Best Refinance Private Student Loans

Taking out student loans to pay for college is often necessary, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with high interest rates after graduating. Refinancing your private student loans can potentially help you save thousands of dollars in interest and lower your monthly payments. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about refinancing private student loans to get the best rates and terms.


Private student loans often carry higher interest rates than federal student loans. While federal loans offer options like income-driven repayment plans, private lenders are not required to do so. Refinancing lets borrowers take out a new loan to repay their existing private student debts, ideally locking in better rates to lower costs.

When refinancing, borrowers should consider factors like eligibility criteria, rates and fees, loan term lengths, cosigner release options, and more to find the best loan for their situation. This guide covers tips for getting approved and presents our top picks for private student loan refinancing lenders based on interest rates, flexibility, discounts, and other features.

Factors to Consider When Refinancing Private Student Loans

As you compare lenders and offers, keep these key factors in mind:

Eligibility Criteria

Most lenders require a minimum FICO credit score along with steady income to qualify borrowers for refinancing. Having an established credit history along with a lower debt-to-income ratio will help you qualify for better rates. Recent graduates may need to initially apply with a creditworthy cosigner.

Interest Rates and Fees

The main goal of refinancing is getting a lower interest rate to reduce costs. Compare fixed and variable rate options across multiple lenders. Also confirm if there are any origination, application, or prepayment fees.

Loan Term Lengths

Longer loan terms mean lower monthly dues but greater interest costs over time. Weigh your budget and total costs to pick the right term length. Terms usually range from 5-20 years. Some lenders let you choose your exact loan duration.

Cosigner Release Options

If you required a cosigner for approval, check if the lender offers a cosigner release. This provision may let you apply to remove your cosigner after 1-2 years of consistent on-time payments.

Flexible Payments and Deferment Options

Many private lenders boast flexible payment plans, graduated repayment options to ease initial costs, and deferment choices for going back to school or managing job loss. Compare all programs and borrower benefits when evaluating refinancing packages.

Top 7 Private Student Loan Refinancing Lenders

1. Splash Financial

Splash Financial offers exceptionally low variable and fixed rates along with a fast application process and no application or origination fees. Unique benefits include unemployment protection – halting payments for 3-12 months if you lose your job.

Rates: From 1.74% variable APR with autopay discount

Eligibility: Minimum 650 FICO score

Perks: Rate beat program, cosigner release option

2. Earnest

Earnest provides fixed and variable rate loans with flexible 5-20 year terms. They offer unemployed deferment options and scholarships to offset monthly payments. With strong customer service and no fees, they are a top pick for refinancing.

Rates: From 1.99% variable APR with autopay

Eligibility: Minimum 650 FICO score

Perks: Unemployment protection, option to skip a payment every year


Education Loan Finance has loans for undergrads, grads, parents, and more. They offer some of the lowest rates available along with benefits like interest-only repayment when needed. Their student loan advisors provide free consultations as well.

Rates: From 1.78% variable APR with discounts

Eligibility: Minimum 620 FICO score

Perks: Deferment and forbearance options, interest-only repayment

4. Laurel Road

Laurel Road stands out with competitive fixed and variable rates and flexible 5-20 year repayment terms. Their Student Loan Cash Back benefit gives graduates cash rewards for on-time monthly payments. Strong cosigner release options are also available.

Rates: From 1.89% variable APR with autopay

Eligibility: Minimum 650 FICO score

Perks: Cash back rewards, cosigner release, financial hardship programs

5. CommonBond

CommonBond offers U.S. citizenship-exclusive refinancing options with fixed and variable APRs and 5-15 year loan terms. Along with competitive pricing, they provide three-month payment pauses, job loss protection, and generous cosigner release policies.

Rates: From 1.94% variable APR with autopay

Eligibility: Minimum 650 FICO score

Perks: Unemployment protection, 3 month payment pause, cosigner release

6. College Ave

College Ave stands out with fast loan approval and funding along with ultra competitive rates. Their loans carry no application, origination or prepayment fees. Benefits include graduated repayment options, interest-only payments, and more repayment flexibility.

