Dating Someone in Debt: How to Handle Student Loans in Relationships

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With almost 45 million Americans currently holding student loans, chances are at some point in your dating life, student debt — either your own or your partner’s — will become a puzzle piece that you’ll have to consider. Dating someone in debt can have consequences on how you spend time together and shape the decisions you make as the relationship progresses.

Finances can affect everything from what kind of an apartment you can qualify for together, how you travel together, or even just where you’ll eat on Friday night. Let’s look at the following topics and how best to deal with this sometimes sensitive topic:

Dating someone in debt: How to approach student loans in your relationship

Whether you’re dating someone with a lot of debt or dating someone with financial problems that seem relatively minor, one thing is certain: Finances are a major component when it comes to measuring your compatibility long-term.

Not even the bedroom is safe from the impact of student loans — survey results show 32% of student loan borrowers report having a decreased sex drive. Here’s what to know about how to approach the subject of debt in your dating relationships.

Here’s how you can begin to face the topic of dating and finances directly so you can work toward relationship health in this area:

1. Talk candidly about your finances
2. Assess your partner’s attitude about their student loan debt
3. Keep an open mind, but recognize your boundaries
4. Consider how student loan debt will impact your future together

1. Talk candidly about your finances

Financial transparency and honesty in a relationship is crucial when it comes to building a serious partnership that both members can equally engage in. “It should be part of the conversation because it is part of life. Debt is normal, it happens,” says Leslie Tayne, founder of Tayne Law Group, a debt solutions firm headquartered in New York City. “Just as it is important to talk about if you’re having children, want to live in the city or suburbs, how you feel about travel, the financial piece is a huge part of your relationship.”

But knowing how to find out if someone is in debt in a tactful way that doesn’t damage the relationship can sometimes be a struggle. “I’ve only been remarried for two years, so these topics came up often when I was dating,” says Tayne. If you’re wondering how to check someone’s financial status, here are some ideas that Tayne has used both personally and professional in her work with clients:

  • Begin the conversation with your goals: “One way is to talk about where you’re at,” says Tayne, adding that you might start the conversation by saying something such as ‘‘I rent my apartment, these are my goals, this is what I’m looking to do.” This could be an easier way into the conversation instead of opening aggressively. “It’s really important to be non confrontational about it and find the right environment to talk about [finances]. It’s really more important to talk and ask questions,” says Tayne.
  • Dig into potential patterns: It’s important to understand how your partner got into debt and whether it was strategic debt, such as taking on a mortgage or student loans or unorganized debt, such as consumer spending on credit card bills. “I once dated someone who had 75 pairs of jeans,” said Tayne. “To me, that is a little bit of a red flag.” But Tayne also cautioned against jumping to conclusions. “Do you have the same pair [of jeans] you had in your 20’s and you never got rid of anything?” While that might signify it’s time for a closet overhaul, it doesn’t necessarily point to out of control spending. Asking the right questions and getting honest about spending habits is the best way to the bottom of these potential red flags.
  • Be respectful: Different opinions on personal finance can cause emotions to flare, which could be one reason student loans factor into the divorce rate, but Tayne cautions couples to take the conversation slow and make sure it’s healthy for both individuals. If discomfort arises she suggests asking something along the lines of, ‘‘I sense that you’re being super-hesitant, is this not a good time or is this not a topic you’re comfortable with?” If your partner is never comfortable talking about personal finance, this could be a deal breaker.

2. Assess your partner’s attitude about their student loan debt

Not all debt is necessarily bad debt, and often the reason your partner got into debt may be informative. For example, did they plan carefully for an advanced degree or overspend student loans in college? Have they been responsible about paying off their loans on time? The reasons people get into debt are varied. If your boyfriend has financial problems, understanding what led to the problems and if he has a plan to get out of them could make the difference on whether or not you feel comfortable proceeding with the relationship. Here are some ways you can assess your partner’s attitude about their debt:

