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4 Best Law School Student Loan Refinance Options of September 2021

Consider refinancing law school loans if you practice in the private sector.

Cecilia ClarkAug 27, 2021

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Lawyers who work in the private sector are typically excellent candidates for student loan refinancing. That's because they generally have high incomes and don't qualify for federal loan benefits, like loan forgiveness programs.

The best lender to refinance law school loans will be the one that offers you the lowest interest rate. But you may want to consider additional criteria based on your career or loan repayment goals.

Here are our picks, as well as tips for determining if refinancing law school loans is right for you.

Summary of Best Law School Student Loan Refinance Options of September 2021

Our picks for

Fast payoff

Earning a six-figure salary? Consider lenders that help you pay loans as quickly as possible to minimize interest costs.

Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Earnest's website

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed APR

2.50 - 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
Check rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
College Ave Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

Upper 600s

Fixed APR

2.99 - 6.89%

Variable APR

2.94 - 6.79%
Check rate

on College Ave's website


Variable APR

2.94 - 6.79%

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 9/10/2021. 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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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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Our pick for

Customer service

Working 80-hour weeks mean you probably don’t have the time to deal with student loans. Look for lenders whose service makes it easy to refinance and manage your debt.

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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Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

Should you refinance law school loans?

It can make sense to refinance law school loans in the following instances:

  • You work in the private sector. Avoid refinancing federal student loans if you work in public service or might want to. Public-interest lawyers may be eligible for better law school loan repayment options than refinancing, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Loan Repayment Assistance Programs.

  • You have a high salary. The median lawyer starting salary at private-sector firms was $155,000 in 2019, according to the National Association of Law Placement. Borrowers with solid earnings like that may not need federal options that reduce payments based on income. If you work at a Big Law firm or other private-sector employer — and have excellent credit and a history of on-time debt payments — you may qualify for a low refinance rate.

  • You already have private student loans. Whether you took out private loans for law school or your undergraduate degree, it makes sense to refinance them if you’ll qualify for a lower interest rate — even if you work in the public sector. Private loans won't qualify for federal repayment programs.

  • You previously refinanced your loans. You can refinance student loans as often as you want. For example, you may want to refinance right after finishing law school and again after making partner, if you're on that track. You may get a lower rate as you earn more money or raise your credit score.

You generally can’t refinance bar exam loans with your student loans. If you have these, prioritize paying them off fast, since their interest rates are high.

How much could refinancing student loans save lawyers?

According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the average law school debt is $145,500. That would lead to a total repayment amount of $202,726, based on a 10-year repayment plan and an interest rate of 7%.

Refinancing law school loans at an interest rate of 5% would drop that total to $185,190 — a difference of $17,536. Use a student loan refinancing calculator to see how much you might save.

Law school student loan consolidation

Consolidation combines your existing federal loans into a single loan, but it doesn't decrease your interest rate like refinancing can. Consider consolidating law school student loans if you want to make one monthly payment or need to consolidate to qualify for a repayment program, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Some private lenders advertise their refinancing loans as "consolidation" loans. But only the government lets you consolidate law school loans into a new federal loan. You can complete this process at studentaid.gov.

Last updated on August 27, 2021

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Law School Student Loan Refinance Options of September 2021

Frequently asked questions