Refinancing can be a huge help when you have student loan debt. You can consolidate all of your debt into one payment, reduce your interest rate, get a lower monthly payment, and pay off your loans faster.
You can end up saving hundreds or even thousands over the length of your repayment term, freeing up more cash for other goals.
But if a lender rejects your application, it’s easy to feel disheartened or hopeless. However, just because one lender turned you down doesn’t mean you can’t refinance. There are other options that can help you recover from your rejected student loan refinance application and take control of your debt.
What to do if a lender denies your application
While refinancing can be a great tool for managing student loan debt, no one is guaranteed to get a new loan. Refinancing companies have eligibility requirements applicants must meet before they can get a loan. If you’re turned down by one, you might be able to work with another company or apply in the future, depending on your situation.
These steps can help you decide how to move forward — and help you find an alternative.
1. Find out why
When a lender denies you, they must notify you of the reason why your rejected student loan refinance application didn’t go through. Every lender has different criteria, so ensure you check the rejection letter carefully. Some of the most common reasons are:
- Income is too low: Refinancing companies want to see that you can afford your payments. If your loan balance is too high relative to your income, that makes them nervous. Refinancing can be difficult for people who are unemployed or have a low-paying job.
- Debt-to-income ratio is too high: If your overall debt-to-income ratio, which includes other debts like a mortgage or credit cards, is too high, lenders will be afraid to work with you. Too many obligations can indicate that you might be pressed for cash.
- Insufficient employment history: Lenders want steady employment or a lucrative new job offer. Without qualifying employment, getting a loan will be difficult.
- History of missed payments: It’s easy to forget to make a payment, but if you’ve missed some, several lenders will question your reliability.
- Low credit score: Most companies require you to have a credit score of at least 660, if not higher. If your score is lower than that, you might be ineligible for refinancing.
2. Shop around at other lenders
Once you know the reason why a lender turned you down, check out other companies. While one lender might have very stringent requirements, others might be more relaxed.
For example, many lenders require you to have a credit score of at least 680, but there are exceptions. SoFi is one of the few companies that will work with people with lower credit scores — their minimum score is just 650.
Even if you have a lower-paying job, you might still be able to get a loan. While some require a minimum income of $75,000, lenders like LendKey and Citizens Bank only ask that you make at least $24,000 a year.
There are several companies that let you complete a pre-application with a soft credit inquiry, so you can find out if you’re a good candidate without damaging your credit score. You can find out if you’re eligible and get an estimate on your rates in as little as two minutes.
If you’ve been turned down, it can be worthwhile to check other lenders and see if they’ll work with you.
3. Get a cosigner
If you shopped around and still can’t find a lender to approve your application, you might consider adding a cosigner.
A cosigner — often a relative or close friend — should have a better credit history and higher credit score than you. They’ll add themselves to your loan as a guarantee. You can typically get a loan with a lower interest rate by adding a cosigner.
Cosigners share responsibility for your loan. If you were to fall behind on your payments, the cosigner would have to make them for you. Applications with a cosigner are less risky to a lender, so they are more likely to approve your application.
If you cannot get a loan on your own, ask a relative or friend to cosign the loan with you. It’s a big step and something you should not take lightly. But if you’re disciplined about your debt, adding a cosigner can help you refinance and save money.
If you can’t get a refinancing loan
If you can’t find a cosigner or are otherwise unable to get a refinancing loan, don’t give up. Take steps to improve your situation and make your application more competitive. By boosting your credit score or earning more money, you may be able to refinance in just a few months.
1. Increase your income
If you’ve been doing good work at your job and are underpaid, consider asking for a raise. Check out sites like PayScale to see what other professionals at your level make and ask for a salary closer to that amount.
If a pay increase isn’t in the cards, launching a side hustle can be a good option. You can earn extra income in your free time, which you can use to pay down debt or save for other goals. Some refinancing companies will include income from a second job in their review of your application, so a side gig can boost your chances of getting a loan.
2. Pay down debt
If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, start putting whatever extra money you have towards your debt. Even small extra payments can help you save over time and reduce your balance.
If money is tight, track your spending for one month. You may be surprised at how much you spend on non-essentials. When you know where all of your money is going, you can begin to make cuts. Even minor changes like cutting cable can help you find extra money to pay down debt.
3. Set up automatic payments
If missed payments are ruining your credit, there’s an easy solution. Set up automatic payments for all of your recurring bills, including rent, utilities, cable, car payments, or insurance. Doing so will ensure you don’t miss another payment, which can help improve your credit score.
4. Check your credit report
If a lender rejected you because of your credit score, make sure your credit report is accurate. You can check it for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. Review it regularly for errors, fraudulent accounts, or other issues. By identifying and contesting any mistakes, you can bolster your score quickly.
5. Consider a credit building loan
For those who have little to no credit history, getting a loan can be near impossible. It can be difficult to build your credit since many credit card companies and lenders won’t work with you.
One option that can help build your credit history is a credit builder loan. These types of loans allow you to take out a short-term loan. The money is set aside for you in a savings account or certificate of deposit account (CD) for a set time period (like 12 months).
You make payments for 12 months until you have paid back the loan amount. After that, the company releases the savings or CD account to you. Along the way, the company reports to the credit bureaus that you’ve made timely payments, which boosts your score. It’s a safe way to build your credit without a lot of risk.
Refinancing your loans
A rejected student loan refinance application can be discouraging when you’re struggling to manage your debt. But one denial doesn’t mean refinancing your loans and getting a lower interest rate is impossible. Make sure you know why the lender rejected you and shop around with other lenders. You have more options than you think.
If you’re ready to refinance your debt, check out the top lenders who can help you take control of your student loans.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|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 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. 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. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 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.
5 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 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.57% – 6.97%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.68% – 8.77%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.24% – 6.66%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.61% – 7.35%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.01% – 9.75%6||Undergrad & Graduate|