Brazos Review: Refinancing Student Loans and Parent Loans

Brazos offers parent and private refinancing loans to student loan borrowers in Texas.

Anna HelhoskiJune 19, 2020

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.

Student loan ratings

Brazos
  • Student loan refinancing

  • Private student loan

The bottom line: Brazos offers parent loans and refinancing loans to borrowers with student loans in Texas. Brazos refinancing is best for student loan borrowers who need a refinancing loan and live in Texas. Brazos parent loans are best for parents who live in Texas and want to finance undergraduate or graduate education for their children.

Student loan refinancing review

Brazos Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Brazos's website

Brazos Student Loan Refinance

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on Brazos's website

Fixed APR

2.97 - 4.80%

Variable APR

1.95 - 4.87%

Min. Credit Score

720

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Offers greater-than-minimum payments via autopay.

Cons

  • Only available to borrowers in Texas.
  • Does not offer co-signer release.

Brazos is best for student loan borrowers who need a refinancing loan and live in Texas.

Full review

Brazos Higher Education Service Corp., a nonprofit, offers refinancing student loans to borrowers in Texas. Borrowers can see what rate they would qualify for without a hard credit check.

You must have a minimum income of $60,000 and a 720 credit score to qualify. If you don’t meet those criteria, you’ll need a co-signer who does, as well as an income of $30,000 and a credit score of 690 on your own.

Brazos refinancing student loans at a glance

  • Available only to student loan borrowers in Texas.

  • Brazos, unlike most private lenders, is a nonprofit.

  • Borrowers must be employed even if applying with a co-signer.

How Brazos could improve

Brazos, like other five-star loans, isn't perfect. They could improve by offering additional programs such as:

  • Longer than 12 months of forbearance.

  • Academic deferment for borrowers who return to school.

  • Co-signer release.

How much can refinancing save?

Brazos student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.

  • Loan terms: 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years.

  • Loan amounts: $10,000 to $400,000.

  • Can transfer a parent loan to a child: No.

  • Application or origination fee: No.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: Yes, 5% of the monthly payment or $7.50, whichever is greater. Maximum fee is $35.

Compare Brazo’s range of interest rates with other student loan refinance lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Brazos will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 720 or 690 with a qualified co-signer.

  • Minimum income: $60,000 or $30,000 if applying with a co-signer.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 781 for borrowers without a co-signer or 794 for co-signers.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: $120,387.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 40%.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Must not have had a bankruptcy within the past 7 years.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If applying with an eligible co-signer, a non-citizen with a work or student visa can qualify.

  • Location: Borrowers must be a Texas resident.

  • Must have graduated: Yes. Undergraduate degree is required.

  • Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 14.3%.

Many lenders are offering relief related to COVID-19. Check this list of private loan relief options to see what this lender offers.

  • Academic deferment: No.

  • Military deferment: Yes for up to 36 months.

  • Hardship forbearance: Yes, borrowers are eligible for 12 months of economic hardship forbearance, in three-month increments, over the life of the loan.

  • Natural disaster forbearance: Borrowers affected by a natural disaster may request a forbearance of up to 12 months in three-month increments.

  • Co-signer release available: No. Applicants may reapply individually to release co-signer.

  • Death or disability discharge: Yes, but only if there is no co-signer. If the primary borrower dies, the co-signer is still responsible for paying the loan.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No. If the cosigner dies, the cosigner is removed from the loan, and the borrower continues to be responsible for repayment on the loan for the remainder of the repayment term.

Repayment Preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: Firstmark.

  • In-house customer service team: Only for application process.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes, through Firstmark.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Average time from approval to payoff: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

Before refinancing with Brazos

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare student loan refinance options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible to refinance with Brazos

If Brazos denies your refinance application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or need a co-signer.

NerdWallet recommends prequalifying with multiple refinance lenders before you apply. This will let you know which lenders you may be eligible with, without affecting your credit.

