Refinance your student loans

Refinancing your student loans

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Here's how to refinance student loans

By Cecilia Clark

When you refinance student loans, you can save money by replacing existing education debt with a new, lower-cost loan through a private lender.

To qualify, you’ll need:

  • Credit scores at least in the high 600s – ideally higher.

  • A steady income.

  • If you fall short on either, you might need a co-signer who qualifies.

You can refinance both federal loans and private loans. It doesn’t cost anything to refinance student loans, and you may be able to reduce your monthly payment or pay off your debt faster.

To decide if refinancing your student loans makes sense, you'll want to make sure your loans qualify, that you're not giving up payment options you might need, that you're getting a better interest rate, and that you've chosen the right company.

How to refinance your student loans through NerdWallet

    • Shop for lenders that serve your state.

    • Click “Details” to see requirements and available terms.

    • Review pros, cons and NerdWallet’s rating.

    • Click “Check Rates” to apply on the lender’s site.

    • Prequalifying won’t affect your credit score.

    • Supply basic information such as your school, income and loan amounts.

    • Choose an offer and complete your application on the lender's site.

    • You’ll typically need:

    1. Loan or payoff verification statements.

    2. Proof of employment (W-2 form, recent pay stubs, tax returns).

    3. Proof of residency.

    4. Proof of graduation.

    5. Government-issued ID.

    • A hard credit check will finalize your interest rate.

    • If you’re denied, your lender will let you know why.

    • Sign the final disclosure document.

    • You typically have 3 days to cancel the loan if you change your mind.

    • Your new lender will pay off your existing loan, usually within a few weeks.

    • Keep paying your existing lender until the process is completed.

Top lender interest rates

Compare student loan refinancing
Fixed APR
Min. credit score
Variable APR
Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check rateon Earnest's website
on Earnest's website
4.99- 9.74%
5.89- 9.74%
Check rateon Earnest's website
on Earnest's website
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing
5.24- 9.99%
6.24- 9.99%
5.24- 9.60%
Not disclosed.
5.53- 8.70%
Check rateon LendKey's website
on LendKey's website
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance
Check rateon Education Loan Finance's website
on Education Loan Finance's website
5.48- 8.69%
5.28- 8.99%
Check rateon Education Loan Finance's website
on Education Loan Finance's website
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance
Check rateon Splash Financial's website
on Splash Financial's website
5.19- 9.99%
5.28- 9.99%
Check rateon Splash Financial's website
on Splash Financial's website

Calculate your potential savings

Refinance student loans: Your questions answered

Should you refinance federal student loans?

If you have federal student loans, you should keep in mind that you'll lose access to protections available only to federal student loan borrowers, like the 12-month student loan on-ramp and a new income-driven repayment plan called SAVE that could give you $0 payments. If you decide to proceed, you should have stable personal finances and emergency savings before taking that risk.

If you have private student loans and qualify for refinancing, it could be a good choice if you can secure a lower interest rate. Refinancing carries no fees or costs. For those who qualify for a lower interest rate, student loan refinancing may help you accomplish one or more of these goals:

  • Pay less interest over the life of the loan.

  • Pay off education debt faster.

  • Reduce monthly student loan payments.

  • Release a co-signer.

  • Refinance a parent loan in the child's name.

Use a student loan refinance calculator to estimate your savings.

What happens when you refinance student loans?

When you refinance student loans, a private lender pays off your existing loans and replaces them with one loan with a new interest rate and repayment schedule. Going forward, you’ll make monthly payments to the new lender.

» MORE: How to refinance student loans in 7 steps

What credit score do I need to refinance student loans?

You — or your co-signer— typically need credit scores that are at least in the high 600s. Many refinance lenders seek borrowers with scores in the mid-700s. The better your (or your co-signer’s) credit, the better the rate you’ll likely qualify for. Additionally, you need enough income to comfortably cover your expenses, student loan payments and other debts.

Is it a good idea to refinance a federal student loan?

Refinancing is a good idea if you qualify for a lower rate and you’re comfortable giving up the benefits that come with federal student loans. When you refinance federal loans, you lose access to income-driven repayment plans, loan forgiveness programs and other federal loan perks.

Is refinancing student loans better than consolidation?

It depends on your situation and goals. If you have the credit and income requirements to qualify for a lower rate, refinancing can save you money and help you become debt-free faster.

