Refinancing a Sallie Mae student loan cuts down on your monthly loan payments. In some cases, you may qualify for a refinancing loan directly from Sallie Mae. In others, you may have to approach an outside lender for the refinancing. Pay close attention to all the details on a refinancing agreement. If you are refinancing the student loan with a personal loan, you will lose access to any protections and entitlements of the student loan.
Contact a loan officer at Sallie Mae and discuss your intent to refinance your student loan. Tell him that you are having trouble making payments and request an interest rate or balance reduction. Discuss your income and overall credit situation to give Sallie Mae a better sense of your financial status so it will be able to make a more educated business decision.
Examine Sallie Mae's student loan refinancing and consolidation options. Since you are already a customer at Sallie Mae, you may be entitled to interest rate discounts on your refinancing or consolidation. If possible, show the loan officer comparisons of other student loan refinancing offers to strengthen your negotiating position.
Pursue refinancing options from other lenders. If you have only one student loan, it will be much simpler to evaluate whether refinancing is a good idea. If you can find a loan with a lower interest rate than your current one and lower fees, it's probably a good idea to take it. Consolidating student loans is not always a sensible decision, however, as it may increase the amount of interest that you will have to pay over the life of the loans. Multiple student loans can be paid off in sequence, gradually reducing overall interest paid as they are discharged one by one.
Consider increasing the duration of your loan when you apply for a refinancing loan. This will increase the amount of interest you will pay overall, but reduce your monthly payments. If you choose this path in addition to locking in a lower interest rate, you may enjoy even better savings.
Ensure that you refinance federal student loans and private student loans separately. Federal student loans have a different structure relative to private student loans, so you could end up paying much higher interest rates by consolidating loans of different types into one large loan.