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6 Best MBA Student Loan Refinance Options of October 2021

When refinancing MBA student loans, choose the lender that saves you the most money.

Cecilia ClarkAug 27, 2021

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Business school graduates can be ideal candidates for student loan refinancing. MBAs often earn high incomes and work in the private sector, so they would be OK refinancing federal loans and losing benefits like income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

The best MBA student loan refinance lender is the one that saves you the most money. But if multiple options offer similar savings, look for loans with features that tie into your repayment or professional goals.

Here are our picks for the best lenders for MBA student loan refinancing, as well as tips on how to decide if this strategy is right for you.

Summary of Best MBA Student Loan Refinance Options of October 2021

Our picks for

Refinancing before graduation

The earlier you refinance, the more you could save. If you’re in an executive MBA program, look for lenders that let you refinance without a degree.

ISL Refinance Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

ISL Refinance Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
ISL Refinance Loan

Min. Credit Score

670

Fixed APR

2.55 - 7.63%

Variable APR

N/A
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Best for saving on interest before graduation.

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • You can refinance without a degree.

  • You can refinance while in school or during a medical residency.

Cons

  • Interest rates vary by refi product.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Approximately 750.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $300,000. (Minimum for California residents is $10,000.)

  • Must have a degree: No.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20

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Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance
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on Nelnet Bank's website

Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

640

Fixed APR

2.48 - 6.62%

Variable APR

1.95 - 5.65%
Check rate

on Nelnet Bank's website


Variable APR

1.95 - 5.65%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who may need wiggle room on payments.

Pros

  • International students can apply with a co-signer who is a qualified U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • You can see if you'll qualify and what rate you'll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Below-average customer support compared with other lenders.

  • Doesn't allow biweekly payments via auto-pay.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 - $225,000.

  • Must have a degree: No.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years. 25-year terms available for variable-rate loans

Disclaimer

The lowest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (“auto debit”) payments. The lowest rate is available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, (3) the loan type selected, and (4) the highest level of education attained. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range.

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Our picks for

Fast payoff

If your post-MBA salary lets you afford to pay more each month, consider a lender that enables speedy repayment.

PenFed Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Purefy's website

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

670

Fixed APR

2.89 - 5.08%

Variable APR

N/A
Check rate

on Purefy's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Best for married couples who want to refinance their student loans into a single one.

Pros

  • Married couples can refinance student loans into a single loan.

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Estate is still responsible for the loan if the borrower dies.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 773.

  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $300,000.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least a bachelor’s degree.

Available Term Lengths

5, 8, 12 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Rates and offers current as of June 1, 2021. 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% APR - 5.08% APR. Fixed 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. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.

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Earnest Student Loan Refinance
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on Earnest's website

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed APR

2.44 - 5.79%

Variable APR

1.88 - 5.64%
Check rate

on Earnest's website


Variable APR

1.88 - 5.64%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast.

Pros

  • Customizable payments and loan terms.

  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • You can’t apply with a co-signer.

  • Loans aren't available in Kentucky and Nevada.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 760.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.

  • Must have a degree: No, but must be within six months of graduation and have income or a job.

Available Term Lengths

5 to 20 years

Disclaimer

Specific Annual Percentage Rate (APRs) offered within these ranges will depend on a variety of factors including your creditworthiness and other application details. Annual percentage rates (APRs) reflect 0.25% discount for optional enrollment in autopay. Your approval for an Earnest Loan is subject to the full underwriting of your loan application. Read more about qualifying for a loan with Earnest here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility

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College Ave Student Loan Refinance
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on College Ave's website

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
College Ave Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

Upper 600s

Fixed APR

2.99 - 7.84%

Variable APR

2.94 - 7.74%
Check rate

on College Ave's website


Variable APR

2.94 - 7.74%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who want a nonstandard loan term — six or nine years, for instance.

Pros

  • You can choose any loan term between five and 20 years.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • Students cannot refinance a parent PLUS loan in their name.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Mid-700s.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $300,000, depending on the highest degree earned.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, an associate degree or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5 to 20 years

Disclaimer

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.1. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.2. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.Information advertised valid as of 10/21/2021. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.

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Our pick for

Extra features

SoFi can help grow your professional network with in-person member events. Other benefits, such as career coaching, may be of use if you got an MBA to change careers.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed APR

2.49 - 6.94%

Variable APR

1.99 - 6.59%
Check rate

on SoFi's website


Variable APR

1.99 - 6.59%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.

Pros

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Additional perks like career planning, job search assistance and entrepreneurship support available.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • Loan size minimum is higher than most lenders.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000, up to your total outstanding loan balance.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, an associate degree or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 2.49% APR to 6.94% APR (with autopay). Variable rates from 1.99% APR to 6.59% 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.

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How much could student loan refinancing save MBAs?

Business school students graduate with an average MBA student debt of $66,300, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. If you repaid that much debt on the standard, 10-year repayment plan with an interest rate of 7%, you'd pay $92,376 overall. Reducing the interest rate to 5% would drop that total to $84,385 — a savings of almost $8,000.

The amount you’d save would depend on your loan's terms. For example, the $66,300 includes undergraduate loans, but students often start MBA programs in their late 20s. That means you could already be halfway done with repayment, decreasing your savings. Alternatively, a 2019 Bloomberg Businessweek survey found that many business school graduates owe more than $100,000. Refinancing that much MBA student debt would increase your savings.

Plug your info into a student loan refinance calculator to determine how much you could save.

Should you refinance MBA student loans?

If you paid for your MBA with private student loans, there’s little downside to refinancing them. Consider refinancing whenever you qualify for a better rate. That may be while you’re in business school, after you graduate or both. Refinance lenders typically don’t charge fees, so you begin saving money immediately.

Here are some additional questions that can help you decide if an MBA student loan refinance makes sense for you:

  • What type of rate do you have? Most student loan refinance lenders let you choose a fixed or variable interest rate; some offer hybrid rates as well. If you originally went for a private MBA loan with a variable rate to keep costs down, you may want to lock in a fixed rate via refinancing to avoid future increases. Or maybe you opted for a fixed rate during school to minimize risk. If you’re now confident in your earning power and want to repay loans faster, you could refinance into a lower variable rate.

  • Are your loans lacking features you want? In addition to interest rates, refinancing can change other aspects of your loans, like shortening your repayment term to let you pay off loans fast. Some lenders offer features that could tie into additional financial goals. For example, you may be able to refinance your debt with your spouse’s to save you both money. Or a lender might offer a discount on other loans — like a mortgage — by refinancing with them.

  • Do you have federal student loans? You’ll hopefully have a good grasp on your career trajectory after finishing business school, so refinance federal student loans only if you’re sure you won't need benefits like income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. You can’t get those back after refinancing. If you have a mix of federal and private loans, you can always refinance just the private loans to keep federal loan protections.

Last updated on August 27, 2021

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best MBA Student Loan Refinance Options of October 2021

Frequently asked questions