Refinance Student Loans: Compare Top 8 Lenders Now

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Here’s how to refinance student loans

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

To qualify, you’ll need:

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

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

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

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

How to refinance your student loans through NerdWallet

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Refinance student loans: Your questions answered

Should you refinance student loans during the federal student loan forbearance?

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

  • Pay less interest over the life of the loan.

  • Pay off education debt faster.

  • Reduce monthly student loan payments.

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

What happens when you refinance student loans?

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

What credit score do I need to refinance student loans?

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

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

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

Is refinancing student loans better than consolidation?

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

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

Which is the best lender to refinance with?

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

Best student loan refinance companies for:

NerdWallet student loan refinance ratings and reviews

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

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula for student loan products takes into account more than 50 data points across multiple categories, including repayment options, customer service, lender transparency, loan eligibility and underwriting criteria.

Fixed APR

Variable APR

Min. credit score

Best for borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast.

Pros

  • Customizable payments and loan terms.
  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren’t available in Nevada.

Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 760.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.
  • Must have a degree: No, but must be within six months of graduation and have income or a job.

Disclaimer: Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 5.44% APR to 9.99% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.97% APR to 9.99% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account.

SoFi Parent PLUS Refinancing

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula for student loan products takes into account more than 50 data points across multiple categories, including repayment options, customer service, lender transparency, loan eligibility and underwriting criteria.

Fixed APR

Variable APR

Min. credit score

Best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.

Pros

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Additional perks like career planning, job search assistance and entrepreneurship support available.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.
  • Loan size minimum is higher than most lenders.

Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000, up to your total outstanding loan balance.
  • Must have a degree: Yes, an associate degree or higher.

Disclaimer: Notice: SoFi’s Refinance Loan is a private student loan. Understand that when you refinance federal loans, you forfeit all flexible federal repayment options that are or may become available to federal student loan borrowers. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would affect your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation loan options.Notice: Though SoFi offers an Unemployment Protection Program and career services, SoFi’s Refinance loan is a private loan. Understand that when you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options that are or may become available. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would affect your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation loan options.*NOTICE: If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans. Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.Fixed rates range from 5.24% APR to 9.99% APR with 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates range from 6.24% APR to 9.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates will never exceed 13.95% (the maximum rate for these loans). SoFi rate ranges are current as of 9/08/2023 and are subject to change at any time. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. You may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term.

Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula for student loan products takes into account more than 50 data points across multiple categories, including repayment options, customer service, lender transparency, loan eligibility and underwriting criteria.

Fixed APR

Variable APR

Min. credit score

Best for borrowers with strong finances.

Pros

  • International students can apply with a co-signer who is a qualified U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Does not discharge loans in cases of death or permanent disability.
  • Doesn’t allow biweekly payments via autopay.

Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 – $225,000.
  • Must have a degree: No.

Disclaimer: Fixed interest rates range from 7.12% APR (with auto debit discount) to 11.19% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan. Variable interest rates range from 7.61% APR (with auto debit discount) to 14.51% APR (without auto debit discount). Variable rates for Nelnet Bank Refinance Loans are calculated using either (a) the One-Month SOFR; (b) the 30-day Average SOFR; or (c) the forward-looking term rate based on SOFR as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and/or The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth day (or the next business day) of the immediately preceding calendar month. The variable rate may reprice and change on the first day of each month if the SOFR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month SOFR index is 5.33% as of December 1, 2023.

LendKey Student Loan Refinance

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula for student loan products takes into account more than 50 data points across multiple categories, including repayment options, customer service, lender transparency, loan eligibility and underwriting criteria.

Fixed APR

Min. credit score

Best for borrowers who prefer to work with a community bank or credit union, rather than a big bank.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 18 months for 15- and 20-year loan terms is longer than many lenders.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren’t available in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island or West Virginia.
  • No payment postponement available if borrowers return to school or serve in the military.

Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 751.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $300,000, depending on the higest degree earned.
  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least an associate degree.

Disclaimer: See LendKey’s full terms and conditions at https://www.lendkey.com/disclaimers

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula for student loan products takes into account more than 50 data points across multiple categories, including repayment options, customer service, lender transparency, loan eligibility and underwriting criteria.

on Education Loan Finance’s website

Fixed APR

Variable APR

Min. credit score

Best for borrowers who value good customer service.

Pros

  • You are assigned a student loan advisor.
  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

Cons

  • Payment postponement isn’t available for borrowers who return to school.
  • The minimum amount to refinance is more than many lenders require.
  • No co-signer release available.

Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 774.
  • Loan amounts: $10,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance.
  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least a bachelor’s degree.

Disclaimer: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. https://www.elfi.com/terms/

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula for student loan products takes into account more than 50 data points across multiple categories, including repayment options, customer service, lender transparency, loan eligibility and underwriting criteria.

Fixed APR

Variable APR

Min. credit score

Best for borrowers who want to refinance during their medical or dental residency.

Pros

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.
  • Refinancing available for medical and dental residents.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Payment postponement isn’t available if borrowers return to school.

Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance.
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree. For parent PLUS loans, the child does not need to have graduated to refinance.

