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|Pros of Laurel Road student loans:||Cons of Laurel Road student loans:|
|● Check eligibility, rates without a hard credit pull
● No fees (other than for late payments)
● Competitive interest rates
● Unique discounts for savings, employment
● Flexible repayment options
● Ability to pause payment in cases of hardship, job loss and natural disaster
|● Eligibility rules restrictive
● Deferment not available for borrowers who return to school
● No cosigner release (for graduate student loans) and slow path to release (for refinancing)
It would be understandable if you lost track of Laurel Road. It rebranded from Darien Rowayton Bank in April 2018 and was acquired by KeyBank a year later.
But while it has a new name and home, the online-only lender still scores well on student loan refinancing reviews. Laurel Road also offers graduate student loans worth considering. Both products are especially useful for (aspiring) health care professionals.
Refinancing, if you need a quick refresher course, allows you to consolidate your federal and private student loans with a newer (and maybe more helpful) loan servicer. Perhaps most importantly, you might also be able to lower your interest rate or reduce your monthly payment. Laurel Road says on its website that it’s refinanced more than $7 billion worth of education debt since it began operations in 2013.
Laurel Road student loans are a good fit for creditworthy borrowers who appreciate repayment protections like forbearance but also have good enough cash flow to score an APR discount of up to 0.80 percentage points. The lender provides such discounts for borrowers who deposit $20,000 or more into a linked savings account and enroll in automatic payments.
|What to like:||What to keep in mind:|
|● Low, discounted rates and no fees
● Clear repayment protections
|● Not everyone can get approved
● You might need a cosigner
● No in-school deferment available
● You may have a familiar loan servicer
Laurel Road generally refinances student loans for former students, but also for parent and medical resident borrowers:
- Parent PLUS Loan refinancing: You could improve your repayment, or put the loan in your student’s name.
- Medical school graduates: Pay as little as $100 per month while completing your residency or fellowship.
Here’s an overview of the features and terms offered for Laurel Road student loan refinancing:
- Prequalify and check rates without affecting your credit
- Opt for a variable or fixed interest rate
- Refinance $5,000 to $300,000 in federal or private loans
- Score a discounted rate if you enroll in automatic payments and/or open a linked, Laurel Road savings account
- Option to add a cosigner to your application
- No application or origination fee (although there’s a late payment fee of 5% of the amount due, up to a maximum penalty of $28)
- No prepayment penalty
- Choose a repayment term of Up to 20 years
- Options to pause repayment if you suffer economic hardship or are impacted by a natural disaster
- Loan forgiveness in the case of the borrower’s death or permanent disability
You should also be aware of eligibility requirements. To refinance with Laurel Road, the student for whom the original loans were taken out must have graduated and be in their final semester holding a signed employment contract — an associate degree is acceptable for certain health care professionals.
Applicants must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and you’ll need to meet Laurel Road’s underwriting criteria, which considers factors like your credit score and debt-to-income ratio.
Like many other student loan refinancing options, Laurel Road has both positive and negative aspects to consider. First, here’s what we like best about refinancing student loans with Laurel Road:
If you’re trying to refinance to lower your interest rate, Laurel Road could be a smart option. Both its variable and fixed rates are competitive, and these lower rates could save you significant interest.
For college graduates and parents, APRs range from 1.89% – 5.90% for variable rates, or 2.50% – 6.00% for fixed rates .
The lender charges no fees to apply for, originate or process your student loan refinance. Plus, Laurel Road offers an interest rate discount of 0.25 percentage points when you authorize it to collect monthly payments through automatic withdrawals.
On top of its autopay discount, Laurel Road also provides an additional reduction if you open an in-house savings account. You’d receive an introductory rate discount of 0.25% percentage points for your first two months of repayment, and your rate could drop further the more you sock away in the account.
|Savings account balance||Introductory APR discount||Ongoing APR discount|
|$20,000 or more||0.25%||0.55%|
You don’t have to guess whether this lender can offer you the best deal either. Visit Laurel Road’s site, and you can request a customized rate estimate based on your specific student loans and credit background. These rate offers are generated with a soft credit check, so they won’t damage your credit.
