If you do need to take out private student loans, check out the five options we’ve listed to find the best lender for you.

Before you apply for a private student loan, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to see if you’re eligible for federal grants, loans and work-study programs.

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Please note, from here on out, we consider "consolidation" and "refinancing" the same thing.

All of these companies have been vetted by The Student Loan Report team for product quality, security, and customer experience.

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in San Francisco, So Fi is an award-winning marketplace lender offering fixed- and variable-rate student-loan refinancing.

The company also provides unemployment protection and career support.

Unfortunately, our nation’s education system, politicians, and students haven’t figured out a solution.

In short, when you refinance your student loans, your new lender will pay off your old loans and issue you a new one.

Today, graduates are leaving campus holding a diploma in one hand, and an average of ,000 in debt in the other.

In America, student debt is the second largest class of consumer debt.

All students, regardless of financial need, are eligible for unsubsidized federal student loans.