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Loan Rates & Financial Terms

Each lender has a similar structure with how they handle interest rates and fee structures. They'll all require a minimum loan amount from $1,000 to $10,000 and most of the top lenders offer a discount for automatic payments. While the differences in interest rates may not seem like much, those amounts can add up to a lot of money over time. Check out our Student Loan Calculator to see for yourself. That's why it's so important to shop carefully to find the best loan that you can qualify for with your circumstances.
Top Picks Variable Rates Fixed Rates Terms Soft Credit Check Min. Lending Amount Max. Lending Amount Auto-Pay Interest Rate Reduction Average Savings
SoFI 2.79%-6.72% 3.35%-6.74% 5,7,10,15,20 yes $5K No Max yes 0.25% $316/month
Laurel road 3.76%-6.42% 4.20%-7.20% 5,7,10,15,20 yes $5K No Max yes 0.25% 20200
Common Bond 2.79%-6.72% 3.35%-6.74% 5,7,10,15,20 yes $5K $500K yes 0.25% 24200
Lend Key 2.66%-6.20% 3.25%-7.26% 5,7,10,15,20 yes $7.5K $125 Undergrad/$175K grad yes 0.25% 15270
Citizens Bank 2.78%*8.63% 3.74%-8.24% 5,10,15,20 yes $10K $90K Undergrad/$350 grad yes 0.25% $132/month
Earnest 2.81%-6.46% 3.35%-6.46% 5 to 20 yes $5K No Max yes 0.25% 21810
College Ave Student Loans 4.13%+ 4.65%+ 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15 year loans yes $5K $150K Undergrad/250K Medical Grad yes 0.25%
EDvestinU 3.97%+ 4.34%+ 15, 20 yes 7500 $200K yes 0.25%
iHelp 3.75%+ 4.75%+ 44119 yes 1000 $10K-$150K Undergrad/ up to $250K Graduate No 18668
Mefa 4.02%+ 4.95%+ 15 yes $10K Any Amount No. $191/month
Risla NO. 3.49%+ 42134 yes 7500 Yes 0.25%

Benefits & Eligibility

Not all lenders treat all situations the same. Some use a credit score to determine approval while others are comprehensive based on your debt to income ratio as well. While they will all take federal and private student loans, some will only refinance you for certain types of programs and degrees. What you find when you compare all of the details is that while some lenders may be easier to qualify and provide a transparent and hassle free refinancing process, you pay for convenience and access.
Top Picks Unemployment Protection Interest-Only Payment Option Discharge Due to Death Transfer PLUS Parents to Graduate Prepayment Penalty Refi Parent PLUS Loans State Residency Previously Defaulted Loans Eligible
SoFI yes - up to 12 months No Yes Yes None Yes Any except residents of NV (OH, TN some restrictions) No
Laurel road yes - up to 12 months No Yes Yes None Yes Any No
Common Bond yes - up to 12 months No Yes Yes None Yes Any except LA, ME, RI, or NV Yes
Lend Key yes - up to 12 months yes - up to 4 years Yes No None No Any except ME, ND, NV, RI, WV No
Citizens Bank yes - up to 12 months No Yes No None Yes Any Yes
Earnest yes - up to 12 months No Yes No None Yes Any except AL, DE, KY, MS, NV, RI Yes
College Ave Student Loans No Yes - for first 2 years No None Yes Any If in collection, no. If still with original lender, Yes.
EDvestinU No Yes None Yes AL, KY, MS, NV, SD,
iHelp No Yes Yes - unless there is a cosigner None Yes Any No
Mefa No No Yes - unless there is a cosigner None Yes Any No
Risla Yes (and permenant disability) None Any

Finding the Best Rate for Your Situation

Default on a previous loan? Didn't finish school? You may still be eligible for some great refinancing products. Most banks wont require a cosigner but check to make sure that you don't get a better rate by using all of your available resources. Saving money over the long term is the goal of a successful refinancing and every penny and percentage point matters.
Top Picks Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans Min. Credit Score Min. Annual Income No Cosignor Required Ability to apply with a Cosigner Cosigner Release Offered (Existing Loans) Cosigner Release Offered (Refinanced Loans)
SoFI Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal Good or Excellent score needed No Min Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
Laurel road Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal 680 No Min Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
Common Bond Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal 660 No Min Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
Lend Key Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal 680 $24K Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
Citizens Bank Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal 680 $24K Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
Earnest Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal 660 No Min Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
College Ave Student Loans BA or Higher Private & Federal comprehensive $75K (Household) Yes - if approved Yes Yes yes - if approved after 24 months of consecutive, on-time payments
EDvestinU no degree required Private & Federal 750 $30K (borrower or cosigner) for $100 K or less, $50K for $100K or more Yes - if approved Yes Yes yes - if approved after 24 months of consecutive, on-time payments
iHelp no degree required Private & Federal comprehensive $24K (household) Yes - if approved Yes Yes yes - if approved after 24 months of consecutive, on-time payments
Mefa no degree required Private & Federal comprehensive $24K Yes - if approved Yes Yes No
Risla comprehensive $40K Yes - if approved Yes Yes yes - if approved after 24 months of consecutive, on-time payments

