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Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

If you’re one of over 43 million Americans with student loan debt, you’re looking at months or years to repay them. But, if you refinance your student loan debt at a lower interest rate, you may pay them off sooner.

Best Student Loan Refinance Companies
Dahna M. Chandler
Award-Winning Business Finance Journalist and Brand Storyteller

Unless you’re waiting for federal student loan forgiveness, if you have fair to good credit and a stable income, refinancing all your student loans for a new, lower interest rate private loan is a good idea. Not lowering your interest rate by refinancing means paying more for the student loan over its life. Refinance online so you can compare lenders, pre-qualify without a hard credit inquiry, get faster approval, and compare old servicer payoff times. Our team of financial experts reviewed and ranked over 30 online lenders to help you refinance your student loans.

Our Top Picks for The Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

 sofi_logo_sl
  • No maximum loan limit
  • Prequalify without a credit check
  • Unemployment protection
  • Flexible repayment terms
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 650
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $5K up to the cost of attendance
Fixed APR
Loan Repayment 5-15 years
education_loan_sl
  • Flexible repayment options
  • Interest rate cap of 9.95% on refinance loans
  • Compare rates with no credit score impact
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 680+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $1K up to the cost of attendance
Fixed APR
Loan Repayment 5-15 years
college_ave_logo_sl
  • Auto-pay discount available
  • Flexible repayment terms (up to 15 years)
  • Prequalify without a credit check
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score Not disclosed
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $1K up to the cost of attendance
Fixed APR
Loan Repayment 5-15 years

How to Choose the Best Student Loan Refinancing Options

To find the best student loan refinance companies, use these factors developed based on our ranking methodology to evaluate each lender. Make sure lenders are transparent about all these features and offer everything they advertise. Also apply these criteria to lenders you get matched with through student loan refinancing aggregators before accepting offers through them. Realize you’re turning federal loans that you refinance into private loans, and you’ll lose federal protections for borrowers. But some lenders here provide similar protections.

  • Loan Features - Make certain the loan lengths or terms fit your criteria. See if loan amounts cover all your student loan debt. Be sure there aren’t loan use limitations, like for-profit school loan ineligibility or exclusion for eligibility if you didn’t graduate. Read the terms and conditions carefully, including the fine print.
  • Interest rates and fees - Know what the minimum and maximum interest rates are, particularly if you’re considering a variable rate loan. Interest rates you’ll get are based on your FICO® score and credit history. The higher interest and fees are, the more you’ll pay over your loan’s life. Learn whether the lender charges any fees, and if so, what type, how they’re charged and when.
  • Application process - Determine if the application process requires information you're hesitant to provide. Also, most lenders here allow you to pre-qualify with a soft inquiry that doesn't affect your credit score. But, for full loan approval, they’ll do a hard inquiry, which affects your credit. Know how long the process from application to payoff of old services takes in your situation.
  • Qualification process - Know if you'll need a cosigner before you apply if you don't meet minimum credit score and income requirements. Then, make sure co-signers and co-applicants are options for your desired lenders. Also, learn what the membership requirements are, if you apply through a credit union, for example.
  • Customer support -  Does the lender offer customer support options that fit your needs? If you like chat over phone support, is that available? Check customer service hours and phone number for live customer service accessibility. See if the lender’s site is easy to use and information is easy to find. Look for financial literacy and other educational content you need.
  • Online user reviews - Research each loan provider's online reviews, including Trustpilot, BBB and social media, for clues about all the areas covered here. Review customer experience content online and look for customer support on social media, too.
  • Perks and Bonuses - Are lenders offering enticements for applying or refinancing with them? For example, will you get payment flexibility, forbearance options, “no surprises” lending and advanced technology like apps?

Best Refinancing Options for Student Loans - Full Overview

Now that you know what factors to examine when searching for the best student loan refinancing companies for your needs, below, we summarize 10 options to consider. 