Disclaimer: Full Laurel Road Disclaimers. Rates as of 10/18/23, rates subject to change. Terms and Conditions Apply. All products subject to credit approval. IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Please note that if you refinance qualifying federal student loans with Laurel Road, you may no longer be eligible for certain federal benefits or programs and waive your right to future benefits or programs offered on those loans. Examples of benefits or programs you may not receive include, but are not limited to, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-driven Repayment plans, forbearance, or loan forgiveness. Please carefully consider your options when refinancing federal student loans and consult http://studentaid.gov/ for the most current information. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association. All products offered by KeyBank N.A. ©2022 STUDENT LOANS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED OR GUARANTEED. KeyCorp® All Rights Reserved. Laurel Road is a federally registered service mark of
KeyCorp. 3 Corporate Drive, 4th fl, Shelton, CT 06484.

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula for student loan products takes into account more than 50 data points across multiple categories, including repayment options, customer service, lender transparency, loan eligibility and underwriting criteria.

on Splash Financial’s website

Fixed APR

Variable APR

Min. credit score

Best for receiving offers from multiple lenders.

Pros

  • Select from multiple repayment options between 5 and 25 years.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loan features vary by lender.
  • Forbearance and death discharge may not be available.
  • You may need to become a member of a credit union to qualify.

Read full review

Qualifications

  • Splash Financial currently does not offer variable rates or accept co-signers through NerdWallet.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+.
  • Loan amounts: $10,000 to $500,000.
  • Must have a degree: Yes, a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Disclaimer: Splash Financial, Inc. (NMLS # 1630038) reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. The information you provide is an inquiry to determine whether Splash’s lending partners can make you a loan offer, but does not guarantee you will receive any loan offers. Terms and conditions apply. Products may not be available in all states. These rates are subject to change at any time. If you do not use the specific link included on this website, offers on the Splash website may include other offers from lending partners that may have a higher rate. Fixed Rate options range from 5.34% (with autopay) to 8.73% (with autopay). Variable rate options range from 7.35% (with autopay) to 7.35% (without autopay). Some of the rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) index and some are derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). Fixed loans feature repayment terms of 5 to 20 years. For example, the monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 5.47% for a 12-year term would be $94.86. Variable loans feature repayment terms of 5 to 25 years. For example, the monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 5.90% for a 15-year term would be $83.85.

Disclaimers

Education Loan Finance
Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. https://www.elfi.com/terms/

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 5.44% APR to 9.99% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.97% APR to 9.99% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account.

Notice: SoFi’s Refinance Loan is a private student loan. Understand that when you refinance federal loans, you forfeit all flexible federal repayment options that are or may become available to federal student loan borrowers. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would affect your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation loan options.Notice: Though SoFi offers an Unemployment Protection Program and career services, SoFi’s Refinance loan is a private loan. Understand that when you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options that are or may become available. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would affect your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation loan options.*NOTICE: If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans. Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.Fixed rates range from 5.24% APR to 9.99% APR with 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates range from 6.24% APR to 9.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates will never exceed 13.95% (the maximum rate for these loans). SoFi rate ranges are current as of 9/08/2023 and are subject to change at any time. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. You may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term.

See LendKey’s full terms and conditions at https://www.lendkey.com/disclaimers

Full Laurel Road Disclaimers. Rates as of 10/18/23, rates subject to change. Terms and Conditions Apply. All products subject to credit approval. IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Please note that if you refinance qualifying federal student loans with Laurel Road, you may no longer be eligible for certain federal benefits or programs and waive your right to future benefits or programs offered on those loans. Examples of benefits or programs you may not receive include, but are not limited to, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-driven Repayment plans, forbearance, or loan forgiveness. Please carefully consider your options when refinancing federal student loans and consult http://studentaid.gov/ for the most current information. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association. All products offered by KeyBank N.A. ©2022 STUDENT LOANS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED OR GUARANTEED. KeyCorp® All Rights Reserved. Laurel Road is a federally registered service mark of
KeyCorp. 3 Corporate Drive, 4th fl, Shelton, CT 06484.

Splash Financial, Inc. (NMLS # 1630038) reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. The information you provide is an inquiry to determine whether Splash’s lending partners can make you a loan offer, but does not guarantee you will receive any loan offers. Terms and conditions apply. Products may not be available in all states. These rates are subject to change at any time. If you do not use the specific link included on this website, offers on the Splash website may include other offers from lending partners that may have a higher rate. Fixed Rate options range from 5.34% (with autopay) to 8.73% (with autopay). Variable rate options range from 7.35% (with autopay) to 7.35% (without autopay). Some of the rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) index and some are derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). Fixed loans feature repayment terms of 5 to 20 years. For example, the monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 5.47% for a 12-year term would be $94.86. Variable loans feature repayment terms of 5 to 25 years. For example, the monthly payment for a sample $10,000 with an APR of 5.90% for a 15-year term would be $83.85.

Fixed interest rates range from 7.12% APR (with auto debit discount) to 11.19% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan. Variable interest rates range from 7.61% APR (with auto debit discount) to 14.51% APR (without auto debit discount). Variable rates for Nelnet Bank Refinance Loans are calculated using either (a) the One-Month SOFR; (b) the 30-day Average SOFR; or (c) the forward-looking term rate based on SOFR as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and/or The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth day (or the next business day) of the immediately preceding calendar month. The variable rate may reprice and change on the first day of each month if the SOFR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month SOFR index is 5.33% as of December 1, 2023.



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