Save on your student loans.

Refinancing your student loans can save thousands and reduce your monthly payments.

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If you’re tired of making sky-high interest rate payments, student loan refinancing may be a good option for you. Refinancing saves you money by replacing your existing student loans with a new, lower-rate loan.

To qualify, you need credit in the mid-600s or higher and a steady income, or access to a co-signer. Student loan refinancing is not the same as federal consolidation.

Learn more on our refinance FAQ page.

Lenders to consider

LenderFixed APR*Variable APR*
Education Loan Finance3.19-6.69%2.39-6.01%
SoFi3.35-6.74%2.82-6.74%
Earnest3.35-6.49%2.81-6.46%
CommonBond3.35-6.74%2.80-6.73%
Purefy3.50-7.28%N/A
Citizens Bank3.74-8.24%2.78-8.63%
Laurel Road4.20-7.20%3.76-6.42%

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s a good idea if you have private student loans or you have federal student loans and don’t plan on taking advantage of a federal forgiveness program or income-driven repayment plan. You also need strong credit and a steady income to qualify for refinancing.

The biggest benefit of student loan refinancing is receiving a lower interest rate than your previous loans carried, which will save you money over time. To make sure the process is worth it, use a refinance calculator to see how much you could save by getting a lower rate.

Most lenders look for a credit score in at least the mid-600s, a low debt-to-income ratio and a steady income. It can also help if you work in a field like medicine or law, which traditionally leads to job stability and high earnings. Learn more about careers that typically qualify for student loan refinancing here.

Student loan refinancing is a voluntary way to lower your interest rate, and perhaps your student loan payments, if you meet the requirements. Consolidation is a necessary logistical move in order to qualify certain federal loans for repayment programs.

When you refinance, a private lender will pay off the current student loans you choose to refinance and issue you a new loan at a lower interest rate. You can generally choose your repayment timeline from several options, but you should pick the shortest time frame you can manage to get the biggest savings. Lenders look for good credit and steady income, in addition to financial and education requirements specific to the lender.

Federal consolidation, on the other hand, is required in order for some borrowers to take advantage of particular repayment options. Those with loans from the Federal Family Education Loan Program, for instance, must consolidate them into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan in order to qualify for programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and some income-driven repayment plans. You won’t receive a lower interest rate based on your credit. The government will give you a new interest rate that is a weighted average of your prior loans’ rates, rounded up to the next one-eighth of 1%. Find out if you need to consolidate your loans before signing up for income-driven repayment or Public Service Loan Forgiveness at studentloans.gov/repay. Apply for consolidation online at studentloans.gov.

When you refinance multiple loans into a single new loan owned by a private lender, by definition you are consolidating them into one loan, which is why you may see these two terms used interchangeably.

That depends on your priorities. If you want the lowest interest rate possible, apply to lenders widely.

In general, refinancing is best for borrowers who do not foresee a major change to their income over the course of the repayment period. But some borrowers may look for flexibility in case they unexpectedly lose their job, go back to school or have trouble repaying the loan. If that sounds like you, choose a lender that provides generous payment postponement options or income-based repayment.

Learn more about how to choose the best student loan refinancing offer for you.

In many cases, yes. But unlike the federal government, private lenders are not required to offer such protections, so each lender has slightly different payment postponement policies. You may have to show proof of lost income or unemployment. Some lenders, like College Ave Student Loans and Purefy, offer forbearance only on a case-by-case basis. Others offer a total of 12 months of forbearance (Citizens Bank and SoFi) or 24 months (iHelp and CommonBond), often in two- or three-month increments. Ask your lender about its policies for borrowers who return to school after refinancing.

Unlike refinancing a mortgage, refinancing student loans doesn’t cost money. Plus, there usually aren’t any fees associated with it. And, according to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, private lenders cannot charge prepayment penalties on education loans. That includes refinanced loans. But it’s still best to contact the lender to make sure that you fully understand your loan agreement before signing.

Federal consolidation, which is sometimes confused with refinancing, is also free. However, some so-called debt relief companies charge fees to consolidate your loans on your behalf, but it’s never necessary to pay for this service.

