Refinance rates with Laurel Road start at 1.89%.
Checking your rates won’t affect your score.
The situation for student loans has drastically changed due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with the government temporarily suspending all federal student loan payments and interest charges, as well as stopping collection actions against defaulted loans. Visit the Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center for details.
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If your federal student loans are in default (meaning that you’ve missed 270 days of payments), you can take action in one of two ways: student loan rehabilitation or consolidation. Each option has its pros and cons, but either should help get your federal student loans out of default and allow you to avoid the stress of dealing with collections agents, wage garnishment and tax offsets.
If your federal student loans have fallen into default, here’s what you need to know about student loan rehabilitation vs. consolidation.
- What are the consequences of federal student loan default?
- 3 options for getting out of default
- How to choose the best option for your finances
The government has wide-reaching powers when it comes to collecting on debt, so defaulting on federal student loans could have major consequences.
- You will lose eligibility for forbearance or deferment.
- You could have your wages garnished or even face an offset on your taxes.
- Some older borrowers in student loan default have even been threatened with garnishment of their Social Security.
- Defaulted student loans will likely get reported to the major credit bureaus, meaning your credit score could take a serious hit. A damaged credit score takes time to build back up, and this could make it difficult to take out a mortgage or make other big financial moves in the future.
- Going into default could also mean your loans go to a collections agency. As a result, debt collectors might start calling asking for payment.
Note that this article focuses on the consequences for defaulting on federal student loans — the default process for private student loans is different. For one, private loans can go into default after just one missed payment, rather than having a 270-day buffer. Private loans also have a statute of limitations for default, whereas federal student loans do not.
The consequences of student loan default can be serious, so what can you do to get out of default? Here are three options:
Student loan rehabilitation allows you to change federal student loans from their default status to current. If you have more than one student loan, you must apply to rehabilitate each separately. It’s important to know that you may only go through the rehabilitation process once over the lifetime of a loan.
In order to rehabilitate, you must:
- Have a Federal Direct, Family Education (FFEL) or Perkins Loan.
- Contact your lender to start the process; if you aren’t sure who your lender is, you can go here and select “view loan servicer details.”
- Agree in writing to make nine payments within 20 days of the due date and during a 10-month period if you have a Direct or Family Education Loan. For Perkins Loan repayments, the time period is nine months. Your payments under rehabilitation are expected to be reasonable based upon your financial situation and the number determined by the lender.
The loan servicer will request payments equal to 15% of your discretionary income, divided by 12. If you can’t afford those payments, you may ask your lender to recalculate the payment amount based on your documented income and expenses. It’s possible for borrowers in extreme financial distress to have rehabilitation payments as low as $5.
During the rehabilitation period, you may still have payments collected through garnishment of your wages or government payments. Rehabilitating your loan may also result in fees on the unpaid principal balance and accrued interest to the principal balance of the loan (the amount may vary, depending on factors like the collection agency and your state of residence). However, you may be able to get out of this if you enter into a satisfactory repayment agreement with your lender.
Benefits of student loan rehabilitation
- Once you’ve made your nine payments, your loan is considered rehabilitated and the default is removed from your credit history.
- You can rehabilitate loans that are already being paid through wage garnishment.
- Collection of payments through wage garnishment or Treasury offset will cease.
- You will regain eligibility for benefits lost when you were in default, including deferment, forbearance, a choice of repayment plans and loan forgiveness. That means you could make the necessary changes to your monthly payments to keep them affordable post-rehabilitation.
- You’ll be eligible once again to receive federal student aid.
Drawbacks of student loan rehabilitation
- While the default is removed after rehabilitation, your late payments from before you went into default will remain on your credit history.
- The process is relatively lengthy, as your loans are not considered fully rehabilitated until you’ve made the final payment.
- There may be fees involved, although these can be avoided.
- If you have multiple loans, you must rehabilitate each separately.
Another option for a borrower with federal student loans in default is consolidation. With Direct Loan consolidation, your defaulted loans will be paid off, leaving you with a single, larger loan with one monthly payment, a fixed interest rate and, in most cases, a longer repayment term.
If you are looking into a Direct Consolidation Loan, here’s what you should know:
- Most federal loans are eligible for consolidation.
- You should have at least one other eligible student loan you can combine into one if you are consolidating a Direct Loan.
- You may reconsolidate a defaulted FFEL without including another loan, but only if you repay the new Direct Consolidation Loan through an income-driven repayment plan.
- You must make three consecutive monthly payments on your defaulted loan before you apply for consolidation, or you would have to pay the consolidated loan under an income-driven repayment plan.
- If you want to consolidate a defaulted loan that is already being garnished from your wages, or collected through a court order, you must ensure the garnishment order or judgment has been lifted.
- You must complete a Direct Consolidation Loan Application. You can go here to start the process.
Benefits of Direct Loan consolidation
- Once your loan is consolidated, you are out of default.
- Having just one loan payment can simplify your life.
- Your monthly bill may be lower because you will have a longer time to repay your loan.
- Consolidation may allow for access to additional income-driven, deferment, forbearance and loan forgiveness options.
- You can switch variable-rate loans to one fixed interest rate.
- Once you have consolidated your defaulted student loan, collections agents may no longer contact you.
