The Ultimate Guide to Repaying Your New York Student Loans

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If you live in New York, you already know the high cost of, well, just about everything. But if you also studied there, then you have an even bigger battle to fight – paying off New York student loans.

The good news? You’re not alone in this struggle.

Over half of New York’s graduates are in debt, but there are many resources out there that can help them – and you – handle those New York state student loans.

The state of New York student loans

According to data from The Student Loan Report, students in the Empire State owe nearly $20,000 in student loan debt on average – $19,317, to be exact.

Students at private universities may pay even more. For example, 24/7 Wall Street reports that Columbia University graduates’ student debt clocks in at more than $55,000 per year.

Many public universities also have a high percentage of indebted graduates. Current numbers show anywhere from 53 to 89 percent of State University of New York graduates have student loan debt, depending on location.

Despite the above numbers, New York still has less student loan debt than other states. While the top 12 states with the most college debt have a minimum of 66 percent in debt, just 59 percent of New York graduates have student loan debt.

Helpful New York resources available to you

With over half the state’s graduates in debt, there are quite a few New York state student loan forgiveness programs. Just remember: Some forgiven student loan amounts may be subject to taxes – you’ll need to be prepared for that when tax season rolls around.

Now, let’s take a look at your forgiveness and repayment options to help you with your New York student loans.

1. Free tuition

If you’ve already graduated, skip this one. But if you’re in the middle of your education or just getting started, New York now offers free college tuition to eligible students attending State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) schools.

The program is called the Excelsior Scholarship, and you can apply for it here. Below are just a few of the eligibility requirements, according to the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation:

  • You must be a resident of New York for one year before the start of your first term.
  • Your income must be less than $100,000 and you must not be in default on any student loans.
  • Students must attend a SUNY or CUNY school full-time as an undergraduate.
    • If you’re not attending a SUNY or CUNY school, you must attend community or statutory colleges at Cornell or Alfred University full-time as an undergraduate.

This program is designed to supplement the gap between what you need and what you actually receive from federal grants. Therefore, you must submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) first and include that in your application.

2. Reasonable and affordable repayment plan

Many can already qualify for more affordable federal loan payments through income-driven repayment plans. But New York student loans are also eligible for their own “reasonable and affordable repayment plan.”

This plan is specifically for defaulted student loans. It enables you to partake in loan rehabilitation to get your student loans out of default.

Except, instead of paying the full amount due each month, you would pay an amount that was determined based on your income, family size, and residence or income and expenses. This is a nationwide plan but New Yorkers can find more information here.

3. New York State’s ‘Get on Your Feet’ Loan Forgiveness Program

The “Get on Your Feet” Program was recently announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. It’s available to anyone with a New York State undergraduate degree and an adjusted gross income of $50,000.

To be eligible, you must already participate in an Income-Based Repayment (IBR) or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan and have earned your degree after December 2014.

You can apply for this program year-round. If approved, 24 full monthly payments will be paid towards your student loans. That’s two years of student loan debt relief available to you as you look for work (or better work) and, as they say, get back on your feet. You can apply here.

4. New York State District Attorney and Indigent Legal Services Attorney Loan Forgiveness Program

Now we’re getting to the career-based programs. The first one is specifically for attorneys: The New York State District Attorney and Indigent Legal Services Attorney Loan Forgiveness Program.

You can apply for the program via the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation. Here are several of the requirements, according to their website:

  • You must have had your job as District Attorney, Assistant District Attorney, or Indigent Legal Services Attorney for at least four years but no more than nine years.
  • Employment must be full-time, which is at least 35 hours per week, and you must be a resident of New York.
  • You must not be in default on your student loans.

If selected for this award, you can receive up to $20,400, paid in annual amounts of up to $3,400.

5. New York State Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program

If you’re a social worker, you know how it feels to devote yourself to your work while asking for little in return. Luckily, if you also have New York student loans, you can find the help you need via the New York State Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program.

The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation outlines eligibility requirements here, but below are just a few you should know about:

  • Applicants are ineligible if they have any defaulted student loans.
  • They must be a resident of New York state for at least one year and licensed to practice in New York state as a social worker.
  • An applicant’s work must be “in a critical human service area” for a minimum of 35 hours each week.

If this sounds like you, you can check to see if the county you work in renders you eligible for the program here.

Recipients of this award receive up to $6,5000 per year for a maximum of $26,000. If your first or last year of the program is less than one year, you’ll receive a prorated disbursement based on the number of hours you worked.

6. New York State Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

Nursing is another line of work that requires a lot of dedication without any expectation of significant financial rewards. But nurses with New York student loans can receive financial assistance, thanks to the New York State Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program.

Like many of the other programs listed here, you can find more information via the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation. Here are several of the eligibility requirements mentioned:

  • Be a registered nurse with at least a master’s degree in nursing (or a qualified doctoral degree).
  • Have a license to practice in New York state and be a New York state resident for one full year.
  • Have clinical experience that happened while you were already a licensed registered nurse.
  • You must have qualified service, defined as, “employment as a nursing faculty member or as adjunct clinical faculty providing classroom or clinical instruction at a nursing school located in NYS for the equivalent of at least 12 credit hours during an annual period commencing July 1 and ending June 30.”

Nurses receiving this award qualify for up to $40,000, paid annually for up to $8,000.

7. New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program

What about full-time farmers living in New York and paying off student loans? Believe it or not, the state has a program to help you.

The New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program offers New York State student loan forgiveness for farmers who graduated in the past two years.

