How to Refinance or Get Alaska Student Loans

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Although Alaska is the largest state in the U.S., it has one of the smallest populations. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau put Alaska’s population at 739,795 in mid-2017.

However, residents have access to a variety of state-sponsored Alaska student loans and grants.

For instance, the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE), funded by the Alaska Student Loan Corporation, offers financial aid for college and career training. The ACPE also offers the Alaska Refinance Loan if you’re looking to snag a lower interest rate or adjust the monthly payments on your current student debt.

Whether you’re an Alaska resident or a student heading there for college, check out this guide for all your options on Alaska student loans.

Alaska student loans for state and nonstate residents

Alaska offers a few options for state residents and nonstate residents enrolling in Alaska schools.

Alaska Supplemental Education Loan

As with a private student loan, you need to have a credit score of at least 680 (or apply with a cosigner who does) to get an Alaska Supplemental Education Loan (ASEL). These loans come with fixed interest rates of 5.75% for the 2017-2018 school year, with the possibility of additional rate discounts.

Undergraduates can borrow up to $14,000 per year. Graduate students can borrow up to $15,000. Those heading to career training or vocational programs or flight school can also borrow up to $10,000 per year.

As with federal loans, you don’t have to start repayment on an ASEL until your grace period ends six months after graduation.

Family Education Loan

The Family Education Loan (FEL) is designed for parents or other family members borrowing money on behalf of a student. Although you don’t need a certain credit score to qualify, you can’t have an adverse credit history.

This loan comes with a fixed interest rate of 5.75%, but you can get a 0.25% discount for setting up autopay. Repayment begins right away on an FEL, typically 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed.

Alaska Refinance Loan

With an Alaska Refinance Loan, you can qualify for an interest rate as low as 4.95%. You might be able to combine multiple loans, plus choose new terms of five, 10, or 15 years.

To qualify, you must have a minimum FICO score of 720, or you can apply with a cosigner who does. The Alaska Refinance Loan is only available to Alaska residents.

Winn Brindle Memorial Education Loan

This special student loan goes to Alaska residents enrolled in a fisheries-related program, such as fisheries science, seafood processing, or food technology. It has a fixed interest rate of 5.00%, plus you might be eligible for 50% forgiveness if you work in Alaska.

Along with enrolling in an eligible program, you must have good credit to qualify for this loan.

Alaska WWAMI Biomedical Program

This program offers Alaska student loans to individuals heading to an out-of-state medical school. This competitive loan goes to 20 students each year, and you have to go through an interview process to qualify. It comes with a 3.25% fixed interest rate. If you return to Alaska to work in the medical field, you could qualify for total student loan forgiveness.

Professional Student Exchange

Alaska’s Professional Student Exchange program supports students heading out of state to study to become a dentist, occupational therapist, optometrist, podiatrist, pharmacist, physical therapist, or physician’s assistant.

This loan comes with a 5.75% fixed interest rate and no origination fee.

Federal options for Alaska student loans

All U.S. citizens and qualifying noncitizens have access to the federal student loan program, administered by the Office of Federal Student Aid. These loans come with competitive fixed interest rates, as well as a variety of flexible repayment plans.

To access these loans, all you have to do is submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your college will offer you loans in your financial aid package, and you can choose how much to take out to pay for college.

These are the three types of federal student loans for college and graduate students.

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

Undergraduate students who demonstrate a financial need are eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans. Undergraduates, graduates, and professional students without a demonstrated financial need are eligible for Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

For more information on how to determine which type of Direct Loan you qualify for, check out our guide on subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

As of July 1, 2017, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans have a fixed interest rate of 4.45% for undergraduates. Graduate students with Direct Unsubsidized Loans are looking at a fixed interest rate of 6.00%. All of these loans come with a 1.066% fee, as of Oct. 1, 2017.

When you repay these loans, you can choose between the standard 10-year plan and a number of income-driven repayment plans.

PLUS Loans

PLUS Loans are designed for graduate students, professional students, or parents of dependent undergraduate students. These loans come with a fixed interest rate of 7.00% and an origination fee of 4.264%, as of Oct. 1, 2017.

You can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid you or your child have received.

Although Parent PLUS Loans aren’t eligible for as many repayment plans as Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans are, you’ll still find some flexibility when it comes to repayment.

After submitting the FAFSA, speak with your or your child’s financial aid office for any additional instructions on how to apply for a PLUS Loan.

Direct Consolidation Loan

A Direct Consolidation Loan is typically best for student loan borrowers who’ve already graduated from college. This loan combines all your federal student loans into one new loan with a single repayment plan.

It can help simplify your monthly payments, plus it’s a useful tool if you need to get out of default.

