Refinance rates with Laurel Road start at 1.89%.
Checking your rates won’t affect your score.
Montana borrowers have an average federal and private student loan balance of $30,866, 16% less than the national average of $36,689.
However, college can be prohibitively expensive for many students. Montana has options to help students reduce the cost of attending college, including scholarships and tuition waivers. Meanwhile, student loan debtors may get relief through state or federal forgiveness and repayment assistance.
If you need help managing your Montana student loans, here’s what you should know about your available options.
In Montana, 100,000 student loan borrowers owe a combined $4.2 billion. Borrowers, on average, owe $30,866 in federal and private student loans. With that balance, the typical loan payment is $251 a month, which could be a significant amount of a borrower’s paycheck.
While Montana has a relatively low average student loan balance — 39th in the country — the state also has lower wages, potentially making it more difficult for you to afford payments. The median household income in the state is $54,970, 13% lower than the national median household income of $62,843.
Montana — often referred to as Big Sky Country — is known for its stunning scenery and vast national parks. If you’re considering attending school in the state, here are a few things you should know first:
- There are multiple public school options: Attending a public university could be an excellent way to save money. There are 16 colleges and universities in the Montana University System network of public schools, including four-year schools and two-year community colleges.
- Montana has several private colleges: If you’d prefer a private school due to the class sizes or financial aid opportunities, Montana is home to several well-respected schools, including Rocky Mountain College, Carroll College and the University of Providence.
- There is a state-specific work-study program: Separate from the federal work-study program, Montana Work Study is a financial aid initiative that awards opportunities to students with financial need. If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid an hourly wage based on the job’s required skills to help cover education expenses.
- Montana has several scholarship programs: There are multiple merit-based state scholarships that students can use to pay for public school. Scholarships are available for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students, high-achieving honor students and students who plan to enroll in community college and later transfer to a four-year school.
- Some students can qualify for tuition waivers: Eligible students may qualify for tuition waivers, which help cover the remaining costs of attendance at a public university after deducting all other grants and scholarships received. There are tuition waivers for members of Native American tribes, National Guard members, honorably discharged veterans, surviving dependents of Montana firefighters and police officers and children whose parents died while serving active duty in the U.S. military.
The state of Montana has several programs that provide student loan repayment assistance to eligible borrowers as a means of recruiting skilled professionals. Some borrowers may also be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness programs.
Licensed registered nurses may be eligible for up to $3,750 a year for four years — or $15,000 total — through the Montana Institutional Nursing Incentive Program, which helps repay federal or private student loans. To qualify, applicants must work full time for a Montana state hospital or prison.
Through the MRPIP, eligible physicians with valid medical licenses can receive up to $150,000 in student loan repayment assistance in return for five years working in rural or medically underserved areas.
The state operates the Montana SLRP with funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, which is matched by state and community funds. Primary care providers who agree to work for two years full time or four years part time in a designated health professional shortage area may receive up to $15,000 a year. Borrowers may be able to apply for two one-year continuations.
A federal loan forgiveness program, PSLF provides loan discharge to borrowers who work for qualifying nonprofit organizations or government agencies for 10 years while making 120 payments on their loans. Only federal loan borrowers are eligible for PSLF.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness is also a program for federal loan borrowers. You must work for five consecutive academic years in an educational service agency low-income school or a school serving a lower-income community to qualify. Eligible special education and secondary mathematics or science teachers could receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness. Teachers in other subjects could receive up to $5,000.
Montana federal student loan borrowers younger than 25 owe less than national average — plus a look at payment status
In Montana, nearly 6% of borrowers owe $100,000 or more in federal student loans — which doesn’t even account for money borrowed from private lenders.
With such a large balance, interest can accrue rapidly, especially for those who graduated with high-interest loans. As of 2019, some private student loans had interest rates as high as 14.24%, while some federal loans disbursed before July 1, 2019, were as high as 7.6%.
See how interest rates affect loans with Student Loan Hero’s student loan repayment calculator.
If you have loans with high interest rates, student loan refinancing can be a smart way to save money and accelerate debt repayment. When you refinance, you take out a loan from a private lender to cover existing federal or private student loans. The new loan has different terms, and applicants with good credit may qualify for lower interest rates.
Montana doesn’t have state-specific refinancing programs, but many student loan refinancing lenders work with borrowers in the state.
A word of caution: There are drawbacks to refinancing federal loans. Once you refinance your federal debt, you lose eligibility for federal benefits, such as income-driven repayment plans, loan forgiveness and forbearance. Some lenders have financial hardship forbearance programs, but they are typically shorter in duration than federal programs.
- 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
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 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.88% – 6.15%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.88% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 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 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 2.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.88% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% 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 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.
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.