If you’re refinancing federal student loans, know that doing so will convert them into private loans. You’ll lose access to federal borrower protections such as deferment or forbearance and income-driven repayment plans.
Still, some private lenders — including Laurel Road — do offer protections in case hard times hit. For example, in the case of recent graduates who refinance before their student loan grace period is up, Laurel Road commits to honoring that grace period and delaying payments until it’s over.
Medical students are also in luck: During residency or fellowship — and for the six-month grace period after it — you’re only responsible for $100 monthly payments.
If you struggle in repayment after leaving school, Laurel Road offers a forbearance feature to postpone your monthly payments for up to three months at a time. However, you can’t exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan.
Laurel Road will also forgive the total amount of your refinanced student loan should you die or become permanently disabled, something that most but not all student lenders offer. These protections offer peace of mind in case the worst happens.
|Laurel Road reviews repayment safeguards during the COVID-19 pandemic|
|The lender expanded its repayment protections for borrowers struggling with payments during the coronavirus pandemic. Borrowers could postpone monthly dues for three months at a time, though interest continued to accrue onto their balances.|
No lender can meet every applicant’s needs. Based on Laurel Road student loan refinancing reviews, here’s what you should consider before deciding whether to complete an application.
Laurel Road states that it can offer its low rates because it works with well-qualified borrowers. Simply put, not everyone can or will get approved to refinance student loans with this lender. You’ll likely need good credit and a low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio (or a cosigner who fits that bill) for your Laurel Road application to get approved.
Unfortunately, however, this is true for most student loan refinance companies. In fact, Laurel Road’s credit requirements are not the strictest out there, but rather are in line with many competitors. Both Laurel Road and CommonBond, for example, require a minimum credit score of 660 as of the writing of this report.
If you hold anything less than a traditional four-year undergraduate degree, you might not be eligible either. Laurel Road reviews applications of associate degree holders who are working (or have received a job offer) in the following roles and fields:
|● Cardiovascular technologist
● Dental hygiene
● Diagnostic medical sonography
● EMT or paramedic
● Nuclear technician
● Occupational therapy assistant
|● Pharmacy technician
● Physical therapy assistant
● Radiation therapy
● Radiologic/MRI technologist
● Respiratory therapy
● Surgical technologist
If you have an associate degree but don’t have a qualifying career, consider a more accessible lender, such as Earnest.
If your credit isn’t strong enough to qualify, you will likely need to add a cosigner to have a chance of approval. Of course, finding a willing cosigner with good credit isn’t always easy, and including a cosigner always carries some risk.
On the plus side, Laurel Road may allow you to release your cosigner after making 36 on-time, consecutive monthly payments.
If you refinance your student loans with Laurel Road, keep in mind that your new debt can’t be deferred once you enter repayment.
Say you decide to return to school to finish up your degree or add a new diploma to your wall. In that case, you’d still be responsible for keeping pace with your monthly payments.
If scoring an in-school deferment option from a refinancing lender is important to you, consider competitors like CommonBond.
Many federal loan borrowers elect to refinance with a private lender as a way of ditching a federal loan servicer. If that’s at least partly your motivation, keep in mind that longtime federal loan servicer MOHELA manages the repayment of Laurel Road student loans.
For its part, MOHELA allows borrowers to change their monthly payment due date, which could prove useful in certain situations.