Additional Information

Top Picks Borrower Can Apply While Still Enrolled in School Borrower Must Currently be Employed Minimum GPA Required Avg. Time to Apply Apply on Mobile Device Interest is Tax Deductible Personal Reference Required Year Established
SoFI Yes Yes- Or signed job offer No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 2011
Laurel road Yes Yes- Or signed job offer No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 2006
Common Bond Yes Yes- Or signed job offer No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 2011
Lend Key No Yes No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 2007
Citizens Bank No Yes No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 1828/2014 (for refi student loans)
Earnest Yes Yes- Or signed job offer No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 2013
College Ave Student Loans No No No Min Less than 10 mins No Yes No 2013
EDvestinU Yes No No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes Yes 1962
iHelp Yes yes - min 2 years No Min Less than 10 mins No Yes 2 for borrower - 1 for cosigner 2009
Mefa Yes NO No Min Less than 10 mins Yes No. 1982
Risla Yes NO No Min Less than 10 mins Yes

Sofi

SoFi offers some of the lowest interest in the market, if you’re approved, you will likely have a hard time finding a lower interest rate anywhere else. However, they have strict credit criteria and target borrowers with good jobs, good income and good credit history. SoFi is unique among lenders because it offers unemployment insurance at no additional cost. If you lose your job through no personal fault (you cannot quit), SoFi will suspend your monthly payments until you find a new job for up to 12 months. The interest accrued during this period, would be added to your loan, but this gives borrowers a sense of power when faced with unexpected life challenges. SoFi also offers an entrpreneur program to help graduates who dream of owning their own business. Under this program, loans can be deferred for 6 months so you can focus on growing your business. SoFI provides access to networking events, mentors and investors to help you on your professional journey. (SoFi Review)

Laurel Road

Laurel Road is the product of a bank, rather than a student loan company. Since banks face greater scrutiny in their lending practices, borrowers face a much lower likelihood of dishonest activity when applying for a loan. Laurel Road does not offer the lowest advertised rates, but when borrowers apply with several lenders to find the best rate options, Laurel Road often offers the best rate. Laurel Road also has a number of unique services if you are medical professional. This includes a residency and fellowship repayment option that allows you to pay just $100 per month until you become an attending physician. Finally, Laurel Road offers a $150 bonus to new customers. Borrowers should still focus on finding the right lender for them, but the new customer bonus is a nice perk for going through the steps to refinance. (Laurel Road Review)

CommonBond

For borrowers who are looking for a lending company that makes a difference, CommonBond might be the lender for you. They are committed to Social Good, for every fully funded degree through CommonBond, they fund the education of a student in need abroad for a year through Pencils of Promise. CommonBond also helps eligible graduates find new jobs and hires them for short-term consulting projects. CommonBond provides it’s borrowers with access to the CommonBond community by connecting them to events in their cities, networking opportunities, and lifestyle perks. CommonBond also offers Unemployment Protection, called CommonBridge, the program allows borrowers to temporarily postpone payments if they run into financial difficulties. They’ve got your back, while you get your finances back in order. Borrowers can also choose between fixed interest rates, variable interest rates, or a hybrid rate that is a 10-year loan with 5 years of a fixed rates followed by 5 years of variable rates. (CommonBond Review)

LendKey

LendKey offers borrowers innovative technology to match them with community banks and credit unions to provide transparent, accessible and low-cost borrowing options. Through their lenders, borrowers will be able to refinance their student loans, both federal and private, including graduate loans, into one convenient loan helping to you simplify your finances. LendKey also offers the longest period of Unemployment protection (18 months) while in-between jobs. Many of their lenders also offer various repayment options, including interest-only payments for the first four years. LEndKey also promises that borrowers will be serviced by their fully trained customer care team from the moment you start your application until your final payment. (LendKey Review)

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank is a full-service retail bank that operates primarily in the northeastern United States, but offers student loan refinancing to residents across the U.S. through Citizens One, the bank’s lending division that operates nationally. As with any lender, the lowest rates are available to borrowers with good credit; others will receive a rate based on their credit profile. Unlike some lenders, Citizens offers refinancing to some borrowers who have not completed their bachelor’s degree. While you may not refinance while attending school, those who have stopped attending school and do not plan to complete their degrees are eligible to apply for refinancing through Citizens after making twelve full, on-time payments. Perhaps one of the biggest draws of refinancing with Citizens is for borrowers hoping to consolidate their finances. Since Citizens offers everything from credit cards to mortgages, it has the ability be your bank for life. (Citizens Bank Review)

Earnest

Unlike most lenders, which require borrowers to choose a set term for repaying their loans (typically somewhere between five and 20 years in five-year increments), Earnest borrowers can choose their exact loan term — and exact monthly loan payment. Earnest offers borrowers Precision Pricing, a sliding scale that allows them to choose the dollar amount they’d like to pay each month. Borrowers who opt for Earnest student loan refinance options can call and speak with an Earnest employee, rather than someone at a third-party servicer, to resolve any questions or issues that may arise. Most lenders pass their clients to a third-party after thirty days, but Earnest pledges not to do so. This ensures that borrowers will always have direct access to the source of information about their loan, which can often result in faster resolution times. (Earnest Review)