Refinance lender details and reviews

Education Loan Finance

Some of the lowest rates around
  • Type of lenderOnline only
  • Loan servicerMohela
  • Deferment or forbearance availableYes
  • Co-signer release availableNo

Learn more about Education Loan Finance

SoFi

Access to career coaching services
  • Type of lenderOnline only
  • Loan servicerMohela
  • Deferment or forbearance availableYes
  • Co-signer release availableNo

Learn more about SoFi

Earnest

Interest rate is based on your preferred monthly payment
  • Type of lenderOnline only
  • Loan servicerEarnest
  • Deferment or forbearance availableYes
  • Co-signer release availableNo option to apply with a co-signer

Learn more about Earnest

CommonBond

Refinance a parent PLUS loan in your name
  • Type of lenderOnline only
  • Loan servicerFirstmark Services
  • Deferment or forbearance availableYes
  • Co-signer release availableYes

Learn more about CommonBond

Purefy

Married couples can refinance their loans together
  • Type of lenderOnline only
  • Loan servicerPenFed Credit Union
  • Deferment or forbearance availableYes
  • Co-signer release availableYes

Learn more about Purefy

Citizens Bank

Refinance even if you didn’t graduate
  • Type of lenderTraditional bank
  • Loan servicerFirstmark Services
  • Deferment or forbearance availableYes
  • Co-signer release availableYes

Learn more about Citizens Bank

Laurel Road

No limit on the loan balance you can refinance
  • Type of lenderTraditional bank
  • Loan servicerMohela
  • Deferment or forbearance availableYes
  • Co-signer release availableYes

Learn more about Laurel Road

When to consider student loan refinance alternatives

YOU’LL USE FEDERAL LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAMS

When you refinance a federal student loan, a lender pays it off and issues you a new, private loan. That means you can’t repay the refinanced loan on an income-driven repayment plan, postpone payments using deferment or forbearance, or get loan forgiveness for working in public service. Only refinance your federal loans if you don’t plan to take advantage of these programs.

YOU DON’T MEET THE REQUIREMENTS

At a minimum, lenders want to see that you have a stable job and a steady income, that you use credit responsibly and that you’ve been in the workforce for a little while. Some lenders also prefer customers who have graduate degrees, especially if you have a lot of debt. This means refinancing isn’t an option for graduates who are struggling to pay their student loan bills.

More on student loan refinance

Refinance calculator

Refinance vs. consolidation

Refinance FAQs


*Disclaimers

General Rate Information
Annual Percentage Rates (APR), loan term and monthly payments are estimated based on analysis of information provided by you, data provided by lenders, and publicly available information. All loan information is presented without warranty, and the estimated APR and other terms are not binding in any way. Lenders provide loans with a range of APRs depending on borrowers' credit and other factors. Keep in mind that only borrowers with excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rate available. Your actual APR will depend on factors like credit score, requested loan amount, loan term, and credit history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval.
Lender Disclosures
Citizens Bank
Graduate/Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of May 1, 2017,the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.99%. Variable interest rates range from 2.54% – 8.39% (2.54% – 8.39% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. For borrowers with a verified graduate degree, fixed interest rates range from 3.74% – 8.24% (3.74% – 8.24% APR). For borrowers with a bachelor’s degree or below, fixed interest rates range from 4.74% – 8.24% (4.74% – 8.24% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term and includes our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. 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.
CommonBond
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 0.99% as of May 10, 2017.
Laurel Road/DRB
FIXED APR: Fixed rate options consist of a range from 4.45% per year to 6.15% per year for a 5-year term, 4.55% per year to 6.74% per year for a 7-year term, 4.75% per year to 7.00% per year for a 10-year term, 5.15% per year to 7.24% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.40% per year to 7.45% 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).VARIABLE APR: Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.89% per year to 5.54% per year for a 5-year term, 3.94% per year to 5.74% per year for a 7-year term, 3.99% per year to 5.94% per year for a 10-year term, 4.09% per year to 6.29% per year for a 15-year term, and 4.19% per year to 6.54% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 3-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), as published in the “Money Rates” section of The Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition). The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease with the 3-month LIBOR index changes.
Earnest
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.
Purefy
Rates range from 3.50% to 7.28% APR [low to high range]. The range of rates is expressed as an APR. Since there are no fees associated with this loan, the APR is the same percentage as the actual interest rate of the loan. Fixed Rate Loan Terms: 5 years/60 monthly payments, 8 years/96 monthly payments, 12 years/144 monthly payments or 15 years/180 monthly payments. Fixed Rate APR: the Rate will not change during the term. All loans are subject to credit approval, and rates are subject to change without notice. Information is current as of 6/5/2017.
SoFi
Terms and Conditions Apply. See SoFi.com/legal for more details. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. Fixed rates from* 3.375% APR to 6.740%* APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.565% APR to 6.490% 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 2.565% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.99% plus 1.825% 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. Information presented is current as of 6/1/2017. The offer that appears on this site is from a third-party advertiser from which NerdWallet receives compensation.
Education Loan Finance
Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. http://www.elfi.com/terms/