Student loan debt is an issue that faces 44 million Americans today. It can hold many borrowers back from achieving their next financial goal: like saving for retirement, building up an emergency savings or the big one – buying a home. But if you take charge of your student loan repayment, your loans won’t control you.

If you really want to show your student loan debt who’s boss, you may want to consider student loan consolidation.

Student loan consolidation is just what it sounds like – taking . Consolidating your student loans is a great way to free up cash, lower your monthly payment and simplify the payment process. Borrowers, on average save about $1,992 a year in interest when they refinance with Navy Federal.*

If you’re a recent graduate, or are still making monthly loan payments, this may be the right move for you.

What loans can be consolidated?

Let’s start with the types of loans that can be consolidated. When it comes to funding your college education, you’ve got federal student loans and private student loans. Federal loans are through the government while private student loans are typically through a financial institution.

While both can be consolidated, federal loans offer unique income based repayments and forgiveness that typically aren’t offered through private lenders. Make sure your aware of what options you have with your federal loan. From there, you should be able to determine if they’re worth consolidating.

How much could I save?

One of the ways consolidation can give you some extra financial wiggle room is by lengthening the term of your loan – the longer the term, the lower your monthly payments. For example, if you have a $20,000 loan with a 3.90% APR (annual percentage rate) and a 5-year term you would be making monthly payments of $367.43, making the total cost of the loan $22,046.

If you take that same $20,000 loan, with a 3.90% APR but with a 15-year term, you could be making payments of $146.94 to repay the loan. That gives you an extra $220.49 every month that you could put toward becoming a homeowner! Keep in mind, while that frees up come cash now, those low payments increase the total cost of the loan to $26,449 with interest.

Extending the length of your term is a good option if you’re looking to put that extra money into savings for your financial goals, or make your monthly payments more manageable. But, if you can manage those higher payments, you could end up saving more money in the long run.

Now that I’ve consolidated, what’s next?

Juggling more than one student loan can be difficult, especially when you have a cell phone bill, rent, a car payment and everything else. It can be easy to miss a payment if you’re not managing your finances properly.

Student loan consolidation can help you save money and simplify the repayment process. That’s one bill, due by one day each month. This can help you get organized and less apt to miss a payment. Making payments on time is crucial because any late or forgotten payments affect your credit score, which could mean possibly prolonging those long-term financial goals.

Challenge yourself to go one step farther and make those payments automatic. You may thank yourself in the long run.

Student loan consolidation isn’t right for everyone. If you can handle your monthly payments or only have a couple years left on your loan it may not make much sense for you.

But if having one, lower monthly payment sounds like a fit for your financial lifestyle that talk to your trusted financial institution to see what advice they have for you.

*The logic of “Borrowers, on average save about $1,992 a year in interest when they refinance with Navy Federal.”:

Monthly Savings:
*The average monthly savings was calculated by subtracting the estimated monthly payment of the borrowers’ student loans refinanced with a lender via LendKey’s platform between 1/1/16 and 9/30/2017 from the sum of monthly payments of the borrower’s existing student loans they had prior to refinancing.  The following assumptions were used in the calculation: (1) the borrowers make on-time payments of all amounts that are due; (2) the interest rate remains static (Note: variable interest rates may move lower or higher throughout the loan term); and (3) the loans are not prepaid.  The calculation excludes: (1) loans in which the loan term selected for the refinancing is the same or shorter than the term of the prior loan; and (2) loans where the information we have is incomplete or inaccurate, including loans where the indicated monthly payment would not pay off the loan balance by the end of the loan term.

Total Savings Option:
The average total savings was calculated by subtracting the estimated lifetime cost of the borrowers’ student loans refinanced with a lender via LendKey’s platform between 1/1/16 and 9/30/2017 from the estimated lifetime cost of the borrowers’ existing student loans they had prior to refinancing. The following assumptions were used in the calculation: (1) the borrowers make on-time payments of all amounts that are due; (2) the interest rate remains static (Note: variable interest rates may move lower or higher throughout the loan term); and (3) the loans are not prepaid.   The calculation excludes: (1) loans in which the loan term selected for the refinancing is longer than the term of the prior loan term; and (2) loans where the information we have is incomplete or inaccurate, including loans where the indicated monthly payment would not pay off the loan balance by the end of the loan term.