Fixed-Rate vs Variable-Rate Student Loan to Study Abroad

fixed rate vs variable rate student loan

A fixed-rate student loan has a fixed monthly payment and an interest rate that does not change over the loan’s duration. A variable-rate student loan, on the other hand, has an interest rate that might vary based on market conditions, growing or reducing. Fixed-rate student loans are often a safer bet. The interest rate on your student loan affects both your monthly payment and the total amount of interest you pay. Both fixed and variable student loans have advantages and disadvantages. This blog compares fixed-rate vs variable-rate student loans to help you understand your options better and make an informed decision for your financial future.

Must Read: Benefits Of Education Loans: Features And Advantages Of Why You Should Take An Education Loan!

Fixed Rate Education Loans

A fixed interest rate ensures you pay the same amount of interest for the duration of your loan, making budgeting easier. With a fixed interest rate, your monthly payments will remain constant until you either pay off the loan or refinance it. 

Furthermore, the interest rate will not vary independently of global economic situations. You’ll always know how much you’ll be paying towards your overseas student loan each month or quarter as a result of this.


  • There is no interest rate increase even if market rates rise.
  • Your monthly payments remain unchanged, making it easier to budget for your bills.


  • Fixed rates often begin higher than variable rates.

Variable Rate Education Loans

Depending on economic conditions, variable interest rates might rise, fall, or remain steady. In the United States, for example, rates have recently risen as a result of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. 

Variable rates typically begin lower than fixed rates, so you may be able to cut your interest payments initially. However, interest rates may rise over time, increasing your borrowing costs. 

If interest rates rise, so will your monthly student loan payments. You’ll have to cope with unpredictable bills instead of a fixed monthly payment to work into your budget. 

Interest Rate Caps

Most variable rates feature limitations to safeguard borrowers from the risk of benchmark rates climbing to exceptionally high levels.

However, the caps themselves are frequently set at high levels and cannot protect against market volatility. As a result, in a low-interest-rate environment, fixed-rate loans can best ensure long-term affordability.

The interest rate cap structure for most adjustable-rate mortgages is divided into three different caps:

  • The initial cap specifies the maximum amount that the rate can fluctuate at first.
  • The periodic cap limits the rate’s ability to change throughout each adjustment period.
  • The lifetime cap establishes the maximum rate that can be charged.


  • The rate normally starts lower, making it more accessible during the first year.
  • If the interest rate does not rise, you may be able to reduce the amount of interest you pay. 


  • The monthly payments are unpredictable, making budgeting more difficult.
  • As market rates fluctuate, the total amount of monthly payments may alter.

Fixed-Rate vs Variable-Rate Student Loan: Who Benefits From Which Loan?

Before concluding, read below to know in which category you fit and which loan should you choose:

Fixed Rate Education Loans

For specific borrowers, fixed-rate loans are a better fit than variable-rate loans. “A variable rate may not be wise for you if you prefer a more straightforward, consistent repayment plan,” Rendón explains.

In that instance, a fixed-rate loan might be preferable. You won’t have to hustle to repay your debt before the interest rate rises. Borrowers may not be able to pay off student loans quickly because they are long-term obligations. The length of private student loans often ranges from five to fifteen or twenty years.

Furthermore, fixed-rate loans can provide additional stability as interest rates rise due to inflation.

Variable Rate Education Loans

A variable-rate loan may be a suitable decision for you if you are confident that you will pay off the loan before the interest rate rises, according to Frankie Rendón, media outreach expert at Student Loan Hero, a website for managing school debt. You will benefit financially as long as the variable rate remains lower than that of a fixed-rate loan.

When picking between variable- and fixed-rate terms, keep your personality and degree of comfort in mind. Rendón suggests determining whether the lower variable interest rate will save you enough money to justify the uncertainty. If so, a variable-rate student loan is ideal for you.

Must Read: Know All About The RBI Guidelines For Education Loan 2023

Fixed-Rate vs Variable-Rate Student Loan: Refinancing

If you subsequently decide whether you want a fixed-rate vs variable-rate student loan, you can refinance it with the same or a different lender to change the kind of rate. An origination fee may be required for a new loan, but these fees are uncommon for private student loans.

