New York Student Loans: Debt Stats, Repayment Programs and Refinancing Loans

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Refinancing with Laurel Road

Refinancing APRs starting at 1.89%. Checking your rates won’t affect your score.

Check out Laurel Road

Despite the state’s Excelsior Scholarship, which provides tuition-free college for qualified, middle-class New Yorkers, borrowers in New York carry an average balance of $35,638 — though that’s 3% lower than the average borrower in the U.S. ($36,689). Overall, there are 2.7 million student loan borrowers in New York, with debt totaling $99.8 billion.

In April, the state’s Department of Financial Services sought to offer relief for 300,000 borrowers with private student loans. It reached an agreement with New York’s private student loan industry to provide temporary relief similar to protections under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, including hardship-based forbearance.

New York borrowers also have had enhanced protections since 2019 through the state’s Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights, which enforces industry standards, such as requiring servicers to apply payments in a way that benefits borrowers. Here’s what else you should know about New York student loans.

New York student loans: Borrowers owe average of $35,638 in federal, private debt — and more facts


The amount of student loan debt that New York students can expect highly depends on the type of institution they attend. The state has two public college systems:

  • State University of New York (SUNY)
  • City University of New York (CUNY)

Students can choose to attend one of 64 SUNY campuses, such as the University at Albany, or 25 CUNY campuses, such as the College of Staten Island.

Beginning in 2017, New York’s Excelsior Scholarship offered tuition-free education to students completing two- or four-year degrees at SUNY or CUNY campuses. Students must meet program requirements, including income limits, state residency and course credit minimums, to be eligible. Due to the coronavirus crisis, awards might be reduced or prioritized for existing scholarship participants.

Students not interested in attending a SUNY or CUNY campus can explore the hundreds of private or for-profit colleges around the state. Some notable colleges in these groups include:

  • Colgate University
  • Cornell University
  • New York Film Academy

The state offers many grants and scholarship programs to help students with higher education costs. After exhausting these options, New Yorkers can consider federal or private student loans.

Student loan debt in New York’s largest counties, from Albany to Westchester

Student loan debt by ZIP code in New York’s 3 largest cities: New York, Buffalo and Rochester

Loan repayment programs for New York residents

New York offers numerous loan forgiveness and repayment programs to help qualified residents dramatically reduce their student debt.

Child Welfare Worker Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

The Child Welfare Worker Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program offers awards up to $10,000 a year for up to five years — for a maximum award total of $50,000. Borrowers must be employed at a licensed child welfare agency in New York, and have been a state resident for at least 12 consecutive months before applying. Parent PLUS loans aren’t eligible.

District Attorney and Indigent Legal Services Attorney Loan Forgiveness Program

District attorneys, assistant district attorneys or indigent legal services attorneys who’ve worked in the state may be eligible for a maximum program award of $20,400. Attorneys who are New York residents must have served full time for four to nine years. The $3,400 District Attorney and Indigent Legal Services Attorney Loan Forgiveness Program award is paid annually, based on qualified service years.

Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program

Recent New York graduates whose federal loans are on income-driven repayment plans might be eligible for forgiveness through the Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program. It offers up to 24 months of federal loan payment relief. Applicants must meet multiple eligibility criteria to qualify, including income, school and employer requirements. Payments are made directly to applicants’ loan servicers.

Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program

Full-time, licensed New York social workers can receive up to $6,500 in student loan forgiveness for each service year — for a maximum award of $26,000 — through the Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program. Social workers must serve at least 35 hours a week in fields such as home care, mental health or substance abuse. Parent PLUS loans aren’t eligible.

Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

The Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program offers up to $8,000 for each year of service, with a maximum award of $40,000. Recipients must meet service qualifications, have been a New York resident for 12 consecutive months and have earned a master’s degree in nursing or a doctoral degree as nursing or adjunct clinical faculty. Parent PLUS and Perkins loans aren’t eligible.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

Certified New York teachers can receive up to $5,000 a year in loan forgiveness — for a total of $20,000 over four years — through the state’s Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. Aside from being a New York resident for a minimum of 12 months, applicants must work full time as an elementary or secondary teacher in a subject shortage area or a district that’s considered “hard to staff.” Parent PLUS loans aren’t eligible.

Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

Recent New York graduates who want to pursue a farming career in the state can receive a $10,000 annual disbursement toward student loans. To qualify for the Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program, applicants must operate a farm in New York for at least five years and meet other eligibility requirements. The total lifetime award for this program is $50,000.

New Yorker borrowers can also consider federal student loan forgiveness options if they don’t qualify for state repayment programs.

New York federal student loan borrowers younger than 25 owe more than national average — and more comparisons

How to refinance student loans in New York

More than 8% of borrowers in New York owe $100,000 or more in student loans. Refinancing student loans can be a helpful way for them to reduce interest charges and overall student debt.

Student loan borrowers in New York can choose to refinance both federal and private loans into a refinanced loan through a private lender.

Refinancing can be advantageous for New Yorkers with a strong credit score. However, it also means losing out on federal repayment options, federal loan forgiveness programs and protections. So make sure to explore all available options.

Sources

  • U.S. Department of Education data as of June 30, 2020
  • Anonymized My LendingTree June 2020 credit reports
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax, as of June 2020
  • mappingstudentdebt.org

Because the latter data is from 2015, researchers estimated the increase in student loan debt per borrower in the state using statewide data from anonymized credit reports.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2021!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.89% – 5.99%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.99% – 5.64%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.91% – 5.25%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.25% – 6.88%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 5.90%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

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 Feburary 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 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.


4 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 7.33% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.88% 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 0.13% plus 2.37% 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.  

5 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 January 4, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.