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With the highest mean elevation of any state, Colorado is home to over 1,000 peaks in the Rocky Mountain range. But the Centennial State isn’t just known for hiking and skiing — it’s also home to more than 60 colleges and universities serving 200,000-plus students.
If you’re heading to the University of Denver, the University of Colorado Boulder or another Colorado college, you might be searching for options to pay for school. And while grants and scholarships are the best way to go, you might also need to take out student loans to cover costs.
Read on to learn about all your options for borrowing student loans in Colorado. And if you already have loans, keep scrolling to learn how student loan refinancing could help you save money on your repayment.
|Colorado Student Debt: At a Glance|
|Average debt upon graduation||$26,530|
|Percent of students who graduate with debt||52|
|National ranking for average debt upon graduation||36|
|National average debt upon graduation (Class of 2017)||$39,400|
|Info current as of 2015-16 school year, except when noted
Source: The Institute for College Access & Success
How to get Colorado student loans
The state of Colorado doesn’t have its own student loan program, but it does offer need-based grants, work-study and tuition assistance to qualifying students. Check out Colorado’s Department of Higher Education for more on state-based grants.
With no Colorado state loans, residents and out-of-state students alike have two main options for student loans: federal or private. Once you’ve exhausted your options for scholarships and other free aid, here’s where to head for student loans.
Federal student loans
Your first stop should be Federal Student Aid, the part of the Department of Education that manages the government’s financial aid program. To qualify for federal student loans and other financial aid, you’ll need to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
There are two main types of federal student loans for undergraduate students, subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized loans go to those with financial need, and they don’t accrue interest until six months after you leave school. But anyone can borrow unsubsidized loans as long as they’re attending an eligible school, but these begin racking up interest immediately.
Both of these loans come with relatively low fixed interest rates of 5.05% for undergraduates for the 2018-19 school year, and they’re eligible for many federal protections, including income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, deferment and forbearance, and federal loan forgiveness programs.
But these federal student loans come with borrowing limits, so you might still have a gap in funding after you borrow. In this case, you have a couple of options. First, your parents could borrow a parent PLUS loan, which comes with a 7.60% rate for 2018-19 and essentially has no limit.
Or you could try to get a better offer from a private lender.
Note that graduate students can also borrow PLUS loans up to the cost of attendance of their school. But before you borrow a PLUS loan as a graduate student or parent, you might want to explore your options for private student loans to see if you can get a lower rate.
Private student loans
Once you’ve run through all your federal student loan options, you could consider a private student loan from a bank, credit union or online lender.
Unlike federal student loans, you’ll need to pass a credit check to qualify. Most undergraduate students can’t meet credit and income requirements on their own, so they apply with a cosigner, such as a parent. Your cosigner will be equally responsible for your debt, so make sure you’re on the same page about who’s responsible for repayment.
Unlike federal student loans, private loans can come with fixed or variable rates. You often have a choice when you borrow, and you can choose repayment terms, often ranging between five and 20 years.
Most lenders offer a grace period to college students, but they often don’t have the same flexibility when it comes to repayment as the federal government. For instance, private lenders don’t typically offer IDR plans, and only a few allow for deferment or forbearance.
What’s more, private student loans aren’t eligible for federal forgiveness programs, though they might qualify for some student loan repayment assistance programs. Make sure you understand the differences between private and federal student loans before borrowing from a private lender.
If you decide to borrow, though, check out these providers of private student loans in Colorado.
- Credit Union of Colorado
- Finances student loans of up to $10,000 a year for a maximum of $70,000
- Offers APRs starting at 8.25% as of Oct. 12, 2018
- Elevations Credit Union
- Partners with Sallie Mae to provide the Smart Option Student Loan
- Offers variable rates from 2.87% to 11.85%
- Ent Credit Union
- Connects borrowers with the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan
- Finances loans up to the cost of attendance of your school
- Vectra Bank Colorado
- Works with Sallie Mae to provide the Smart Option Student Loan
- Offers variable rates from 2.87% to 11.85%
- Citizens Bank
- Finances undergraduate loans up to $100,000
- Annual rates from 2.80% to 12.19%
- College Ave Student Loans
- Finances student loans starting at $1,000
- Offers student loan repayment terms of five, eight, 10 or 15 years
- Has rates from 2.62% to 6.25%
Each lender sets its terms and conditions, so it’s a good idea to shop around. Look for factors such as low interest rates, good customer reviews and flexible repayment options before choosing a loan provider, and check out our private student loan marketplace for more choices.
