How To Choose Between a Fixed And Variable Interest Rate

Jagged road sign - like a windy road, a variable interest rate can twist and turnAs you research private student loans, you’ll come across the terms: fixed interest rate and variable interest rate. But what exactly does that mean? How do you choose between them?

The Difference Between Fixed and Variable Interest Rates

With a variable rate loan, the interest rate will change regularly depending on the market conditions. They could go up, or they could go down month by month.

In a fixed loan, the interest rate is set when you take the loan and that rate is fixed for the entire time. The rate does not depend on the market conditions.

Both of these have their pros and cons, which you must understand in order to make the right choice.

Variable Rate: Pros & Cons

The advantage of variable loans is that you may benefit from lower interest rates under the right market conditions. This could reduce the overall cost of the loan over the long term.

The disadvantage is that the opposite is also true. The cost of your loan could increase if the market changes. Another downside of variable rates is that you cannot predict your monthly payments, making it difficult for you to create a solid long-term financial plan.

Fixed Rate: Pros & Cons

The advantage of fixed interest rates is that you know exactly how much you have to pay every month and can create a solid long-term financial plan.

The downside of this option is that you could potentially be tied in to higher interest rates, as compared to variable rates.

Which one you should choose will depend hugely on your appetite for risk, or your desire for consistency.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!

 

Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Sallie Mae logo.
1.13% to 11.23%1 Variable
3.50% to 12.60%1 Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT SALLIE MAE
Credibe company logo.
1.04% to 13.19% Variable
3.00% to 14.14% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT CREDIBLE
Lendkey company logo.
1.49% to 7.64% Variable >800 FICO
3.99% to 7.64% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT LENDKEY
Ascent company logo.
1.82% to 11.32% Variable
3.27% to 12.46% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT ASCENT
College Ave company logo.
0.99% to 11.98% Variable
2.99% to 12.99% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT COLLEGE AVE
3.47% to 6.11% Variable
4.60% to 7.40% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT ISL
Earnest company logo.
1.04% to 11.44% Variable
3.34% to 12.78% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT EARNEST
1.20% to 11.59% Variable
3.31% to 11.99% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT ELFi
1Variable interest rates start from 4.12% APR to 10.98% APR. We also offer fixed interest rates from 5.74% APR to 11.85% APR. Click here for important information. Terms, conditions, and limitations apply.
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.

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