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Refinance Parent PLUS Loans: Compare Options

Anna HelhoskiAugust 12, 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.

You can refinance federal parent PLUS loans to lower your interest rate. Depending on the lender, you can refinance the loan in your own name or transfer the loan to your child.

Our picks for

Transferring a parent loan to the child

Your child becomes legally responsible for repaying a parent loan if it's transferred into his or her name.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
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.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Fixed APR

3.48-8.22%

Variable APR

2.41-7.95%

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 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: 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 2.41% effective June 10, 2019.

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Education Loan Finance's website

Fixed APR

3.29-6.69%

Variable APR

2.80-6.01%

Min. Credit Score

680

Pros

  • Above-average customer support compared with other lenders.
  • You are assigned a personal loan advisor.
  • 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/

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance
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.
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: 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 3.50% 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 a parent PLUS loan

You may lower your rate by refinancing a parent loan with a private lender, but you'll lose federal loan perks.

Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Fixed APR

3.47-7.59%

Variable APR

2.27-6.89%

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 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.

Discover Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Discover's website

Fixed APR

5.74-8.49%

Variable APR

4.62-7.62%

Min. Credit Score

Does Not Disclose

Pros

  • No late fees.
  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.
  • Can refinance without a degree.

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 4.62% APR to 7.62% 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 2.50% as of July 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.

Summary of Refinance Parent PLUS Loans: Compare Options

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

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

3.48-8.22%

2.41-7.95%

660

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Education Loan Finance's website

3.29-6.69%

2.80-6.01%

680

Check Rate

on Education Loan Finance'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

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

3.47-7.59%

2.27-6.89%

650

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Discover Student Loan Refinance

Discover Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Discover's website

5.74-8.49%

4.62-7.62%

Does Not Disclose

Check Rate

on Discover's website

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

3.48-6.03%

2.86-7.60%

670

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

3.45-9.62%

2.46-9.24%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

4.29-12.46%

4.96-12.84%

Does not disclose

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure 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

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

3.48-8.22%

2.41-7.95%

660

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Education Loan Finance's website

3.29-6.69%

2.80-6.01%

680

Check Rate

on Education Loan Finance'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

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

3.47-7.59%

2.27-6.89%

650

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Discover Student Loan Refinance

Discover Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Discover's website

5.74-8.49%

4.62-7.62%

Does Not Disclose

Check Rate

on Discover's website

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

3.48-6.03%

2.86-7.60%

670

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

3.45-9.62%

2.46-9.24%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

4.29-12.46%

4.96-12.84%

Does not disclose

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

How to refinance a parent PLUS loan in your name

PLUS loan interest rates from recent years range from 6.31% to 7.9%, depending on the year in which you borrowed. You can get a lower rate by refinancing your PLUS loan if you have good credit and enough income to cover your expenses and debts. Here’s how:

  1. Estimate your savings. You should refinance if you have a credit score at least in the high 600s, are comfortable giving up federal loan benefits and can qualify for a lower rate. Use a student loan refinance calculator to see how much you’d save by lowering your PLUS loan rate.
  2. Compare refinance lenders. Shopping around is the best way to ensure you get the lowest interest rate you qualify for. The table above lists lenders that offer parent PLUS loan refinancing. Many lenders allow you to pre-qualify without harming your credit. They’ll conduct a soft credit pull to estimate your rate.
  3. Apply. Lenders will do a hard credit check before finalizing your new rate. If you’re approved, the lender will pay off your existing loans and you’ll make payments to the new lender. The loan will still be your responsibility to repay, not your child’s.

How to refinance a parent PLUS loan in your child's name

The government doesn’t give parents the option to shift PLUS loans into their child’s name. Even if your child makes payments on your PLUS loan, you’re still ultimately responsible for the debt. However, a growing number of private lenders allow children to refinance their parents’ loans, effectively transferring responsibility for the loan.

The process and requirements for your child to refinance your PLUS loans in their name are the same as if they were refinancing their own student loans with a private lender. To qualify, they’ll need good credit, a strong history of making loan payments and enough income to afford payments — or a co-signer who meets those qualifications.

We've noted which lenders allow children to refinance PLUS loans on behalf of their parents. Lenders include Elfi, CommonBond, Laurel Road and SoFi.

How and when to consolidate your parent PLUS loans

Federal student loan consolidation won’t lower your interest rate, but it’s a hoop parent PLUS loan borrowers must jump through to make their loans eligible for certain federal loan programs. Apply for federal consolidation on the Federal Student Aid website.

There are two main reasons to consolidate your parent PLUS loans through the federal government:

  • If you want to lower your monthly payments by switching to an Income-Contingent Repayment plan.
  • If you want to pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Income-Contingent Repayment is the only income-driven repayment plan that parent PLUS loan borrowers can qualify for. Under the plan, your monthly payments will be capped at 20% of your discretionary income or the amount of your fixed monthly payments on a 12-year loan term, whichever is lower. Your loan term will be extended to 25 years.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness can cancel some of your student loan debt if you make 120 on-time payments while working for the government, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or another nonprofit that provides a qualifying public service. To get the most money forgiven, parent PLUS loan borrowers need to make all 120 payments on an income-contingent repayment plan.

Last updated on August 12, 2019

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Refinance Parent PLUS Loans: Compare Options

Frequently asked questions

The quickest ways to repay parent loans are refinancing the debt at a lower rate, if you have great credit, or sticking with the standard 10-year term. If you need lower payments, consider a federal consolidation loan or the Income-Contingent Repayment plan, where your payment is determined by your income. If you work for a  qualifying employer, the loans may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Lastly, if your child has graduated and landed a good-paying job, you can refinance the loan in his or her name.

The only way to transfer parent loans you took out on your student’s behalf is by refinancing the debt through a private student lender. Your child will need good credit — score in the high 600s — and a stable income and work history to qualify. Not all lenders offer this service.

If you can’t make payments on the parent loans you took out for your child’s education, you have four options: First, refinancing the loans in your child’s name, if he or she has good credit and stable finances. Second, switching to a different repayment plan such as Income-Contingent Repayment, where your income determines your payment. Third, postponing payments through deferment or forbearance for a brief period. And last, if you have already defaulted, doing your best to regain good standing that would allow you to change payment plans.

Parents can borrow two ways to finance their children's college education: federal parent PLUS loans or private parent loans. Neither is a good choice unless your child has already borrowed the maximum amount of federal loans on his or her own. Federal PLUS loans are an option for parents who may not have the credit needed to qualify for a private parent loan. PLUS loans carry a substantial origination fee. If you qualify, a private parent loan might offer a lower interest rate and no fees.