Although the federal government cannot exchange your fixed-rate direct loan for a variable-rate loan, you can refinance it to a variable-rate private student loan. You will lose access to federal student loan benefits if you do this. Furthermore, payments on federal student loans have been suspended until December 31, 2022.

Must Read: How To Self-Finance Your Study Abroad Dream? Here’s A Comparison Of Education Loans Vs Self Funding

Tips to Keep in Mind Before Choosing a Loan Rate

Before deciding between fixed-rate vs variable-rate student loan, there are numerous factors to consider:

  • Type of Student Loan: The only option for federal student loans is a fixed interest rate. Most private lenders, on the other hand, provide both.
  • Duration of the Student Loan: If you’re a college student who plans on making payments once you graduate, that’s a long time for your variable rate to change. When you examine your whole payback period, that timescale becomes considerably longer. However, if you’re a parent or student who wants to start paying payments right away, a shorter payback period is preferable to a long one.
  • Market Conditions: It’s impossible to say how much more one form of interest rate will cost you than another. However, consider current economic conditions as well as whether interest rates are growing or declining. For example, the Federal Reserve is now raising interest rates to battle inflation, therefore variable interest rates are likely to follow suit.
  • Variable Terms: If you’re considering getting a variable-rate loan, determine how often the rate varies and if there’s a maximum rate cap.
  • Risk Tolerance: If you choose a variable-rate loan, you are taking on the chance of increased interest rates. A fixed rate, on the other hand, places the risk on the lender. Consider whether you’d prefer the security of a fixed rate against the risk of short-term interest rate changes.

Take your time considering each of these issues and how they may affect you if you choose a variable- or fixed-rate student loan. Also, keep in mind that you can alter your mind and refinance your loans if you decide that the other option is better for you.


There is no one-size-fits-all solution to whether you should get a fixed-rate or variable-rate loan. It is preferable if you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type and how they affect your position.

Your decision should be based on various concrete variables, such as the terms and circumstances of your loan, your monthly budget, and market volatility. 

A variable rate is a gamble since no one knows how the economy will change or what the market rate will become. While a variable rate has the potential to cut your interest rate initially, your rate may increase your payment to a level that you cannot afford. “…expectations of the future path of interest rates…showed a gradually rising trend over the next two to three years,” according to Kiplinger’s interest-rate projection.  

Finally, we hope that every student will be able to pursue their higher education without financial constraints and have a fantastic experience of studying abroad.

Must Read: Interest Rate Parity: Definition, Calculator, Importance In Education Loan


What is a better fixed or variable rate student loan?

In general, fixed student loan interest rates are preferable to fluctuating rates. This is because fixed rates never vary, whereas variable rates might fluctuate monthly or quarterly in reaction to economic conditions. Interest rates on student loans are rising.

Which is better for an education loan fixed or floating interest rate?

If you aim to return your student loan within five years, a floating interest rate may be a preferable alternative because it offers the possibility of lower interest rates and hence reduced payments in the short term.

Why is a variable rate better than a fixed one?

Suppose the financial unpredictability of a variable-rate mortgage does not scare you. In that case, a variable-rate mortgage may be a preferable choice in a low-interest rate environment because the rate is likely to be lower than a fixed-rate mortgage, which can save you a lot of money.

Which is an advantage fixed rate loans have over variable rate loans?

A fixed interest rate eliminates the danger that a mortgage or loan payment will rise dramatically over time. Fixed interest rates are sometimes higher than variable interest rates. Borrowers are more inclined to choose fixed-rate loans when interest rates are low.

This was all about fixed-rate vs variable-rate student loans. Hope it helps you make a better decision. For more information on student loans, money transfers or bank accounts, connect with FLY.FINANCE and let the experts guide you. Make your study abroad experience smooth and comfortable by connecting with us!

About Vidisha Dewan

Graduated with English as a major, I’m a writing enthusiast. Writing helps me blend my passion and profession to achieve creative satisfaction. Here, you'll find content related to finance: bank accounts, money transfers, loans and more. Still learning about how to handle my own finances better, I keep sharing all the relevant information to help my readers as well. I try to keep my work surroundings creative and fun, with space for constructive feedback.

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