private lender will offer exactly the same benefits as in federal student loan. But, there are private lenders who offer loans with the benefits that are almost similar to that of the benefits covered in federal student loans. You can choose the private lender based on their offers on repayment terms, interest rates, and other beneficiary terms. These offers differ from lender to lender.

Here are a few features offered by private lenders and credit unions that resemble the benefits of federal student loans.

  • Fixed interest rates: The interest rate on the principal remains constant for the life of the loan. You don’t need to face any change in the interest rates every month due to market changes.

  • Grace Period: You get a grace period minimum of six months after you leave school, during which you don’t have to make any payments or you may be expected to make small payments. Grace period need not be six moths always, it can vary as fixed by each lender.

  • Deferment: You get temporary relief from making payments towards your loan. In-School deferment allows you to relax for a shorter period by suspending the need for student loan repayments or allows you to make smaller payments when you are in school.

  • Auto debit rewards: Some private lenders offer you small discounts(0.25% to 0.5%) if you have enrolled in automatic payments.

  • Income-Driven repayment: Every month a  fixed percentage of your disposable income is used to repay your debt. But only few private lenders allow income-driven repayment policy.

  • Forbearance: In cases of economic hardships due to reasons such as losing your job or due to some health issues you can apply for forbearance. Forbearance offers a relaxation period until you get back to your normal condition and become capable of continuing your repayments. 

  • Tax-deductible student loan interest: As with federal loans, you can write off the interest paid on your student loan

All of these features are not to be expected from a single private lender. You have to explore all the benefits offered by different lenders and then choose the lender who offers the best features that suits you.


What is student loan refinancing?

Student loan refinancing can help you to potentially lower your interest rate. But it is not so easy to qualify for refinancing. Private lenders demand high credit scores to approve your request for student loan refinancing. Even with a good credit score, it is not easy to qualify. If you are applying with a cosigner, your cosigner needs to be creditworthy. 

Refinanced student loans have some advantages over federal student loans, such as:

  • You will be allowed to apply with a cosigner. But it is necessary that the cosigner must be creditworthy.

  • You are not restricted to a specific repayment term. A wide range of repayment terms is provided.  The minimum repayment term may be for 5years and can also range up to 20years.

  • You can choose your type of interest rate. You will be offered choices of fixed, variable and hybrid interest rates.


Is Student Loan Refinancing right for me?

Before opting for any refinancing program you must be aware of its features and benefits. You must make sure that you are applying for the right option that best suits your requirements.

Refinancing offers you a lower interest rate if you have a good credit score. So, if you have a good credit score and are willing to reduce your interest rates, apply for student loan refinancing. Apply for refinancing only when you are sure that the interest rates on a refinanced loan are lesser when compared to the previous interest rates.


Comparing lenders and their interest rates

You can choose among the lenders by looking at the interest rates that they offer. Here is a table that shows various lenders and their interest rates offered.

Lender 

Annual Principal Rates(APR)

Earnest

Fixed: 3.2% - 6.99%

Variable: 1.99% - 6.89%

SoFi

Fixed: 3.46% - 7.36%

Variable: 2.31% - 7.36%

Commonbond

Fixed: 3.21% - 6.45%

Variable: 1.81% - 6.29%

Education Loan Finance

Fixed: 3.14% - 6.69%

Variable: 2.39% - 6.01%

Lendkey

Fixed: 3.39% - 7.75%

Variable: 1.9% - 8.59%

Laurel Road

Fixed: 3.5% - 7.02%

Variable: 1.99% - 6.65%

Penfred Credit Union

Fixed: 3.48% - 6.03%

Variable: 2.32% - 7.06%

Citizen One

Fixed: 3.45% - 9.02%

Variable: 2.29% - 9.02%

Interest rate is not the only aspect to watch out for while choosing the appropriate lender. Check out other features also to make sure that you opt for the best choice of lender.


Concluding thoughts

Although there is no facility to transfer your private student loans to federal, you don’t fall short of options. You can find another private lender who can refinance your private loans from your current lender.

Compare various lenders and their offers before making your choice. Make sure you are aware of all the terms and conditions, payment terms, interest rates, benefits, and other policies of the private lender before signing a refinancing program.