  • Use a questionnaire: Magdalena Johndrow, a financial advisor at Johndrow Wealth Management, often has couples fill out the same questionnaire separately before coming together to review their answers. “When you understand why we have a relationship with money, you can be more empathetic to your partner,” says Johndrow. “If debt really scares you, and your partner told you they have student loans, you might have a visceral reaction because debt scares you.” Understanding your history with money and your partners, can help illuminate your respective attitudes about financials. If student loan debt is an overwhelming concept for one person in the relationship, a questionnaire could be a straightforward way to uncover that.
  • Understand the purpose of the debt: “You have to think about, ‘What sort of debt do they have?’” says Johndrow. “Student loans in many ways are considered good debt because you invested in something that ideally will get you a more lucrative career. If you have credit card debt, that tends to be seen as less good debt.” She recommends asking why the debt was taken out. “I think the underlying reason for the debt is very important. Was it because of an emergency or one-time expense or is this a pattern that you wouldn’t be OK with?” Having a debt management plan in place can also help show the attitude your partner is taking toward dealing with their debt.
  • Look for honesty: Even though you would hope your partner would be forthcoming about their financial situation, not everyone feels comfortable discussing particulars which could cause them to omit details or mischaracterize circumstances. “One guy I dated had trouble getting a car,” says Tayne. “I finally realized it’s because there’s a financial issue.” Tayne cautions that not everyone will feel comfortable detailing why they’re having trouble taking certain financial steps, which illuminates their attitude toward their debt and finances. “That person might not be willing to discuss why they’re having trouble getting a car. They might not be 100% honest with you.”

Knowing your partner’s attitude toward student loan debt can give you an idea about how they’re likely to behave with their finances later on. If their attitude shows a pattern of poor money management, it’s likely that this will continue even if you take on the role of managing the finances in a relationship. It could lead to problems sticking to a collective budget later on in the relationship.

3. Keep an open mind, but recognize your boundaries

Figuring out whether you are comfortable dating someone in debt, especially if you have different attitudes about it, is an important step in creating your own boundaries. While it helps to keep an open mind when it comes to financial situations, finances can also be a valid reason to end a relationship, especially if your partner seems irresponsible about their debt. Breaking up with a boyfriend because of money is a reality many people experience. Here’s how to develop boundaries that tell you whether it’s safe to proceed or if you need to figure out how to get out of a bad relationship financially.

  • Respect your own life circumstances: Understanding what your goals are in life can help determine your financial boundaries in dating. “I’m a successful business woman, I wasn’t willing to take on a situation where someone needed significant help,” says Tayne. “That’s not where I wanted to be and not where I was in my life.”
  • Assess how much help you’re willing to give: Not all partners with debt will want or need your help, but on the flip side are those partners who expect or demand it. “What level of help do you feel comfortable offering and where is the line in the sand?” says Tayne. If your partner has a significant amount of debt and there is an expectation that you will help with it, this could be a red flag. “Then you might want to take a step back and ask, ‘Why is there an expectation?’ Someone could take advantage of your willing nature to be helpful,” says Tayne.
  • Understand the impact of debt on your life: Helping someone deal with their debt could significantly alter your lifestyle and you should be prepared for these changes if you decide to go down this road. If you get married, you could become legally responsible for your partner’s student loan debt. “Even though couples sometimes have separate money and everything is kept separate, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impact the other,” says Tayne. “That means if you’re splitting things, one part of the couple might not be able to do what the other person can do.”

Developing financial values and boundaries can make your decision about staying in the relationship increasingly clear. If your partner pushes your financial boundaries, this could be a sign that it’s time to exit the relationship.

4. Consider how student loan debt will impact your future together

Your partner’s debt will impact your future, and someone else’s bad financial situation — whether it’s a low credit score or an overwhelming amount of debt — can hamper your own. What happens if you marry someone with bad credit? “The question becomes, what’s the impact on your life? Your family? Your finances? Are you going to be able to maintain a house, children, other expenses?,” says Tayne. “Those are things that have to be discussed.” Here’s what you should consider before heading toward marriage with someone who has significant debts:

