U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has said "borrowers should be able to refinance their student loans to take advantage of lower interest rates, the same way people refinance a mortgage."
Actually, some borrowers, especially those with good credit and income, already have refinanced their student loans to reduce their interest rates and save thousands of dollars over the life of their loans with private lenders.
And greater competition among private lenders recently has made student loan refinancing more accessible to borrowers.
The average borrower can save nearly $14,000 by refinancing their student loans, according to calculations by Credible, an online marketplace for lenders that offer student loan refinancing.
The savings do come with some drawbacks. Borrowers who refinance with private lenders can't take advantage of income-based repayment plans and public service loan forgiveness provided by federal loans. Though some private lenders offer forbearance if borrowers can't make their payments, those benefits aren't as robust as those with federal loans.
"Student loan refinancing is a relatively new concept and we've seen real increases in volume over the past 12 months," said Nick Clements, co-founder of price comparison website MagnifyMoney, which tracks private lenders that provide student loan refinancing.