Private student loan review

Brazos Parent Loan
Check Rate

on Brazos's website

Brazos Parent Loan

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on Brazos's website

Fixed APR

2.99 - 4.95%

Variable APR

2.91 - 4.87%

Min. Credit Score

720

Pros

  • Borrowers can finance undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
  • Students do not have to attend college in Texas to qualify.

Cons

  • Available only to parent borrowers in Texas.

Brazos is best for parent loan borrowers who live in Texas and want to finance undergraduate or graduate education for their children.

Full review

Brazos Parent Loans are available to Texas residents whose children attend schools anywhere in the U.S. They can be used to finance the costs of undergraduate education, and unlike federal direct parent PLUS loans, can also pay for graduate and other professional degree costs.

Consider a parent loan only after your child has maxed out all federal student loan options and only if your own finances are strong. A parent loan will be your responsibility to pay unless your child refinances the debt with a private lender in their own name.

Brazos parent Loans private student loans at a glance

  • Available to Texas residents only.

  • Can finance undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

  • Children don't have to attend college in Texas.

How Brazos parent loans could improve

Brazos could improve by offering additional programs such as:

  • Longer than 12 months of forbearance.

  • Academic deferment for parents while their children are in school.

Brazos Parent Loans private student loan details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.

  • Loan terms: 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years.

  • Loan amounts: From $1,000 up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid.

  • Application or origination fee: No.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: Yes, 5% of the monthly payment or $7.50, whichever is greater. Maximum fee is $35.

Compare Brazo's range of interest rates with other . Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer's — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Brazos will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 720 or 690 with a qualified co-signer.

  • Minimum income: $60,000 or $30,000 if applying with a co-signer.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: N/A.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: $128,244 for borrowers or $118,262 for co-signers (co-signers may apply with less income for the purpose of helping the borrower receive a better interest rate if they have a higher credit score).

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 40%.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Must not have had a bankruptcy within the past 7 years.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If applying with an eligible co-signer, a non-citizen with a work or student visa can qualify.

  • Location: Borrowers must be a Texas resident, but students do not have to attend college in Texas to qualify.

  • Must attend a school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 17%.

In-school repayment options:

Many lenders are offering relief related to COVID-19. Check this list of private loan relief options to see what this lender offers.

  • Immediate repayment: Yes, it begins 30 days after disbursement.

  • Deferred payments: No.

  • Interest-only repayment: No.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace Period: No grace period.

  • Academic deferment: No.

  • Military deferment: Yes for up to 36 months.

  • Hardship forbearance: Yes, borrowers are eligible for 12 months of economic hardship forbearance, in three-month increments, over the life of the loan.

  • Natural disaster forbearance: Borrowers affected by a natural disaster may request a forbearance of up to 12 months in three-month increments.

  • Co-signer release available: No. Applicants may reapply individually to release co-signer.

  • Death or disability discharge: Yes, if the benefiting student dies the loan is discharged for the parent borrower and the co-signer, if there is one. If the parent borrower dies and there is no co-signer, the loan is discharged. If the parent borrower dies and there is a co-signer, the co-signer is still responsible for paying the loan.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No. If the cosigner dies, the cosigner is removed from the loan, and the borrower continues to be responsible for repayment on the loan for the remainder of the repayment term.

Repayment Preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: Firstmark.

  • In-house customer service team: Only for application process.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes, through Firstmark.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Average time from application to approval: Initial approval is online and takes only a few minutes. Brazos verifies income, debt-to-income ratio and other requirements prior to final loan processing.

Before applying for a Brazos Parent Loan

Before taking out a Brazos Parent Loan or any other parent student loan, your child should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, and max out their federal loan options. And make sure the loan payments won't stop you from reaching other financial goals, like saving for retirement.

Compare federal and private parent student loans to make sure you’re choosing the right option and getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments. [h3] If you aren’t eligible for a [lender name] student loan

If Brazos denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other parent loan options or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

Student loans ratings methodology

NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s student loan ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Frequently asked questions