1. SoFi - Best for Borrowers with Solid Monthly Cash Flow

This no loan fees lender targets student loan borrowers with good to excellent credit, strong monthly cash flow, and, if they're just graduating, a solid job offer. To get refinancing from SoFi, you must have an associate degree, and can be a non-permanent US resident like a DACA recipient or asylum seeker. Since you can have up to three SoFi personal loans at a time, you can refinance your student loans if you already have a personal loan with SoFi. Student loan refinancing borrowers with SoFi can access member perks, including subsequent loan product discounts, financial advisors, career counseling, and referral bonuses.
Pros
High maximums: Covers all student loans amounts
Loan options: Parent PLUS, law, medical school, MBA loans
Protections: In-school deferral, COVID forbearance
Cons
Rates: Vary by loan refinancing type and state
Minimums: Vary by state and loan type
Cosigners: No release available

sofi
Pre-qualify with a soft inquiry to borrow from $5,000 to your full eligible student loan debt to refinance student loans. Offers 5, 7, 10, 15, 20-year loan terms or any term under 20 years subject to underwriting. Get fixed-rate loans for between 3.49% and 7.99% APR and variable rate loans from 1.74% to 7.99% with autopay. Know rates may vary by state along with eligibility to borrow and minimum borrowing amount. There are no fees, and some international students can get refinancing. SoFi allows co-signers for student loan refinancing, but no cosigner release. Funding takes 7-15 days with funds sent by ACH or USPS to your servicer.

The Bottom Line

This lender is ideal for you if you have good credit, a stable income, and strong cash flow each month. SoFi gives you multiple options including a wide variety of student loan refinancing types and with flexible loan terms.

Try SoFi

2. ELFI - Best for Parent Loan Refinancing

Education Loan Finance or ELFI offers loan refinancing for nearly all loan types, including federal and private student loans. It’s well known for refinancing both Parent PLUS and private parent’s loans. ELFI also allows adults who qualify to refinance in their name loans parents took out to pay their educational costs. A bachelor’s degree from a qualifying U.S. school, strong credit, and a stable income makes borrowers eligible to apply using ELFI’s completely transparent process. ELFI’s offers unique customer service offerings, including pairing each customer with a Personal Loan Advisor who’ll work with them throughout the life of their ELFI loan.
Pros
Parent loans: Refinance in adult child’s name
Customer service: Borrower’s get Personal Loan Advisor
Unlimited borrowing level: No maximum loan amount
Cons
Loan minimum: Must borrow at least $10,000
Fees: Late fees and returned payment fees
Credit: Borrowers must have at least 680 FICO®

elfi
Pre-qualify with a 680 FICO® for from $10,000 to your total student loan debt amount with a soft credit pull. Your income must be $35,000 with a 36-month credit history. Loan terms run from 5 to 20 years for student loan refinancing and 5, 7 or 10 years for Parent PLUS loan refinancing at a fixed APR of 2.73% to 5.99% and variable APR of 1.86% to 6.01%. There is no application, origination, or prepayment fee, but there is a fee of 5% of the past-due amount, with a $50 maximum and a $30 returned payment fee. ELFI accepts co-signers but won’t release them from the loan unless you refinance again.

The Bottom Line

If you have Parent PLUS or parent private loans, you want to refinance, especially into a child’s name, ELFI is the best choice. Otherwise, its assigned Personal Finance Advisor makes it one of the best student loan refinancing options available.

Try ELFI

3. College Ave – Best for Instant Approval

If you’re looking for fast approval to get started on your lower interest student loan refinancing journey, consider College Ave. The lender offers flexible loan repayment terms that you can customize to your needs. If you’ve got an associate degree or higher from one of College Ave’s qualified colleges or universities, a strong credit score and history, and a solid income, you can apply for student loan refinancing through College Ave. The lender provides higher refinancing loan limits to those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary degrees. Unlike many other student loan refinancing lenders, their customer support also includes texting.
Pros
Approval: As little as three minutes
Loan terms: Borrowers can pick a specific loan term
Fees: No origination, application, or prepayment fees
Cons
Parent loans: Borrowers can’t transfer loans to their child
Consigner release: After half of the repayment term passes
Fees: Charged if a payment is late

college ave
Get a personalized interest rate in as fast as three minutes with a credit score in the mid-600s and a soft inquiry. Refinance loans of at a minimum of $5,000 up to $150,000 for undergraduate and graduate loans or up to $300,000 for medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary degrees. Terms are from 5 to 15 years at fixed loan rates from 3.49% to 6.74% APR and variable rates from 3.44% - 6.64% APR. College Ave charges no origination, application, or prepayment fees, but expect to pay $25 or 5% of the unpaid amount as a late fee. The lender accepts cosigners, but they won’t get released until at least half of the loan repayment term passes.

