Unsatisfied with your current student loan lender, loan terms, monthly payment, or rates?
Refinancing lets you take control of your student loans and find terms that work for you. You can secure a lower interest rate to save money over the life of your loan. Or, you could extend your loan term to reduce your monthly payments. Whatever it is you’re looking for—cosigner release, no prepayment penalties, military deferment, etc.—you can likely get it by refinancing.
Below, we’ll break down your student loan refinance options, including the list of private lenders that we’ve vetted and partner with.
Private Student Loan Refinance Options
Private student loan refinancing companies work with student loan borrowers who have taken out private and/or federal student loans. They specialize in student loans, so they know what borrowers like you are looking for. Check out these lenders:
CollegeAve is one of the few lenders that refinance loans held by associate degree earners and higher. You can refinance both your private and federal student loans or opt just to refinance your private student loans.
Perks include an autopay discount, an in-house customer service team, and a rate based on combined income if your spouse cosigns the loan.
Earnest helps financially responsible student and parent borrowers refinance federal and/or private student loans. This includes borrowers whose debt is from an associate degree. Earnest doesn’t allow cosigners, but rates aren’t solely based on your credit score. Instead, rates and term lengths are based on your monthly budget.
Other perks of choosing Earnest are seven-day payment extensions, death or disability discharge, military deferment, and unemployment forbearance.
Unlike the other lenders on this list, LendKey is an online platform that connects you with community banks and credit unions. You input your loan information and get matched with the best options based on your income, credit score, desired rate, and terms. Applying and preapproval takes only 5 minutes.
Perks of refinancing through LendKey include an autopay discount, flexible repayment terms, and unemployment protection for up to 18 months.
CommonBond, an online marketplace lender, works with borrowers who have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. Want to take over your mom or dad’s Parent PLUS loans? CommonBond lets you do that too. Medical students also enjoy deferred payments during their residency if desired.
Not only does CommonBond help you out with unique interest rate options and a responsive in-house customer service team, but this company also helps others. When you refinance with CommonBond, the company funds a child’s education in Ghana.
ELFI, an online-only lender, will refinance federal and/or private student loans for degree-earning students. Have Parent Plus loans? ELFI lets students assume responsibility for those loans through refinancing. When you refinance with ELFI, it goes through SouthEast Bank.
Benefits of going with this student loan refinance option include no prepayment penalties, military deferment, and an in-house customer service team.
Medical professionals, bachelor’s degree holders, and graduate degree holders can refinance their federal and/or private student loans with Splash Financial. All refinancing goes through PenFed Credit Union. This is a top choice for medical residents as you only have to pay $1 on your refinanced student loans for up to 84 months.
With Splash Financial, you also have the convenience of an assigned dedicated representative to assist you and the option for bi-weekly payments via autopay.
Other private student loan refinance options include your local bank and your local credit union. It’s always a good idea to check with your local credit union because these not-for-profit institutions are known for their lower interest rates. Going local has other potential advantages like a customer loyalty discount or in-person banking.
Just keep in mind that when you go with a small local credit union or bank, you run the risk of missing out on some of the many perks offered by online-only refinancing companies. These include death and disability discharge, deferment options, and flexible term lengths.
Federal Student Loan Refinance Options
Private refinancing isn’t your only option. You can also federally refinance (also called consolidate) your federal student loan(s). Private student loans aren’t eligible. Consolidating groups all your federal student loans together into one larger loan. The large loan is equal to the balance of your individual federal loans.
Interest Rate on a Federal Refinance
The new interest rate for a consolidated federal student loan is simply the weighted average interest rate of your consolidated loans rounded up to 1/8th of a percentage. In other words, the interest rate increases slightly compared to your current arrangement. Calculate your weighted average interest rate here.
Repayment Plans & Forgiveness
If you’re concerned about the slight interest rate increase, don’t be. A consolidated loan is eligible for federal student loan repayment programs and student loan forgiveness programs. These programs offer several perks including assistance paying off interest, reduced monthly payments, and forgiveness after a set number of years. You give up these perks if you opt for private refinancing
Overview of Refinancing
Refinancing is when you secure a new loan to pay off your old loan(s). Moving forward, your loan payments follow the terms and conditions of the new refinanced loan.
If you have federal and private student loans, you can refinance your loans in the following ways:
- Refinance your private and federal student loans together through a private refinancing company
- Refinance your private student loans through a private refinancing company and consolidate your federal student loans
- Refinance your private student loans through a private refinancing company and leave your federal student loans as is
- Leave your private student loans as is and consolidate your federal student loans
Tips for Private Student Loan Refinancing
Before applying to any of your several private student loan refinance options, you should do some research:
Decide if Refinancing is Right for You
Read this in-depth guide: Should I Refinance Student Loans? to make sure that refinancing makes sense for your situation. You need to determine whether refinancing could save you money, whether it fits your financial and medical situation, and whether the benefits of refinancing are worth losing the benefits offered by the federal government.
Check Your Credit Score
Do you know what your credit score is? If not, you need to check it. Don’t waste time trying to refinance your student loans yourself if you don’t have good credit. After seeing your score, you can determine if it’s good enough yet.
Build Up Your Credit Score or Find a Cosigner
If you decide that your credit score isn’t high enough, you have two options. You can build up your credit before applying for refinancing, or you can ask a financially stable relative or friend to cosign the loan.
Compare the Best Student Loan Refinance Rates
Here are our top student loan refinance picks for 2019
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Student Debt Relief Loan Refinancing Advertiser Disclosure
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. (1)College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine. (2)The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. (3)$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. Information advertised valid as of 9/24/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. (4)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. Information advertised valid as of 9/24/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
CommonBond: Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate.
Splash Financial: Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval.com
Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/23/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice.
Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.