Student Loan Refinancing vs. Debt Cancellation: Pros and Cons


For millions of Americans weighed down by student loan debts, being able to recover from financial stress is a primary goal. Two options that are usually mentioned as the main approaches are student loan refinancing and debt discharge. Both ideas are designed to address the problem of student loans, but each has its advantages and disadvantages. This blog post will focus on the benefits of student loan refinancing and debt cancellation to help borrowers make informed choices about their student loan debt.

Student Loan Refinancing

Student loan refinancing is when a borrower applies for a new loan with a lower interest rate to pay off one or more student loans. This can be accessed from private lenders and can be very beneficial to any borrower who qualifies for it.

Advantages of student loan refinancing

Lower Interest Rates


Not only can lower the interest rate on your student loans, but it also means less money paid each month – or even thousands saved in the long run.

Fixed or Variable Rates: 

Consumers can decide whether to take a fixed rate or a variable rate depending on their cash position and market trends.

Simplified Payments

Single Monthly Payment: 

Consolidation of multiple loans into one loan can be of great benefit since it simplifies the repayment process and enables the borrower to track the progress or the amount that has been paid.

Flexible Repayment Terms

Customizable Plans: 

The interest rates that are charged on such loans vary in order to allow the lenders to have repayment terms of between five to twenty years, depending on what the borrower is willing to take.

Improved Credit Score

Credit Impact: 

Refinancing a loan can be beneficial as long as one manages to pay up the money at the right time. This shows the credit reference agency that one is capable of making sensible decisions regarding borrowing and also making proper repayments.

List of Disadvantages of Student Loan Refinancing

Loss of Federal Benefits

Federal Protections:

If one refinances their federal student loans with a private lender, then they lose the ability to enjoy federal privileges like income-contingent repayment plans, suspension of payments, temporary reduction of payments, and PSLF.

Eligibility Requirements

Credit and Income: 

Refinancing is usually done based on the credit score and the income security of the individual or company. It lacks flexibility in the sense that borrowers with a low credit rating or those who are self-employed may not be able to secure a good rate.

Variable Rates Risk

Rate Fluctuations: 

Flexible prices may begin lower compared to fixed prices, but they may rise from time to time thus resulting in high costs.

Fees and Costs

Origination Fees: 

Although some lenders have a provision to charge origination fees or other costs that one is likely to incur when going for the refinancing option, this can negate the amount of money one is likely to save from the difference in the interest rate.

Debt Cancellation

Debt discharge means the discharge of all or a part of all the student loan debt that a borrower has assumed, either directly through government action or through provisions of certain types of forgiveness programs. This approach is intended to deliver a quick and profound impact on the balance of the company’s cash.

Pros of Debt Cancellation

Immediate Relief

Debt Erasure: 

Erasing student loan debt alleviates the financial burden of the loan by eradicating the remaining balance, allowing the students to budget for other aspects of their life and/or invest in valuable assets.

Economic Stimulus

Increased Spending: 

The fact is that once the outstanding amount of the loan is cleared, the borrower can contribute more to the consumption level which may in turn lead to economic growth and employment opportunities.

Enhanced Financial Stability

Credit Improvement: 

Erasing student loan balances has the potential to boost borrowers’ credit ratings and financial wellbeing, and make them eligible for mortgages and car financing, among others.

Mental Health Benefits

Stress Reduction: 

It has been stated that free from debt greatly lowers stress and related mental health issues, which in turn will benefit the borrowers.

Cons of Debt Cancellation

Policy Uncertainty

Legislative Challenges: 

Debt cancellation at a large scale means that it has to go through the legislation process, which may, at times, prove to be very difficult and is always going to open up a lot of political discussion.

Tax Implications

Taxable Income: 

Sometimes the discharged debt is considered as a taxable income and people may end up paying a lot of taxes despite being relieved of their debts. But, current proposals are typically made to address this challenge.

Perceived Fairness

Equity Concerns: 

Some critics have opined that debt cancellation may be unjust to those individuals who have paid off the loans or those who did not attend college with the aim of avoiding debts.

Partial Solutions

Limited Relief: 

Some of the proposals which are being suggested for debt cancellation may not necessarily apply to all the borrowers, or if it does, it may only offer partial relief which means many will still be stuck with huge loan balances.

What is the Difference Between Refinancing and Debt Cancellation?

Student loan refinancing and debt cancellation are two strategies that students take when they are more financially able to handle their loans or when they are ready to get rid of it.

Eligibility and Accessibility


Most favorable for individuals with a good credit standing, constant income and who stand to benefit from lower interest rates.

Debt Cancellation: 

It provides ample relief but can be restricted by laws and may not be accessible to everyone.

Financial Impact


Offers customers the benefit of lower interest on the borrowed amount as well as easier payment plans, but one must keep on paying off the borrowed money.

Debt Cancellation: 

This approach offers a one-stop solution to the debt issue, but its effectiveness is contingent upon the effectiveness of policy implementation.

Long-Term Considerations


Ideal for those who are looking to minimize his/her monthly payments and enhance credit standing more than maintain federal advantages.

Debt Cancellation: 

Suitable for any consumer who is in need of one stop shop for his/her debt relief programs but would like to deal with the issue of tax implication and legislative changes.

Bottom Line

Both student loan refinancing and debt cancellation offer pathways to alleviate the burden of student debt, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Refinancing can provide immediate financial benefits through lower interest rates and simplified payments but may involve the loss of federal protections. Debt cancellation offers profound relief and broader economic benefits but faces significant policy hurdles and potential equity concerns. At Cancel Student Debt, we advocate for solutions that provide meaningful relief to borrowers and support their financial wellbeing. By understanding the pros and cons of each approach, borrowers can make informed decisions that align with their financial goals and circumstances.