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From Ohio State to the University of Cincinnati, students are flocking to the Buckeye State to earn their degrees. The state is home to no less than 190 colleges and universities — even including Miami University, which despite its name, isn’t in Florida.
If you’re headed to an Ohio school for college, and you’ve exhausted your options for scholarships and grants, it may be time to consider Ohio student loans. As long as you don’t borrow too much, student loans can be a useful tool for covering college costs.
Or maybe you’ve already graduated and have started earning an income. In this case, you could refinance your Ohio student loans for new terms and a lower interest rate.
For more on borrowing and refinancing student loans in Ohio, read on for everything you need to know.
|Ohio student debt: At a glance|
|Average debt upon graduation||$30,629|
|Percent of students who graduate with debt||62%|
|National ranking for average debt upon graduation||17|
|National average debt upon graduation (Class of 2017)||$39,400|
|Info current as of 2015-16 school year, except when noted
Source: The Institute for College Access & Success
How to get Ohio student loans
The state of Ohio offers a variety of grants and scholarships for Ohio students, including the Choose Ohio First Scholarship and the Forever Buckeyes program. You can explore more opportunities for funding on the state’s higher education website.
However, Ohio doesn’t offer a state-run student loan program, so your options are limited to the federal government or private lenders. Here’s how to get both these types of student loans in Ohio.
Federal student loans
Whether you’re from Ohio or another state, your first stop for student loans should be Federal Student Aid. You can access federal student loans, along with federal grants and scholarships, by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Federal student loans for undergraduates generally come with lower interest rates than private ones, as well as various borrower protections. For instance, students with financial need could qualify for subsidized loans, which don’t accrue interest while you’re in school. And borrowers who need to adjust their monthly bills after they begin repayment could put their student loans on an income-driven or extended repayment plan.
What’s more, federal student loans are eligible for forgiveness programs, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Private student loans don’t qualify for these programs.
One drawback of federal student loans, though, is that they come with borrowing limits. Once you’ve borrowed the maximum, you might still need more money to pay for school.
In this case, you have two main options. Your parents could borrow a parent PLUS loan, which is a federal loan designed for parents that currently comes with a 7.60% interest rate (as of July 2018). Alternatively, you could borrow private student loans from a bank, credit union or online lender.
But before you do, make sure to learn about how private student loans differ from federal ones.
Private student loans
To qualify for a private student loan, you must pass a credit check — or apply with a cosigner who can. Most undergraduate students apply with a cosigner, such as a parent, to meet criteria for income and credit.
With private student loans, you can typically choose between a fixed and variable interest rate. You’ll also choose repayment terms, usually between five and 20 years.
Unlike the federal government, most private lenders don’t offer income-driven repayment plans. Some will give you deferment or forbearance — temporary suspension of your loan payments — if you run into financial hardship or go back to school, but this varies from lender to lender.
If you’re borrowing a private student loan, find out if your lender offers any flexibility in the event you lose your income. And use our free loan calculator to estimate your future monthly payments, so you have a clear sense of what repayment will look like.
If you decide borrowing a private student loan is right for you, here are some top picks for private student loans in Ohio:
- Credit Union of Ohio
- Partners with Sallie Mae to provide the Smart Option Student Loan
- Rates currently run from 4.37% to 11.85%
- Finances a student line of credit from $1,000 up to a maximum determined by your school
- Offers variable rates between 7.60% and 13.60% APR
- KEMBA Financial Credit Union
- Provides a student line of credit starting at $1,000
- Offers variable rates between 5.75% and 7.25% APR and fixed rates between 5.99% and 12.99% APR
- Offers student loan repayment terms of five, 10 or 15 years for undergraduates, and 10 or 15 years for graduate students
- Awards you with 1% cash back if you meet certain terms and conditions
- Ascent Private Loans currently has rates ranging from 4.06% to 14.73%
- College Ave Student Loans
- Finances student loans of $1,000 or more
- Offers student loan repayment terms of five, eight, 10 or 15 years
- Current rates go from 3.94% to 12.78%
- Sallie Mae
- Finances student loans up to the cost of your school’s cost of attendance
- Currently offering rates from 4.37% to 11.85%
Since no two banks are the same, make sure to shop around. By comparing several offers, you can find one with the lowest rate and best terms.
How to refinance Ohio student loans
As students take on more debt than ever before, many are looking for strategies to save money on their loans. Student loan refinancing is one way to lower your interest rate and restructure your debt.
When you refinance, you can qualify for a lower interest rate than the one you have currently. You can also choose new repayment terms, usually between five and 20 years. A shorter term will help you get out of debt faster, but it might require higher monthly payments. A longer term will mean you’ll pay more interest overall, but it could offer financial relief from month to month.
Both private and federal student loans qualify for refinancing, and you can refinance one or more loans at the same time. If you refinance several, you get the added benefit of combining multiple loans into one. Instead of tracking several bills and due dates, you’ll only have to remember one with a single lender.
Note that refinancing is different from federal consolidation, which involves taking out a direct consolidation loan. Only federal loans qualify for federal consolidation, and the process doesn’t lower your interest rate.
Since refinancing is done with a private lender, you’ll need to meet requirements for credit and income. Most lenders let you apply with a cosigner to strengthen your application, and some also offer let you release the cosigner from your loan after you’ve made a year or more of on-time payments.
Although refinancing has several benefits, it could also come with a major drawback: When you refinance federal student loans, you turn them into a private loan. As a result, the debt becomes ineligible for the federal programs mentioned earlier, such as income-driven repayment or PSLF.
If you’re worried about your ability to repay your loan, you might not want to sacrifice federal protections. And if you’re aiming for federal loan forgiveness, you should also avoid refinancing.
But if you have a stable income and have thought through the pros and cons of student loan refinance, it could be a savvy strategy for managing your student loans. Here are some lenders to refinance Ohio student loans.
- Refinances student loans between $15,000 and $75,000
- Offers variable rates between 6.50% and 10.50% APR and fixed rates between 5.25% and 9.50% APR
- KEMBA Financial Credit Union
- Refinances student loans up to $125,000
- Offers rates starting at 4.50% APR
- BMI Federal Credit Union
- Refinances student loans between $5,000 and $100,000
- Offers variable rates starting at 7.49% APR
- Refinances student loans from $5,000 to $500,000
- Currently offers APRs from 2.46% to 7.89%
- Laurel Road
- Offers repayment terms of five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years
- Current rates range from 3.05% to 7.02%
- Refinances student loans up to $500,000
- Rates currently run from 2.50% to 7.57%
Just as you should shop around when applying for a private student loan, the same rule applies when refinancing student loans. Get a rate quote from a few different lenders so you can find an offer that will save you the most money on your student debt or adjust your monthly payment to where you want it.
Find the best strategies for managing your student loans in Ohio
Whether you’re an Ohio college student or a new graduate, you’ve got enough on your plate without having to worry about student loans.
If you haven’t borrowed yet, educate yourself on your options so you can avoid taking on too much debt.
And if you’re part of the 62% of Ohio students who graduate with student loans, consider refinancing as a strategy for managing your debt.
Whatever path you choose, stay patient and focus on the long game. Although it might take some years, eventually you’ll make that last payment, and your student debt will just be a memory.
Note: Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to student loan interest rates and terms. The financial institutions mentioned have neither provided nor reviewed the information shared in this article.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|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
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.46% – 6.97%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.57% – 8.44%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.05% – 6.47%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.24%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|