College Ave

Ease and flexibility are hallmarks of College Ave. Student loans are all College Ave does. Its student loan product comes with great interest rates, and a variety of terms and repayment options, so you can find the right fit for you. Perhaps the nicest perk is the fact you are able to choose how long you’ll take to pay off your loan. They also offer borrowers a number of different and flexible repayment options. College Ave borrowers can choose between interest only payments, flat payment, and full principal and interest payments, or defer their payments if they need more time to get the money together. College Ave’s qualification requirements are quite high compared with some lenders, and not all creditworthy borrowers meet them on their own. Applying with a co-signer is a good way to ensure you’re able to get the best rate if you don’t qualify on your own. It’s worth noting, however, that your co-borrower will be responsible for the loan balance if, for whatever reason, you are unable to repay it. (College Ave Review)

EDvestinU

EDvestinU is a great option for community-minded borrowers because it is a nonprofit loan program offered by the New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation. Any proceeds made by EDvestinU goes directly back into New Hampshire public high schools in the form of scholarships and education access programs. Another benefit of refinancing through EDvestinU is that they accept refinancing applications from any U.S. Citizen or permanent resident who has used student loans to pay for a Title IV, degree-granting institution, regardless of whether or not they have graduated. If your financial profile has changed significantly since you’ve started school, it might be worth applying to refinance before graduating. For those students who choose to refinance while in school, keep in mind that there is no grace period for EDvestinU loans, so even EDvestinU encourages borrowers to wait to apply for refinancing until the end of their grace period.

iHelp

What sets iHelp apart from other lenders is that they partner with thousands of community banks nationwide. Bringing your dollars back to your local community. So, when you refinance your loans, the community banks are providing the funds, but iHelp is the organization who will service your loan — and the party you’ll interface with should any questions or concerns arise. With this unique model, borrowers can take out loans from local banks, but benefit from loan servicing by a national organization known for personalized service. iHelp may not be the best option for borrowers with excellent credit, as their rates are not the most competitive in the market. As with some other lenders, iHelp offers the option of cosigner release at any time after two years of consistent payments. The borrower will need to meet certain credit requirements before cosigner release will be granted, including a minimum income and credit score, and a maximum debt-to-income ratio.

MEFA

Unlike some refinancing lenders who focus on the benefit of saving money over the life of the loan, MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority) emphasizes that their borrowers see lower monthly payments when they refinance. Unlike most lenders, MEFA has no maximum loan balance. MEFA’s eligibility requirements for student loan refinancing do not include having completed a degree, so borrowers who have put school on hold and are repaying their loans may be able to refinance into lower rates with MEFA — or at the very least, into a longer loan term and therefore lower monthly payments. Like most lenders, MEFA allows borrowers to apply with a cosigner, which can help the applicant qualify for a loan or even secure a lower interest rate. Unlike many lenders, however, MEFA does not offer cosigner release, which is typically an option after a number of on-time payments have been made. This means that MEFA cosigners will be legally tied to the loan until it is fully repaid. (MEFA Review)

RISLA

RISLA (Rhode Island Student Loan Authority) is a non-profit state organization that offers not only student loans and student loan refinancing, but also resources such as college planning services, an internship finder, and a scholarship search. RISLA also offers the option of income-based repayment to borrowers who demonstrate financial hardship, which is unique among refinancing lenders. Qualifying borrowers must pay no more than 15 percent of their monthly discretionary income towards loan payments, and any loan balance remaining after 25 years of repayment will be forgiven. Keep in mind that switching to IBR will increase the amount of interest you pay, so it’s a great safety net in case of unexpected financial burdens. Lastly, RISLA will refinance loans from any U.S. college, even for borrowers without a degree.
Disclaimer: While we feel our reviews are accurate and represent a solid informational resource, please consult a professional advisor when making important financial decisions.
" ["post_title"]=> string(57) "A Review of Top Companies to Refinance Your Student Loans" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(39) "student-loan-refinance-companies-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-09-13 04:11:33" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-09-13 04:11:33" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(35) "http://studentloanreport.org/?p=158" ["menu_order"]=> int(7) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#612 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(260) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-09-04 02:53:33" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-09-04 02:53:33" ["post_content"]=> string(4175) "SoFi was founded in 2011, when four graduates from Stanford Graduate School of Business committed to helping people pay down their student debts in a timely manner. Their dedication to lowering customers’ student debt payments have made them one of the most popular and fastest growing companies in the industry. SoFi is dedicated to providing top quality services to one of the most underserved communities in the debt industry, people with high outstanding student loans. SoFi provides debt consolidation loans with interest rates significantly lower than many student loan issuers, saving customers an average of $22,359 on their student loan repayments. Their flexibility of terms and rate options coupled with low interest rates makes them a standout and favorite amongst recent graduates. SoFi customers can refinance both secured and unsecured debt. Therefore, SoFi customers can refinance their student loans whether they were issued privately or by the government. Please note that for Federal loan refinancing, you will lose access to benefits such income-based repayment and pay-as-you earn programs. SoFi is one of the most innovative and flexible lenders in the industry and as a result is an excellent resource for employed recent graduates who want to put their student loans behind them as quickly as possible. Best for people who want to refinance secured student and home debt. SoFi’s approval process is forward looking and takes into account a potential borrower’s education history. For that reason, SoFi believes in its customers throughout the whole loan term. If a customer becomes unemployed, SoFi will pause payments and help with job placement. The interest accrued during this period, would be added to your loan, but this gives borrowers a sense of power when faced with unexpected life challenges. SoFi also offers an entrepreneur program to help graduates who dream of owning their own business. Under this program, loans can be deferred for 6 months so you can focus on growing your business. Getting a rate quote from SoFi requires an application form that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Potential borrowers must give the same basic information they would for any loan. In addition, prospective customers must enter detailed education and employment information, as this information is critical for SoFi’s creditworthiness assessment. If a borrower does not meet the lending qualifications on their own, SoFi offers them a co-signing option. SoFi does not place a cap on its student loan refinancing limit. It provides coverage for the total cost of your education. Student loans are available for both undergraduate and graduate school. However, there is a required minimum of $5000 in student loan debt to qualify for refinancing.

