6 Best Banks to Refinance and Consolidate Student Loans in 2020

Andy Josuweit

Andrew Josuweit Updated August 1, 2020

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Andy Josuweit

Andrew Josuweit Updated August 1, 2020


The situation for student loans has drastically changed due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the government has suspended all federal student loan payments and halted all interest charges until the end of September.

As a result, Student Loan Hero recommends being very cautious as you consider refinancing your federal student loans, since you would no longer qualify for the payment suspension and other benefits. On the other hand, it may well be worth refinancing private student loans, now that interest rates have dropped to historically low levels — take a look at the information below and reach out to some of the lenders you’re interested in for more details.

In the meantime, you can visit the Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center for new developments on how the crisis affects your student loans. Stay healthy and safe!

*            *            *

If you’re ready to refinance your student loans, your search for your best lender is finally over.

We compared banks and lenders across the country to find ones with the best terms for student loan borrowers. The six below could help you refinance and consolidate both private and federal student loans. With this move, you could snag a lower interest rate, decrease your monthly payment, or both.

You might even get out of student loan debt ahead of schedule.

To qualify for refinancing, you’ll need to meet requirements for credit score, annual income, savings, and college degree (or certificate of enrollment if you’re still in school). If you can’t yet qualify on your own, you could apply with a creditworthy cosigner to improve your chances.

Ready to take control of your student loans? Here are our top recommendations for student loan refinancing and consolidation.


Our top 6 picks for Student Loan Refinancing

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Variable-rate student loans have interest rates that can change during the repayment period. Interest rates may increase or decrease at any time and typically do so based on changes to LIBOR. Often, the introductory rate on a variable-rate loan is lower than that of a fixed rate loan, though it has the potential to increase later. Learn more
Variable APR
Our partners refinance both private and federal student loans. Both types of loans can be consolidated to create a single payment.
Loan Types
"Term" refers to the length of the loan, typically in years. In general, the shorter the term, the lower the interest rate and the higher the monthly payments. Longer terms will typically result in lower monthly payments but at a higher interest rate. Borrowers may select any term offered by a lender regardless of the current loan term. Learn more
Terms
Our partners refinance student loans from both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Eligible Degrees
Our partners refinance both private and federal student loans. Both types of loans can be consolidated to create a single payment.
Eligible Loans
 
1.99% to 7.10%
Variable & Fixed5 to 25
Years
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal

Visit Splash

1.99% to 6.65%
Variable & Fixed5, 7, 10, 15, 20
Years
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal

Visit Laurel Road

1.99% to 6.24%
Variable & Fixed5, 7, 10, 15, 20
Years
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal

Visit SoFi

2.39% to 6.01%
Variable & Fixed5, 7, 10, 15, 20
Years
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal

Visit Elfi

1.99% to 5.64%
Variable & Fixed5 to 20
Years
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal

Visit Earnest

3.18% to 6.06%
Variable & Fixed5, 7, 10, 15, 20
Years
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal

Visit CommonBond

DID YOU KNOW CHECKING YOUR RATE DOESN’T AFFECT YOUR CREDIT SCORE?

Our top 6 picks for Student Loan Refinancing

1.99% – 7.27%1.99% – 7.10%2.88% – 7.27%5 to 25
Years
$5kNoneYes0.25% for the medical resident/fellow product.
up to 1 year
Yes, for Resident/Fellow product. No – General refi product.
NoneNone
Any
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal700 for solo applicants, 660 with a cosigner.None
Yes(or signed job offer)No min2 minutes10 - 15 minutes
No2014

Visit Splash

1.99% – 7.02%1.99% – 6.65%3.20% – 7.02%5, 7, 10, 15, 20
Years
$5k$300000Yes0.25%
(up to 12 months)
NoneNone
Any
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal660No min
Yes(or signed job offer)No min< 3 minutes< 5 minutes
No2006

Visit Laurel Road

1.99% – 6.24%1.99% – 6.24%2.99% – 6.24%5, 7, 10, 15, 20
Years
$5kNo MaxYes0.25%
(up to 12 months)
NoneNone
Any
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & FederalGood or Excellent score neededNo min
(or signed job offer)No min< 3 minutes< 10 minutes
No2011

