BEST OF

5 Best Law School Student Loan Refinance Options of November 2020

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

Ryan LaneOctober 27, 2020
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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 November 2020

Our pick for

Fast payoff

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

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.99 - 6.28%

Variable APR

2.25 - 6.28%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on SoFi's website


Variable APR

2.25 - 6.28%

Key facts

SoFi has one of the highest overall scores among refinancing lenders that offer all of the features NerdWallet experts agree help borrowers repay loans faster, including availability of shorter loan terms and the ability to make biweekly payments or greater-than-minimum payments via autopay.

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 2.99% APR to 6.28% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.28% 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 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% 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. See eligibility details. 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. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. *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.
Read Full Review

Our pick for

Refinancing before graduation

If you turned a summer associate position into a post-grad job offer, refinancing before completing law school could save you even more on interest.

Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.98 - 5.49%

Variable APR

1.99 - 5.34%

Min. Credit Score

650

Check Rate

on Earnest's website


Variable APR

1.99 - 5.34%

Key facts

Borrowers can refinance with Earnest in their last semester before graduation. Earnest’s unique underwriting approach considers the earning potential for your career, in addition to other financial factors, to determine your interest rate.

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.

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
Read Full Review

Our pick for

Payment flexibility

You may start your career in Big Law, but only stay a couple years. If you’re unsure of your long-term plans, you may want a lender that has more flexibility with payments.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.98 - 5.79%

Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%

Min. Credit Score

680

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website


Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%

Key facts

CommonBond offers an in-school deferment, should you decide to re-enroll full-time to get an LLM degree. Its 24 months of forbearance is also more than most lenders offer; that longer break could come in handy if you eventually start your own firm and need funds for business expenses.

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.
Read Full Review

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

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.99 - 5.15%

Variable APR

2.25 - 4.49%

Min. Credit Score

670

Check Rate

on Purefy's website


Variable APR

2.25 - 4.49%

Key facts

PenFed is among the lenders that score highest in our customer support category and also have high overall scores.

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 October 1, 2020. 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 2.99% APR to 5.15% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.25% APR to 4.49% APR. Both Fixed and Variable 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. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 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.
Read Full Review

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 October 27, 2020

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Law School Student Loan Refinance Options of November 2020

Frequently asked questions