  • Will student loan repayment plans change? If your partner is on an income-driven repayment plan, filing joint taxes could affect their payments. If combining your finances is an important financial value for you, there could be some further necessary discussions about how you’ll navigate student loan repayment.
  • Will your credit be impacted? Dating someone with bad credit and marrying that person are two different ball games. There could be certain purchases or expenses you’ll want to take on together after you’re married that might be difficult if one partner has bad credit. For example, if you want to put both names on a lease or mortgage, your partner’s bad credit could significantly impact what you qualify for. Also, joint credit card payments could pose a problem. “If your partner has a low credit score because they have been missing payments or not making them in time or racking up interest, if you take out a joint credit card and they miss a payment, your credit will be affected,” says Johndrow.
  • Can you reach your financial goals? Your financial goals will change depending on what stage of life you’re in. If you have children nearing adulthood, for example, you might already be focusing on how to help them with student loans and adding your partner’s debt onto your plate could change the way you help your children. “If someone has debt, you have to decide ahead of time what you’re going to do with it,” says Tayne. This includes understanding what financial goals might be untenable for your partner’s risky financial situation begins to impact your own. If your partner has bad credit and you haven’t taken your financial goals into account, this is important to do before your big day.

How to deal with a partner in debt

Coming up with a plan to handle each of your student loan debt burdens is important. If you predict a future together, you’ll need to know how you’ll tackle debt and handle money together as a couple. Here are some strategies that could help.

  • Talk about whether you’re willing to help financially. Many people wonder, “Should I help my girlfriend financially?” or “Can you pay off someone else’s debt?” While you might want to contribute something financially to your partner’s debt situation, if that contribution becomes an expectation that could be a red flag. Remember, there are ways you can support each other beyond a direct financial contribution.
  • Motivate your partner to stay on track. “Something I equate money to is sticking to a diet,” says Johndrow. “They always say, if there is high caloric food in your home you’re more likely to eat it. They always say to get your partner involved in your diet. Similarly, talk to your partner about cooking at home more, sticking to a budget together, it’s much easier when your partner is on the same page with you.” Supporting your partner by finding low-cost activities to do together is one way to help keep them motivated instead of tempting them away from their budget.
  • Look into refinancing. Refinancing your debt or your partner’s debt could help you repay your loans sooner. If you refinance your loans at a lower interest rate, you direct the money you’re saving toward paying the principal on your loans. If you go this route, be sure to factor in the cost of any prepayment fees on your old loan or origination fees on your new loan. Compare loans online to make sure you’re getting your best deal.
  • Schedule a recurring meeting: When it comes to dealing with debt as a couple, it could help to set aside time regularly to work on it together. “Put them in your calendar and leave your home — go to a library or coffee shop, wherever you feel comfortable talking about it. Treat it like you would a meeting with a personal trainer or a client, a doctor,” says Johndrow. She recommends a cadence of no less than once a month.
  • Seek professional help. When you’re looking at how to help someone in serious debt, it could help to use a third party’s knowledge and resources. Tayne says some clients are referred to her by their partners who don’t want to directly give money to their significant other but are willing to help them seek professional help. She also recommends couples therapy to proactively deal with financial issues. “I’m a huge fan of therapists. There’s no reason why you can’t go to a couples therapist when everything is great.

Dating if you’re the one with student loan debt

If you’re on the other side of the equation, the partner with student loan debt, it could be intimidating to be open about your finances in a dating relationship. However, you might find that your partner is empathetic and open to your circumstances, especially if you’re upfront and motivated to work through your debt. Here’s how you can approach the situation if you’re the one in debt:

  • Be open and honest: Build trust with your partner by leading the debt conversation and revealing as much as you feel comfortable. If there are areas that don’t feel right to talk about just yet, let your partner know why and when they can expect additional information from you.
  • Create a plan for your debt — and stick to it: Taking ownership of your debt can go a long way in assuring your partner that you’re also on track to reach your financial goals. Take responsibility for your finances and make it clear to your partner that you value their support but don’t expect them to contribute to your repayment process.
  • Get outside help, if necessary: Don’t be afraid to reach out to a financial planner or therapist if there are elements of your debt that are emotionally overwhelming or that you don’t understand. A supportive partner should respect your efforts to better yourself in this way.

Dealing with personal finances while dating can feel awkward, but finances are an important part of your daily life. Finding a partner who is compatible to you when it comes to financial values can help alleviate friction later in the relationship.