Visit SoFi

2.39% – 6.01%2.39% – 6.01%3.19% – 5.99%5, 7, 10, 15, 20
Years
$15kNo MaxYes0.25%
(up to 12 months)
NoneNone
Any
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal680$35k
(or signed job offer)No min< 3 minutes< 10 minutes
No2015

Visit Elfi

1.99% – 5.79%1.99% – 5.64%2.98% – 5.79%5 to 20
Years
$5kNo MaxYes0.25%
(up to 12 months)
NoneNone
Any except AL, KY, MS, NV, RI
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal650No min
Yes(or signed job offer)No min< 3 minutes< 10 minutes
No2013

Visit Earnest

3.18% – 6.06%3.18% – 6.06%3.19% – 5.99%5, 7, 10, 15, 20
Years
$5k$500kYes0.25%
(up to 24 months)
NoneNone
Any except ID, LA, MS, NV, SD or VT
Undergrad
& Graduate
Private & Federal660No min
Yes(or signed job offer)No min< 3 minutes< 10 minutes
No2011

Visit CommonBond

Check out the in-depth reviews!

Did you know checking your rate won’t affect your credit score?

  • APR Range
  • Variable APR
  • Fixed APR
  • Terms
  • Soft Credit Check
  • Min. Lending Amount
  • Max. Lending Amount
  • Auto-Pay Interest Rate Reduction
  • Unemployment Protection/Benefits
  • Interest-Only Payment Option
  • Discharge Due to Death
  • Transfer Parent PLUS From Parent to Child/Graduate
  • Origination Fees
  • Prepayment Penalty
  • Refi Parent PLUS Loans
  • State Residency
  • Previously Defaulted (Now Rehabilitated) Loans Eligible
  • Eligible Degrees
  • Eligible Loans
  • Min. Credit Score
  • Min. Annual Income
  • No Cosigner Required
  • Ability to Apply With a Cosigner
  • Cosigner Release Offered (Existing Loans)
  • Cosigner Release Offered (Refinanced Loans)
  • Borrower Can Be Delinquent on Current Student Loans
  • Borrower Can Apply While Still Enrolled in School
  • Borrower Must Currently Be Employed
  • Minimum GPA Required
  • Avg. Time to Check Rate
  • Avg. Time to Apply
  • Apply on Mobile Device
  • Interest Is Tax Deductible
  • Personal Reference Required
  • Year Established
Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.



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Splash Financial Disclosures

Splash Financial loans are available through arrangements with lending partners. Your loan application will be submitted to the lending partner and be evaluated at their sole discretion. For loans where a credit union is the lender, or a purchaser of the loan, in order to refinance your loans, you will need to become a credit union member.

The Splash Student Loan Refinance Program is not offered or endorsed by any college or university. Neither Splash Financial nor the lending partner are affiliated with or endorse any college or university listed on this website.

You should review the benefits of your federal student loan; it may offer specific benefits that a private refinance/consolidation loan may not offer. If you work in the public sector, are in the military or taking advantage of a federal department of relief program, such as income based repayment or public service forgiveness, you may not want to refinance, as these benefits do not transfer to private refinance/consolidation loans.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of May 1, 2020.

Fixed APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rate options range from 2.88% (without autopay) to 7.27% (without autopay) and will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. Rates are subject to change without notice. Fixed rate options without an autopay discount consist of a range from 2.88% per year to 6.21% per year for a 5-year term, 3.40% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term, 3.45% to 5.08% for a 8-year term, 3.89% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term, 4.18% per year to 5.11% per year for a 12-year term, 4.20% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.51% per year to 7.27% 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).
The Rate will not change during the term. Repayment examples are for illustrative purposes only. The following Fixed Rate examples are based on a $10,000 loan amount using the lowest APR for each application term listed above. All student loan rates used in calculating the examples are shown without the autopay discount (.25%). There are no application or origination fees, and no prepayment penalties. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 2.88% per year for a 5-year term would be $179.15. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 3.40% for a 7-year term would be $134.17. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 3.45% for a 8-year term would be $119.35. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 3.89% for a 10-year term would be $100.72. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 4.18% for a 12-year term would be $88.43. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 4.20% for a 15-year term would be $74.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 4.51% for a 20-year term would be from $63.32.

