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Refinance Dental School Loans: Compare Options for Dentists

Teddy NykielJune 10, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Dentists who have good credit and won't use federal loan benefits are prime candidates for student loan refinancing.

Our picks for

Refinancing during residency

Refinancing can save you money while you’re earning less as a resident, but your balance may increase by the time your residency ends.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on SoFi's website

Check Rate

on SoFi's website

Fixed APR

3.49-8.07%

Variable APR

2.43-6.59%

Min. Credit Score

650

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.
Read full review

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 3.69% APR to 8.074% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.43% APR to 6.65% 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 2.43% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.43% plus 0.04% 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. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Laurel Road's website

Check Rate

on Laurel Road's website

Fixed APR

3.50-7.02%

Variable APR

2.43-6.65%

Min. Credit Score

660

Pros

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.
  • Refinancing available for medical and dental residents.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Payment postponement isn’t available if borrowers return to school.
  • No option to make greater-than-minimum payments via autopay.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance.
  • Must have a degree: Yes, a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer: FIXED APR Fixed rate options consist of a range from 3.50% per year to 5.55% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.00% per year for a 7-year term, 4.30% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 4.60% per year to 6.80% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.05% per year to 7.02% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan). The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.75% per year to 5.80% per year for a 5-year term would be from $183.04 to $192.40. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.14% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term would be from $142.00 to $147.29. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.24% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term would be from $107.24 to $114.31. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.30% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term would be from $80.65 to $90.16. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.61% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term would be from $69.41 to $79.16. However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed 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. VARIABLE APR Variable rate options consist of a range from 2.50% per year to 6.05% per year for a 5-year term, 3.75% per year to 6.10% per year for a 7-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.15% per year for a 10-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.50% per year to 6.65% 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 3.49% per year to 6.31% per year for a 5-year term would be from $181.87 to $194.77. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.86% per year to 6.36% per year for a 7-year term would be from $140.68 to $147.82. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.91% per year to 6.41% per year for a 10-year term would be from $105.63 to $113.09. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.16% per year to 6.66% per year for a 15-year term would be from $79.92 to $87.99. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.41% per year to 6.91% per year for a 20-year term would be from $68.28 to $76.99. 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.

Our picks for

Refinancing after residency

You may get a lower interest rate by waiting to refinance until your income increases after your residency.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Fixed APR

3.69-8.07%

Variable APR

2.49-7.11%

Min. Credit Score

660

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • 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

  • Loans aren’t available in Mississippi, Nevada or Vermont.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.
  • Must have a degree: Yes.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer: 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 2.5% effective February 10, 2019.

Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Fixed APR

3.50-7.82%

Variable APR

2.43-7.21%

Min. Credit Score

650

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 Delaware, Kentucky, and Nevada.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.
  • Must have a degree: No, but must be within six months of graduation.

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.

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Fixed APR

3.87-7.03%

Variable APR

3.05-7.79%

Min. Credit Score

670

Pros

  • Married couples can refinance student loans into a single loan.
  • You are assigned a dedicated banker.
  • Above-average customer support compared with other lenders.

Cons

  • No formal deferment/forbearance options.
  • Must become a member of Pentagon Federal Credit Union to qualify.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 778.
  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $300,000.
  • Must have a degree: Yes, a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5, 8, 12 and 15 years

Disclaimer: Variable APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Variable rates are 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 April 01, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.48%. Variable interest rates range from 3.11% - 7.85% (3.11% - 7.85% 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 co-signer. The maximum variable rate on the student refinance loan is 9.00% for 5-year and 8-year terms, and 10.00% for 12-year and 15-year terms. The floor rate is 2.00%. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Variable APRs and amounts subject to increase or decrease. Variable rates are indexed to the one-month LIBOR rate and assume a one-month LIBOR rate of 2.48%. Your actual interest rate may be different than the student loan interest rates in these examples and will be based on term of loan, your financial history, and other factors, including your cosigner's (if any) financial history. State restrictions may apply.

Discover Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Discover's website

Check Rate

on Discover's website

Fixed APR

5.74-8.49%

Variable APR

4.74-7.74%

Min. Credit Score

Does Not Disclose

Pros

  • No late fees.
  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.

Cons

  • Only 10- and 20-year repayment terms available.
  • No co-signer release available.
  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Must have a degree: No.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $150,000.

Available Term Lengths

10 or 20 years

Disclaimer: Get a variable interest rate from 4.74% APR to 7.74% APR (3-Month LIBOR + 2.12% to 3-Month LIBOR + 5.12%) for either a 10-year or 20-year repayment term. Or lock in a fixed interest rate from 5.74% APR to 8.49% APR for a 10-year repayment term or from 5.99% APR to 8.49% APR for a 20-year repayment term. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. The margin is based on your credit evaluation at the time of application and does not change. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 2.63% as of April 1, 2019. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the "interest rate change date"), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. The lowest listed APRs include a 0.25% rate reduction for automatic payments. Visit discover.com/student-loans/consolidation for more information, including up-to-date interest rates and APRs.