SoFi Highlights

Qualifying borrowers who are refinancing their student loan can get fixed rates as low as 3.350% APR and variable rates as low as 2.795% APR. By refinancing student loans at a lower interest rate, even at just 1% less, borrowers can significantly reduce their total student debt payments. If a customer loses their job, SoFi will temporarily pause payments and offer interview coaching, resume reviews, and training related to negotiating tactics." ["post_title"]=> string(35) "Refinancing Student Loans with Sofi" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(35) "refinancing-student-loans-with-sofi" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-09-11 19:40:17" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-09-11 19:40:17" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(35) "http://studentloanreport.org/?p=260" ["menu_order"]=> int(8) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#610 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(269) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-09-04 02:53:33" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-09-04 02:53:33" ["post_content"]=> string(3556) "Founded a decade ago, LendKey’s objective is to revolutionize the lending industry by providing an online lending platform for the thousands of community banks and financial institutions located across the United States. The company offers customers a lending marketplace for student loan refinancing that enables them to create beneficial customized terms for repayment. LendKey has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to work with smaller regional credit unions and banks to provide lower interest rates for customers. In real terms, this gives customers access to more favorable rates and better transparency throughout the process of applying and receiving approval for student loan refinancing. In addition to partnering with community banks, LendKey is constantly striving to improve their technological solutions to provide the best possible service. LendKey’s marketplace grants customers the opportunity to find refinancing loans for a range of outstanding student loan types. Although the company is not directly a lender, LendKey can still help a broad range of customers uncover the student loan refinancing and consolidation options they need. The company prefers to work with customers that have good credit, making them an ideal partner for students who have developed strong credit or have cosigners available to assist with the process. Moreover, the company’s refinancing offerings are excellent for customers who have taken out both private and federal student loans, and are looking to consolidate them into a single, lower-rate payment. Customers with positive financial habits can also benefit considering LendKey’s incentives for those individuals who are responsible when it comes to consistent repayment. Customers seeking student loan refinancing options on LendKey’s marketplace will be awestruck by the variety of choices they encounter when searching for the right loan and provider to work with. Borrowers complete their pre qualification application and finalize their selection for loans through their website. Apart from the depth of borrowing options, the company helps customers by waiving many of the charges competitors may include during the refinancing process. LendKey and its partners do not charge borrowers any application, origination, or prepayment fees. LendKey’s partners also offer unemployment protection for a period of 18 months, a high industry water mark, as well as interest-only repayment for up to the first four years of borrowers’ terms. The company also hosts several informative educational resources including a downloadable guide to student loans that can help borrowers save significant time and money when applying for financing. The company’s application process has only three steps, and customers have full control throughout. The first step for applicants is to fill out an initial form to check their eligibility, which generally takes less than five minutes to complete. The form features basic contact information, as well as details regarding a borrower's’ university status. Once completed and pre qualified, customers will receive a list of potential lenders from which they can select the best match. " ["post_title"]=> string(39) "LendKey Student Loan Refinancing Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(39) "lendkey-student-loan-refinancing-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-09-11 18:52:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-09-11 18:52:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(35) "http://studentloanreport.org/?p=269" ["menu_order"]=> int(9) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#672 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(267) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-09-04 02:53:33" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-09-04 02:53:33" ["post_content"]=> string(3437) "CommonBond was founded in 2012 by University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School MBA graduates David Klein, Michael Taormina, and Jessup Shean. Due to the founders’ commitment to their customers, CommonBond grew to a national brand in just one year and has already helped refinance over $500 million in student loans. CommonBond is an online student loan service that connects students with investors and they have noteworthy investors such as Tribeca Venture Partners (TVP), The Social+Capital Partnership, as well as Vikram Pandit (former CEO of Citigroup), Tom Kalaris (former Vice Chairman of Barclays), and Thomas Glocer (former CEO of Thomson Reuters). CommonBond loans will help customers refinance both secured and unsecured debt obligations. These loans include federal, private, and previously consolidated student loans in an amount up to $500,000. CommonBond makes student loans more affordable with its refinancing program while offering a convenient online application process. Additionally, for every loan CommonBond originates, they will fund the education of a child in need. If that was not enough to show how much they care about their customers, they will pause payments and help customers look for a job if they become unemployed through their program called called CommonBridge. CommonBridge allows borrowers to temporarily postpone payments if they run into financial difficulties. They’ve got your back, while you get your finances back in order. CommonBond also helps eligible graduates find new jobs and hires them for short-term consulting projects. CommonBond provides it’s borrowers with access to the CommonBond community by connecting them to events in their cities, networking opportunities, and lifestyle perks. CommonBond offers one of the most flexible repayment plan options in the industry. Customers have the ability to choose from fixed or variable interest rates. Fixed rates are between 3.35% - 6.74% while variable rates range between 2.79% - 6.72%. For customers who want even more flexibility, CommonBond offers a 10-year hybrid rate loan where the first 5 years have a fixed interest rate and the last 5 years have a variable rate. Customers of CommonBond receive access to a borrowing guide specifically suited for student debt refinancing, a blog with personal finance articles, an in-depth FAQ that goes through the entire borrowing process, and has a page specifically suited to students, graduates, and parents. Borrowers will also have access to in-person educational events Lastly, CommonBond customers are able to intend in-person educational events held in their New York City office. Receiving a quote from CommonBond will take approximately 10-15 minutes. Potential borrowers are prompted for personal information, education information, and employment information across several intuitive pages. For clients or prospective borrowers who have questions or inquiries, CommonBond’s customer support team is available during business hours seven days a week by phone and email." ["post_title"]=> string(43) "Common Bond Student Loan Refinancing Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(43) "common-bond-student-loan-refinancing-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-09-11 19:02:19" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-09-11 19:02:19" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(35) "http://studentloanreport.org/?p=267" ["menu_order"]=> int(10) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post_count"]=> int(4) ["current_post"]=> int(-1) ["in_the_loop"]=> bool(false) ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#611 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(158) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-09-04 03:00:11" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-09-04 03:00:11" ["post_content"]=> string(24673) "Deciding to refinance your student loans is a big financial decision. Knowing which bank to choose can be pretty challenging in a landscape where the small differences can mean big things down the road. Here's some helpful information about some of the biggest names in student loan refinancing. We looked at 11 of the top names in student loan refinancing and got down the the small differences that set them apart. Our analysts tracked each company based on a comprehensive set of criteria including interest and loan terms in order to help you make an informed student loan choice.