The Bottom Line

If you want fast approval and loan term flexibility, College Ave might work for you.

4. PenFed - Best for Spousal Loans

PenFed, which is short for Pentagon Federal Credit Union, offers student loan refinancing to individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher. It has a special program for spouses who want to combine their individual student debt into one loan to pay it off at the same time. PenFed allows parental loans to get transferred to children, too. You’ll need a high credit score and income to get approved for PenFed student loan refinancing without a cosigner. But with spousal loans, PenFed will combine the best elements of each spouse’s financial picture to give the couple the lowest rate possible.
Pros
Spousal program: Couples can combine single loans into one
Parent loans: Graduates can assume parent PLUS loans
Transparency: Income and credit requirements clear
Cons
Qualifications: High income and credit score needed
Education: Must have bachelor’s degree
Estate pays: Borrower’s death doesn’t end liability

penfed
Pre-qualify without a hard credit inquiry for student loan refinancing from $7,500 to $300,000, but you’ll need at least a 700 credit score and annual income of $42,000. That’s to borrow up to $150,000 without a cosigner. To borrow more, you’ll need a higher credit score and income or a cosigner. If you need a cosigner, they can get released after 12 consecutive months of on-time payments. Once pre-approved, you must become a PenFed member to get a loan at terms of 5, 8, 12, or 15 years and a fixed APR of 4.49-6.68%. There is no variable rate option and no discounts for autopay, but there are no application or prepayment fees either.

The Bottom Line

With PenFed, graduates can refinance loans their parents took out for their education in their own names and spouses can combine individual student loans into one. But, you’ll need a solid income and good credit scores or a cosigner to take advantage of PenFed’s student loan refinancing options.

5. Laurel Road - Best for Medical Loan Refinancing

Laurel Road may offer the best way to refinance student loans taken out by students training for the medical professions. Students from associate (in certain fields) to graduate level earning degrees in health care professions and medical and dental students can refinance their loans in their last semester if they have a job offer. (Students in other programs must wait 12 months after graduation to refinance their loans.) Medical and dental residents can defer making full loan payments up to 6 months after their residency and fellowships. Laurel Road also offers Parent PLUS and private loan refinancing and children to refinance and transfer parent loans taken out on their behalf into their names.
Pros
Forbearance: Different hardship types available
Limits: No maximum loan amounts
Repayment: Up to 20 years
Cons
Fees: Charged for late and returned payments
Deferment: Unavailable upon return to school
Limitations: Not all programs at all schools qualify

laurel road
Soft inquiry prequalification to refinance between $5,000 up to the full amount of student debt owed, but except associate degree holders $50,000 cap. Get variable rates of 1.64% to 5.95% APR and fixed rates of 2.74% to 6.05% APR, with a 0.25% autopay discount already applied. Loan terms are 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years. Up to 12 months forbearance in three-month intervals available. Medical students pay $100 monthly while in residency or a fellowship. No origination or prepayment penalties but expect a late fee of the lesser of 5% of the late payment or $28 and a $20 returned payment fee. Cosigner release is available after 36 consecutive, on-time payments.

The Bottom Line

Medical and dental students and others with degrees in the healthcare field can expect the best student loan refinancing options. Parents who want to refinance student loans have good choices with Laurel Road, too, including transferring student loans to children whose education they financed with them.

6. Earnest - Best for Customizing Payment Schedules

If you’re serious about repaying your refinanced student loans quickly, Earnest’s offerings may help you achieve that objective. The lender’s customizable loan repayment options allow borrowers to make automatic payments twice monthly, make multiple extra payments at once, and make same-day payments. Earnest bases its underwriting approach on the borrower’s earning potential. Most parent or student applicants approved to refinance with Earnest have a consistent income, are current on all bills, are regular savers, have an excellent payment history and have little credit card or personal loan debt. They also live in one of the 48 states where Earnest offers student loan financing.
Pros
Flexibility: Wide choice of repayment terms and strategies
Approval: Get approved with a fair credit score
Eligibility: Refinance with an incomplete degree
Cons
Availability: Refinancing not offered in Kentucky and Nevada
Rates: Variable APR not available in all states
Cosigner: None allowed

