Student loan refinancing is when a lender pays off your existing student loan and replaces it with a new one, typically with a better rate. In an ideal situation, the lower interest rate translates into lower monthly payments and allows the borrower to save more money.

When refinancing a student loan, the school level of the borrower can affect things a great deal. For example, a graduate school student can refinance up to 50% more than an undergraduate. The borrower’s degree type, current enrollment status, original loan type, credit score, current level of income, and savings are also notable factors.

Furthermore, when choosing refinance options, loan terms, minimum balance requirements, and interest rates are all part of the decision-making process. Similar to other lending scenarios, student loan interest rates can either be fixed or variable. Variable rates typically start lower, but fluctuate with the market. That can make them a lot more of a  gamble. Fixed rates, on the other hand, remain the same throughout the term.  

If you decide student loan refinance is right for you, make sure you get a detailed explanation of closing costs and processes from the lender. Is there an origination fee? How long will it take to receive a quote? Is it easy to speak to a live representative? If approved, how long will it take to receive the money?


Top 8 Companies

#1
Our Partner
9.6 / 10
  • SoFi members save an average of $22,359 by refinancing their student loans**
  • Find your rate in 2 minutes
  • Consolidate & refinance your federal or private student loans
  • As low as 3.35% fixed or 2.795% variable APR (with Autopay)
  • Up to 20 year loan terms
  • Unemployment protection
  • Simple online application
#2
Our Partner
9.6 / 10
  • Rates start for as low as 2.78% variable and 3.35% fixed APR
  • Find your rate in 2 minutes
  • Checking your rates does not affect your credit score
  • Get the best offers from top lenders
  • Select from multiple student refinance offers
  • Consolidate some or all to make single payments
  • Get prequalified in minutes 
#3
Our Partner
9.3 / 10
  • Saves you $21,810 on average for student loan refinancing
  • More rates to choose from = more flexibility
  • Switch from fixed to variable or vice versa to take advantage of low interest rates
  • Unemployment protection
  • Change payment amount and payment date anytime
  • Get a quick rate estimate in 2 minutes
  • A bank with personality. Call, email or text them anytime
  • Must have at least a 680 FICO Score and $40K income
#4
Our Partner
9.2 / 10
  • LendKey has average savings of over $10,000
  • Higher chance of approval by LendKey's non-profit lender network
  • Check your rate in 2 minutes with no impact on your credit score
  • Reduce monthly payment up to 40%, average savings $10,000
  • Rates set at 2.67% APR - 7.26% APR
  • 5, 7, 10, and 15 year terms available
  • No obligation to accept. No fees or prepayment penalties
  • The largest unemployment protection period in the market
#5
Our Partner
9.2 / 10
  • Competitive fixed and variable rates
  • Apply in 3 minutes or less
  • Flexible term choice – Choose how long you take to pay back
  • No application or origination fees
  • Refinance amounts as low as $5,000 (federal & private)
#6
Our Partner
9.0 / 10
  • Covers 100% of school-certified costs
  • Zero fees & Good grade discounts
  • Fast, convenient application process
  • Auto payment discount
#7
Our Partner
8.9 / 10
  • Low interest rates and a variety of repayment options.
  • Consolidate both federal and private student loans
  • Variable rates ranging from 2.39% - 6.01% APR*
  • Fixed rates ranging from 3.19% - 6.69% APR*
  • Repayment terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years
  • No application, origination, or prepayment fees

 

#8
Our Partner
8.9 / 10
  • Save an average of $24,046 ($323/month) when refinancing student loans
  • 660 minimum FICO
  • No minimum income requirement
  • Get a no-obligation rate quote in less than 5 minutes
  • No application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties
  • Refinance up to $500,000 in federal and private student loans
  • Economic forbearance and unemployment protections
  • 5, 7, 10, and 20 year loan terms

 

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How We Compare Student Loan Refinance

Savings

30%

This is obviously the most important thing to you if you are considering a student loan refi, you're doing it to save money, to lower your interest rate and restructure that monthly payment into something more manageable. (Although it is possible you could refinance to shorten the term with higher monthly payments in order to pay off the loan quicker, but the end result is still ultimately savings.) Here we look at the average savings a given entity gives their clients.


Qualifications

25%

So now you have a ballpark idea about what the competing institutions are offering in the way of savings, and you're eager to lower that monthly payment ASAP. Invariably the next question is "do I qualify?" Let's take a look at how easy it will be for you to get this loan. Different companies have different qualifications of differing degrees of austerity. Your credit, income, savings, degree type, enrollment status, and type of original loan (federal vs. private) can all factor in. Those lenders with easier qualification criteria and fewer restrictions will score higher in this area.


Loan Limits/Terms

15%

How much can you borrow? Since you are most likely trying to get the entirety of your student loan debt under control (perhaps from multiple loans), if you can't cover it all what's the point? Lenders offer different loan ceilings. Those that offer higher, less restrictive amounts will score better in this area.
You probably took your initial student loan with the grim acceptance you'd be paying it off for the rest of your natural born life. Now that you are refinancing, will it still be the same arrangement? Refinancing entities offer different term lengths with pros and cons to each. Longer terms translate to lower monthly payments but have higher interest payments and are more expensive in the long run. Short term loans on the other hand typically have lower interest rates. More loan term options combined with interest rate types (fixed, variable, hybrid) gives borrowers more flexibility. Lenders who offer the greatest flexibility in loan terms that create the most savings will score high in this area.


Customer Service

10%

Customer support can be offered a number of ways, including email support, live chat, and a customer service phone line potentially. We prefer companies who allow customers to speak to a live representative. There is a lot to consider when refinancing your student debt, and committing to a loan can be intimidating. Having the ability to speak to someone is a big plus, especially when your personal information and large sums of money are in play.

No matter what kind of customer support options the provider has, make sure you are comfortable with the method of communication they emphasize. That way, if there are problems or you have questions about anything, you want to know the company is available to help in a way that suits your personal preference.


Additional Fees

10%

At the end of the day the main priority here is to save money that you're shelling out monthly on a student loan. Lending institutions have to be up front on any additional fees they are going to hit you with. Organizations with excessive, unfair, or hidden fees do not score well in this area. It's quite reasonable to expect late payment, missed payment or returned check/failed transfer fee, but maybe not so reasonable for the institution to penalize you for paying off your balance early. Also read the fine print. A flat fee of $15 can be an entirely different thing than a percentage of the unpaid amount or overall debt. Many institutions charge an "origination fee" up front which is a percentage of the overall loan. What's more, they will often deduct this percentage from the actual disbursement so you end up getting an amount less than what you were approved for. (For example you took out a $60,000 student loan refi with a 1% origination fee. Banks with this policy will cut you a check for $59,400.)  Those with no origination fees will score higher than those with. Also, lenders with high origination fees or origination fees deducted from the loan will score the lowest.


Application Process

10%

This is all about convenience, how quickly and painlessly the institution makes a decision and gets you your cash. How long will it take to get a quote? How long does it take them to decide? How and when will you receive the funds so you can get to the main priority of saving money? Typically, lenders will require you to submit personal information. This application information often includes your name, Social Security number, government-issued identification, home address, phone number, email address, checking account information, and possibly more. The quicker and easier we deem the application process, the better a given score.