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The Best Student Loan Refinance Rates for December 2022

With interest rates on the rise, and likely to go higher, now is a great time to lock in the security of a fixed-rate loan.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

Published:

Affiliate Disclosure and Integrity Pledge

The Best Student Loan Refinance Rates for December 2022

With interest rates on the rise, and likely to go higher, now is a great time to lock in the security of a fixed-rate loan.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

Published:

Affiliate Disclosure and Integrity Pledge

As we enter December, student loan refinance rates continue to rise due to inflation.

For student loan borrowers looking for a lower interest rate, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  • Shopping around to find the best rate has never been more important. Interest rates are constantly changing, and some lenders are starting to get picky on approvals.
  • You can always refinance again in the future. Unlike a mortgage where a refinance is time-consuming and costly, refinancing a student loan takes little time and doesn’t involve any transaction costs. If you lock in a fixed-rate loan today, you could always refinance that loan again next year if rates drop.
  • When you refinance you are picking a new monthly payment. Two loans at 5.49% are not necessarily the same. If you have 20 years to repay a loan, your monthly payment will be much lower than a 5-year loan. This can free up cash for building an emergency fund, saving for retirement, or buying a house.

Finally, if you have a variable-rate loan, you can get off the inflation roller-coaster by refinancing into a fixed-rate loan. No matter how much interest rates grow in the future, if you have a fixed-rate loan, your monthly bill won’t change.

Important Note: To compile the best refinance rates for December 2022, nearly two dozen national student loan lenders were compared. The lenders listed below were the ones with the lowest verified rates.

The Current Lowest Student Loan Refinance Rates

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
T-1Splash Financial2.50%Splash Financial Review
T-1Laurel Road2.50%Laurel Road Review
3LendKey3.27%LendKey Review

The headline interest rates are creeping toward 3%. We have seen these rates climb over the past couple of months, and all signs point to them continuing to increase.

It is important to note that even though Splash, Laurel Road, and ELFI have the lowest possible interest rates, they do not necessarily get the top spot in our student loan consolidation and refinance rankings. Borrowers are still best served by applying with 4-5 lenders, as each lender has a different formula for evaluating applications. The best-advertised rates do not always equal the best rate offered, but they do provide a useful starting point.

The Best 20-Year Refinance Rates for December 2022

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
1SoFi5.15%SoFi Review
2ELFI5.44%ELFI Review
3Splash Financial5.64%Splash Financial Review

On the other end of the spectrum, the best 20-year fixed-rate loan is currently offered by SoFi, with Splash and ELFI close behind. The lenders at the top of this list look a lot different than the lenders at the top of the 5-year lists. Borrowers should consider whether they want a longer loan prior to putting together an application strategy.

Borrowers who are looking for the lowest possible payment when they refinance usually opt for a 20-year loan. The advantage is an easy monthly payment, but the downside is that it comes with a somewhat higher interest rate.

However, it is worth noting that the gap between the 5-year variable loans and the 20-year fixed-rate loans remains tight. Opting for a substantially lower payment and a slightly higher interest rate could make sense for many borrowers.

Sherpa Tip: The interest rate gap between 10, 15, and 20-year loans is especially small right now. Even if you don’t need the lower payment offered by the 20-year loan, it might still be the best choice.

Opting for a lower monthly payment gives you flexibility in the event of any financial hardship. It also frees up cash each month to focus on other goals like buying a house or saving for retirement.

For many borrowers, I think locking in a 20-year fixed-rate loan is the best option currently available.

The Lowest Fixed-Rate Student Loans Available

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
T-1Splash Financial3.99%Splash Financial Review
T-1LendKey3.99%LendKey Review
3ELFI4.48%ELFI Review

For borrowers looking for the stability of a fixed-rate loan, but still in search of an ultra-low interest rate, the 5-year fixed-rate loan is usually the best bet.

Surprisingly, with some lenders, the interest rate on a 5-year fixed loan is actually lower than a 5-year variable loan.

Other Noteworthy Interest Rate Changes

In the mid-length loans, specifically those at 7, 10, or 15 years in duration, Splash and ELFI perform strongly.

For our overall rankings and lender reviews, be sure to check out our Student Loan Rankings page. For a complete breakdown by loan type for all loan lengths, head over to our student loan refinance rates table.

About the Author

Student loan expert Michael Lux is a licensed attorney and the founder of The Student Loan Sherpa. He has helped borrowers navigate life with student debt since 2013.

Insight from Michael has been featured in US News & World Report, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other online and print publications.

Michael is available for speaking engagements and to respond to press inquiries.

3 thoughts on “The Best Student Loan Refinance Rates for December 2022”

  1. I don’t believe this Student Loan Forgiveness is done yet. This morning, I saw this:

    “New Income-Driven Repayment Plan

    The Department is also proposing a rule, which has not been published, to create a new income-driven repayment (IDR) plan….

    ******The proposed rule would also forgive loan balances after 10 years of payments, instead of the current 20 years under many IDR plans, for borrowers with original loan balances of $12,000 or less. ***** Additionally, the proposed rule would eliminate interest capitalization on borrowers’ loans so that the balance would not grow as long as they are making their required monthly payments, even if the required monthly payment is $0. According to the Department, the plan would also “simplify borrowers’ choices among loan repayment plans.” The proposed regulations will be published in the Federal Register, and the public will be invited to comment on the draft rule for 30 days.”

    Reply
    • Hi Nicole,

      This new repayment plan was announced the same day Biden announced the one-time forgiveness program. It would join several other IDR plans that all offer forgiveness.

      Right now, the new IDR plan is still going through the rulemaking process, so we don’t yet know how the final terms will shake out.

      Reply
      • Haha! So this is what happens when you rejoin society after living under a big rock for years.

        I had no idea about this proposal until I stumbled upon it in a random article. Regardless, I am still keeping an eye on your blog. (Lesson learned).

        My hope is that this goes through as it will help those who had not had a chance to consolidate and/or did not have enough time on the books for the PSLF.

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