Refinancing with Earnest
Refinancing rates from 2.49% APR. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.
Whether you feel buried by your student loan debt or merely have pressing questions, it’s always wise to ask for help.
However, with friends sometimes giving questionable advice, and with debt relief companies offering high-priced services, you might not be sure where to go.
Here are six reliable people to count on for repayment support, at little risk and potentially less cost to you.
1. Your support system
Asking Mom, Dad or your significant other for help with your student loans might not be your first choice — but it’s a good first step.
Regardless of whether your parents help you financially, they might offer sage advice. Alternatively, your significant other could agree to help you increase your monthly payment, for example, if it can speed you toward your shared financial goals as a couple.
Instead of asking for handouts, look to your family and close friends as a support system. Although they might be limited in how they can help, they could be willing to listen and share your burden.
Plus, if you can’t talk about your student loan situation in your household, how can you expect to seek help elsewhere?
2. Your school or your employer
If you’re no longer enrolled, you might think your school’s financial aid office is now off limits. Think again. Your ex-campus’s aid representatives could explain how to get on the right foot with your repayment, for example, or answer some of the questions you might have about your options.
If you’re already well on your way in the real world, however, you might also find advice in a seemingly unlikely place — at work. Talking about your student loan debt at work could help to remove the taboo from the topic. You might find an unlikely co-worker with whom you could commiserate.
Even more importantly, an employer with a generous benefits package might be willing to tack on student loan repayment assistance or substitute it for 401(k) matching. If your boss or human resources department needs some convincing, you might mention some of the well-known companies that offer student loan support.
3. A certified or licensed financial professional
When dealing with thousands of dollars in student loan debt, you might be looking for more than just a little advice or a bit of help with your monthly payment. A financial professional could help you navigate more nuanced repayment problems, and they don’t always have to come at a premium cost. The Financial Planning Association hosts events where CFPs consult on a pro bono basis, for instance.
For more formal or extended sessions, you might consider a nonprofit like American Consumer Credit Counseling which offers one-on-one support for student loan borrowers. During a free session, you’d work with a counselor to create a budget and action plan for your repayment.
And before deciding to hire a student loan counselor at a higher cost, consider another free resource: Nonprofit Inceptia offers trained counselors over the phone if you’re delinquent on your loans and in danger of defaulting.
4. Student loan lender or servicer
If you’re having trouble making payments or just want to optimize your repayment, talking to your lender or loan servicer is always a smart move.
For more traditional questions, find your servicer — the private company that manages your repayment — via the National Student Loan Data System. Your servicer could help you process an application for a deferment or forbearance, for example, or switch to an income-driven repayment plan. And if you’re interested in Public Service Loan Forgiveness, note that FedLoan Servicing (one of the government’s nine servicers until NextGen takes effect in 2019) handles all such requests.
For federal loans, your lender and servicer aren’t one and the same. Your lender might be the Department of Education or, in the case of Perkins loans, your school. The Department of Education offers different phone support for different repayment problems:
- For loan forgiveness because of your school’s wrongdoing: Contact Borrower Defense Customer Support at 1-855-279-6207.
- For help with income-driven repayment plan or loan consolidation applications: Contact the Student Loan Support Center at 1-800-557-7394.
- For help with a default or wage or income tax refund garnishment: Contact the Default Resolution Group at 1-800-621-3115.
- For disputes with your servicer: Contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group at 1-877-557-2575.
If you feel that your federal loan servicer isn’t acting in your best interest — some servicers have been accused of misleading borrowers — lean on the federal student aid ombudsman. They can help you evaluate your loan repayment options and will act as a neutral party.
If you borrowed via the Federal Family Education Loan Program before its closure, it’s possible your guarantee agency could have an ombudsman. Like the federal student aid ombudsman, they’re neutral and won’t favor you or your servicer during a dispute.
In the case of private student loans, contact your lender’s customer service department. Although it’s become common for banks, credit unions and online lenders to offer chat and email support, you can also dial their phone number to get a real person on the line.
If you borrowed from a bank with a brick-and-mortar branch, you also have the option of walking in for a face-to-face catch-up. Similarly, if you’re shopping around for refinancing lenders, you might prioritize those with top-notch customer support.
Private lenders might not offer you the services of an ombudsman or other unbiased third party, but you could rely on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The government agency accepts complaints about student loan servicers and reroutes them to your lender or servicer for a response. The CFPB also offers phone support at 1-855-411-2372 to talk through this process.
5. Student loan lawyer
You could also consider asking a lawyer for advice if things are getting prickly, though you’ll likely have to reach deeper into your pockets.
Student loan lawyers could help you navigate some especially troublesome situations, including:
- Negotiating a loan settlement with a lender, servicer or collections agency
- Representing you in court if you face or file a lawsuit over your debt
- Filing and handling your bankruptcy case
With that said, a lawyer who specializes in federal and private student loan debt — not every lawyer is knowledgeable about both — might advertise services that you can handle yourself. You don’t need a lawyer, for example, to correct your credit report or pause your loan payments via deferment or forbearance.
When the need arises, finding a student loan lawyer is a lot easier than finding the right one. Ask the right questions to ensure they’re a fit for your case. You might want to know if they’ve solved a problem like yours in the past.
6. Tax professional
If you think student loans are more complicated than they need to be (we’d agree), try taxes on for size. It can get incredibly confusing when student loans and taxes intersect, so in those cases, you might benefit from working with a tax professional.
A tax expert could help you explore your options if you’re facing a hefty tax bill as a result of receiving student loan forgiveness or cancellation.
As with a lawyer, however, ask yourself if you could complete the same task on your own without a tax professional. Better yet, ask the tax professional that question. You can estimate your tax benefits from repaying your education, for example, using our student loan interest deduction calculator.
Talking to someone — anyone — before making major decisions about your student loan debt is the way to go. Even if they don’t offer a ready-made solution, you can benefit from the back-and-forth discussion.
Aside from our six suggestions, think about the people inside and outside of your social circle who could be helpful as you pay down your debt. For example, we interviewed one woman who repaid her debt after seeking the advice of millionaires. There’s always assistance available out there somewhere — it’s just a question of asking.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
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 3.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.49% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% 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 April 17, 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 04/17/2019. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 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 Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
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.
5 Important Disclosures for 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. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.48% effective April 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.49% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 6.65%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.41%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.11%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|