Variable APR: Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Variable rate options range from 1.99% (with autopay) to 7.10% (without autopay) and will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. Our lowest rate option is shown with a 0.25% autopay discount. Our highest rate option does not include an autopay discount. The variable rates are based on the Variable rate index, is 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 April 27, 2020, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.43763%. The interest rate on a variable rate loan is comprised of an index and margin added together. The margin is a fixed amount (disclosed at the time of your loan application) added each month to the index to determine the next month’s variable rate. Variable rate options without an autopay discount consist of a range from 2.01% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term, 2.09% per year to 3.92% per year for a 8-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 2.67% per year to 4.56% per year for a 12-year term, 3.44% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term, 4.75% per year to 6.93% per year for a 20-year term, or 5.14% per year to 7.10% for a 25-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. Variable interest rates 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. The maximum variable rate may be between 9.00% and 16.00%, depending on loan term. The floor rate may be between 0.54% and 4.21%, depending on loan term. These rates are 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.
Variable APRs and amounts subject to increase or decrease. Variable rates are indexed to the one-month LIBOR rate. The following Variable Rate examples are based on a $10,000 loan amount. Repayment examples are for illustrative purposes only. All student loan rates below are shown without the autopay discount (.25%). There are no application or origination fees, and no prepayment penalties. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 2.01% per year for a 5-year term would be $175.32. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 4.00% for a 7-year term would be $136.69. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 2.09% for a 8-year term would be $113.21. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 4.25% for a 10-year term would be $102.44. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 2.67% for a 12-year term would be $81.24. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 3.44% for a 15-year term would be $71.19. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 4.75% for a 20-year term would be from $64.62. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan with an APR of 5.14% for a 25-year term would be from $59.28.

 

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Joy Eifrid, JD – Attorney

Splash Financial made refinancing my student loans a breeze. I am saving thousands of dollars in interest and will pay my loans off two years faster!

— Joy Eifrid, JD – Attorney

Love Splash Financial

It was so easy to sign up! Good communication throughout. And they were able to save me a lot of money. I highly recommend Splash Financial

— Roy Browning

Easy to use, fast turn around, hands down the best loan experience I’ve ever had.

— Elliot Davis

Splash was great to work with and helped save me a lot of money. The team was very responsive and went above and beyond. I would highly recommend.

— Erin Newton

This was an easy to use application process and I am so happy with the result. I've reduced my stress and feel like I'm finally able to take charge!

— Olivia G

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Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). 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. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of June 23, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 

Ok icon Caters to grad students

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Bethany Whittier, DDS – Dentist

I will save over $20,000!

Refinancing my student loans through Laurel Road is the best thing that could have happened. Throughout the lifetime of my loan I will save over $20,000!

— Bethany Whittier, DDS – Dentist

Dr. Bryce Peterson – Medical Doctor

The customer service was very efficient!

I have refinanced other loans, but never as easily as with Laurel Road. The online services they offered made this refi a snap, and their rates were lower than other banks, too. The customer service through email and telephone was also very efficient.

— Dr. Bryce Peterson – Medical Doctor

Dr. Chandy Randall – Medical Doctor

The interest rate was great!

Applying to refinance my loan with Laurel Road was so easy! I only needed to collect a few documents and upload them to the website. The documents were reviewed and accepted quickly. The communication was easy. The interest rate was great! I am very happy that I decided to refinance with Laurel Road!

— Dr. Chandy Randall – Medical Doctor

Bethany Hammons – Registered Nurse

I would recommend them to anyone!

After spending weeks communicating with other companies I had about given up on refinancing my loans. I decided to give one more company a try. Laurel Road (formerly DRB Student Loan) was such an easy online process I almost didn’t believe. I would recommend them to anyone. Student loans are stressful so it’s so nice knowing there’s a company out there to make the process as pain free as possible!

— Bethany Hammons – Registered Nurse

Brandi Brock – Finance Manager

Fast and easy!

Working with Laurel Road was fast and easy! I searched for the right refinance company, and no one had better rates or service. I would recommend refinancing with Laurel Road to any of my friends with student loan debt to consolidate!

— Brandi Brock – Finance Manager

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SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 1.99% APR to 6.24% 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 1.99% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 3.06% 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. See eligibility details. 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. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. 

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Ali Kahn – Ross University

Tens of thousands saved!

