BEST OF

5 Best Pharmacy School Loan Refinance Options of December 2022

Refinancing pharmacy school loans can be a money-saving strategy for pharmacists who work in the private sector.

May 25, 2022

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Refinancing pharmacy school loans can make sense if you're working full-time, have good credit and a relatively low debt-to-income ratio. But don't refinance federal loans if you're interested in Public Service Loan Forgiveness or income-driven repayment — refinanced loans aren't eligible for those programs.

Our picks for student loan refinancing for pharmacists are below, as well as information that can help you decide whether refinancing is right for you.

Best Pharmacy School Loan Refinance Options

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

3.99-8.99%

Variable APR

3.24-7.99%
Check rate

on Earnest's website


Variable APR

3.24-7.99%

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

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.24% APR to 9.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 3.49% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account.

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LendKey Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on LendKey's website

LendKey Student Loan Refinance

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
LendKey Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

660

Fixed APR

3.99-10.68%

Variable APR

3.27-6.87%
Check rate

on LendKey's website


Variable APR

3.27-6.87%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who prefer to work with a community bank or credit union, rather than a big bank.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 18 months for 15- and 20-year loan terms is longer than many lenders.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren't available in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island or West Virginia.

  • No payment postponement available if borrowers return to school or serve in the military.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 751.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $300,000, depending on the higest degree earned.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least an associate degree.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

See LendKey's full terms and conditions at https://www.lendkey.com/disclaimers

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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

4.49-8.99%

Variable APR

4.49-8.99%
Check rate

on SoFi's website


Variable APR

4.49-8.99%

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 range from 4.49% APR to 8.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 4.49% APR to 8.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR 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. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.

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PenFed Student Loan Refinance

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

670

Fixed APR

7.74-9.93%

Variable APR

N/A

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 August 13, 2022. 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 7.74% APR - 9.93% 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.

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Education Loan Finance's website

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

680

Fixed APR

4.48-7.29%

Variable APR

2.99-7.98%
Check rate

on Education Loan Finance's website


Variable APR

2.99-7.98%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who value good customer service.

Pros

  • You are assigned a student 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: $10,000 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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Can you refinance pharmacy school loans?

You can refinance federal and private pharmacy school loans, but only with a private lender. When you refinance, a private lender will pay off your existing debt and issue you a new loan — ideally with a lower interest rate.

Reducing your interest rate can make a five-figure difference when you have six-figure pharmacy school debt. For instance, refinancing $179,514 — the average pharmacist student loan debt among the class of 2020 — from a 7% APR to a 5% APR would save $180 a month and more than $21,600 total, assuming a 10-year loan term.

Should you refinance pharmacy school loans?

Refinancing is one strategy for repaying pharmacy school loans. You should consider this option in the following instances:

  • You’re employed full time. Unlike doctors and dentists, pharmacists don’t have the option to refinance pharmacy student loans during a one-year or two-year post-graduate residency.

  • You have good credit. You'll need a score at least in the high 600s to qualify. But generally, the higher your score, the lower the rate you'll get.

  • You have private student loans. There's little downside to refinancing private student loans you took out for pharmacy school. If you can qualify for a lower interest rate, you can start saving money immediately.

  • You have federal loans, but work in the private sector. If you don't work for a nonprofit or in the public sector, you may want need to hang onto federal student loan benefits like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-driven payment plans.

Refinance lenders will also look at your debt-to-income ratio, or your total monthly financial obligations compared to your income. The required debt-to-income ratio for student loan refinancing varies by lender but is generally 50% or less.

Your debt-to-income ratio could be too high if you have the average pharmacist student loan debt of $179,514 and the average pharmacist salary, $125,510. But lenders still may be willing to work with you if you have steady employment and an otherwise strong financial situation. If not, you may need to pay down some debt or increase your income before applying to refinance.

STUDENT LOAN REFINANCE RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and the top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 41 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Last updated on May 25, 2022

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Pharmacy School Loan Refinance Options of December 2022