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"The old loan is a consolidation loan; it once was three separate loans. The interest rate is the weighted average of the three individual loans. I don't know how to refinance an educational loan. I've looked around the Web for that kind of information but have never found anything useful."

You basically cannot refinance educational loans. You can consoliate and lock in your variable rate ones, that's about it. That's the drawback to those government backed Stafford loans. I don't know why, but I think it is to protect lenders from having to worry about someone making a deal on the interest rate and everyone flocking to the company. You can switch companies, but the interest rates remain the same. The good sides is that you can get them in the first place, they are deferable under many situations (especially if you got them after 1993), and if you ever really can't pay them, they can't take stuff away from you (but it will effect your enrollment in a lot of government plans).

The only other choice would be to take out private loans to pay off the government backed ones, but I don't know what kind of interest rate you can get on loans with essentially no collateral.

There is something ironic about having to take out loans at a high interest rate to get an education because the economy is rocking, and then having to pay back that high interest rate when the economy is down.

I did manage to get the interest rate on mine down from over 8% to 6.25% when I consolidated. I wish I could have held off longer, but I just couldn't do it.

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