Elyssa Kirkham contributed to this report.

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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

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 May 1, 2021.


2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

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.

CommonBond Disclosures

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.

LendKey Disclosures

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.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: 1. Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.99% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.53% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.12% plus 2.38% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. 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. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score.Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

6 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

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.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


7 Important Disclosures for PenFed.

PenFed Disclosures

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 2.89%-4.78% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.15%-4.42% 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.


8 Important Disclosures for Nelnet.

Nelnet Disclosures

Credit Score

Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.

Auto Debit

Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is canceled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan.

Cosigner Release

Request for the cosigner to be released can be made by the borrower after 24 consecutive, on-time payments (not later than 15 days after the due date) of principal and interest have been made. Borrowers in deferment or forbearance must make 24 consecutive, on-time payments after re-entering repayment to qualify for the release. The borrower must be current on their payments at the time of the cosigner release request and show the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) by meeting certain credit criteria on their own at the time of the request, including, but not limited to, being a U.S. citizen or having permanent residency in the United States, being the age of majority in their permanent state of residency, providing sufficient proof of income, and having no student loans in default.

Hardship Protection

Hardship forbearance allows you to temporarily suspend payments on your loan(s) while you are experiencing financial hardship. It is offered in increments of two or three months, with a maximum of 12 months available, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. If your loan(s) are in good standing at the time of your request, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of two monthly payments. If, at the time of your initial request, your loan(s) are considered past-due, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of three monthly payments. Future increments of forbearance, up to a life-time maximum of 12 months, may be requested upon the completion of making a certain number of principal and interest payments. During the two- or three-month forbearance period, you will not be required to make payments; however, any unpaid interest will continue to accrue and will be capitalized (added) onto your principal balance at the end of the forbearance period. You may continue making payments in any amount without penalty during the forbearance period. Your loan repayment term will be extended by the number of months in the forbearance period.

Loan Eligibility

Refinance Loan Eligibility: You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number, and be the legal age to enter into binding contracts in your permanent state/territory of residency, or be at least 17 years of age and apply with a cosigner who is at least the age of majority in their state/territory. Non-residents can apply with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number. The student loans you refinance must be in their grace or repayment period, and you can no longer be enrolled in school on a half-time or more basis. You must have at least $5,000 in student loans to refinance. You, or your eligible cosigner, must have an annual income of at least $36,000. Approval subject to credit review. Other credit criteria may apply.

Refinance Loan Limits:

  • Minimum loan amount: $5,000
  • Maximum student loan limits:
    • $125,000 for borrowers with an undergraduate degree.
    • $175,000 for borrowers with a graduate or doctorate degree.
    • $175,000 for borrowers with an MBA or graduate law degree.
    • $500,000 for borrowers with a graduate health professions degree.

Loan Refinancing Risks: Federal student loans include benefits that may not be offered with private student loans. Carefully review any potential benefits that may be lost by refinancing federal and private education loans, such as the loss of any remaining grace periods. To learn more about what to take into consideration when refinancing federal student loans with private education loans, click here

Interest Rates

Selecting ‘Get Started’ results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.

Refinance Loan

Fixed interest rates range from 2.99% APR (with auto debit discount) to 6.25% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan.

Variable interest rates range from 2.00% APR (with auto debit discount) to 5.63% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. Variable rates may increase after consummation. The variable interest rate is equal to the One-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (“One-Month LIBOR”) plus a margin. The One-Month LIBOR in effect for each monthly period (from the first day of the month through and including the last day of the same month) will be the highest One-Month LIBOR published in The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth (25th) day (or if such day is not a business day, the next business day thereafter) of the month immediately preceding such calendar month. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for a variable interest rate loan will change monthly on the first day of each month if the One-Month LIBOR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month LIBOR index is 0.15% as of 5/4/2021.

The lowest interest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (“auto debit”) payments, a five-year repayment term, and the borrower making immediate principal and interest payments. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, (3) the loan type selected, and (4) the highest level of education attained. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range.

*Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score. **Your actual savings may vary based on interest rates, outstanding balances, remaining repayment terms, and other factors.