How to Budget For a Mortgage With Student Loans

If you’re planning to buy a house or budgeting for existing mortgage payments, you may wonder how refinancing student loans will affect your debt management. When you choose to refinance, you’re essentially trading in one or more federal and/or private student loans for a new loan with a new interest rate, payment amount and repayment length. Here’s how a Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan ® could help potential and current homeowners manage their finances to save for mortgage payments.

Lower your debt-to-income ratio

When you’re applying for a loan, lenders analyze your debt-to-income ratio – the amount of income you have coming in compared to the total debt that you hold – to determine your risk as a borrower. A higher debt-to-income ratio tells lenders there isn’t enough room in your budget to afford another debt, while a low ratio indicates that you can afford an additional monthly payment. Refinancing your current student loans could help keep your debt-to-income ratio low before shopping for a mortgage. Here’s more details on how to calculate debt-to-income ratio and an example of how it works:




  • DTI – Debt-to-income ratio is the variable you’re solving for and stands for the ratio of your monthly debt to your monthly gross pay, written as a percentage.
  • MDP – MDP stands for “monthly debt payments” and represents the amount you spend on debt each month. For the sake of a loan application, only consider debts that are reported to a credit bureau such as credit cards, student loans, auto loans and mortgages.
  • GMI – GMI denotes “gross monthly income” and should be replaced with income before any deductions or taxes are taken out. When you’re deciding how to save money for a mortgage, keep in mind that your net income (the amount you take home after deductions and taxes) could be considerably lower than your gross income.

As an example, let’s say that you have four student loans. Each student loan mandates a $200 payment each month ($800 per month), but you also have monthly credit card payments that total $100. Your monthly gross income is $2,000.

  1. Add your monthly debt obligations to calculate MDP. In this example, your monthly debt is $900.
  2. Replace GMI with your gross income: $2,000, in this example.
  3. Solve for DTI to find your debt to income ratio: DTI = 900 / 2000
  4. For this hypothetical, your debt-to-income ratio is: .45 or 45%

Typically lenders do not disclose the maximum debt-to-income they will approve, but the 45% debt-to-income ratio is high considering most loan applicants with debt-to-income ratios over 43% are either not approved or incur high interest rates. Refinancing one or more of the student loans from the example could substantially reduce your debt-to-income ratio and lower your monthly payments. You should take steps to lower your debt-to-income ratio as much as possible before applying to refinance or consolidate your student loans, since education refinance lenders also prefer low ratios and good credit.

Lower monthly payments free up additional funds for paying debts

Refinancing student loans could make a big difference in your monthly budget. When you refinance multiple student loans, you combine several payments into one and potentially lower your total monthly payment. You can put the extra monthly cash toward your savings or debt reduction goals.


You could also use the money saved to pay down your other debts. Paying down your credit card balances is an effective way to both lower your debt-to-income ratio and increase your credit score, both of which are beneficial when applying for a mortgage. If you don’t have many debts, consider investing the extra money in an interest-bearing account that can someday be used for a down payment on a home.

Apply for an Education Refinance Loan to simplify your finances

An Education Refinance Loan could help lower your debt-to-income ratio and simplify your monthly budget to help make your dreams of owning a home come true. Check out our helpful tools and information below to learn more about student loan refinance and consolidation, or call 1-888-411-0266 to speak with one of our Student Lending Specialists.

Helpful Tools & Information
Refinance Loan Glossary An easy-to-use guide for the terms you’ll encounter in the student loan process.
FAQs Answers to frequently asked questions about the Education Refinance Loan.
Loan Refinance Estimator Use our Refinance Estimator to see how much you could potentially save.