New Hampshire has it all, from the beautiful beaches of Lake Winnipesaukee to world-class ski resorts at Mount Washington Valley. But New Hampshire also has student loans — lots of them. In fact, as of 2016, the state tied for the highest percentage of four-year college graduates with student debt in the country.
Fortunately, students have a lot of options to secure financing for the Granite State’s colleges and universities, and so do graduates looking to refinance their New Hampshire student loans.
This guide will help you understand the different financing choices available to help make carrying your student debt as short an experience as possible.
|New Hampshire Student Debt: At a Glance|
|Average debt at graduation||$34,415|
|Percent of students who graduate with debt||74|
|National ranking for amount of debt||4|
|National average debt at graduation (Class of 2017)||$39,400|
|Info current as of 2015-16 school year, except when noted
Source: The Institute for College Access & Success, Private Student Loans Guru
How to get New Hampshire student loans
Students interested in borrowing for school should start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As the name suggests, the FAFSA is necessary to gain access to federal student aid, but it’s also used to apply for certain state and school-specific sources of funding, including grants and scholarships.
Free aid, such as scholarships, is the best since you don’t need to repay it, along with your savings and any work-study programs that may be available. After that, you’ll probably want to turn to federal loans since these generally have the best terms and include access to special benefits (as described below).
Federal and New Hampshire student loans
Among New Hampshire student loans offered by the federal and state governments, the federal direct loan program is a good first choice.
Direct loans, sometimes called Stafford loans, include both subsidized and unsubsidized loans, with the federal government paying interest on subsidized loans while students are in school or when loans are deferred after graduation. Subsidized loans are need-based and open only to undergrads, while unsubsidized loans aren’t based on financial need and are available to undergraduates, grad students and professional students alike.
While there are annual and aggregate limits on direct loans, it’s usually worth maxing out this source of funding because of the borrower perks that federal loans provide. For example, students who have borrowed from the government can benefit from income-driven repayment options, which caps your monthly repayment at a set percentage of your disposable income. Direct loan borrowers also have the option of Public Service Loan Forgiveness after working in a qualifying job and making at least 120 on-time payments.
Also, direct loans do not require students to have good credit or proof of income to qualify, and interest rates and origination fees are set by the federal government. This means there’s no need to shop around before taking out a direct loan.
There are also PLUS loans available from the federal government, but these are not always a better deal than private loans. You will need to compare interest rates and terms versus what private lenders offer.
To help students find the loans they need to fund their education, students can also turn to the NHHEAF Network Organizations. This is a group of three organizations that, among other things, work to prevent student default and provide information to borrowers.
NHHEAF also offers New Hampshire student loans through EDvestinU, with competitive variable- and fixed-rate options, though they don’t come with the same access to federal programs as direct loans do.
Private student loans
Students who have borrowed the maximum in federal loans, and maybe looked at state options as well, might still be left with some costs, especially since federal loans carry borrowing limits. In this case, the rest of your New Hampshire student loans may have to be from private lenders.
Private student loans don’t have a standard interest rate, so borrowers will need to shop around among different private lenders to find the best rate. Students can compare both variable-rate loans — which may have lower starting rates but could become more expensive as interest rates can change — and fixed-rate loans that charge the same interest rate and have the same payments throughout the repayment term.
Besides the nonprofit group mentioned above, some good choices for New Hampshire private student loans include:
- College Ave Student Loans
- Private student loan rates are 3.69% – 10.94%
- Also offers parent loans
- Rates go from 4.72% – 9.81%
- Allows you to release your cosigner from the loan
- Ascent Student Loans
- Has a 1% cashback graduation reward
- Interest rates range from 3.97% – 12.97%
You can also check out our private student loan marketplace for a more comprehensive list.
Note that qualifying for a private loan requires that you have a good credit score and provide proof you earn enough money to repay the debt. Students who don’t have the credit or income to qualify on their own could qualify with a cosigner if someone is willing to agree to share legal responsibility for loan payment.
How to refinance New Hampshire student loans
If you’ve already graduated with student debt but want to save money, reduce your payments or even get a new servicer, then refinancing New Hampshire student loans could be the answer.
When you refinance, you take out a new loan and use the money from it to repay existing debt. You can ideally find a refinance loan with better interest rates, potentially saving a large amount of money — check our refinancing calculator to see how much. You can also change your terms, opting for a longer length of time to repay the debt, thereby lowering your monthly payments. But either way, you’ll need to carefully compare your options because there are major differences in refinancing loans from one lender to another.
Both federal and private loans can be refinanced. But if you turn your federal loans private, you’ll give up many of those federal student loan benefits. With this in mind, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of refinancing federal student loans. Know too that you can also preserve federal loan perks with a consolidation loan, though your interest rate will stay more or less the same.
Also keep in mind that to qualify for refinancing student debt, you will need good credit and proof of income, or you will need to have a cosigner.
If you have decided to refinance your New Hampshire student loans, some of the lenders you might want to consider include:
- As noted above, EDvestinU is a nonprofit that is part of the NHHEAF network
- Variable and fixed rates available — ranging from 4.20% to 7.89% with a 0.25 percentage point discount for autopay — as of Oct. 10, 2018
- Option to remove your cosigner from the loan after three years of consecutive, on-time payments
- Refinancing loans have fixed or variable rates at 2.47% – 5.87%
- Unemployment protection available
- Has fixed and variable refinancing rates ranging from 2.47% – 6.99%
- Its unemployment protection program will pause your payments and help you find work
- Education Loan Finance
- Has a wide variety of repayment terms, from five to 20 years
- Interest rates on variable- and fixed-rate loans go from 2.55% – 6.01%