Refinancing with Earnest
Refinancing rates from 2.50% APR. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.
As a student loan borrower, you might feel stuck with the repayment terms and rates you were offered as a student. The reality is that student loan refinancing gives you options — whether it’s getting a better interest rate, changing your student loan terms, or switching to a different lender.
If you’re interested in refinancing student loans, choosing the right lender can ensure you get the full benefits.
One student loan refinancing lender is Laurel Road, the online lending division of Darien Rowayton Bank. Laurel Road was previously known as DRB student loan refinancing, up until a rebranding in June 2017.
While it has a new name, Laurel Road has remained a top lender for student loan refinancing. In our Laurel Road review, we’ll see how this lender stacks up.
Laurel Road student loan refinancing review: The basics
For borrowers considering refinancing their student loans, shopping around and comparing lenders will help them find the best deal. Here’s an overview of the features and terms offered for Laurel Road student loan refinancing:
- Refinancing options: Laurel Road offers general student loan refinancing, as well as refinancing for Parent PLUS loans and an option designed for medical school graduates completing a residency or fellowship.
- Rates and fees: You can opt for a variable or fixed interest rate. APRs range from 2.50% – 6.65% for variable rates, or 3.50% – 7.02% for fixed rates. Pay no application, origination, or disbursement fees.
- Loan terms and amounts: Student loan terms can run from one year up to 20 years, and you can refinance any amount above $5,000 (upon meeting underwriting criteria).
- Eligibility requirements: To be eligible to refinance with Laurel Road, the student for whom the original loans were taken out must have graduated and completed at least an undergraduate degree. Applicants must also be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and meet Laurel Road’s underwriting criteria, which considers factors “such as your credit profile, monthly income, and monthly debt payments,” according to the lender’s FAQ page.
- Additional features: Laurel Road provides the option to add a cosigner to your student loan refinancing application. It also offers forbearance for qualifying economic hardships, such as a job loss, as well as student loan forgiveness in the case of death or permanent disability.
What we like about Laurel Road student loan refinancing
You’ve had a preview of the student loan refinancing options Laurel Road offers. But is it the right lender for you? Only you can know for sure, but here’s what we like best about refinancing student loans with Laurel Road.
Flexible refinancing options
Laurel Road forgoes a one-size-fits-all approach and instead offers borrowers a tailored solution for student loan refinancing. The terms and limits on Laurel Road are more flexible than many other lenders, allowing you to refinance student loans in a way that makes sense for you.
The lender has no limits on the amount you can refinance with them, for example. It can lend to borrowers in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and even Puerto Rico. On top of this, it offers several standard terms for student loan refinancing of 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years.
But what if you want a term shorter than 5 years, or a term of 12 years to get the right monthly payment amounts for your budget? Laurel Road states it can offer any term of fewer than 20 years that satisfies its underwriting criteria. To do so, complete an application by selecting a standard term, and then contact the lender to discuss adjusting it to better fit your needs.
Another feature that allows Laurel Road to work with more borrowers is the option to add a cosigner when applying. This can be helpful if you’re not sure you’d qualify on your own, or simply want the help of your cosigner’s great credit to get a better refinancing rate.
Low rates and no fees
If you’re trying to refinance in order to lower your interest rate, Laurel Road can be a smart option. Both its variable and fixed rates are competitive, and these lower rates save a typical Laurel Road borrower just over $20,000 on average over the life of their student loans, according to the lender’s site.
The lender charges no fees to apply for, originate, or process your student loan refinance. Plus, Laurel Road offers a 0.25% interest rate discount when you authorize it to collect monthly payments through automatic withdrawals.
You don’t have to guess about 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.
Clear borrower protections
If you’re refinancing federal student loans, know that doing so will convert them into private student loans. This means you’ll lose access to federal borrower protections such as deferment, forbearance, or income-driven repayment plans.
Yet some private lenders, including Laurel Road, do offer some perks and protections in case hard times hit. For recent graduates who refinance before their student loan grace period is up, for example, Laurel Road commits to honoring that grace period and delaying payments until it’s over.
Laurel Road also 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.
Additionally, Laurel Road will forgive the total amount of your refinanced student loan should you die or become permanently disabled. Combined, these protections offer more peace of mind than what you’d get with some private lenders.
What to keep in mind about Laurel Road student loan refinancing
No lender can meet every applicant’s needs. Based on our Laurel Road student loan refinancing review, here’s what borrowers should consider about this lender and their own situation before deciding whether to complete an application.
Not everyone can get approved
Laurel Road does state 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 ratio (or a cosigner who fits that bill) for your Laurel Road application to get approved.
Unfortunately, this is true for most student loan refinance companies. In fact, Laurel Road’s credit requirements are not the strictest out there and are in line with many competitors. Both Laurel Road and Earnest, for example, require a minimum credit score of 660.
You might need a cosigner
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.
If you want a cosigner release at some point down the line, you might have better options than Laurel Road. The lender does not offer a formal cosigner release option, and requests to release a cosigner are handled on a case-by-case basis. That’s less favorable than other lender policies such as Citizens Bank, which allows cosigner release after the borrower has made 36 on-time, consecutive monthly payments.
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 medical students in residency or fellowship, as well as parents looking to refinance loans they took out for their child’s education.
This Laurel Road student loan refinancing review is a great starting point, but it’s always worthwhile to explore all your options and find a lender that offers the features and terms most important to you. Use our student loan refinancing marketplace to easily review important details and compare our recommended lenders.
Melanie Lockert contributed to this article.
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 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% 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 email@example.com, 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 2.49% effective March 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.50% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.81% – 8.79%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.55% – 7.12%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.00% – 9.74%6||Undergrad & Graduate|