It's almost mind-boggling how much money I'll save through refinancing my student loans with SoFi - I'd literally be paying tens of thousands more with my original loans. Now that I’ve refinanced my student loans with SoFi, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m able to put away a little bit more, think about long term goals, save for a house - and I know this burden isn’t going to be over my head for the rest of my life.

— Ali Kahn – Ross University

Chiara McPhee – Stanford

Lowest rates without a cosigner!

I was looking for the lowest rates I could find without a cosigner. SoFi was by far the best.

— Chiara McPhee – Stanford

Barry Malinowski Jr. – Harvard

Significantly lower rate!

With SoFi, I was able to significantly lower my rate, saving me thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Plus, now I belong to a support group of borrowers and lenders, turning debt that was once only a liability into an assets of sorts. I’m grateful that a friend told me about SoFi.

— Barry Malinowski Jr. – Harvard

Taryn B. – New York

Amazing customer service!

Not only does SoFi provide low interest rates, but they have a seamless process, a tech savvy website and amazing customer service. They actually make me feel good about borrowing money from them.

— Taryn B. – New York

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Lance S. – Virginia Tech

ELFI was a breeze to deal with. All I had to do was complete some simple forms and upload a few documents. Anytime I had a question or issue they went above and beyond to either answer or even take care of the issue for me. I will now save over $24,000 over the life of the loan and I plan to use the savings to pay off my house faster. The best thing is, it cost us nothing. I wish I had refinanced with ELFI years ago.

— Lance S. – Virginia Tech

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Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 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% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

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Sara Hathaway – UBC

Not just another statistic

These are real people who actually care about my needs as a person; I'm not just another statistic to them, I'm a relationship.

— Sara Hathaway – UBC

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CommonBond Disclosures

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 0.18% effective July 10, 2020.

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Andrew – Grand Forks, ND

Save Thousands of Dollars

I am going to save thousands of dollars and some portion of that is going to help other people involved in education right now.

— Andrew – Grand Forks, ND

Grace – Detroit, MI

Tailored, one on one service

Looking at the math and the rates, it was an easy choice for me. It's just a very personal, tailored, one on one service.

— Grace – Detroit, MI

Chan – Binghamton, NY

Very easy application!

It was very easy to go through the CommonBond website and apply for the loan.

— Chan – Binghamton, NY

Mariana – Lansing, MI

How could I live without this?

You know that moment when you find out about something you didn't know existed, and you think how could I ever live without this?

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Recap: The Top 6 Student Loan Refinancing Companies

  • Splash Financial
  • Laurel Road
  • SoFi
  • Education Loan Finance
  • Earnest
  • CommonBond

Refinancing has some big potential benefits, including the possibility of lowering your interest rate to save you money on accruing interest. Alternatively, it might reduce your payments to a more affordable level, if you’re willing to shell out more interest over time. A student loan refinancing calculator can calculate your potential savings (or cost).

Aside from speeding up or slowing down your repayment, refinancing accomplishes the same feats for every borrower — putting the power back in your hands. It allows you to choose your new lender, consolidate your federal and private loan debt into one monthly payment and possibly release your original loan cosigner/s.

To qualify for refinancing, you’ll need a strong credit score and steady income, among other criteria. Banks, credit unions and online lenders offer their lowest fixed and variable rates to the most creditworthy applicants.

Lenders may perform a soft credit check a quoted rate within minutes. Your credit report wouldn’t be affected until the hard check of your formal loan application. We recommend pre-qualifying with multiple lenders that meet your unique needs to see whose overall loan offering is best.

Of all the questions to ask before refinancing, this one might be most paramount: Should you refinance federal loans and lose the exclusive benefits they come with? Keep in mind that refinancing is irreversible and strips your government debt of safeguards like income-driven repayment options and access to loan forgiveness and cancellation.

If these benefits could prove useful down the road, you could be better off transitioning some or all of your original federal loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, combining your federal loans into a single monthly payment. You could even choose a new loan servicer if you’re unhappy with your current one.

Unlike private refinancing, however, federal consolidation won’t lower your overall interest rate or let you lump any private loans into your newly consolidated debt. Also, consolidating could reset your progress in programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness. These are just some the reasons consolidation could be a bad idea.