There are many banks, credit unions and online lenders to choose from for your student loan refinancing needs. Here’s how Laurel Road compares to two top competitors in the industry.
|Laurel Road||College Ave||SoFi|
|Products||● Student loan refinancing
● Parent PLUS Loan refinancing
● Medical resident refinancing
|● Student loan refinancing
● Parent PLUS Loan refinancing
|● Student loan refinancing
● Parent PLUS Loan refinancing
● Medical resident refinancing
|Eligibility requirements||● 660 credit score
● No minimum income requirement
● Citizenship or permanent residency
● Bachelor’s or advanced degree
● Associate degree-holders must be working in certain healthcare fields
|● 680 credit score
● $65,000 income
● Citizenship or permanent residency
● College degree
|● Good or excellent credit score
● No minimum income
● Non-permanent residents without eligible visas can apply with a permanent resident cosigner
|Interest rates||Variable starting at 1.89% and fixed starting at 2.50%||Variable starting at 2.94% and fixed starting at 2.99%||Variable starting at 1.74% and fixed starting at 3.49%|
|Minimum loan amount||$5,000||$5,000||$5,000|
|Repayment terms available||Up to 20 years||15 years||Up to 20 years|
|Apply with a cosigner||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Is refinancing student loans with Laurel Road right for you?
Ultimately, Laurel Road has a lot to offer borrowers. It can be a particularly smart choice for parents and medical students in residency or fellowship.
This Laurel Road student loan refinancing review is a great starting point, but it’s always worthwhile to explore all your options. To find a lender that offers the features and terms most important to you, start by trying out our student loan refinancing marketplace.
Previously known as solely a source of student loan refinancing, Laurel Road began advertising graduate student loans on its easy-to-use platform in 2019.
Laurel Road graduate student loans are a good fit for creditworthy borrowers in an eligible health care degree program who value repayment protections but don’t prioritize cosigner release (Laurel Road doesn’t provide that option). The lender could be especially helpful for students who find jobs soon after graduation, as Laurel Road offers a modest rate reduction for new employment.
Laurel Road limits its graduate loans to students enrolled at least half-time in eligible health care degree programs. You must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
If you can clear those hurdles, here’s what you could expect from Laurel Road loans:
|Basics||● Borrow as little as $5,000 and as much as your cost of attendance
● Fixed and variable interest rates available
|Applying||● Prequalify and check rates without affecting your credit
● Option to apply with a cosigner
● No application, origination or other fees
|Repayment||● Standard six-month grace period
● No prepayment penalties
● Score discounted rates if you enroll in autopay and/or if you’re employed after graduation
● Four in-school repayment options, including full deferment
● Repayment term options: 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years
● No option of cosigner release (if you apply with a cosigner)
|Support||● Option to postpone repayment if you suffer economic hardship, are impacted by a natural disaster
● Loan forgiveness in the case of the borrower’s death or permanent disability
If you’re borrowing for a graduate health care-related degree, Laurel Road is a lender worth your consideration. Here’s why.
Prequalification is risk-free
As you shop around for financing options, you can confirm your eligibility and check APRs without harming your credit. That makes considering Laurel Road a risk-free proposition.
The more formal application process, if you choose to proceed, would include a hard credit check. On the plus side, Laurel Road’s application is more streamlined, calling only for a photo ID and, if you have a cosigner, proof of income. (Your school would also be asked to certify the loan amount.)
Double-dip on APR discounts without incurring fees
If you go with Laurel Road as your lender, you could eventually lower the interest rate you initially were quoted. In fact, there are two ways to reduce your rate:
- Enroll in automatic payments and your APR will drop by 0.25 percentage points
- Show proof of employment after graduation and your APR could dip by another 0.25 percentage points
Lowering your rate by as much as 0.50 percentage points also doesn’t come at a cost. Refinancing is free, and Laurel Road doesn’t charge application or loan disbursement fees.
Potentially helpful repayment protections
Laurel Road offers the repayment flexibility synonymous with top-rated lenders. You have four in-school repayment options, for example, and can choose one of five repayment term lengths, too.
The lender also provides the safeguards that often come standard with its competitors, including the ability to pause your payments for three months at a time (12 months overall) due to an economic hardship or natural disaster. The lender also expanded its safety net for borrowers affected by the coronavirus pandemic starting in 2020.
