For the next several weeks, you may have a chance to bring down the interest rate on your student loans. Borrowers who went through the Education Dept.'s Direct Loan Program or received federally guaranteed loans from private banks have until Jan. 31 to consolidate their loans and lock into a rate of 2.3 percentage points above the 91-day Treasury bill, down from 3.1 points. That brings the current loan rate to 7.46%. To see whether refinancing makes sense for you, check out the calculator at the Education Dept.'s Web site, www.ed.gov/directloan/consolid2.html. You can apply for a refinancing by calling 800 557-7392 or going to www.ed.gov/directloan to download an application.
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