Loan Rates & Financial Terms

Each lender has a similar structure with how they handle interest rates and fee structures. They'll all require a minimum loan amount from $1,000 to $10,000 and most of the top lenders offer a discount for automatic payments. While the differences in interest rates may not seem like much, those amounts can add up to a lot of money over time. Check out our Student Loan Calculator to see for yourself. That's why it's so important to shop carefully to find the best loan that you can qualify for with your circumstances.
Top Picks Variable Rates Fixed Rates Terms Soft Credit Check Min. Lending Amount Max. Lending Amount Auto-Pay Interest Rate Reduction Average Savings
SoFI 2.79%-6.72% 3.35%-6.74% 5,7,10,15,20 yes $5K No Max yes 0.25% $316/month
Laurel road 3.76%-6.42% 4.20%-7.20% 5,7,10,15,20 yes $5K No Max yes 0.25% 20200
Common Bond 2.79%-6.72% 3.35%-6.74% 5,7,10,15,20 yes $5K $500K yes 0.25% 24200
Lend Key 2.66%-6.20% 3.25%-7.26% 5,7,10,15,20 yes $7.5K $125 Undergrad/$175K grad yes 0.25% 15270
Citizens Bank 2.78%*8.63% 3.74%-8.24% 5,10,15,20 yes $10K $90K Undergrad/$350 grad yes 0.25% $132/month
Earnest 2.81%-6.46% 3.35%-6.46% 5 to 20 yes $5K No Max yes 0.25% 21810
College Ave Student Loans 4.13%+ 4.65%+ 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15 year loans yes $5K $150K Undergrad/250K Medical Grad yes 0.25%
EDvestinU 3.97%+ 4.34%+ 15, 20 yes 7500 $200K yes 0.25%
iHelp 3.75%+ 4.75%+ 44119 yes 1000 $10K-$150K Undergrad/ up to $250K Graduate No 18668
Mefa 4.02%+ 4.95%+ 15 yes $10K Any Amount No. $191/month
Risla NO. 3.49%+ 42134 yes 7500 Yes 0.25%

