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4 Best Dental School Loan Refinance Lenders of September 2021

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

Cecilia ClarkAug 25, 2021

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Refinancing dental school loans can save you tens of thousands of dollars, get you out of debt faster, or both.

Dentists can refinance dental school loans during residency or wait until they're employed full-time. But don't do either if Public Service Loan Forgiveness or income-driven repayment will make sense for your career — refinanced loans aren't eligible for those programs.

Our picks for refinancing during or after residency are below, as well as information that can you help decide which option is right for you.

Summary of Best Dental School Loan Refinance Lenders of September 2021

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

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed APR

2.49 - 6.94%

Variable APR

2.25 - 6.59%
Check rate

on SoFi's website


Variable APR

2.25 - 6.59%

Key facts

Minimum payment during residency: $100/month.

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 2.25% 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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Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Laurel Road's website

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

660

Fixed APR

2.50 - 6.00%

Variable APR

1.89 - 5.90%
Check rate

on Laurel Road's website


Variable APR

1.89 - 5.90%

Key facts

Minimum payment during residency: $100/month.

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.

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: At least an associate degree for select professions. Borrowers in their last year of undergrad can refinance. For parent PLUS loans, the child does not need to have graduated to refinance.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

FIXED APR Fixed rate options consist of a range from 3.00% per year to 5.00% per year for a 5-year term, 3.60% per year to 5.30% per year for a 7-year term, 4.10% per year to 5.60% per year for a 10-year term, 4.50% per year to 5.65% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.60% per year to 6.20% 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 1.99% 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.

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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

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

680

Fixed APR

2.98 - 5.79%

Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%
Check rate

on CommonBond's website


Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%

Key facts

CommonBond has a partnership with Pacific Dental Services, offering a 0.13% interest rate reduction to dentists at its 700 supported offices.

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 and Nevada.

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, at least a bachelor's degree.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. 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 0.16% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.

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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

ISL Education Lending offers a $500 bonus to refinance dental school loans.

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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Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Laurel Road's website

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

660

Fixed APR

2.50 - 6.00%

Variable APR

1.89 - 5.90%
Check rate

on Laurel Road's website


Variable APR

1.89 - 5.90%

Key facts

Laurel Road offers a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount for American Dental Association members, on top of special pricing to dentists. The latter is not a set interest rate discount, but rates may be lower than what the lender advertises.

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.

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: At least an associate degree for select professions. Borrowers in their last year of undergrad can refinance. For parent PLUS loans, the child does not need to have graduated to refinance.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

FIXED APR Fixed rate options consist of a range from 3.00% per year to 5.00% per year for a 5-year term, 3.60% per year to 5.30% per year for a 7-year term, 4.10% per year to 5.60% per year for a 10-year term, 4.50% per year to 5.65% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.60% per year to 6.20% 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 1.99% 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.

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Should you refinance dental school loans?

The best reason to refinance dental school loans is to save money. When you refinance, your loans are replaced with a new loan with new terms, which typically include a lower interest rate. There are no origination or hidden fees.

Say you refinance $304,824 — the average dental school debt for the class of 2020 — from a 7% APR to a 5% APR. You’d save about $306 a month and more than $36,736 over 10 years.

Saving that much interest probably sounds pretty good. But refinancing won't be the right dental school loan repayment option for everyone.

If you have federal loans, refinancing will cost you benefits like income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. You may want or need these options, depending on your career goals. For example, if you plan to work for a nonprofit that provides dental care to those in need, you'll probably want to pursue PSLF.

But federal benefits could also be important in less obvious situations. Say you want your own dental practice, for instance. An income-driven plan could cost you the least each month, giving you the financial flexibility needed to open or purchase a practice, as well as to manage start-up or operational expenses.

These aren't issues with private loans, as they lack similar repayment benefits. If you already have private dental school loans, refinancing makes sense whenever you can qualify for a better rate. Refinancing also makes sense if your primary repayment goal is to save on interest, pay off loans fast or both.

When to refinance dental school loans

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.

Refinancing during your 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.

Keep in mind that your loan balance will likely increase during residency. Whether you’re on income-driven repayment or paying $100 per month after refinancing, your payments likely won’t cover the interest as it accrues.

Refinancing dental school loans after residency

Dental school loan refinancing once you're practicing is a smart move if you have:

  • Good credit. You need a score at least in the high 600s to qualify.

  • Strong income. Dentistry is one of the highest-paying professions.

  • Private dental school loans. If you refinanced during your residency, you can refinance again.

  • Clear career goals. Consider refinancing federal loans if you don’t plan on needing income-driven repayment or working in the public sector.

How to refinance dental school loans

Compare refinance lenders to find the one that’ll offer you the lowest rate, and look for special deals for dentists. For example, members of the American Dental Association get a 0.25% interest rate discount for refinancing through Laurel Road, while members of the American Association of Orthodontists can get the same amount off by refinancing with SoFi.

Also, pay attention to lenders’ loan limits. A few lenders will refinance as much student debt as you have, a couple 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 August 25, 2021

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Dental School Loan Refinance Lenders of September 2021

Frequently asked questions