Your new interest rate will be the weighted average of your previous rates rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percent. Note that taking out a consolidation loan, unlike refinancing with a private lender, can actually raise your interest rate slightly.

Consider private student loans as well

While the state of Alaska offers a robust student loan program for its residents and visiting students, Alaska student loans aren’t your only option for funding. You can also look to other private lenders offering student loans to borrowers across the country.

This lender could be a traditional bank, such as Citizens Bank, or an online lender, such as CommonBond or College Ave.

You might also explore credit unions, such as Credit Union 1 or Alaska USA Federal Credit Union. Credit unions often offer competitive rates and strong customer service.

Besides taking out a new private student loan, you can refinance existing student loans with a private lender. Refinancing can help you lower your interest rate or adjust your monthly payments if you qualify.

Whether you’re looking to take out a new loan or refinance existing ones, you’ll need to pass a credit check or apply with a creditworthy cosigner.

Note that private student loans typically don’t have the same repayment plans as federal student loans, so make sure to learn about your repayment options before signing on the dotted line.

Compare your options for Alaska student loans

If you’re an Alaska resident or heading there for college, the state can hook you up with a number of low-interest fixed-rate Alaska student loans. Besides these state options, you also have access to federal student loans and private loans from banks and alternative lenders.

Whatever you choose, make sure to shop around so you can choose the loan with the lowest cost of borrowing. Use our student loan calculators to estimate interest charges and your future monthly payments.

By putting in the legwork to compare your student loan options now, you’ll save yourself money in the future. Plus, your efforts will ensure you don’t take on a burdensome amount of student debt.

Need a student loan?

Here are our top student loan lenders of 2021!
LenderVariable APREligibility 
1.04% – 11.98%1Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

1.13% – 11.23%*,2Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit SallieMae

1.24% – 11.99%3Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

1.78% – 11.89%4Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.05% – 11.44%5Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.19% – 11.51%6Undergraduate and Graduate

VISIT CITIZENS

2.46% – 12.98%7Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Ascent

* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.

1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

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.

Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
 
This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a first year graduate student borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.10% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $141.66 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $16,699.21. 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 1/27/2021. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.


2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

3 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  2. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  3. Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and Auto Debit Reward. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including undergraduate and graduate loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.250% as of January 1, 2021. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.
  4. Lowest APRs shown for the Discover Private Consolidation Loan are available for the most creditworthy applicants and include a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.250% as of January 1, 2021. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Visit Discover.com/student-loans/consolidation.html for more information, including up-to-date interest rates and APRs.
Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

4 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

sofiDisclosures

UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.26% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.88% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.37% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.78% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.30% to 11.52% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.95% to 11.89% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60% to 10.76% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.88% to 11.16% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 11/04/2020. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).


5 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Rates include 0.25% Auto Pay Discount
     
  2. Explanation of Rates “With Autopay” (APD)
    Rates shown include 0.25% APR discount when client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.

    Available Terms
    For Cosigned loans – 5, 7, 10, 12, 15 years. 
    Primary Only – 10, 12, 15 years

    In school deferred payment is not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NY, PA, and WA).


6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.19% – 11.51% (1.19% – 10.67% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 3.99% – 11.80% (3.99% – 10.92% APR).

Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.37% – 11.41% (1.37% – 11.12% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.39% – 11.70% (4.39%-11.39% APR).

Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.37% – 9.55% (1.37% – 8.83% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.13% – 9.84% (4.13% – 9.12% APR).

Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.37% – 8.35% (1.37% – 8.05% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.03% – 8.64% (4.03% – 8.34% APR).

Parent Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.11% – 7.42% (2.11%-7.42% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.69% – 7.83% (4.69% – 7.83% APR).

Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 4.47% – 9.61% (4.47% – 9.54% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.38% – 12.81% APR).

Medical Residency Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.56% – 7.06% (3.56% – 6.78% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.99% – 10.49% (6.97% – 10.08% APR).

Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable Rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the
preceding calendar month. As of Feburary 1, 2021, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.12%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. 

Fixed Rate Disclosure: Fixed rate ranges are based on applicable terms, level of degree, and presence of a co-signer.

Lowest Rate Disclosure: Lowest rates require a 5-year repayment term, immediate repayment, a graduate degree (where applicable), and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.

Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer.  Borrowers should carefully review federal benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are considering possible loan forgiveness options, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision on our website including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.

Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/Promissory Note, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank participating school.

Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.

Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.


7 Important Disclosures for Ascent.

Ascent Disclosures

Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), Member FDIC. Loan products December not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions December apply.  For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs

Rates are effective as of 12/01/2020 and reflect an automatic payment discount of 0.25% on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate.  Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month.  For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates

1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details.