How to refinance Colorado loans
The average Colorado student graduated owing $26,530 in 2017. This amount of debt is a lot to manage when you’re starting in the workforce after graduation. On a 10-year plan at a 5.50% interest rate, for instance, you’d be facing monthly payments of $288.
If you left school with debt, you might be looking for strategies to manage it better. Student loan refinance is one option, since it could combine multiple loans into one and get you a lower interest rate.
Refinancing can also allow you to choose new repayment terms. A shorter term would let you pay off your debt faster and save money on interest. A longer term, though, could be helpful if you want to make your monthly payments more affordable. And, remember, you can always make extra payments without penalty to get out of debt ahead of schedule.
To qualify for refinancing, you’ll need a strong credit score and steady income. If you can’t qualify — or want to get an even more competitive rate — you could apply with a creditworthy cosigner. Note that some lenders offer cosigner release after a few years of on-time payment.
Before you refinance, note that this decision could have some downsides. You can refinance both private and federal student loans, but if you refinance federal loans, you turn them private. As a result, you’ll no longer be eligible for income-driven plans or federal forgiveness programs, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
If you’re worried about your ability to pay back a refinanced student loan, you probably shouldn’t sacrifice these federal protections. But if you’re confident you can keep up with payments, refinancing could simplify your debt repayment and get you a better deal.
Here’s a selection of reputable lenders for refinancing Colorado student loans, though you can also check our marketplace for more options.
- Ent Credit Union
- Provides a refinancing loan that consolidates multiple loans into one
- Offers repayment terms up to 120 months
- Partners with LendKey to provide student loan refinancing to qualifying borrowers
- Refinances up to $125,000 in undergraduate loans or up to $175,000 in graduate loans
- Offers variable rates starting at 5.75% as of Oct. 12, 2018
- Refinances student loans between $5,000 and $500,000
- Rates currently range from 1.85% to 6.45%
- Offers student loan refinancing loans of between $5,000 and $500,000
- Rates run from 1.99% to 6.99%
- Laurel Road
- Carries repayment terms of five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years
- Currently offering rates from 1.99% to 7.02%
- Refinances student loans starting at $5,000
- Current rates range from 2.31% to 7.36%
Since each refinancing provider has its own terms, compare your options from several before selecting one. That way, you can refinance your student loans at the best rates.
The bottom line: Student loans in Colorado
With some of the best hiking and mountain biking trails in the country, it’s no wonder Colorado is known as one of the healthiest states. And if you make smart choices with your student loans, you can make sure your personal finances stay in shape, too.
Although taking on too much student debt can be a major source of stress, borrowing a manageable amount could be what you need to earn your degree. Make sure you understand what you’re getting into and come up with a plan for repayment.
Whether you’re borrowing for the first time or refinancing student loans you already have, take time to compare all your options. By doing your due diligence, you can breathe easy knowing you’ve found a Colorado student loan with the best possible terms and conditions.
Note: Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to student loan interest rates and terms. The financial institutions mentioned have neither provided nor reviewed the information shared in this article prior to publish.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 8 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 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 3.20% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.89% 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 December 13, 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 12/13/2019. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
3 Important Disclosures for Figure.
Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.
4 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Disclosures
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.
4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
5 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
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. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.
For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS
Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).
Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.
All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.
For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.
The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.
The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.
POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS
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.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.
If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.
6 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.
7 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 1.76% effective November 10, 2019.
8 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 12/019/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.59% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
|1.99% – 6.89%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.31% – 7.36%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.06% – 6.81%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.62% – 6.12%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 6.65%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 7.06%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.85% – 6.13%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 8.59%8||Undergrad & Graduate|