How Often Do Student Loan Variable Rates Change?

Variable rates change and fluctuate over time

Flickr user Roger Smith

In variable rate loans, the rate of interest fluctuates and changes several times over the lifetime of the loan. This is because variable rate loans are tied to market interest rates.

Variable Rates and Market Trends

When market conditions are bad, lenders reduce short-term interest rates to encourage lending. When this happens, the rate of interest on variable-rate loans get lowered too.

When the economy is on an upward trend, the lenders raise interest rates in an attempt to prevent the sharp increase in prices. When this happens, variable-rate loans get raised too.

How Often to Variable Rates Change?

These market fluctuations can happen as often as every month or they may happen every quarter or annually. Accordingly, variable-rate loans will also change monthly, quarterly or annually.


Credibe company logo.

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Variable APR from 4.98% - 16.70% with auto-debit

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Pros and Cons of Variable Rates

The downside of taking variable rate loans is the unpredictability of your monthly payments. You will not know for sure whether your next monthly payment will be more or less than the last payment.

On the other hand, the advantage of taking a variable student loan is that you start out with a lower rate of interest at the outset. If market continues to perform badly, interest rates will continue to stay lower than the rates on fixed-rate loans so you benefit from a lower overall payment.

Use College Raptor’s free Student Loan Finder to compare lenders and interest rates side by side!


Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Citizens logo.
6.97%-15.03%* Variable
5.99%-14.00%* Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Sallie Mae logo.
6.37% - 16.70% Variable
4.50% - 15.49% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Credibe company logo.
4.98% - 16.70% Variable
4.07% - 15.66% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Lendkey company logo.
6.07% - 11.31% Variable
4.39% - 10.39% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Ascent company logo.
6.22% - 16.08% Variable
4.09% - 15.66% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
6.54% - 11.08% Variable
3.95% - 8.01% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Earnest company logo.
5.62% - 18.26% Variable
4.11% - 15.90% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
4.98% - 12.79% Variable
8.42% - 13.01% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
College Raptor is not a loan lender and does not assume responsibility for suggesting a loan to a user who may not be eligible for it. Rates, terms, conditions, eligibility, approval, and other considerations are the decisions of the lenders and may vary depending on which lender or marketplace the user selects. We urge users to carefully consider and review all loan options and terms before committing to taking out a loan.