Refinance rates with Laurel Road start at 1.89%.
Checking your rates won’t affect your score.
The average college graduate leaves school with almost $30,000 in student loan debt. Over time, interest can substantially add to that burden.
Although refinancing may be a great choice for some borrowers, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your loan types and interest rates, refinancing isn’t always best.
We’ll look at the pros and cons of refinancing student loans and whether it would be good for you.
If you’re looking to save money, you might be able to get a lower interest rate and a shorter repayment term. If you need more breathing room in your budget, you could extend your repayment term to get a lower monthly payment.
Here are some situations where refinancing can make the most sense:
- You have private loans
- You have high-interest federal loans
- You have loans with a cosigner
- Your credit score has improved substantially
Private student loans tend to have higher interest rates and less forgiving repayment terms than federal loans. They also generally don’t offer protections common with federal loans, such as income-driven repayment plans or mandatory forbearance.
If you opted for a variable interest rate when you took out your loan, you could see APRs as high as 8.65% via lenders recommended by Student Loan Hero. Since variable interest rates can fluctuate, that also means your monthly payment could change several times over the life of your loan. If you don’t like how variable rates can affect your payments, you can also opt to refinance with a fixed-rate loan. The rate would be set for the length of your loan and your payments wouldn’t change.
To get a better handle on how much you could save by refinancing, try using our Student Loan Refinancing Calculator.
Depending on the type of federal student loans you took out, you might be paying a lot in interest. For example, if you went to graduate school and took out grad PLUS loans on or after July 1, 2019, and before July 1, 2020, your interest rate would be 7.08%. That interest rate can add significantly to the cost of your loan.
If you have good credit and earn a decent salary, you could potentially refinance your federal loans and get a lower interest rate. Some lenders offer refinancing loans with fixed APRs as low as 3.21% via lenders recommended by Student Loan Hero.
If you had $10,000 in PLUS loans with a 7.08% interest rate and took 10 years to pay off your debt, you’d pay $3,983 in interest. However, if you refinanced the loans and qualified for a 3.25% APR, you’d pay just $1,726 in interest — and you’d have a lower monthly payment. That switch would save you about $2,250, which you could use to pursue your other goals.
If a parent or loved one cosigned a student loan with you, they’re responsible for the debt if you fall behind on your payments. Your cosigner’s credit could be negatively impacted if you miss a payment, making it difficult or even impossible for them to get approved for any new credit, like a car loan or a mortgage.
To prevent these kinds of issues, you can refinance the loans in your name and release your cosigner from responsibility. If you want to help your loved one and can handle the debt on your own, refinancing can relieve them of responsibility. It could also reduce tensions between the two of you.
Your creditworthiness plays a big role in your ability to refinance your student loans at the best interest rate for you.
Suppose you’ve been working for a while and paying your accounts on time. There’s a good chance that your credit score may have improved over time. Depending on your income, credit score and other lender requirements, you may be able to refinance your student loans at a much better rate than you currently have.
As with anything else, it pays to shop around to make sure you get the lowest interest rate possible.
Here are some scenarios when refinancing might not be wise:
If you have federal student loans, you might qualify for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan if you can’t keep up with your payments. Under an IDR plan, your payment is capped at a percentage of your discretionary income — generally between 10% and 20% — and your repayment term is extended to 20 or 25 years, which could reduce your monthly bill.
An IDR plan can be a lifeline when you’re starting out on a small income. But if you refinance your federal loans with a private lender, you’ll lose this as an option. If you refinance and your income later decreases, your new lender might not be flexible about your payments.
One important thing to remember is that if you qualify for an IDR plan, you will have to recertify your income information each year. Your monthly repayment amount may vary depending on your reported income.
If you plan to spend your career in public service, such as by working for a nonprofit or a government agency, you could qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). After 10 years of qualified payments, the government could forgive your loans. Notably, though, less than 1% of applicants are seeing their loans wiped away, so take that into consideration.
If you refinance your debt, you’re no longer eligible for PSLF. The program only applies to federal loans. Even though refinancing can save you money right now, it could cost you thousands in the long run if you qualify for PSLF.
Meanwhile, if you are pursuing a career in education, you could have as much as $17,500 forgiven, depending on your specialty.
Everyone’s situation is unique when it comes to student loans.
Are there other times when refinancing might make sense? Yes. This includes:
- When you have multiple loans and want to worry about just one monthly payment
- When you are already paying more than the monthly minimum and want to pay off your loans quicker
And there are other times when refinancing might not make sense, including:
- When your credit score is too low and you can’t find a good cosigner
- When you won’t lower your interest all that much
- When you’re worried that your income could soon drop
Before refinancing, make sure you do your homework and understand how much you could save with each option. Then you can decide if the savings are worth the potential drawbacks.
Steve Santiago contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.88% – 6.15%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.88% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.88% – 5.64%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.85%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.39%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 5.25%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|2.13% – 5.25%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
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 June 1, 2021.
2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Interest Rate Disclosure
Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 2.59% APR to 5.79% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.88% APR to 5.64% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance 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 2.04% and 5.8% to the one month LIBOR. Earnest rate ranges are current as of 6/8/2021, and are subject to change based on market conditions.
Auto Pay Discount Disclosure
You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay.
Student Loan Refinancing Loan Cost Examples
These examples provide estimates based on payments beginning immediately upon loan disbursement. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 5.89% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,042.39. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 6.04% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,249.77. Your actual repayment terms may vary.Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest. com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
Earnest Loans are made by Earnest Operations LLC or One American Bank, Member FDIC. Earnest Operations LLC, NMLS #1204917. 535 Mission St., Suite 1663, San Francisco, CA 94105. California Financing Law License 6054788. Visit earnest.com/licenses for a full list of licensed states. For California residents (Student Loan Refinance Only): Loans will be arranged or made pursuant to a California Financing Law License.
One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC with support from Navient Solutions LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
© 2021 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved.
3 Important Disclosures for Navient.
4 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
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.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates from 2.74% APR to 6.74% APR (with autopay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.39% APR (with autopay). All variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR and may increase after consummation if LIBOR increases; see more at SoFi.com/legal/#1. If approved for a loan your rate will depend on a variety of factors such as your credit profile, your application and your selected loan terms. Your rate will be within the ranges of rates listed above. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or may become available, such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license #6054612; NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Additional terms and conditions apply; see SoFi.com/eligibility for details. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
6 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.
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 04/07/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
7 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.
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.
8 Important Disclosures for PenFed.
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 2.13%-5.25% 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.