Dear Student Loan Hero,
I’ve read all about student loan refinancing, but one thing keeps tripping me up: it seems that some lenders won’t refinance my debt because I have only an associate’s degree, not a bachelor’s. Are there any refinancing companies out there that don’t have this unfair rule in place?
Dear Student Loan Borrower,
The underwriting teams at banks, credit unions and online-only companies rely on similar sets of criteria when deciding to approve or deny student loan refinancing applications. Some of those criteria, like the one you mentioned, can seem out of date.
An associate’s degree, after all, could be just as sure of a step toward financial stability as a bachelor’s. Seek out lenders sharing that mindset.
But note that lenders who don’t mind which degree you earned might still be concerned with where you went to school. For example, you’re a safer bet to qualify with Earnest if you attended a college or university that accesses federal student aid.
Without a bachelor’s degree, a lender might also insist on you clearing another hurdle to gain approval for refinancing. For instance:
- Citizens Bank requires you to have made 12 on-time, qualifying payments before you can apply.
- Laurel Road and Splash Financial lend to associate’s degree-holders, but only if you work in one of a dozen-plus health care jobs.
- Among state-run refinancing programs, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority is especially accessible, but the maximum loan amount you could refinance would likely be smaller than it would be for a bachelor’s degree-holder.
In this very column, we’ve covered how to refinance student loans without a degree. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly possible.
Fortunately, refinancing also remains an option for associate’s degree holders who didn’t finish a traditional four-year program, or didn’t attend one at all.
Good luck in life and repayment,
Student Loan Hero
Read more in the Ask a Hero series.