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Fixed APR

3.39-6.69%

Variable APR

2.80-6.01%

Min. Credit Score

680

Pros

  • Above-average customer support compared with other lenders.
  • You are assigned a dedicated banker.
  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

Cons

  • Payment postponement isn’t available for borrowers who return to school.
  • The minimum amount to refinance is more than many lenders require.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 774.
  • Loan amounts: $15,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance.
  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least a bachelor’s degree.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. http://www.elfi.com/terms/

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on SoFi's website

Check Rate

on SoFi's website

Fixed APR

3.49-8.07%

Variable APR

2.43-6.59%

Min. Credit Score

650

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.
Read full review

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 3.69% APR to 8.074% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.43% APR to 6.65% 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 2.43% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.43% plus 0.04% 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. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

Summary of Refinance Dental School Loans: Compare Options for Dentists

LenderFixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
SoFi Student Loan Refinance

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on SoFi's website

3.49-8.07%

2.43-6.59%

650

Check Rate

on SoFi's website

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Laurel Road's website

3.50-7.02%

2.43-6.65%

660

Check Rate

on Laurel Road's website

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

3.69-8.07%

2.49-7.11%

660

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

3.50-7.82%

2.43-7.21%

650

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

3.87-7.03%

3.05-7.79%

670

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Discover Student Loan Refinance

Discover Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Discover's website

5.74-8.49%

4.74-7.74%

Does Not Disclose

Check Rate

on Discover's website

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

3.39-6.69%

2.80-6.01%

680

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

LendKey Student Loan Refinance

LendKey Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on LendKey's website

3.64-7.50%

2.44-6.87%

660

Check Rate

on LendKey's website

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

3.87-7.03%

3.10-7.84%

670

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

3.59-9.99%

2.63-9.67%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

LenderFixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
SoFi Student Loan Refinance

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on SoFi's website

3.49-8.07%

2.43-6.59%

650

Check Rate

on SoFi's website

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Laurel Road's website

3.50-7.02%

2.43-6.65%

660

Check Rate

on Laurel Road's website

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

3.69-8.07%

2.49-7.11%

660

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

3.50-7.82%

2.43-7.21%

650

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

3.87-7.03%

3.05-7.79%

670

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Discover Student Loan Refinance

Discover Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Discover's website

5.74-8.49%

4.74-7.74%

Does Not Disclose

Check Rate

on Discover's website

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

3.39-6.69%

2.80-6.01%

680

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

LendKey Student Loan Refinance

LendKey Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on LendKey's website

3.64-7.50%

2.44-6.87%

660

Check Rate

on LendKey's website

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

3.87-7.03%

3.10-7.84%

670

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

3.59-9.99%

2.63-9.67%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

Refinancing dental school loans during residency

If you’re doing a dental residency and want to refinance at some point, you generally have two choices: Refinance during residency, or refinance after residency.

  • If your residency program offers a stipend: You can consider refinancing during residency. Two student loan refinance lenders — SoFi and Laurel Road — allow you to refinance as a resident and pay as little as $100 a month during your training. Alternatively, enter an income-driven repayment plan during residency and refinance afterwards, when your income is higher.
  • If your residency program charges tuition: Refinancing during residency may not be an option. With SoFi, dentists must prove that they’re not taking on additional debt to cover residency tuition. You may be able to defer dental school loan payments during residency, but interest will still accrue. Revisit refinancing once you’re employed.

Your loan balance will likely increase during residency. Whether you’re on income-driven repayment or you’re paying $100 per month after refinancing, your payments likely won’t cover the interest as it accrues. The average student loan balance among class of 2018 dental school graduates — $285,184 — would accrue about $40 in interest per day and almost $1,200 monthly, assuming a 5% APR.

» MORE: Average dentist salary: How much do dentists make?

Refinancing dental school loans after residency

Dental school loan refinancing is a smart move if you have:

  • Good credit. You need a score at least in the high 600s to qualify.
  • Private dental school loans.
  • Federal student loans and don’t plan on using income-driven repayment.
  • Federal student loans and don’t plan on working in the public sector.

Refinancing federal loans means giving up federal loan benefits including Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-driven repayment plans. This isn’t an issue for private loans.

» MORE: 8 dental school debt forgiveness programs

When you refinance, your loans are transferred from your existing lender or servicer to the new lender you choose to refinance with. Going forward, you’ll make payments to the new lender. There are no origination or hidden fees.

Say you refinance $285,184 — the average dental school debt in 2018 — from a 7% APR to a 5% APR. You’d save about $280 a month and more than $34,000 over 10 years.

Before refinancing, compare lenders to find the one that’ll offer you the lowest rate. Members of the American Dental Association get a 0.25% interest rate discount for refinancing through Laurel Road.

Also, pay attention to lenders’ loan limits. A few lenders will refinance as much student debt as you have, a couple of lenders refinance up to $500,000 and others will refinance up to $300,000. But some lenders have loan limits that may be too low for the average dentist.

Last updated on June 10, 2019

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Refinance Dental School Loans: Compare Options for Dentists