earnest
Pre-qualify with a soft credit check for loans from $5,000-$500,000, though California requires a $10,000 minimum loan amount. Choose flexible loan terms from 5 to 20 years, depending on your financial profile, with the option to choose how you repay based on your budget. Minimum FICO® is 650. Variable APR of 1.74% to 7.99% offered in all states but AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. The fixed APR is from 2.99% to 7.99%, and both include a 0.25% autopay discount. There are no origination, application, disbursement or late fees, or prepayment penalties. Get protections like a 9-month grace period and the ability to skip a payment once annually and make it up later.

The Bottom Line

If you want significant flexibility on how you repay your refinanced student debt, Earnest gives you multiple options. It also offers refinancing for parent loans with similar flexible repayment choices.

7. Splash Financial - Best for Doctors and Dentists Seeking Specialized Refinancing

Splash Financial is a lender marketplace that allows you to apply to multiple banks, credit unions and lenders with one application. This marketplace helps those with federal, private and Parent PLUS loans get matched with the best student loan refinance companies for them. For doctors and dentists completing residencies and fellowships, it offers specialized refinancing programs. Spouses may refinance their loans together or one spouse can take over the other’s debt. Splash Financial isn’t a direct lender, so you should research lenders separately and contact lenders they’re matched with directly to take advantage of special offers from them.
Pros
Marketplace: Get offers from multiple lenders at one time
Limits: No maximum loan amount
Spouse Loans: Refinance together or one takes over other’s debt
Cons
Lenders: Limited choice available
Membership: May have to join credit union
Features and Policies: Lenders have different terms ones

splash financial
Splash Financial requires just a soft inquiry to pre-qualify for multiple loans at one time. Borrow a minimum of $5,000 but with no upper limit for terms from 5 to 25 years with no application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties. The minimum credit score varies by lender but can be a minimum of FICO® 640, and a cosigner may improve approval chances. To qualify without a cosigner, your annual income must be at least $30,000. Your debt-to-income ratio must be only 45%. Variable interest rates are 1.74-9.51% APR and fixed interest rates are 2.29-8.63% APR. Repayment of previous servicers typically happens within three to 14 days.

The Bottom Line

If you have high loan balances you want to refinance with no upper limit, Splash Financial can match you with the right lenders. But, if you want more lender choices than the limited number Splash Financial offers, research other options.

8. Credible - Best for Comparing Multiple Lenders

This marketplace is ideal for those who like to compare multiple offers at once on Credible. You can apply to up to 10 lenders, but terms depend on the lender you choose. If you have good credit and a strong financial picture, you’ll get matched with the most potential lenders. You can refinance undergraduate, graduate, law, medical, MBA, and parent loans through the marketplace, and Credible guarantees you the best refinancing rate, or you get $200. None of the lenders in the marketplace charge application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties. Credible also respects your privacy: they do not sell your information to various lenders.
Pros
One application: Apply to multiple lenders at once
Fees: No marketplace partner charges them
Repayment terms: Get a wide range from lending partners
Cons
Lenders: Does not partner with all the major ones
Eligibility: Required to see all lenders
Terms and Conditions: Not all provided for partners

credible
Pre-qualify with a soft credit pull if you have a solid financial situation, Credible’s stated minimum 700 FICO® score or a cosigner who does. But some lender partners may accept lower scores. Loan amounts and terms vary by lender, but average loan terms are between 5 and 20 years, with fixed rates beginning at 2.40% APR, and variable rates starting at 1.86% where offered. No Credible partners charge application, origination, disbursement, or late fees and there are no prepayment penalties for any lender in the marketplace. Credible’s site offers robust borrower education, including a complete overview of how to find the best student loan refinance companies for your situation.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for multiple lenders that offer an array of repayment options with no fees to apply and with your information getting sold to other lenders, Credible is an ideal place to start your refinancing search.

