Refinance rates with Laurel Road start at 1.89%.
Checking your rates won’t affect your score.
You should have a plan for how to pay off your pharmacy school loans as you get ready to graduate and hit the job market. Take a look at these student loan strategies, including loan forgiveness for pharmacists, that could help you get you out of debt:
1. Consider an income-driven repayment plan
2. Postpone payments during residency
3. Take advantage of employer tuition assistance
4. Negotiate a signing bonus and put it toward your loans
5. Prepay your student loans when you can
6. Learn about loan forgiveness for pharmacists
7. Refinance your student loans with a private lender
7 strategies for pharmacists with student loans
The good news is that the median pay for pharmacists in 2018 was $126,120, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But pharmacy program borrowers finance an average of $166,528, according to a 2018 report by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Here’s how to attack that debt…
If you think you’ll be unable to make your required student loan monthly payments, an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan could help. IDR plans generally adjust your monthly payments based on your discretionary income.
There are four IDR plans, all of which apply exclusively to federal student loans:
- Income-based repayment (IBR)
- Income-contingent repayment (ICR)
- Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
- Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)
Though they work differently, the plans generally cap your payments at 10%, 15% or 20% of your monthly income. And while they can lower your bills, they also extend your payment terms to 20 or 25 years.
If you still have a balance after your repayment period, your debt is forgiven, but that total may be considered taxable income.
Under an IDR plan, your monthly payment could increase if your salary rises. With the PAYE and IBR plans, your payments would never be more than what you’d owe on a standard 10-year plan. With the REPAYE and ICR plans, your payments could exceed what you’d owe on the standard plan.
Pharmacy graduates can consider a residency before entering the workforce.
While in your residency, you’ll earn a stipend, but it won’t compare to your future earning potential — and it may not be enough to cover living expenses while making loans payments.
You may want to talk to your lender about postponing your loan repayments through mandatory forbearance until you’ve completed your residency. Mandatory forbearance will only be granted for 12 months at a time.
Be cautious about student loan forbearance and deferment
Forbearance and deferment are short-term solutions for people who go back to school or run into financial hardship. Both options pause student loan payments for a set period. But interest may continue to accrue, depending on your situation and loan type.
Both can be a useful, temporary solution if you can’t make your monthly payments. However, the danger with each option is that your student debt could balloon out of control. Because you’re not chipping away at the principal, the amount will continue to grow if the interest accrues.
Depending on your situation, most federal student loans are eligible for deferment and forbearance. However, the rules around deferring private student loans are up to each lender.
To land top talent, a growing number of employers are offering scholarships or tuition assistance.
Walgreens, for instance, offers qualifying students up to $2,500 a year up to four years. To participate, you have to be a current or former Walgreens employee and be referred by your district manager. Upon graduation, you’ll need to work as a pharmacist for as many years as you participated in the company’s Professional Educational Assistance Program. However, if you leave Walgreens before that period, you’ll have to repay any funds you received.
Supermarket chain Wegmans, which has in-store pharmacies, offers qualifying part-time employees up to $1,500 a year for four years in scholarship money, while full-time employees can receive up to $2,200 a year for four years.
Companies, organizations and military branches may try to woo new pharmacists with signing bonuses that they can use to pay down their loans.
On the high end, the U.S. Army offers active-duty service members a $30,000 Pharmacist Accession Bonus paid in a lump sum at first-duty assignment. Internet job listings show various sign-on bonuses from $500 to $1,000 to $5,000. This will depend on the employer, job location and hours, among other things.
If you get an offer, you can try to negotiate the terms for a signing (or bigger signing) bonus. And if you put that bonus toward your student loans, you can pay off a significant chunk at once.
If you score a six-figure income out of grad school, it’s easy to ramp up your spending. You might move to a bigger apartment or eat out often.
Instead of succumbing to lifestyle inflation, try to keep your expenses low. That way, you can make extra payments on your student loans. You might make an occasional extra payment or even set up regular biweekly payments.
