Student Loan Refinance Companies with Job Loss Protection

 July 9, 2020
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Refinance Student Loan rates starting at 1.74% APR

1.74% to 8.70% 1
VARIABLE APR

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1.74% to 7.99% 2
VARIABLE APR

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4.44% to 8.09% 3
VARIABLE APR

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  • Variable APR

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When Rebecca Estelle was laid off, she got creative with her student loan repayment. Estelle called up her lender, SoFi, and was delighted to learn that it’s among the top student loan refinance companies for job loss protection. The online company offered a three-month break from payments, plus career-services support.

“I was just trying to think of some ways to take the pressure off as I was searching for employment,” Estelle told Student Loan Hero. “A lot of my friends weren’t aware that this program existed, but that’s not a bad thing to ask about when you’re searching around and looking for a refinancing source.”

Student loan refinancing with a shaky job status
4 student loan refinancing companies with job loss protection
Read the fine print before choosing a refinancing lender

Student loan refinancing with a shaky job status

If you’re looking for student loan refinance companies for job loss safeguards, you’re already ahead of the game. Many find that bad news has a way of coming out of nowhere. Estelle, for example, had worked for over a dozen years at Swedish technology company Ericsson when she found out in October 2017 that she was unemployed with student loans to repay.

Estelle admitted that she didn’t know about SoFi’s unemployment protection program when she chose the refinancing company to rework her parent PLUS loan. She was most concerned with savings (Estelle refinanced $16,537.45 that she had borrowed to send her daughter to the University of Texas at Austin, lowering her interest rate from 7.90% to 4.875%.)

But interest-rate savings and repayment-plan options are just a few of the many ways to evaluate lenders. If you’re considering refinancing your student loans, you’d be wise to ask lenders a simple question: Do you offer job loss protection if I suddenly lose my primary source of income?

4 student loan refinancing companies with job loss protection

Some lenders don’t offer many types of deferment or forbearance — the latter is the ability to press pause on your repayment because of economic hardship. You might think other lenders like SoFi go above and beyond your expectations.

Keep in that not all job loss protection policies are created equal, however. For each policy, you’ll want to review:

  • Eligibility requirements
  • The length of forbearance available
  • Whether it affects any plans to release a cosigner from your loan

Here are four lenders that could suit your refinancing needs:

Lender Months of protection Noteworthy
1. SoFi 12 Protection is specific to involuntary job loss, with career coaching included
2. Earnest 12 Change your payment due date or skip a payment if your job isn’t in complete jeopardy
3. CommonBond 24 Forbearance isn’t specific to job loss and is awarded on a case-by-case basis
4. Citizens Bank 12 Nine on-time payments are required before you can apply for this discretionary and general forbearance

1. Sofi

Estelle said SoFi’s career-coaching perks easily trumped the outplacement program offered by her ex-employer. Estelle met weekly with a personal career coach provided by the lender. They improved her application materials, drawing compliments about her newly-formatted resume from one of the hiring managers she met with.

There were big-picture benefits, too. Estelle saw SoFi’s program as allowing her to:

  • Maintain her credit: Although SoFi reports the loan’s forbearance status to the credit bureaus, her payment history didn’t end up with missed payments that could depress her credit score.
  • Focus on finding a job: With her loan payments temporarily out of the picture, she was less stressed about finances and had more energy for her job search.
  • Pay for household expenses: Not having to make her monthly payment to SoFi also gave Estelle some extra room in her budget for the bare necessities.

Estelle was especially happy with the results because she was so skeptical at the outset.

“When a company tells you that you don’t have to pay back your loan for a few months, you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen at the end,” said Estelle, who also received governmental unemployment assistance. “‘Was there some fine print I missed? Is this really going to sting me at the end?’ There were no surprises — the way they explained is the way everything turned out.”

Even SoFi, which launched its program in March 2017, has some fine print to read. It offers up to 12 months of forbearance, in three-month increments, over the life of borrowers’ repayment. And like Estelle, you must have lost your job “through no fault of your own.”

2. Earnest

As with SoFi, Earnest’s forbearance policy isn’t limited to an involuntary job loss. Earnest’s support also extends to borrowers in the following situations:

  • Your income has decreased, for example, due to a reduction in your work hours
  • Your family expenses have suddenly and significantly increased
  • You’re taking a leave from work to care for a child

Earnest also offers simpler flexibility options if your job situation isn’t tenuous enough to merit a full forbearance. For instance, you could move your payment date or skip one payment per year once you’ve made six consecutive, on-time payments.

3. CommonBond

CommonBond offers up to 24 months of forbearance over the life of your loan in cases where your income has decreased or disappeared.

There are a couple of eligibility requirements, however. For one, you must be less than 60 days delinquent on your repayment.

4. Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank, a more traditional lender (albeit with online operations), offers 12 months of forbearance. Its policy isn’t exclusive to job loss protection, catering to borrowers who experience other types of economic hardship, including trouble with medical bills.

You must make nine monthly, on-time payments before applying for forbearance. Electing forbearance also resets the clock on your path to cosigner release, if that’s a goal you have. You’d need to make three years’ worth of timely payments once you’re back from forbearance to remove a cosigner from your loan.

Read the fine print before choosing a refinancing lender

Be aware that lenders allow interest to accrue while you’re in forbearance. The interest capitalizes while you take a break from making payments, so don’t be surprised to find a larger outstanding balance upon your return. Unfortunately, that’s how student loan interest works.

You also have the option of making interest-only payments during your forbearance to keep the size of your loan from growing.

But although accruing interest is a drawback of forbearance, Estelle said the job loss protection she received paid significant dividends — specifically, it gave her time to get past her job loss so she could be prepared to continue her loan repayment. It also helped her find a new job within five months thanks, in part, to her SoFi-curated resume.

Student loan refinance companies with job loss protection could be a boon for you, too, but it’s wise to keep a healthy level of skepticism. Ask questions while you shop around, so you won’t be surprised by their answers when it matters most.

Compare your options in our student loan refinancing marketplace.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.74% – 8.70%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.74% – 7.99%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

4.44% – 8.09%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.74% – 7.99%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 5.90%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

1.74% – 7.99%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit NaviRefi

2.05% – 5.25%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

1.86% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

N/A8Undergrad
& 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 May 4, 2022.


2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

Student Loan Refinance Interest Rate Disclosure Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 2.99% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.99% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 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%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Let us know if you have any questions and feel free to reach out directly to our team.


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 Apr 22, 2021 and may increase after consummation.


4 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

Fixed rates range from 3.49% APR to 7.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 1.74% APR to 7.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR 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. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.


5 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.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

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.
 


6 Important Disclosures for Navient.

Navient Disclosures

You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 2.99% – 8.24% APR (2.74% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 1.99% APR to 8.24% APR (1.74% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.


7 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 5/17/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 2.05% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.49% APR – 7.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.


8 Important Disclosures for PenFed.

PenFed Disclosures

Fixed Rate Loan Terms: 5 years/60 monthly payments, 8 years/96 monthly payments, 12 years/144 monthly payments or 15 years/180 monthly payments. Annual Percentage Rate is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed rates range from 3.29% to 5.43% APR. Rates are subject to change without notice. Fixed APR: Fixed rates will not change during the term. This rate is expressed as an APR. Since there are no fees associated with this loan offer, the APR is the same percentage as the actual interest rate of the loan. 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.