iHELP Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

iHELP refinances student loans and partners with community banks to offer college loans.

Ryan LaneAugust 5, 2020

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Student loan ratings

iHELP
  • Student loan refinancing

  • Private student loan

The bottom line: iHELP offers student loan refinancing and private student loans from community banks. Its parent company, Reunion Student Loan Finance Corp., makes and manages all iHELP loans. NerdWallet does not have enough information from iHELP to rate it or compare it with other lenders.

Student loan refinancing review

iHELP Student Loan Refinance

iHELP Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

4.00 - 8.00%

Variable APR

5.13 - 10.13%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Pros

  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.
  • Students can refinance parent PLUS loans in their name.
  • You can see if you'll qualify and what rate you'll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • You must have two years of positive credit history.
  • Only available if you attended school in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia or West Virginia.

An option for borrowers who don't have a degree and may need wiggle room on payments.

Full Review

iHELP offers student loan refinancing if you attended schools in four states: Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia. If your school is eligible, iHELP is a good option if you need flexibility with payments. The lender offers graduated and income-sensitive repayment plans, which are unique among student loan refinance loans.

You don't need to have graduated to refinance with iHELP, but you must have two years of good credit history. That includes no open accounts in collections and no student loans in default. iHELP did not respond to NerdWallet's requests for information about its student loan refinancing product.

ihelp STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING AT A GLANCE

  • You can refinance without a degree.

  • Graduated and income-sensitive repayment plans are available.

  • Personalized rate estimates are available via a soft credit check.

HOW ihelp COULD IMPROVE

NerdWallet does not have enough information from iHELP to fully evaluate its student loan refinance product.

How much can refinancing save?

iHELP student loan refinancing details

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

  • Loan terms: 5, 8, 12 or 20 years.

  • Loan amounts: $10,000 to $250,000.

  • Can transfer a parent loan to the child: Yes.

  • Application or origination fee: Yes.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: Yes; 5% of the past-due payment or $10, whichever is less.

Compare iHELP'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 iHELP will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Must have two years of credit history. Contact lender for details.

  • Minimum income: $24,000.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 45%.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Location: Only available if you attended certain schools in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia or Virginia.

  • Must have graduated: No.

  • Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

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: Yes.

  • Military deferment: Yes.

  • Forbearance: Postpone payments if you experience financial hardship.

  • Graduated repayment: Payments can be as little as the monthly interest accruing on your loans and then increase gradually.

  • Income-sensitive repayment: Pay based on your gross monthly income. Payments cannot be less than the monthly interest accruing on your loan.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 24 months of on-time payments.

  • Death or disability discharge available: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Loan servicer: Reunion Student Loan Finance Corp.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Yes.

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

Before refinancing with iHELP

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple 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 borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible to refinance with iHELP

If iHELP 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.

How does this loan compare?

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance
Check RateCheck Rate
Fixed APR

2.99 - 6.24%

Fixed APR

3.19 - 5.99%

Variable APR

1.99 - 6.24%

Variable APR

2.39 - 6.01%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Min. Credit Score

680

Private student loan review

iHELP Private Student Loan

iHELP Private Student Loan

Variable APR

5.13 - 10.13%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Pros

  • You can see if you'll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.

Cons

  • Fewer repayment term lengths than other lenders.
  • No fixed interest rates.
  • Not available at schools in most states.

An option for students who value working with a community bank and may need wiggle room on payments.

Full Review

iHELP's private student loans come with multiple repayment and postponement options, making these a good choice for undergraduate and graduate students who may need future payment flexibility. Other loan features are less flexible, though: iHELP offers a single, 20-year repayment term and no fixed interest rates. Most other lenders offer a fixed-rate option, as well as 5-, 10- and 15-year terms.

iHELP loans are funded by community banks in the state or region where you’re attending college. Loans are available in 12 states — fewer for graduate students — and only at certain schools in those states. For example, Harvard University is the only eligible school in Massachusetts. iHELP did not respond to NerdWallet's requests for information about its private student loan products.

ihelp private student loan at a glance

  • Graduated and income-sensitive repayment plans are available.

  • Co-signer release is available after 24 on-time payments.

  • Personalized rate estimates are available via a soft credit check.

How ihelp could improve

NerdWallet does not have enough information from iHelp to fully evaluate its private student loan product.

iHELP private student loan details

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

  • Loan terms: 20 years.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 minimum ($3,000 in Georgia). Maximum of $100,000 for undergraduates and $150,000 for graduate students.

  • Application or origination fee: No.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: Yes; 5% of the past-due payment or $10, whichever is less.

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

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Must have at least three years of positive credit history. Contact lender for details.

  • Minimum income: $24,000.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 45%.

  • Can qualify if you've filed for bankruptcy: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Location: Undergraduate loans available at certain schools in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia and Virginia. Graduate student loans available at certain schools in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.

  • Must be enrolled at least half-time or more: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Types of schools served: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

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

In-school repayment options

  • Immediate: Begin making full monthly payments as soon as the loan is disbursed. This option will save you the most in interest.

  • Interest-only: Make monthly interest payments while you're in school and during your grace period.

  • Deferred: You won’t be required to make any payments until your grace period ends, but you can choose to make payments if you’d like. Interest will accrue while you’re in school and capitalize, or get added to your principal balance, at the end of your grace period.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months on deferred loans.

  • Academic deferment: Yes.

  • Military deferment: Yes.

  • Forbearance: Postpone payments if you experience financial hardship. You can also receive a partial-payment forbearance.

  • Internship/residency deferment: Borrowers with at least a bachelor's degree can defer loans during a supervised training program.

  • Fellowship deferment: Borrowers with at least a bachelor's degree can defer loans during full-time academic or professional study.

  • Graduated repayment: Payments can be as little as the monthly interest accruing on your loans and then increase gradually.

  • Income-sensitive repayment: Pay based on your gross monthly income. Payments cannot be less than the monthly interest accruing on your loan.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 24 on-time monthly payments.

  • Death or disability discharge available: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Loan servicer: Reunion Student Loan Finance Corp.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Information unavailable. Contact lender for details.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Yes.

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

Before applying for an iHELP student loan

Before taking out an iHELP student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re 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.

If you aren’t eligible for an iHELP student loan

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

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider lenders that don’t require co-signers or specialize in bad or no credit student loans.

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