Like with all other lenders, there are pros and cons of Laurel Road student loans. Here are a few cons to consider before you start an application.
Eligibility rules are narrow, exclude international students
Besides the fact that Laurel Road reviews your financials and limits borrowing to aspiring health care professionals, residency is also a major criteria. You must either be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident holding a valid I-551 card.
Of course, that leaves international students out of luck. If you aren’t a permanent resident in the U.S. or are just in the states for your degree program, consider more accessible lenders with international student loans.
You might score a lower rate elsewhere
Laurel Road might not be the best choice if you’re seeking a variable interest rate. As of June 2021, the lender’s variable rates were above those of some competitors which advertised APRs below 2.00%.
With that said, if you’re in the market for a fixed rate, you might find your best overall loan at Laurel Road. Its fixed APRs start at 3.10%.
No cosigner release program
You can apply with a cosigner for Laurel Road student loans, but the only ways to remove them from your loan agreement afterward would be to refinance the debt or pay it off in full. That’s because this online-only lender offers no pathway to cosigner release.
If you prefer a lender that offers this option, shop around our private student loan marketplace.
As you’re applying for private student loans, it’s wise to compare at least a few (ideally, a handful) of lenders. Here’s how Laurel Road stacks up with a couple industry competitors that might also be worth your consideration.
|Laurel Road||College Ave||SoFi|
|Loans for…||● Graduate students who are studying health care (including future nurses, physician assistants, doctors and dentists)||● Undergraduates and graduate students
● Career school students
● Business, law, medical and dental school
|● Undergraduate and graduate students
● Business and law school
|Interest rates||Variable starting at 3.00% and fixed starting at 3.10%||Variable starting at 1.99% and fixed starting at 3.99%||Variable starting at 2.59% and fixed starting at 4.60%|
|Ability to prequalify without affecting credit||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Borrowing amount||$5,000 to 100% of your cost of attendance||$1,000 to 100% of your cost of attendance||$5,000 to 100% of your cost of attendance|
|In-school repayment options||4||4||4|
|Repayment terms||5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years||5, 8, 10, 15 years||5, 10, 15 years|
|Cosigner release available||Yes — after 36 months of payments||Yes — after half the repayment term has elapsed||Yes — after 24 months of timely payments|
Note that you may have to expand your search to additional lenders to find the student loan you need. Check out top-rated lenders for your situation:
|Borrower||Programs||Other degrees||Personal situation||Lender feature|
|Part-time students||Community college||Associate degree||Applying without a cosigner||Credit unions|
|Adults returning to school||Trade school||Non-degree programs||Bad or no credit||Cosigner release|
|Graduate students||Nursing school||Economic hardship forbearance|
Because it’s free and easy to confirm your eligibility and review your rate options with Laurel Road, it’s a lender worth considering for your graduate degree financing needs. Just be sure you meet the lender’s strict eligibility requirements before going to the (little) trouble to prequalify.
Overall, Laurel Road’s discounts and repayment protections make it an attractive option. Keep in mind, though, that it’s not quite up to par with some competing lenders that may offer lower interest rates or at least a pathway toward cosigner release.
If you didn’t find your question answered in our Laurel Road reviews, see the following FAQs:
Is Laurel Road legit?
Yes, Laurel Road is a reputable lender that provides student loan refinance and new student loan options for creditworthy applicants who may apply with or without the backing of a cosigner.
How much can I borrow from Laurel Road?
You can refinance between $5,000 and $300,000 worth of education debt with Laurel Road. If you’re looking to borrow for your graduate degree, you can borrow from $5,000 up to 100% of your cost of attendance.
Are there any fees to refinance with Laurel Road?
Like with many top-rated lenders, refinancing is free with Laurel Road. The company doesn’t charge application or origination fees or prepayment penalties. It will only ding you in the case of late payments.
Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to Laurel Road student loans, which is current as of June 10, 2021, unless otherwise noted. None of the financial institutions named has either provided or reviewed the information shared in this article.