Moving your loans to a private lender or grouping your government debt with a new federal loan servicer could be the turning point of your repayment. If you’re unsure which route to take, consider scenarios when refinancing makes sense or whether consolidation would be wise in your case. In the end, the best decision is the one that’s best for you.


Places With the Most Student Loan Debt in 2020

45 million Americans carry $1.64 trillion in federal and private student loan debt (the second biggest debt burden in the country, following mortgages), so it's no surprise that the student loan debt crisis has been a major issue in this year's political cycle.

Borrowers include not just college graduates, but also people who didn't complete their educations, graduate students, certain vocational trainees and the parents of undergraduates. Unlike most other forms of debt, student loan debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, although some can be forgiven through various programs.

Despite all of this outstanding debt, fewer than half of federal loan debtors are currently in repayment and of those, fewer than half are on repayment plan that would retire their debt in the ten years intended by the federal student loan program.

Yet, student loan burdens can vary greatly across the country and not always for the obvious reasons. For example, someone who dropped out of college after two years with debt or who lives in a community with lower earnings may have a much harder time paying that off than someone who completed their degree with double the debt. Missed payments, deferments and income-based repayment plans can mean that the borrower sees their balance rise month after month and year and year. If that borrower goes into default, their wages can be garnished, thus adding more pressure to already tight finances.

At the other end of the spectrum, doctors, lawyers and other professionals can rack up six figure student loan debt, but they often expect very high earnings to make monthly payments on those outsized loan balances manageable.

Our analysts crunched the numbers from over 300,000 anonymized My LendingTree user credit reports of student loan debtors in America's 100 largest metros to determine the median student loan burden, as well as the median monthly payments of those who have active monthly bills. The reports are from February 2020, immediately prior to the destabilization of the coronavirus crisis and passage of the CARES act and includes both federal and private loans. Please see here for similar figures computed as averages and more relevant to the federal loans that are the subject of the CARES act.


Frequently Asked Questions About Refinancing

What is student loan refinancing?

When you refinance student loans, you take out a new loan from a private lender to pay off one or more of your old loans. If you qualify, you could snag a lower interest rate on this new loan. You can also choose new repayment terms to pay off your debt faster or lower your monthly bills.

Eligible borrowers can refinance student loans to achieve a number of objectives, such as:

  • Saving money on interest with a lower rate
  • Adjusting your monthly payments to match your goals
  • Combining multiple loans into one, simple repayment
  • Removing a cosigner from your debt
  • Switching to a new loan servicer with better customer service

Whatever your goals, refinancing can be a savvy strategy for managing your student loan debt.

Are there any downsides to refinancing student loans?

Refinancing federal student loans means you turn them private. As a result, you lose access to federal programs, such as income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Some private lenders offer help if you run into financial hardship, but this varies by lender. If you’re relying on federal protections, then you should not refinance your federal student loans. But if you’re comfortable sacrificing these programs, refinancing could be a smart strategy for paying off your loans.

What’s the difference between private refinancing and federal consolidation?

Although refinancing can simplify your debt by combining multiple loans into one, it’s different from federal student loan consolidation. You refinance student loans with a private lender, but you consolidate loans by taking out a direct consolidation loan from the federal government.

Federal consolidation combines federal student loans into one new loan, and it lets you choose new repayment terms. But it doesn’t lower your interest rate, so you won’t save money on interest — only student loan refinancing helps you lower your rate, if you qualify.

How do I refinance my student loans?

Many lenders offer student loan refinancing, from traditional banks, to credit unions to online lenders. Before choosing one, shop around and compare your offers. Several lenders make it easy to get an instant rate quote online with no impact on your credit score. By checking your rates with a variety of providers, you can find a refinanced student loan with the best possible terms.

Am I eligible for student loan refinancing?

You can refinance one or more federal and/or private student loans, but you must meet a lender’s requirements for credit and income. Most lenders look for a credit score of 650 or higher, along with a steady source of income or an offer of employment. If you can’t meet these criteria on your own, you could qualify by applying with a creditworthy cosigner, such as a parent.

Along with your credit score and annual income, some lenders also look at your savings and debt-to-income ratio. Finally, some lenders require proof of graduation, as they’ll only approve borrowers who have obtained their degree. If you left school before graduating, there are relatively few student loan refinance providers that will work with you.