Benefits & Eligibility

Not all lenders treat all situations the same. Some use a credit score to determine approval while others are comprehensive based on your debt to income ratio as well. While they will all take federal and private student loans, some will only refinance you for certain types of programs and degrees. What you find when you compare all of the details is that while some lenders may be easier to qualify and provide a transparent and hassle free refinancing process, you pay for convenience and access.
Top Picks Unemployment Protection Interest-Only Payment Option Discharge Due to Death Transfer PLUS Parents to Graduate Prepayment Penalty Refi Parent PLUS Loans State Residency Previously Defaulted Loans Eligible
SoFI yes - up to 12 months No Yes Yes None Yes Any except residents of NV (OH, TN some restrictions) No
Laurel road yes - up to 12 months No Yes Yes None Yes Any No
Common Bond yes - up to 12 months No Yes Yes None Yes Any except LA, ME, RI, or NV Yes
Lend Key yes - up to 12 months yes - up to 4 years Yes No None No Any except ME, ND, NV, RI, WV No
Citizens Bank yes - up to 12 months No Yes No None Yes Any Yes
Earnest yes - up to 12 months No Yes No None Yes Any except AL, DE, KY, MS, NV, RI Yes
College Ave Student Loans No Yes - for first 2 years No None Yes Any If in collection, no. If still with original lender, Yes.
EDvestinU No Yes None Yes AL, KY, MS, NV, SD,
iHelp No Yes Yes - unless there is a cosigner None Yes Any No
Mefa No No Yes - unless there is a cosigner None Yes Any No
Risla Yes (and permenant disability) None Any

Finding the Best Rate for Your Situation

Default on a previous loan? Didn't finish school? You may still be eligible for some great refinancing products. Most banks wont require a cosigner but check to make sure that you don't get a better rate by using all of your available resources. Saving money over the long term is the goal of a successful refinancing and every penny and percentage point matters.
Top Picks Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans Min. Credit Score Min. Annual Income No Cosignor Required Ability to apply with a Cosigner Cosigner Release Offered (Existing Loans) Cosigner Release Offered (Refinanced Loans)
SoFI Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal Good or Excellent score needed No Min Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
Laurel road Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal 680 No Min Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
Common Bond Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal 660 No Min Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
Lend Key Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal 680 $24K Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
Citizens Bank Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal 680 $24K Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
Earnest Undergrad & Graduate Private & Federal 660 No Min Yes - if approved Yes Yes Yes
College Ave Student Loans BA or Higher Private & Federal comprehensive $75K (Household) Yes - if approved Yes Yes yes - if approved after 24 months of consecutive, on-time payments
EDvestinU no degree required Private & Federal 750 $30K (borrower or cosigner) for $100 K or less, $50K for $100K or more Yes - if approved Yes Yes yes - if approved after 24 months of consecutive, on-time payments
iHelp no degree required Private & Federal comprehensive $24K (household) Yes - if approved Yes Yes yes - if approved after 24 months of consecutive, on-time payments
Mefa no degree required Private & Federal comprehensive $24K Yes - if approved Yes Yes No
Risla comprehensive $40K Yes - if approved Yes Yes yes - if approved after 24 months of consecutive, on-time payments

Additional Information

Top Picks Borrower Can Apply While Still Enrolled in School Borrower Must Currently be Employed Minimum GPA Required Avg. Time to Apply Apply on Mobile Device Interest is Tax Deductible Personal Reference Required Year Established
SoFI Yes Yes- Or signed job offer No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 2011
Laurel road Yes Yes- Or signed job offer No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 2006
Common Bond Yes Yes- Or signed job offer No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 2011
Lend Key No Yes No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 2007
Citizens Bank No Yes No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 1828/2014 (for refi student loans)
Earnest Yes Yes- Or signed job offer No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes No 2013
College Ave Student Loans No No No Min Less than 10 mins No Yes No 2013
EDvestinU Yes No No Min Less than 10 mins Yes Yes Yes 1962
iHelp Yes yes - min 2 years No Min Less than 10 mins No Yes 2 for borrower - 1 for cosigner 2009
Mefa Yes NO No Min Less than 10 mins Yes No. 1982
Risla Yes NO No Min Less than 10 mins Yes

Sofi

SoFi offers some of the lowest interest in the market, if you’re approved, you will likely have a hard time finding a lower interest rate anywhere else. However, they have strict credit criteria and target borrowers with good jobs, good income and good credit history. SoFi is unique among lenders because it offers unemployment insurance at no additional cost. If you lose your job through no personal fault (you cannot quit), SoFi will suspend your monthly payments until you find a new job for up to 12 months. The interest accrued during this period, would be added to your loan, but this gives borrowers a sense of power when faced with unexpected life challenges. SoFi also offers an entrpreneur program to help graduates who dream of owning their own business. Under this program, loans can be deferred for 6 months so you can focus on growing your business. SoFI provides access to networking events, mentors and investors to help you on your professional journey. (SoFi Review)

