Refinance rates with Laurel Road start at 1.89%.
Checking your rates won’t affect your score.
Note that the situation for student loans has changed due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and relief efforts from the government, student loan lenders and others. This includes allowing those with federally held student loans to suspend their repayment interest-free while still getting credit toward their PSLF requirement of 120 months of eligible repayment. Check out our Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center for additional news and details.
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The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program offers complete, tax-free federal student loan forgiveness after 10 years of service. But before you can get your loans forgiven, you need to make sure you’re working for PSLF qualifying employers.
After all, you wouldn’t want to get to the end of 10 years only to find out your employers weren’t eligible in the first place.
Here’s the rundown on which employers qualify for this program, along with other essential facts about Public Service Loan Forgiveness:
- Fact #1: You need to work for a PSLF-qualifying employer
- Fact #2: You must be employed full-time
- Fact #3: You need to have qualifying loans
- Fact #4: You have to make 120 qualifying loan payments
- Bonus tip: Submit the Employment Certification Form every year
In order to qualify for the PSLF program, you have to be employed by a specific type of organization. The focus isn’t primarily on the work that you do — it’s on the organization for which you do it.
Qualifying PSLF employers include:
- Any local, state, federal or tribal government organization
- Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
- Certain not-for-profit organizations that aren’t 501(c)(3) with qualifying public service as their primary purpose
- Certain volunteer organizations, like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps
There are certain groups that may seem like they would fall under the public service category, but don’t. For example, labor unions, political groups and some lobbying groups won’t qualify.
If you’re not sure if your organization qualifies, try speaking with your human resources department and confirming that yours is a PSLF-qualifying employer with your student loan servicer.
Part-time employees don’t qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, even if they are employed by a valid employer. You’ll have to work at least 30 hours per week, or however long your employer considers to be full-time — whichever is greater.
One noteworthy caveat to the 30-plus hours rule: The PSLF site states none of that time can be spent in any sort of religious capacity, such as instruction, worship or proselytizing.
Only loans received through the direct loan program qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. These loans include both subsidized and unsubsidized direct or Stafford loans.
The only way to have federal Perkins loans, Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) or any other type of federal loan qualify for PSLF is to combine them into a direct consolidation loan. Unfortunately, none of the payments made prior to consolidating with a direct consolidation loan will count as one of the 120 required qualifying payments.
If you don’t know whether your federal student loans qualify for the PSLF program, log in to your Federal Student Aid account to find out what types of loans you have.
First off, only payments made after Oct. 1, 2007 will potentially qualify as one of the 120 required payments necessary for loan forgiveness. And, of course, you must be working for an employer that qualifies for Public Service Loan Forgiveness while making those payments.
Second, the repayment plan you used to make those payments matters. You must enter an income-driven repayment plan to receive your best results for PSLF. Your payments are eligible if you’re making payments on a direct loan (including a direct consolidation loan) using one of the following plans:
- Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE)
- Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
- Pay as You Earn Plan Repayment Plan (PAYE)
- Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
It’s worth noting that your payments don’t have to be consecutive. However, if you work for a few years for a PSLF-qualified employer, then work a couple years for an employer that doesn’t qualify before returning to the nonprofit sector, it could take longer than 10 years to get your forgiveness. This is why that 120 number is so important.
Another factor to consider: Will you even have any debt left to be forgiven after 120 payments? It takes a long time to make 120 qualifying loan payments (a minimum of 10 years), and many borrowers won’t have much remaining on their federal student loan debt balance. If you’d prefer to pay your loans off faster, it could be worth increasing your payments or refinancing your student loans for better rates.
However, your payments could be as low as $0 a month, especially if you are in the IBR program. It depends on your income and the repayment plan you’re enrolled in.
Finally, consider that consolidation restarts the PSLF clock. You have to make 120 payments after the consolidation, regardless of how many you made before. If you decide to consolidate your loans, doing so early on can help you avoid lengthening the amount of time over which you make your payments.
Although you’re not guaranteed to get loan forgiveness until you submit your final application for PSLF, you can stay on track by submitting an Employment Certification Form to your student loan servicer annually. Your loan servicer will look at this form and let you know if your current employment qualifies for PSLF.
Plus, these records make it easier for the Department of Education to verify your Public Service Loan Forgiveness employers and payments, potentially helping you receive a decision sooner when you apply. Although the approval of your Employer Certification Form may not be binding, it’s a useful way to stay on track over the years as you work toward loan forgiveness.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 5.99%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 6.84%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.91% – 5.25%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.53%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.17% – 4.47%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
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. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of Feburary 1, 2021.
2 Important Disclosures for 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 will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% APR (with Auto Pay). 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 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years 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 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of October 26, 2020, 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 10/26/2020. 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 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. 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. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
4 Important Disclosures for 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.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 02/17/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.91% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
6 Important Disclosures for PenFed.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.99%-5.15% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.17%-4.47% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.