Student Loans in Michigan: Debt Stats, Repayment Programs and Refinancing Loans

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Refinance rates with Laurel Road start at 1.89%.

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Michigan borrowers carry an average federal and private student loan debt balance of $33,487, which is 9% less than the U.S. average of $36,689. However, Great Lakes State borrowers still face a considerable average monthly loan payment of $250.

In September, the state announced the Futures for Frontliners program, which offers tuition-free community college for frontline workers who served between April and June amid stay-home orders due to the coronavirus crisis.

Michigan also provides a handful of scholarship and grant programs, as well as a state-sponsored student loan repayment program, to help make the cost of education manageable. Here’s what else you should know about student loans in Michigan.

Student loans in Michigan: Borrowers owe average of $33,487 in federal, private debt — and more facts

To help keep postsecondary education costs low, Michigan students have the option of attending one of the nearly 30 campuses in the state’s community college system. The state is also home to prominent four-year public universities, including:

  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan State University
  • Western Michigan University

Students can also consider Michigan’s private colleges and universities, with more than 30 campuses from which to choose, including:

  • Concordia University
  • Rochester College
  • Kalamazoo College

As briefly noted, eligible Michigan residents without high school or college degrees who were frontline workers between April and June 2020 can apply for the Futures for Frontliners program. This is open to a range of essential workers, from health care and public works personnel to grocery store clerks and laundromat workers. Recipients will receive free tuition at a state community college to pursue an associate degree or certificate.

The University of Michigan also offers a tuition-free program through its Go Blue Guarantee. It’s available to in-state residents with a household income of up to $65,000 and assets valued below $50,000. Simply apply to the university and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid to be considered. Admitted students who qualify will be automatically awarded.

Students who are ineligible for these free-tuition programs or need additional funding for school might decide to borrow federal or private student loans as an alternative.

Student loan debt in Michigan’s largest counties, from Genesee to Wayne

Student loan debt by ZIP code in Michigan’s largest city: Detroit

Loan repayment programs for Michigan residents

Loan repayment programs available to Michigan residents can help lower overall education costs after graduation. Here are a few state and federal programs available to Michigan borrowers.

Michigan State Loan Repayment Program (MSLRP)

The MSLRP is available to Michigan-based primary medical, dental and mental health professionals. It offers up to $200,000 in loan repayment over an up to eight-year period. Workers must commit to consecutive two-year service contracts at a nonprofit clinic within a health professional shortage area. Health workers at qualified sites are required to serve a minimum of 40 hours a week for at least 45 weeks a year.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

PSLF is a federal program that’s available to eligible Michigan borrowers who are employed in the public sector. To be eligible, borrowers must:

  • Be employed full time at a qualifying employer, such as a government agency or nonprofit organization
  • Have federal direct loans
  • Enroll in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan
  • Make 120 qualifying payments

After at least 10 years of qualifying payments have been fulfilled, the remaining direct loan balance is forgiven.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Through the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program, Michigan educators can receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness toward direct and Stafford loans. To be eligible, teachers in the state must commit to five years of full-time, consecutive service in a low-income school or educational service agency, in addition to other requirements. The $17,500 maximum is available only to qualified math, science or special education teachers.

University of Michigan Law School loan repayment assistance program

Graduates of the University of Michigan Law School can apply for its loan repayment assistance program. It requires borrowers with federal direct loans to enroll in an income-based repayment (IBR) plan, which could be as low as $0 a month. Graduates, who would receive IBR stipends, must apply for the loan repayment assistance program annually.

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

How to refinance student loans in Michigan

Seven percent of borrowers in Michigan owe $100,000 or more in federal student loans. Residents struggling with six-figure debt can consider student loan refinancing to ease that burden.

Student loan refinancing takes a borrower’s existing loans — which could include federal or private loans, or a mix of both — and combines them into one new loan. The refinancing lender repays the original loan(s), and offers borrowers a loan with new terms and — ideally — a lower fixed interest rate.

Banks, credit unions, online institutions and private lenders offer refinanced loans. For example, Michigan First Credit Union provides its members with student loan refinancing up to $30,000.

Think twice before refinancing your federal loans, though. When you refinance federal student loans into a private loan, you’ll lose access to helpful government perks (loan forgiveness) and protections (income-driven repayment). You’ll also generally lose forbearance options, though some private lenders do offer this.

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
  • mappingstudentdebtorg

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

1.99% – 6.84%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.91% – 5.25%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.25% – 6.53%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.17% – 4.47%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit PenFed

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 CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

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.


4 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.


5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: 1. Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.99% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.53% 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 0.12% plus 2.38% 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.

6 Important Disclosures for PenFed.

PenFed Disclosures

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 2.99%-5.15% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.17%-4.47% 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.