Laurel Road

Laurel Road is the product of a bank, rather than a student loan company. Since banks face greater scrutiny in their lending practices, borrowers face a much lower likelihood of dishonest activity when applying for a loan. Laurel Road does not offer the lowest advertised rates, but when borrowers apply with several lenders to find the best rate options, Laurel Road often offers the best rate. Laurel Road also has a number of unique services if you are medical professional. This includes a residency and fellowship repayment option that allows you to pay just $100 per month until you become an attending physician. Finally, Laurel Road offers a $150 bonus to new customers. Borrowers should still focus on finding the right lender for them, but the new customer bonus is a nice perk for going through the steps to refinance. (Laurel Road Review)

CommonBond

For borrowers who are looking for a lending company that makes a difference, CommonBond might be the lender for you. They are committed to Social Good, for every fully funded degree through CommonBond, they fund the education of a student in need abroad for a year through Pencils of Promise. CommonBond also helps eligible graduates find new jobs and hires them for short-term consulting projects. CommonBond provides it’s borrowers with access to the CommonBond community by connecting them to events in their cities, networking opportunities, and lifestyle perks. CommonBond also offers Unemployment Protection, called CommonBridge, the program allows borrowers to temporarily postpone payments if they run into financial difficulties. They’ve got your back, while you get your finances back in order. Borrowers can also choose between fixed interest rates, variable interest rates, or a hybrid rate that is a 10-year loan with 5 years of a fixed rates followed by 5 years of variable rates. (CommonBond Review)

LendKey

LendKey offers borrowers innovative technology to match them with community banks and credit unions to provide transparent, accessible and low-cost borrowing options. Through their lenders, borrowers will be able to refinance their student loans, both federal and private, including graduate loans, into one convenient loan helping to you simplify your finances. LendKey also offers the longest period of Unemployment protection (18 months) while in-between jobs. Many of their lenders also offer various repayment options, including interest-only payments for the first four years. LEndKey also promises that borrowers will be serviced by their fully trained customer care team from the moment you start your application until your final payment. (LendKey Review)

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank is a full-service retail bank that operates primarily in the northeastern United States, but offers student loan refinancing to residents across the U.S. through Citizens One, the bank’s lending division that operates nationally. As with any lender, the lowest rates are available to borrowers with good credit; others will receive a rate based on their credit profile. Unlike some lenders, Citizens offers refinancing to some borrowers who have not completed their bachelor’s degree. While you may not refinance while attending school, those who have stopped attending school and do not plan to complete their degrees are eligible to apply for refinancing through Citizens after making twelve full, on-time payments. Perhaps one of the biggest draws of refinancing with Citizens is for borrowers hoping to consolidate their finances. Since Citizens offers everything from credit cards to mortgages, it has the ability be your bank for life. (Citizens Bank Review)

Earnest

Unlike most lenders, which require borrowers to choose a set term for repaying their loans (typically somewhere between five and 20 years in five-year increments), Earnest borrowers can choose their exact loan term — and exact monthly loan payment. Earnest offers borrowers Precision Pricing, a sliding scale that allows them to choose the dollar amount they’d like to pay each month. Borrowers who opt for Earnest student loan refinance options can call and speak with an Earnest employee, rather than someone at a third-party servicer, to resolve any questions or issues that may arise. Most lenders pass their clients to a third-party after thirty days, but Earnest pledges not to do so. This ensures that borrowers will always have direct access to the source of information about their loan, which can often result in faster resolution times. (Earnest Review)

College Ave

Ease and flexibility are hallmarks of College Ave. Student loans are all College Ave does. Its student loan product comes with great interest rates, and a variety of terms and repayment options, so you can find the right fit for you. Perhaps the nicest perk is the fact you are able to choose how long you’ll take to pay off your loan. They also offer borrowers a number of different and flexible repayment options. College Ave borrowers can choose between interest only payments, flat payment, and full principal and interest payments, or defer their payments if they need more time to get the money together. College Ave’s qualification requirements are quite high compared with some lenders, and not all creditworthy borrowers meet them on their own. Applying with a co-signer is a good way to ensure you’re able to get the best rate if you don’t qualify on your own. It’s worth noting, however, that your co-borrower will be responsible for the loan balance if, for whatever reason, you are unable to repay it. (College Ave Review)

EDvestinU

EDvestinU is a great option for community-minded borrowers because it is a nonprofit loan program offered by the New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation. Any proceeds made by EDvestinU goes directly back into New Hampshire public high schools in the form of scholarships and education access programs. Another benefit of refinancing through EDvestinU is that they accept refinancing applications from any U.S. Citizen or permanent resident who has used student loans to pay for a Title IV, degree-granting institution, regardless of whether or not they have graduated. If your financial profile has changed significantly since you’ve started school, it might be worth applying to refinance before graduating. For those students who choose to refinance while in school, keep in mind that there is no grace period for EDvestinU loans, so even EDvestinU encourages borrowers to wait to apply for refinancing until the end of their grace period.

iHelp

What sets iHelp apart from other lenders is that they partner with thousands of community banks nationwide. Bringing your dollars back to your local community. So, when you refinance your loans, the community banks are providing the funds, but iHelp is the organization who will service your loan — and the party you’ll interface with should any questions or concerns arise. With this unique model, borrowers can take out loans from local banks, but benefit from loan servicing by a national organization known for personalized service. iHelp may not be the best option for borrowers with excellent credit, as their rates are not the most competitive in the market. As with some other lenders, iHelp offers the option of cosigner release at any time after two years of consistent payments. The borrower will need to meet certain credit requirements before cosigner release will be granted, including a minimum income and credit score, and a maximum debt-to-income ratio.