Drawbacks of Direct Loan consolidation
- Your credit report will still include the information about your default for up to seven years.
- You may make more payments and pay more interest in the end, due to the longer repayment time period.
- Outstanding interest on the loans you consolidate becomes part of the new principal balance, which means you may be paying interest on a higher balance.
- You may lose certain borrower benefits, including interest rate discounts, principal rebates or loan cancellation benefits that are tied to your current loans.
- If you’re paying your current loans under an income-driven repayment plan, or if you’ve made payments toward a loan forgiveness program, you may lose credit for these payments made if you consolidate.
Loan Rehabilitation and Consolidation Comparison Chart
|Benefit Regained||Loan Rehabilitation||Loan Consolidation|
|Eligibility for Deferment||Yes||Yes|
|Eligibility for Forbearance||Yes||Yes|
|Choice of Repayment Plans||Yes||Yes, but there may be limitations|
|Eligibility for Loan Forgiveness Programs||Yes||Yes|
|Eligibility to Receive Federal Student Aid||Yes||Yes|
|Removal of the Record of Default From Your Credit History||Yes||No|
Source: Federal Student Aid
A third option for getting your student loan out of default is to pay your loan off in full.
Providing a full payment will wipe out your debt and stop any consequences of default, such as wage garnishment or tax offsets, in their tracks.
Of course, this approach is probably not possible for most borrowers, especially not for those who end up in default in the first place, unless they have come into a financial windfall.
When it comes to choosing between rehabilitation and consolidation, keep in mind the pros and cons of each option, and consider your own unique situation. In the end, the key benefit is that both approaches accomplish your goal of getting your student loans out of default.
Remember as well that it is always best to avoid student loan default entirely if you can. There are several options available to you if you are having trouble managing your student loan payments, including deferment or forbearance, switching to an income-driven repayment plan and refinancing your loans.
Rebecca Stropoli and Emily Guy Birken contributed to this article.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 6.15%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.80% – 9.36%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.91% – 5.25%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.53%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.15% – 4.42%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|2.00% – 5.63%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 May 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 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% 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 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.
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.
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 02/17/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.91% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
6 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 2.15%-4.42% 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.
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 Nelnet.
Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is canceled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan.
Request for the cosigner to be released can be made by the borrower after 24 consecutive, on-time payments (not later than 15 days after the due date) of principal and interest have been made. Borrowers in deferment or forbearance must make 24 consecutive, on-time payments after re-entering repayment to qualify for the release. The borrower must be current on their payments at the time of the cosigner release request and show the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) by meeting certain credit criteria on their own at the time of the request, including, but not limited to, being a U.S. citizen or having permanent residency in the United States, being the age of majority in their permanent state of residency, providing sufficient proof of income, and having no student loans in default.
Hardship forbearance allows you to temporarily suspend payments on your loan(s) while you are experiencing financial hardship. It is offered in increments of two or three months, with a maximum of 12 months available, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. If your loan(s) are in good standing at the time of your request, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of two monthly payments. If, at the time of your initial request, your loan(s) are considered past-due, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of three monthly payments. Future increments of forbearance, up to a life-time maximum of 12 months, may be requested upon the completion of making a certain number of principal and interest payments. During the two- or three-month forbearance period, you will not be required to make payments; however, any unpaid interest will continue to accrue and will be capitalized (added) onto your principal balance at the end of the forbearance period. You may continue making payments in any amount without penalty during the forbearance period. Your loan repayment term will be extended by the number of months in the forbearance period.
Refinance Loan Eligibility: You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number, and be the legal age to enter into binding contracts in your permanent state/territory of residency, or be at least 17 years of age and apply with a cosigner who is at least the age of majority in their state/territory. Non-residents can apply with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number. The student loans you refinance must be in their grace or repayment period, and you can no longer be enrolled in school on a half-time or more basis. You must have at least $5,000 in student loans to refinance. You, or your eligible cosigner, must have an annual income of at least $36,000. Approval subject to credit review. Other credit criteria may apply.
Refinance Loan Limits:
Loan Refinancing Risks: Federal student loans include benefits that may not be offered with private student loans. Carefully review any potential benefits that may be lost by refinancing federal and private education loans, such as the loss of any remaining grace periods. To learn more about what to take into consideration when refinancing federal student loans with private education loans, click here
Selecting ‘Get Started’ results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Fixed interest rates range from 2.99% APR (with auto debit discount) to 6.25% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan.
Variable interest rates range from 2.00% APR (with auto debit discount) to 5.63% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. Variable rates may increase after consummation. The variable interest rate is equal to the One-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (“One-Month LIBOR”) plus a margin. The One-Month LIBOR in effect for each monthly period (from the first day of the month through and including the last day of the same month) will be the highest One-Month LIBOR published in The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth (25th) day (or if such day is not a business day, the next business day thereafter) of the month immediately preceding such calendar month. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for a variable interest rate loan will change monthly on the first day of each month if the One-Month LIBOR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month LIBOR index is 0.15% as of 5/4/2021.
The lowest interest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (“auto debit”) payments, a five-year repayment term, and the borrower making immediate principal and interest payments. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, (3) the loan type selected, and (4) the highest level of education attained. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range.
*Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score. **Your actual savings may vary based on interest rates, outstanding balances, remaining repayment terms, and other factors.