How to Get or Refinance Ohio Student Loans

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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

When your federal financial aid runs out, you might look to private sources. Private student loans come from banks, credit unions or online lenders such as Ascent or CommonBond.

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%
  • OHecu
    • 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
  • Ascent
    • 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.

  • OHecu
    • 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
  • Earnest
    • 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%
  • CommonBond
    • 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!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

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 hello@earnest.com, 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.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance:
    Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 7.979% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.470% APR to 6.990% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.470% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.30% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR 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. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

4 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.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

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

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of November 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.29%. Variable interest rates range from 2.79%-8.39% (2.79%-8.39% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. 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. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled. Applicants with an Associate’s degree or with no degree must have made at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school. Qualifying payments are the most recent on time and consecutive payments of principal and interest on the loans being refinanced. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The cosigner (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a cosigner will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.

2.47% – 6.99%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.46% – 6.97%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.57% – 8.44%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

3.05% – 6.47%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.50% – 7.24%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

2.79% – 8.39%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Citizens

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.