MEFA

Unlike some refinancing lenders who focus on the benefit of saving money over the life of the loan, MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority) emphasizes that their borrowers see lower monthly payments when they refinance. Unlike most lenders, MEFA has no maximum loan balance. MEFA’s eligibility requirements for student loan refinancing do not include having completed a degree, so borrowers who have put school on hold and are repaying their loans may be able to refinance into lower rates with MEFA — or at the very least, into a longer loan term and therefore lower monthly payments. Like most lenders, MEFA allows borrowers to apply with a cosigner, which can help the applicant qualify for a loan or even secure a lower interest rate. Unlike many lenders, however, MEFA does not offer cosigner release, which is typically an option after a number of on-time payments have been made. This means that MEFA cosigners will be legally tied to the loan until it is fully repaid. (MEFA Review)

RISLA

RISLA (Rhode Island Student Loan Authority) is a non-profit state organization that offers not only student loans and student loan refinancing, but also resources such as college planning services, an internship finder, and a scholarship search. RISLA also offers the option of income-based repayment to borrowers who demonstrate financial hardship, which is unique among refinancing lenders. Qualifying borrowers must pay no more than 15 percent of their monthly discretionary income towards loan payments, and any loan balance remaining after 25 years of repayment will be forgiven. Keep in mind that switching to IBR will increase the amount of interest you pay, so it’s a great safety net in case of unexpected financial burdens. Lastly, RISLA will refinance loans from any U.S. college, even for borrowers without a degree.
Disclaimer: While we feel our reviews are accurate and represent a solid informational resource, please consult a professional advisor when making important financial decisions.
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Refinancing Student Loan With Earnest

Reviews

Founded in 2013, Earnest is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by Maveron, Andreessen Horowitz, Atlas Venture, Mohr Davidow Ventures, First Round Capital and others. Founded on the belief that financially responsible people deserve better options and access to credit, Earnest’s lending products are built for a new generation seeking to reach life’s milestones. The company uses data and technology to understand every applicant’s unique financial story and offer the lowest possible rates. Earnest helps provide better access to higher education by making student loans more affordable and they let you restructure your student loans by offering student loan refinancing.

Earnest offers a highly flexible loan program that lets you determine your payment schedule. It makes your student loan even more affordable by not charging any origination, prepayment and other hidden fees.  Other interesting features includes switching between fixed and variable rates at no charge. Earnest also offers Unemployment protection for 3 months when in between jobs, for up to 12 months total over the life of the loan.

If you’re approved to refinance student loans with Earnest, their Precision Pricing programs gives maximum payment flexibility. It allows you to create a payment schedule plan that can help you save thousands of dollars in the course of your loan. Earnest Precision Pricing lets you a get a rate anywhere along a curve instead of having to choose one rate at either 5, 10, 15, and 20 year increments which can end up costing more unless it is at the exact amount you want to pay per month. This can be advantageous for borrowers with a strict monthly budget, but regardless of budget can cut down the total cost of the loan.

Earnest takes a different approach to lending by considering your education, employment status, income to debt ratio and payment history among others. This makes it ideal for clients who are just starting to build a credit history. Applications only takes a few minutes and a quick rate estimate in under 2 minutes.

Borrowers who opt for Earnest student loan refinance options can call and speak with an Earnest employee, rather than someone at a third-party servicer, to resolve any questions or issues that may arise.

Most lenders pass their clients to a third-party after thirty days, but Earnest pledges not to do so. This ensures that borrowers will always have direct access to the source of information about their loan, which can often result in faster resolution times.

Earnest offers refinancing services for private, Federal and Parent PLUS loans as well as providing personal loans. Earnest does not place any ceilings on the maximum amount of student loan refinancing for graduate and undergraduate school, however there is a minimum balance of $5000 in student debt required.

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Preparing for Graduation: Repaying Your Student Loans
Reports
Student Loan Debt vs. Entry Level Pay: An In-depth, Up-to-Date Overview
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A Review of Top Companies to Refinance Your Student Loans
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Resources
The Cost of College Around The World [Infographic]
A Comprehensive Guide To Student Loans
A Review of Top Companies to Refinance Your Student Loans
A Comprehensive Guide to Refinancing Student Loans
Preparing for Graduation: Repaying Your Student Loans
Reviews
A Review of Top Companies to Refinance Your Student Loans
Refinancing Student Loans with Sofi
LendKey Student Loan Refinancing Review
Common Bond Student Loan Refinancing Review
Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing Review