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As a parent, you might have taken out parent PLUS loans to help your children with their education. But as you’re getting closer to retirement age and managing multiple financial priorities, you might start to wonder how to refinance parent PLUS loans to lessen the burden of repayment.
Parent PLUS loans carried a 7.08% interest rate for the 2019-2020 academic year, which is on the higher end for federal student loans and can make it difficult to get ahead on principal payments. But if you transfer parent PLUS loans to the student, you could pass on the responsibility of paying back these loans to your child.
Keep reading to learn more about how to refinance parent PLUS loans in your child’s name and whether it’s right for you.
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How to refinance parent PLUS loans in the student’s name
Parent PLUS loans are made directly to parents for their child’s education. The way things are set up now through the Department of Education, parents cannot transfer these federal loans to a child, and they are solely responsible for paying back the loan.
But there’s a way to get around this: refinancing parent PLUS loans in your child’s name. To refinance parent PLUS loans, your child must apply and be approved for the loan through a private student loan lender. They would have to supply information about their credit score, school and degree.
Each lender will have varying eligibility requirements, but typically, lenders want the child to prove they have the financial means to pay back the loan themselves.
SoFi, Laurel Road and CommonBond consider information such as income, school and type of degree. To qualify, your child must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Dan Macklin, a co-founder of student loan refinancing company SoFi, noted similar eligibility requirements.
“SoFi will take into account several factors, such as (the applicant’s) eligibility, education, career experience, monthly income relative to expenses and financial history in determining whether to refinance a parent PLUS into a loan in the graduate’s name,” Macklin said.
To refinance and transfer the parent PLUS loans to your child, follow these three steps:
- Ask your child to apply for a student loan in their name with a lender like SoFi, Laurel Road or CommonBond. You can help your child complete the application, but the lender may approve or reject it based on their information alone.
- Include the parent PLUS loan on the refinancing application and note that it is under your name.
- If approved, the lender will issue your child a new loan, which can be used to pay off your parent PLUS loan.
The new loan may have different terms and conditions, and potentially a lower interest rate, as well. Unlike the parent PLUS loan, the new loan will be entirely in your child’s name.
“Transferring a loan from parent to child absolves parents from the debt obligation and enables the child to select the appropriate loan terms,” Macklin said. “The child may be able to reduce monthly payments on the outstanding debt, as some parent PLUS loans have rates as high as 8.50%. It also enables the parent to refocus their own goals, such as saving for retirement.”
Review the benefits of refinancing parent PLUS loans
There are many benefits to refinancing parent PLUS loans, including:
- Your child may get a lower interest rate on the new loan.
- The parent would be released from the original loan.
- The child could build credit by making on-time payments.
If you refinance parent PLUS loans and pass on the responsibility to your child, they could stand to save money on interest. Also, they could take advantage of the unique benefits offered by some lenders, such as unemployment protection, career services and networking events.
Consider the drawbacks of refinancing parent PLUS loans
Before you decide to refinance your federal parent PLUS loans, there are some downsides you should also be aware of, including:
- By refinancing with a private lender, you’ll lose federal student loan benefits, such as access to income-driven repayment options and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
- The legal liability for the loans will be transferred to the child, as the parent PLUS loans will be paid off, and your child will now have to repay the new loan.
- The process is not reversible.
If you want to refinance parent PLUS loans, you and your child should be on the same page. Both you and your child should understand the financial and legal implications of refinancing and also have a firm grasp of what you may be giving up.
Explore other options for immediate relief
Even if you know how to refinance parent PLUS loans in your child’s name, you might decide this move isn’t right for you and your family, especially if you’re relying on federal benefits. Fortunately, you have a couple of other options for managing your parent PLUS loan.
For one, you could explore an Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan, which adjusts your monthly payments in accordance with your discretionary income. Note that you’ll have to consolidate your parent PLUS loans before they’re eligible for ICR.
Another option is loan forgiveness through a program such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness. If your job makes you eligible for PSLF or a similar program, you could get some or all of your balance canceled. Some employers even offer student loan repayment assistance to help indebted employees.
While none of these options will get rid of your debt overnight, they could provide relief. And if you do decide to refinance your parent PLUS loans in your child’s name, you could say goodbye to your debt for good.
Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing your Parent PLUS loans into your child's name?Here are the top lenders of 2021!
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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.
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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.
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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.