9. LendKey - Best for Finding Community Bank and Credit Union Lenders

If you prefer to work with community banks and credit unions rather than large banks and private lenders, LendKey may be the best way to refinance student loans. With an associate degree from a qualifying school, you can refinance while still in school. Borrowers with multiple degrees can refinance using the eligible school where you got your most advanced degree. Cosigners aren’t necessary but might help you get approved or get better terms. Once you refinance through the marketplace, LendKey becomes your servicer. You can earn money for every friend you refer refinances with LendKey, and there are no caps or limits to how many referrals you can make.
Pros
Forbearance: 18 months for 15–20-year loans
Earnings: Middle income borrowers qualify
Referrals: Earn money for an unlimited number
Cons
Availability: Not offered in every state
Deferral: None for returning to school or military service
Maximums: Loan refinancing limits vary by degree type

lendkey
With a minimum credit score of 660, easily pre-qualify with soft inquiry for from $5,000 up to $125,000 for an undergraduate degree, $175,000 for a graduate degree and $300,000 for certain medical degrees. Minimums higher in Arizona, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Terms are from 5 to 20 years and interest rates vary by lender, with fixed rates from 2.49% to 7.75% APR and variable rates from 1.90% to 5.25% APR. Add a cosigner to get better rates and terms, but they’re not required. LendKey offers a cosigner release program after a certain number of consecutive payments and with other requirements met. Previous servicers usually get repaid in 10 to 30 days after agreements gets signed. Refinance loans aren’t available in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island or West Virginia.

The Bottom Line

Use LendKey if you prefer community banks and credit unions over large banks and lenders. Just make sure you don’t need higher loan limits than offered by the servicer.

Best Options for Student Loan Refinancing - Feature Comparison

Here’s an overview of how all the providers reviewed compare.

Company Name

Est. APR

Min. credit score

Loan Amount

Loan term

SoFi

Fixed: 3.49%-7.99% w/autopay

Variable: 1.74%-7.99% w/autopay 

Not disclosed

$5,000 to full qualified student loan amount

5, 7, 10, 15, 20 (or any term under 20 subject to underwriting)

ELFI

Fixed: 2.73%-5.99% 

Variable:1.86%-6.01%.

680

$10,000 to full qualified student loan amount

5-20 years for student loan refinancing


5, 7 or 10 years for parent loans

College Ave

Fixed: 3.49%-6.74% 

Variable: 3.44% - 6.64%

Mid-600s

$5,000-$300,00

5-15 years

PenFed

Fixed rate only:


4.49-6.68%

700

$7,500-$300,000

5, 8, 12, or 15 years

Laurel Road

Fixed: 2.74%-6.05% 


Variable: 1.64%-5.95% 


(With 0.25% autopay discount included)

Not disclosed

$5,000 to full qualified student loan amount


$50,000 maximum for associate degrees 

5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years

Earnest

Fixed: 2.99%-7.99%


Variable: 1.74% to 7.99% (not available in all states)


(With 0.25% autopay discount included)

650

$5,000-$500,000

5-20 years (flexible)

Splash Financial

Fixed: 2.29-8.63%


Variable: 1.74-9.51%

640

$5,000 to no upper limit

5-25 years

Credible

Fixed from 2.40%


Variable from 1.86% (where offered)

700

Varies by lender

5-20 years

LendKey

Fixed: 2.49% to 7.75% 


Variable: 1.90% to 5.25%

660

$5,000-$300,000

5-20 years


Should I Refinance My Student Loans?

If you want all your student debt—both federal and private loans placed into one private loan, possibly at a lower interest rate with lower monthly payments and longer to repay, then consider refinancing. Ask yourself these four questions in the process.

  • Do I meet the requirements for student loan refinancing?
    Qualified borrowers have a stable, verifiable income, a fair to good credit score, a low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and a strong payment history with few to no negative items on their credit report.
  • Can I save money by refinancing my student loans?
    In most cases, especially if you have high interest rate private loan debt, you can save money in interest over the life of your student loans. Refinancing into a no-fee loan also might save you money.
  • Will I Lose Benefits If I Refinance My Student Loans?
    Refinancing federal student loans into private lender debt means a potential loss of benefits like one-time student loan cancellation by the Biden administration and CARES Act payment suspension and 0% interest. It also means forfeiting the standard protections you get with federal student loans, including in school deferment, forbearance up to three years, income-driven repayment plans, Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
  • Do I have student loan debt I can’t refinance?
    Many lenders will not refinance student loans taken out to attend for-profit schools and programs. Also, despite the Consumer FinanceProtection Bureau designating these as credit products,or a form of student debt, income share agreements (ISAs) can’t be refinanced. 