Rates: From 1.94% variable APR with autopay

Eligibility: Minimum 650 FICO score

Perks: 0.25% autopay discount, fast approval, cosigner release option

7. SoFi

SoFi offers some of the lowest APRs in the student loan refinancing space. Along with competitive pricing, they provide unemployment protection, career coaching services, and community networking events. Overall an exceptional lender with great rates and perks.

Rates: From 2.49% fixed APR with autopay

Eligibility: Minimum 650 FICO score

Perks: Unemployment protection, career coaching, networking events

While this covers some top picks, always compare multiple lenders yourself to ensure you get the very best rate and program for your situation.

5 Tips to Improve Your Chances of Approval

If you have less-than-perfect credit or limited income, here are some quick ways to boost your odds of qualifying for low-rate refinancing:

  • Apply with a cosigner: Adding a cosigner with good credit will increase approval chances and lower interest rates. Just be sure the lender offers a cosigner release.
  • Check errors on your credit reports: Dispute any errors on your credit reports to maximize your credit scores with the bureaus.
  • Pay down existing debts: Reducing credit card, auto, and other loan balances can quickly improve your debt-to-income level.
  • Make payments on time: Set up autopay, create payment alerts, or calendar reminders so all current bills get paid on time. This will steadily build your credit over time.
  • Limit new credit applications: Each credit application causes a hard inquiry lowering your score temporarily. Limit new credit cards or loans unless essential.

Following these tips and having steady verifiable income will go a long way towards qualifying for the best refinancing offers.

What To Do If You Don’t Qualify for Refinancing

If you don’t qualify for private student loan refinancing due to having less than good credit or high debt levels, here are some alternative options to consider:

  • Enroll in an income-driven repayment plan for your federal student loans to cap payments at 10-20% of disposable income. Any remaining balance gets forgiven after 20-25 years.
  • Consider loan consolidation if you have multiple federal loans. This combines everything into one payment. While rates don’t change, it simplifies repayment.
  • Look into federal forgiveness programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Forgiveness if you qualify based on your employer or volunteering efforts.
  • Ask lenders for a cosigner or meet eligibility criteria then reapply in 6-12 months after establishing a stronger credit profile.
  • Work on improving your credit score so you can eventually qualify for refinancing or other programs.

The most important thing is keeping up with at minimum the minimum payments on all student loans to avoid delinquency and further damage to your credit reports. Once you improve eligibility criteria, revisit private loan refinancing for your best shot at lowering rates.


Refinancing private student loans to lower rates can help graduates and families save a lot of money over the loan repayment period. But make sure to compare multiple lenders and offers to find the truly best loan program for your situation before committing.

Consider factors like eligibility terms, interest rates, fees, repayment flexibility, unemployed protections, cosigner release policies and more. This will ensure you get the maximum savings out of refinancing your student loans.

Use this guide to kickstart and inform your research process today so can start saving on your private student loans.

FAQs about Best Refinance Private Student Loans

What are the benefits of refinancing private student loans?

The main benefits of refinancing private student loans include lowering your interest rate to save money over time, negotiating flexible repayment terms to fit your budget, releasing an existing cosigner, consolidating multiple loans into one, and gaining access to borrower protections like unemployment deferment options.

Can I refinance just some of my private loans?

Most lenders require you to refinance your entire loan balance across all your existing private student loans. However, a few lenders like Splash Financial and College Ave allow partial refinancing if you only want to refi a portion of your overall student debt.

When is the best time to refinance student loans?

The ideal time is usually right after graduating once you have a steady full-time job locked in. This shows lenders you have reliable income to afford payments. Recent grads should apply with a cosigner first to get approved for better rates and can later seek cosigner release.

Can I refinance my federal student loans too?

Technically yes, you can refinance federal loans with a private lender but will lose access to helpful federal repayment programs and options in the process. We advise against refinancing federal loans in most cases and instead recommend enrolling in income-driven repayment if needed.

How much money can I save from refinancing?

Typical savings from refinancing run anywhere from $5,000 to over $20,000+ over the loan term depending on your loan size, existing and new interest rates, repayment term length, and other borrower specifics. Use online calculators to estimate potential savings by plugging in your details.

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