If that’s you, you must also have operated a New York state farm for one year and be willing to continue to do so for at least five more years.

Those who receive this award can receive up to $50,000, paid out in annual disbursements of up to $10,000.

8. Teach NYC Loan Forgiveness Program

Teaching is a hard job made even harder with the expense of a master’s degree. Luckily, teachers with New York student loans can get help from the Teach NYC Loan Forgiveness Program.

The program is a tax-free grant for the use of student loan repayment. Teach NYC lists many eligibility requirements, but below are some of the high-level requirements you need to know:

  • This grant is for new hires in New York City public schools.
  • This grant is for teachers and “pedagogic clinicians” in specific understaffed areas.
  • You must have the appropriate certifications for your work.
  • You must have served 10 months of “satisfactory service” in a designated area of need.

The award is capped at $24,000 and has a disbursement period of six years. You can apply here.

9. The Regents Physician Loan Forgiveness Award Program

There are multiple student loan forgiveness programs for physician assistants, but what about physicians? Physicians with New York state student loans have their very own student loan assistance program: The Regents Physician Loan Forgiveness Award Program.

The New York State Education Department has quite a few requirements, some of which are listed below:

  • To qualify, you must be licensed to practice in New York state, as well as a resident.
  • You must have completed your residency within five years of the first award being granted.
  • If you didn’t receive your residency by then, you must have completed your training in 2016 in either family practice, pediatrics, internal medicine, emergency medicine, or obstetrics.

And if you get the award? Here are a few highlights:

  • You can get up to $20,000, disbursed at $10,000 annually.
  • The funds should go towards your student loan repayment.
  • Available funds depend on the state funds available for this program that year.
  • You must practice in a specific area or population for the state during the year(s) you receive the award.
  • No matter how much you receive, you must serve for a minimum of two years.

10. New York National Guard

For military members battling student loan debt, there are a variety of military-based federal repayment and forgiveness plans. Many of these plans can be seen on the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation’s “Military Corner.”

However, if you’re a member of the New York National Guard, you have your own student loan repayment program. And it qualifies you for up to $50,000 of student loan repayment assistance.

The annual disbursement is maxed at $7,500 and is set to be the higher of these two: 15 percent of your original loan balance or $500. You can find more information on this program and apply here.

11. Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs) from your alma mater

Finally, if you’re not currently eligible for New York State student loan forgiveness, you might qualify for a loan repayment assistance program (LRAP) from your college.

To find out, simply go to your alma mater’s website and search for LRAP programs based on your major. You can also contact your school directly for more information.

For additional help on New York State student loan forgiveness, you can find a complete list of student loan forgiveness programs and another state-centric list here.

Statute of limitations on New York state student loans

If New York state student loan forgiveness programs don’t have anything to offer you and you’ve already defaulted on your New York student loans, there’s one more thing that might be able to help – the statute of limitations on debt.

Fun fact: There is a statute of limitations on most kinds of debt that prevents debt collectors from being able to successfully sue you for a judgment to collect on “old” debt.

What “old” means varies by debt type and state. And the statute of limitations on debt doesn’t mean debt collectors can stop trying to collect from you. It simply means they can’t sue you for it. Or, more specifically, they can’t sue you for repayment of the debt and win if you show up to court and prove that the statute of limitations has caused your debt to expire.

Otherwise known as “time-barred” debt, you can see what the statute of limitations on your debt is by state using this guide.

The bad news is that federal student loans are exempt from ever being considered time-barred debt. Thus, they aren’t eligible to expire under the statute of limitations on debt. A rule in The Higher Education Act is the reason for this exemption.

However, private student loans aren’t mentioned in this rule. And, as written contracts, they can be considered time-barred debt in New York once they’ve been in default for six years or longer.

Note that the statute of limitations refers to debt that’s in default. Therefore, if you make a payment on your defaulted debt (or agree to do so), you’ll reset the clock on the statute of limitations for your debt.

You have options if you’re struggling with New York student loans

Battling New York state student loans isn’t easy. After all, you could already be dealing with the high cost of your New York school’s tuition or even the high cost of living in New York City.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to get ahead. Just remember that you can do the following:

  • Contact your state representatives to lobby for changes. You can find a list of them here and here.
  • Take advantage of New York state student loan forgiveness programs such as those listed above.
  • Learn how to utilize the statute of limitations on debt.

Know your rights, research any and all assistance programs from the state or your alma mater, and stay on top of your student loan situation. You’ll be able to get ahead on your student loans and start spending time on the things you truly care about.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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1 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 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% 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 Month/Day/Year, 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 08/21/18. 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 hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent 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 Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 8.179% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.570% APR to 6.980% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 14, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.570% APR assumes the current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 0.740% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay 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. 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. *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. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

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.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.57%-8.17% (2.57%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. 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. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Estimated average savings amount is based on 14,659 Education Refinance Loan customers who saved on loans between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018. The calculation is derived by averaging monthly savings across Education Refinance Loan customers whose payment amounts decreased after refinancing, calculated by taking the monthly payment prior to refinancing minus the monthly payment after refinancing. We excluded monthly savings from customers that exceeded $4,375 and were lower than $20 to minimize risk of data error skewing the savings amounts. Savings will vary based on interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of loans to be refinanced. Borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if monthly payments are lower.

2.57% – 6.98%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 5.87%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.47% – 8.03%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.80% – 6.22%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 6.25%5Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.57% – 8.17%6Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.