When to Refinance Student Loans

You’re not waiting for one-time loan cancellation from the Biden administration, don’t qualify for other loan forgiveness programs, and can forgo other federal student loan debt protections. If you have high interest federal student loan and private loan debt, refinance now before interest rates rise again. Also, parents who took out student debt for their children should refinance or transfer to their children any high interest Parent PLUS or private loans while interest rates are where they are. Refinancing also benefits you if you want to repay your loans aggressively, because you have more control over them with the right refinancing lender. Conversely, because refinancing may get you lower monthly payments and more time to pay off student loan debt, potentially freeing money up for other uses.

When Refinancing Your Student Loans Is a Bad Idea

There are situations when refinancing student loans is not a good idea. When you don’t have a stable income, and may need loan forbearance, don’t refinance your federal student loans. Remember, too, most private loans don’t offer in-school or active-duty military deferral and when you refinance student debt, your federal loans become private ones. You’re required to make monthly payments on those like any other private personal debt. Don’t refinance federal loans If there’s a chance you’re eligible for any loan forgiveness (beyond Biden’s loan cancellation proposal). Finally, if you’re almost done paying your loans or have a relatively low interest rate already, it’s a poor idea to refinance your student loans.

How Do You Refinance Student Loans?

Here’s the process for refinancing your student loans. Since every situation is different, you may need to adjust these elements to your circumstances.

  • Check your credit: You’ll want to make sure you have a qualifying credit score, have a clean credit report, and do whatever is necessary to improve your credit. That includes getting mistakes removed from your credit report, paying down your current personal loans and credit cards, and dealing with negative credit items.
  • Shortlist lenders: Research student loan refinancing companies carefully based on your personal circumstances and choose several that will meet your specific needs. Look for those with the best student loan refinance rates and loan terms. Determine if they charge any fee or prepayment penalties, and if they offer perks for refinancing your student debt with them. Create a short list of the best four or five for you.
  • Check your rate: Choose lenders that allow you to check your rate without a hard credit inquiry, but get prepared for them when you formally apply for loans. Set aside the ones that meet the requirements you established for refinancing with them.
  • Choose your lender: Next, it’s time to apply formally to the two or three lender finalists you’ve selected. When the one with the best overall combination of features you need approves your loan, read their loan documents carefully before you sign them. Get old servicers repaid and begin repaying your refinanced loans.

Tips for Managing Your Student Loan Debt

Here are strategies for managing your student loan debt whether or not you refinance your student loans.

  • Know what you owe: Calculate how much you own and to whom and be informed of your repayment terms.
  • Calendar payments: Put the dates and amounts you owe on a calendar to pay them on time. Know their grace periods in case you forget to pay or can’t.
  • Keep documents organized: Arrange paperwork in folders, either paper or electronic, and be able to find and review them as necessary.
  • Pay off higher interest loans first: Reduce the amount you’ll pay over the life of your loans by aggressively paying off the highest cost debt first. Make additional payments or larger ones to the highest rate debt. Then pay off the next highest, then the next until your debt is paid.
  • Focus on the principal: Pay extra principal on your loans monthly. If you’re getting the most expensive debt paid first, target its principal for repayment.
  • Autopay student loans: Many lenders offer a discount for making automatic payments. Take advantage of that by setting up autopay.
  • Consider alternative payment plans: With federal student loans, you can call your servicer and set up income-driven payment plans, especially if you’re struggling. They include pay as you earn, graduated payment, income contingent payment, and extended repayment.
  • Request deferment or forbearance: If you’re still returning to or in school, request an in-school deferment for your lender. Forbearance may be necessary if you’re experiencing financial difficulty, and it’s a protection for federal student loans. Request it and see if private lenders will offer that help.
  • Determine loan forgiveness eligibility: There are multiple programs offered for federal student loan borrowers. Research those for which you may qualify.
  • Investigate refinancing: Often, you may have more flexibility in repayment when you refinance your school debt. You also may get lower interest rates, smaller payments and more time to repay debt. All can help you financially.