If you consolidate your federal loans through the government, you won’t receive a lower interest rate, but you may qualify for loan forgiveness programs or income-driven repayment plans. Federal student loan consolidation won’t save you money. In fact, it may extend your loan repayment schedule, increasing the amount of interest you pay long term.

Which is the best lender to refinance with?

Most borrowers will want to go with the lowest interest rate they qualify for. But if rates are similar, look for lenders offering other features you value, such as the ability to refinance parent PLUS loans in the child’s name or flexible repayment options in case of an unexpected financial hardship.

Best student loan refinance companies for:

Get rid of debt more quickly

Most lenders require a qualified co-signer

Find a lower rate or refi in your child's name

Co-signers can strengthen your application

Options for students who didn't graduate

NerdWallet student loan refinance ratings and reviews

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.


Education Loan Finance
Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.


Actual 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.


Fixed 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.


See LendKey's full terms and conditions at

Laurel Road

Full Laurel Road Disclaimers. Rates as of 3/18/24, rates subject to change. Terms and Conditions Apply. All products subject to credit approval. IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Please note that if you refinance qualifying federal student loans with Laurel Road, you may no longer be eligible for certain federal benefits or programs and waive your right to future benefits or programs offered on those loans. Examples of benefits or programs you may not receive include, but are not limited to, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-driven Repayment plans, forbearance, or loan forgiveness. Please carefully consider your options when refinancing federal student loans and consult for the most current information. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association. All products offered by KeyBank N.A. ©2024 STUDENT LOANS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED OR GUARANTEED. KeyCorp® All Rights Reserved. Laurel Road is a federally registered service mark of KeyCorp. 3 Corporate Drive, 4th fl, Shelton, CT 06484.

Splash Financial

Splash Financial, Inc. (NMLS # 1630038) reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. The information you provide is an inquiry to determine whether Splash’s lending partners can make you a loan offer, but does not guarantee you will receive any loan offers. Terms and conditions apply. Products may not be available in all states. These rates are subject to change at any time. If you do not use the specific link included on this website, offers on the Splash website may include other offers from lending partners that may have a higher rate. Fixed Rate options range from 6.64% APR - 8.95% APR (without autopay). Variable rate options range from 7.60% APR (with autopay) to 7.85% APR (without autopay). Variable APRs and amounts subject to increase or decrease. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers and may require an autopay discount of 0.25%. Some of the rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) index and some are 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). Fixed loans feature repayment terms of 5 to 20 years. For example, the monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 5.47% for a 12-year term would be $94.86. Variable loans feature repayment terms of 5 to 25 years. For example, the monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 5.90% for a 15-year term would be $83.85.

Nelnet Bank

Fixed interest rates range from 7.12% APR (with auto debit discount) to 11.19% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan. Variable interest rates range from 7.60% APR (with auto debit discount) to 14.50% APR (without auto debit discount). Variable rates for Nelnet Bank Refinance Loans are calculated using either (a) the One-Month SOFR; (b) the 30-day Average SOFR; or (c) the forward-looking term rate based on SOFR as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and/or The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth day (or the next business day) of the immediately preceding calendar month. The variable rate may reprice and change on the first day of each month if the SOFR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month SOFR index is 5.33% as of July 1, 2024. Lowest rates listed above include an interest rate reduction for eligible applications, enrollment in auto debit, and are available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may increase over the life of the loan. The lowest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (i.e., auto debit) payments. The lowest rate is available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, (3) the loan type selected, and (4) the highest level of education attained. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range. Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is cancelled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan. Your actual savings, if any, may vary based on interest rates, balances, remaining repayment terms and other factors. Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score. Nelnet Bank offers various payment assistance programs to assist you if you are currently struggling to make payments. Contact us at [email protected] or 800.446.4190 to get more information. This referral partner is not the creditor of Nelnet Bank loans and may receive compensation from Nelnet Bank for the referral of Nelnet Bank loan customers. For federally-held student loans, interest (currently at 0%) will resume September 1, 2023 and payments (currently suspended) will begin, starting in October. Please be aware, refinancing your federally-held loans will disqualify them for any federally-held loan benefits such as potential debt forgiveness and the remaining payment suspension and 0% interest. Carefully consider your options.