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9 Top Lenders to Lower Your Student Loan Payment

Pre-qualify with multiple lenders to see which one will help you lower your student loan payment the most.

Last updated on May 16, 2024
Written by 
Assistant Assigning Editor
Karen Gaudette Brewer
Edited by 
Fact Checked
Lead Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Cecilia Clark
Written by 
Assistant Assigning Editor
Karen Gaudette Brewer
Edited by 
Fact Checked
Lead Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

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NerdWallet's student loans content, including articles, reviews and recommendations, is produced by a team of writers and editors who specialize in consumer lending. Their work has appeared in The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Nasdaq, MSN, ABC News, MarketWatch and many other national and regional media outlets. They also have appeared on NerdWallet's “Smart Money” podcast, as well as local TV and radio.

Top Lenders to Lower Your Student Loan Payment

Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Min. credit score
Fixed APR
Variable APR
Learn more
Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Check rate
on Earnest's website
on Earnest's website
COMPARE RATES
on Sparrow’s website
on Sparrow’s website
Best for Borrowers who want a nonstandard loan term

650

4.99-9.74%

5.89-9.74%

Check rate
on Earnest's website
on Earnest's website
SoFi Parent PLUS Refinancing

SoFi Parent PLUS Refinancing

4.5
/5
Best for Repayment flexibility

650

5.24-9.99%

6.24-9.99%

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

Read review
4.5
/5
Best for Borrowers who want a nonstandard loan term

Mid-600s

6.99-13.99%

6.99-13.99%

Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

5.0
/5
Best for Borrowers who didn’t graduate

670

5.95-9.99%

N/A

RISLA Student Loan Refinance

RISLA Student Loan Refinance

5.0
/5
Best for Income-based repayment

680

6.34-8.29%

N/A

Our pick for

Borrowers who want a nonstandard loan term

Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check rate
on Earnest's website
on Earnest's website
Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

5.0
Min. credit score

650

Fixed APR

4.99-9.74%

Variable APR

5.89-9.74%

Key factsBest 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
  • Loans aren't available in 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 Lengths5 to 20 years
DisclaimerActual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 5.24% APR to 9.99% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 6.14% APR to 9.99% 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.
Read Full Review
College Ave Student Loan Refinance

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

4.5
Min. credit score

Mid-600s

Fixed APR

6.99-13.99%

Variable APR

6.99-13.99%

Key factsBest for borrowers who want a nonstandard loan term — six or nine years, for instance.
Pros
  • You can choose any loan term between 5 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 Lengths5 to 15 years
DisclaimerCollege Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community 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. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000. Rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. If a payment is returned, you will lose this benefit. Variable rates may increase after consummation. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Flat Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.78% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 54 monthly payments of $25 while in school, followed by 96 monthly payments of $176.21 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $18,266.38. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. 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 6/14/2024. 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.

Our pick for

Repayment flexibility

SoFi Parent PLUS Refinancing

SoFi Parent PLUS Refinancing

Min. credit score

650

Fixed APR

5.24-9.99%

Variable APR

6.24-9.99%

Key factsBest for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.
Pros
  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans from the parent’s name to the student’s.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
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 Lengths5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
DisclaimerFixed rates range from 5.24% APR to 9.99% APR with 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates range from 6.24% APR to 9.99% 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 13.95% APR; 15- and 20- year terms are capped at 13.95% APR. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 02/06/24 and are subject to change at any time. 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. You may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term.

Our pick for

Borrowers who didn’t graduate

These lenders refinance student loans even if you haven't graduated.

Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

670

Fixed APR

5.95-9.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Key factsBest for borrowers who didn’t graduate.
Pros
  • You can refinance without a degree.
  • Forbearance of 24 months is twice as long as most 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 Alaska, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, Washington, Washington D.C.
  • You cannot postpone repayment if you re-enroll in school.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Does not disclose.
  • Minimum income: Does not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: Minimum $7,500. Maximum depends on creditworthiness and debt-to-income ratio.
Available Term Lengths10, 15 or 20 years

Our pick for

Income-based repayment

RISLA Student Loan Refinance

RISLA Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

680

Fixed APR

6.34-8.29%

Variable APR

N/A

Key factsBest for borrowers who want payment flexibility should they run into financial trouble.
Pros
  • Income-based repayment plan available, with forgiveness after 25 years.
  • Co-signer release available after 24 months.
Cons
  • Students cannot refinance a parent PLUS loan in their name.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 748.
  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $250,000, depending on the highest degree earned.
  • Must have a degree: No.
Available Term Lengths5, 10 or 15 years

Our pick for

Credit union members

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

N/A

Variable APR

N/A

Key factsAn option for members of Navy Federal Credit Union, especially those who have an associate degree.
Pros
  • Forbearance of 18 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • Greater-than-minimum payments allowed via autopay.
Cons
  • Available only to existing Navy Federal Credit Union customers
  • Students cannot refinance a parent PLUS loan in their name.
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • $7,500 minimum to $125,000 for undergraduates, or $175,000 for graduate students.
  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least an associate degree.
Available Term Lengths5, 10 or 15 years

Our pick for

Financing through a regional bank

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance
Check rate
on Education Loan Finance's website
on Education Loan Finance's website
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

680

Fixed APR

5.48-8.69%

Variable APR

5.28-8.99%

Key factsBest 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 Lengths5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
DisclaimerSubject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. https://www.elfi.com/terms/

Our pick for

Community bank

LendKey Student Loan Refinance
Check rate
on LendKey's website
on LendKey's website
LendKey Student Loan Refinance

LendKey Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

Not disclosed.

Fixed APR

5.24-9.60%

Variable APR

5.53-8.70%

Key factsBest 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.
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 Lengths5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
DisclaimerSee LendKey's full terms and conditions at https://www.lendkey.com/disclaimers

Our pick for

State-based lender

EDvestinU Student Loan Refinance
Read review
EDvestinU Student Loan Refinance

EDvestinU Student Loan Refinance

Min. credit score

700

Fixed APR

7.41-11.03%

Variable APR

7.52-9.27%

Key factsBest for students who don’t have a degree.
Pros
  • You can refinance without a degree.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Cons
  • You cannot refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.
  • Maximum loan amount is lower than most lenders offer.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 756.
  • Minimum income: $30,000.
  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $200,000.
Available Term Lengths5, 10, 15 or 20 years
DisclaimerAPR, projected monthly payments, and total cost of loan examples are based on a $10,000 loan disbursed in one disbursement with either 5–year, 10–year, 15–year or 20–year repayment. APR’s provided include a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction for authorizing our loan servicer to automatically deduct your payments each month from your bank account. The interest rate reduction for authorizing our servicer to automatically deduct monthly payments from a savings or checking account will not reduce the monthly payment, but will reduce the monthly finance charge, resulting in a lower total cost of loan. Variable APR rates may increase or decrease depending on fluctuations in the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) index. Monthly interest rate accrual is based on the published One–Month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") as of the last business day of the previous month plus your applicable margin.

Steps to refinance for the lowest payment

Get your finances in order. To qualify for a student loan refinance, you’ll likely need a credit score in the high 600s, a DTI below 50% and a stable income. The stronger your credit profile is on these fronts, the lower the interest rate you can qualify for. While the interest rate isn’t the only factor that can affect your loan payment amount — loan term is the other — it has a big influence. It also helps determine how much you’ll pay in total costs over the life of your loan.

Pre-qualify with multiple lenders. Don’t jump at the first offer you get. Just because a lender offers a low rate, doesn't mean you won’t get a better offer elsewhere. Pre-qualify with several lenders. That means getting your personal rate and monthly payment information without a hard credit check. This way, you can compare monthly payment amounts and total repayment amounts without taking hits to your credit score.

Choose a lender. After you know what you qualify for, consider the details of the offers to see which is best for you. You could be offered a shorter loan term. A shorter repayment period can save you money overall, but your monthly payment could be higher. If you choose a longer term to keep your payment low, just know that you may be paying more in total repayment costs.

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 16, 2024

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Top Lenders to Lower Your Student Loan Payment

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