Conclusion

Many Americans juggle hefty student loan debt alongside other financial obligations, and it may prevent some from achieving personal goals like home buying, marriage or family. Refinancing student debt to gain better control over your finances can take significant time and effort. But it also can be worthwhile and substantially improve your financial picture. You must carefully consider each aspect of the process to not only get the best interest rates and repayment terms, but to make sure the terms and conditions of your agreement benefit you most. By applying the strategies here, you might get the best student loan refinancing options.

FAQs

Can you refinance federal student loans?

Yes, if you’re willing to give up all the rights and protections federal student loans offer borrowers. That happens because by refinancing, you’re repaying federal debt with a private loan, effectively canceling those rights. If you do refinance your federal student loans, make sure you don’t need those rights anymore, that you get the best deal, and you can repay the new loans with relative ease.

Is it possible to refinance private student loans?

Yes, private student loans in good standing can get refinanced into a new private loan, typically with better rates and terms, and a single lower monthly payment. You can choose between accelerating your student loan repayment for faster payoff or extending your repayment over a longer period to free up more monthly cash, easing financial strain.

How many times can you refinance student loans?

You can refinance your loans as many times as you like if you qualify. However, that could reduce your credit score slightly, because lenders require a hard inquiry each time you apply. Sometimes that’s try even if you refinance with a current lender, and that can reduce your score for a short time. You might also reduce the average age of your credit, and older accounts mean higher credit scores.

What credit score is needed to refinance student loans?

In many cases, you can refinance your student loans with a fair credit score in the mid- to high 600s. But the higher your credit score, the better your interest rates and loan terms and conditions. You may not need a cosigner at higher credit scores. So, before you apply, check your credit report, and clean it up, if necessary, to increase your credit score.

Can I refinance student loans with bad credit?

It’s difficult to refinance student loans with bad credit, but it is possible. One way is getting a cosigner with good to excellent credit. Boost your credit score by paying down existing debt, removing mistakes, and getting negative items off your credit report. Adding new positive items like secured credit cards making payments regularly and on time will help raise your credit score.

How is refinancing different from student loan consolidation?

Both private and federal student loans can get refinanced into a single loan, typically at a lower interest and payment. Only federal loans can be part of a student loan consolidation, which is the process of combining them into one loan for a single payment. They don’t require a credit check, and you retain important federal protections, though not all of them.

Explain the difference and when it’s beneficial to refinance vs consolidate.

The goal of student loan refinancing is to reduce interest and payments, not simply have all your loans under one private loan. Loan consolidation doesn’t lower interest rates and may add to your principal by rolling interest payment into that. Refinancing is more beneficial because it keeps the loan principal the same, lowers your interest rate, decreases your monthly payment, and gives you more repayment options.

Can you refinance multiple student loans together?

Yes, you can refinance federal student loans and private student loans into one, single private student loan. It’s also possible to refinance multiple federal student loans into a private student loan or multiple private student loans into another private student loan. You’ll make one payment at a single interest rate rather than several payments at different interest rates. making them easier to manage.

How can I get the best student loan refinance rates?

You get the best student loan refinance rates by coming to the process with a strong financial and credit profile, shopping around and comparing rates, and choosing a fixed or variable APR that’s best for you. There’s also the option of getting you a cosigner to help you get the best APR. See if autopay reduces your APR, too, or the lender offers perks that will reduce your rate.

Can I use a cosigner to refinance my student loan?

Yes, if you don’t meet your proposed lender’s requirements for income and credit profile, you may be able to use a cosigner—if the lender allows that and you can find someone that qualifies to apply as a cosigner. They’ll have to have good to excellent credit, and a stable income, at least. Lenders require them to apply alone to see if they qualify.

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Dahna M. Chandler

Dahna M. Chandler

Award-Winning Business Finance Journalist and Brand Storyteller

Dahna M. Chandler is an award-winning business and finance journalist with 25 years of experience writing for major media outlets and top blogs. Because of her love for all things digital and entrepreneurship, she’s worked as a freelance online journalist and blogger her entire career. Passionate about helping wealth-minded people thrive financially by reaching their wealth objectives, she specializes in educating readers with tips, tools, and caveats about managing their personal and small business finances.

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