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Similarly, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is available for teachers who work in schools that serve low-income families full-time for five consecutive years.

These are clearly great programs for people who choose careers in public service or education, but if that’s not you, they won’t do you any good.

At Earnest, our clients save an average of more than ,000 by refinancing their student loans.

(You can learn more about Earnest calculations in disclaimers available at Earnest.com) It’s important to note that when you refinance, you can decide which loans you want to refinance and which, if any, you’re happy to keep at their current terms.

You can stretch your term out with a consolidation loan, and that may lower your monthly payment even though you may pay more over time.

When refinancing your student loans, you get a new loan with a private lender such as Earnest and pay off your existing loans.

With consolidation, you now have only one bill due each month. If you have a ,000 loan with a 6% interest rate and another ,000 with 5%, and you’re planning to pay them off in 10 years. The calculation works like this: As ,000 is ⅔ of your total loan balance and ,000 is ⅓, you’d multiply each interest rate by that fraction and add the results: (⅔ * 6% ⅓ * 5% = 5.67%).

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For example, under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLFP), your Direct Loan balance may be eligible for forgiveness after 120 payments if you’ve worked in the public sector that entire time.

Now that you know it’s an option and you understand how it works, you can better assess whether it’s right for you.

Congratulations, you’re here because you’re ready to take charge of your student loans.

You will only have one bill to pay each month when you refinance all your loans.

However, it’s different than consolidation because you also get a new interest rate—and your new interest rate can help you save money over the life of the loan.