Beyond tracking your spending, calculate what would happen if you ramped up your student loan payments. When you have an idea of how much you could save by paying off your loans early, you might be motivated to take a more aggressive stance. When it comes to tackling student loans, even a small extra payment goes a long way.
There are options for loan forgiveness for pharmacists if you qualify for assistance.
Here are a few examples:
- The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program may forgive your federal loans after 10 years of service in a qualifying organization, though it’s known to be hard to qualify for.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance each year to pharmacists conducting qualifying research.
- The U.S. Army offers financial benefits for pharmacists who serve in active duty, including up to $120,000 to pay down qualifying pharmacy school loans.
Beyond these national programs, many states offer loan repayment assistance to health care professionals. Most of these programs require a minimum number of years of service in a high-needs area.
- California offers up to $110,000 to full-time workers, though pharmacists who primarily dispense medication or who work in a retail setting are not eligible
- Minnesota offers pharmacists, students and residents up to $24,000 per year — up to $96,000 — in exchange for three to four years of service in a rural area
Depending on the nature and location of your work, you could qualify for major assistance toward your student loans.
Check out our full list of pharmacist student loan forgiveness programs to learn more.
When you refinance, you take outstanding loans and bundle them into one new loan with a single monthly payment and often a lower interest rate — plus, it also lets you change your repayment terms. Private refinance lenders usually offer repayment periods between five and 20 years.
Ultimately, refinancing student loans is a strategic move for many pharmacists. Since you could earn a good income, you could qualify for competitive loan terms. If you want to estimate how much you could save with a lower interest rate, you could use our Student Loan Refinancing Calculator to find out.
Be aware, though, that there are potential drawbacks to refinancing, including loss of access to federal loan protections, including IDR plans, deferment and forbearance, and loan forgiveness. If you’re going to refinance your loans, be sure to shop around to find your best possible deal.
Find the strategy that works best for you
Earning your Doctor of Pharmacy degree is a great achievement. However, the journey to get this degree often comes with a huge price tag.
Once you graduate, you need to figure out how to approach your student debt. Before acting, make sure to explore your options and identify your needs. With this knowledge, you can find the right prescription to cure your student loan debt.
Alli Romano contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.88% – 6.15%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.88% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.88% – 5.64%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.85%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.39%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 5.25%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|2.13% – 5.25%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 June 1, 2021.
2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Interest Rate Disclosure
Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 2.59% APR to 5.79% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.88% APR to 5.64% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance 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 2.04% and 5.8% to the one month LIBOR. Earnest rate ranges are current as of 6/8/2021, and are subject to change based on market conditions.
Auto Pay Discount Disclosure
You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay.
Student Loan Refinancing Loan Cost Examples
These examples provide estimates based on payments beginning immediately upon loan disbursement. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 5.89% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,042.39. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 6.04% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,249.77. Your actual repayment terms may vary.Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest. com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
Earnest Loans are made by Earnest Operations LLC or One American Bank, Member FDIC. Earnest Operations LLC, NMLS #1204917. 535 Mission St., Suite 1663, San Francisco, CA 94105. California Financing Law License 6054788. Visit earnest.com/licenses for a full list of licensed states. For California residents (Student Loan Refinance Only): Loans will be arranged or made pursuant to a California Financing Law License.
One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC with support from Navient Solutions LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
© 2021 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved.
3 Important Disclosures for Navient.
4 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.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates from 2.74% APR to 6.74% APR (with autopay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.39% APR (with autopay). All variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR and may increase after consummation if LIBOR increases; see more at SoFi.com/legal/#1. If approved for a loan your rate will depend on a variety of factors such as your credit profile, your application and your selected loan terms. Your rate will be within the ranges of rates listed above. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or may become available, such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license #6054612; NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Additional terms and conditions apply; see SoFi.com/eligibility for details. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
6 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 04/07/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
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 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 2.13%-5.25% 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.