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8 Best Parent PLUS Loan Refinance Lenders of December 2020

You can refinance parent PLUS loans with a private lender, but not the federal government, 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.

Anna HelhoskiNovember 5, 2020
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Refinancing parent PLUS loans may save you money by lowering your interest rate — rates start at about half of what the government charges for PLUS loans. It can also get you off the hook for the loan completely by transferring the debt to your child.

But refinancing parent PLUS loans isn’t right for you if you have bad credit, struggle to make monthly loan payments or want to access federal benefits including income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.

Not all private lenders refinance parent PLUS loans. Below are our top-rated lenders that offer this option, as well as information to help you decide if refinancing makes sense for you.

Summary of Best Parent PLUS Loan Refinance Lenders of December 2020

Our pick for

Transferring or refinancing parent PLUS loans

SoFi is the highest-rated lender that meets all our criteria for PLUS loan refinancing, including transferring PLUS loans from parents to children.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
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SoFi Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.99 - 6.28%

Variable APR

2.25 - 6.28%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

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Variable APR

2.25 - 6.28%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.

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.
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Our picks for

Transferring a PLUS loan to the child

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

PenFed Student Loan Refinance
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PenFed Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.99 - 5.15%

Variable APR

2.25 - 4.49%

Min. Credit Score

670

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Variable APR

2.25 - 4.49%

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 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.
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CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
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CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.98 - 5.79%

Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%

Min. Credit Score

680

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Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who have a bachelor's degree and value repayment flexibility.

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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Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance
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Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.79 - 5.99%

Variable APR

2.39 - 6.01%

Min. Credit Score

680

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Variable APR

2.39 - 6.01%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who value good customer service.

Pros

  • 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.

  • No co-signer release available.

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. https://www.elfi.com/terms/
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Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance
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on Laurel Road's website

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

5.0

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Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.99 - 6.20%

Variable APR

1.99 - 6.10%

Min. Credit Score

700

Check Rate

on Laurel Road's website


Variable APR

1.99 - 6.10%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who want to refinance during their medical or dental residency.

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 pick 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
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Earnest Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.98 - 5.49%

Variable APR

1.99 - 5.34%

Min. Credit Score

650

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Variable APR

1.99 - 5.34%

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

How to refinance parent PLUS loans

You have two options to refinance parent PLUS loans: keep the student loan in your name, or transfer it to your child. No matter which you choose, a refinance lender will pay off your existing parent PLUS loan and issue a new private loan with new terms.

1. Refinancing parent PLUS loans in your name

Parent PLUS loan interest rates from recent years range from 6.31% to 7.9%, depending on the year in which you borrowed. You may be able to 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. Use a student loan refinance calculator to see how much you’d save by lowering your parent 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 loans and you’ll make payments to the new lender. The loan will still be your responsibility to repay, not your child’s.

2. Refinancing parent PLUS loans to your child

The government doesn’t give the option to shift parent PLUS loans into a 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 you to refinance a parent PLUS loan to your child, effectively transferring responsibility for the loan.

The process and requirements for your child to refinance parent 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.

Should you refinance parent PLUS loans?

You should refinance parent PLUS loans in your name 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.

Refinancing doesn't make sense if you need an income-driven repayment plan, will qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness or want other federal loan entitlements — like loan discharge if you or the child you borrowed the loan for dies.

You may want to transfer parent PLUS loans to your child via refinancing in the following instances:

  • He or she can qualify for a lower rate.

  • You want to switch the repayment responsibility to your son or daughter.

  • You can't pay parent PLUS loans but your child can.

If you decide to refinance parent PLUS loans, doing so early in the repayment term — even before your parent PLUS loan deferment is over, for example — can save you the most money.

How and when to consolidate parent PLUS loans

Federal student loan consolidation is different from refinancing. Consolidation won’t lower your interest rate, but parent PLUS loan borrowers must jump through this hoop in the following instances:

Income-Contingent Repayment is the only income-driven repayment plan for repaying parent PLUS loans. 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.

Parent PLUS loans can be canceled by Public Service Loan Forgiveness 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 the Income-Contingent Repayment plan.

You can apply for federal consolidation on the Federal Student Aid website.

Last updated on November 5, 2020

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Parent PLUS Loan Refinance Lenders of December 2020

Frequently asked questions