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Refinance Student Loans

To help you become familiar with private lenders, we’ve created a table with the best student loan refinance options lined up for a quick comparison. See how variable interest rates and fixed interest rates compare and follow the links to learn more.

If you’ve graduated and entered the repayment period on your student loans, you’re probably fully aware of how much your education cost. Many borrowers in repayment choose to refinance their personal loans at some point. Refinancing a loan involves a new lender paying off your existing loan amount, and then you make payments to the new lender. However, it may be possible to refinance a loan with an existing lender.

The reasons for refinancing student loans can vary. Sometimes, the monthly payment amount is too much, and you need to find a way to lower your payments. Other times, you can save money by lowering your interest rate or changing your loan repayment terms, so it’s financially beneficial to do so.

Whatever the reason, if you’re considering refinancing and want to know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. This page aims to serve as a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about refinancing student loans.

Lender Range of APRs Repayment
Lengths
Minimum Credit Score
College Ave See Loan Fact Sheet

VARIABLE-rate APRs
0.99% - 11.98%2 VARIABLE-rate APRs
FIXED-rate APRs
2.99% - 12.99%2 FIXED-rate APRs

Repayment Length:

5 to 15-year terms available

Minimum Credit Score:

High-600s

Discover – PSL See Loan Fact Sheet

VARIABLE-rate APRs
1.12% - 10.22%1 VARIABLE-rate APRs
FIXED-rate APRs
3.49% - 11.59% FIXED-rate APRs

Repayment Length:

15-year terms available

Minimum Credit Score:

Not disclosed

Sallie Mae – PSL See Loan Fact Sheet

VARIABLE-rate APRs
1.13% - 11.23%1 VARIABLE-rate APRs
FIXED-rate APRs
4.25% - 12.59%1 FIXED-rate APRs

Repayment Length:

5 to 15-year terms available

Minimum Credit Score:

High-600s

FundingU – PSL See Loan Fact Sheet

VARIABLE-rate APRs
n/a VARIABLE-rate APRs
FIXED-rate APRs
7.99% - 13.49% FIXED-rate APRs

Repayment Length:

10-year terms available

Minimum Credit Score:

None

Union Federal – PSL See Loan Fact Sheet

VARIABLE-rate APRs
1.02% - 9.52%1,2 VARIABLE-rate APRs
FIXED-rate APRs
3.99% - 10.56%1,2 FIXED-rate APRs

Repayment Length:

7-year, 10-year, and 15-year terms available

Minimum Credit Score:

625

CommonBond – PSL See Loan Fact Sheet

VARIABLE-rate APRs
4.13% - 9.64% VARIABLE-rate APRs
FIXED-rate APRs
3.99% - 10.99% FIXED-rate APRs

Repayment Length:

5-year, 10-year, and 15-year terms available

Minimum Credit Score:

Not disclosed

SoFi – PSL See Loan Fact Sheet

VARIABLE-rate APRs
0.99% - 11.33% VARIABLE-rate APRs
FIXED-rate APRs
2.99% - 10.90% FIXED-rate APRs

Repayment Length:

N/A

Minimum Credit Score:

Not disclosed

Earnest – PSL See Loan Fact Sheet

VARIABLE-rate APRs
1.04% - 11.44% VARIABLE-rate APRs
FIXED-rate APRs
3.34% - 12.78% FIXED-rate APRs

Repayment Length:

15-year terms available

Minimum Credit Score:

650

Ascent – PSL See Loan Fact Sheet

VARIABLE-rate APRs
2.44% - 12.39% VARIABLE-rate APRs
FIXED-rate APRs
3.38% - 13.72% FIXED-rate APRs

Repayment Length:

5-year, 10-year, and 15-year terms available

Minimum Credit Score:

Not disclosed

Custom Choice – PSL See Loan Fact Sheet

VARIABLE-rate APRs
1.02% - 9.52%1,2 VARIABLE-rate APRs
FIXED-rate APRs
3.99% - 10.56%1,2 FIXED-rate APRs

Repayment Length:

7-year, 10-year, and 15-year terms available

Minimum Credit Score:

625

The Benefits of Refinancing Student Loans

Refinancing your student loans can come with many benefits. We’ve briefly mentioned a few above, but you can find a more detailed list here.

benefit icon
Lower Interest Rates

If done wisely, refinancing can lower your interest rates, which not only can lower your monthly payment but also lower the total cost of the loan over the life of the loan. Be careful, however. If you refinance with a longer repayment term, this can negate the net effect of a lower interest rate. It’s a good idea to do the math and determine the total repayment amount for each new loan option.

benefit icon
Reduced Monthly Payments

Depending on which lender you choose, you may have the option for more flexible repayment terms when you refinance your student loans. If you choose a longer repayment term, for instance, this could help you lower your monthly payment.

benefit icon
Better Repayment Terms

When you refinance, your repayment terms can also change for the better. Depending on your financial situation, you might find longer repayment terms better because they lower your monthly payment, or you might find shorter terms better because you can pay off the loan more quickly and with less interest. (Note that lenders generally don’t charge prepayment penalties, so paying off loans sooner is usually an option, regardless of your current repayment plan.)

Different lenders also have different policies about missed payments, forbearance, and deferment. Always make sure you know what they are to determine if the differences are in your favor.

benefit icon
Student Loan Consolidation

Refinancing is an opportunity for consolidating. When you refinance through a new lender, your existing loans are paid off, and you just have a single loan from your new lender and one monthly payment. Consolidating doesn’t necessarily result in lower monthly payments, but it can simplify repayment significantly. Note that moving to a federal Direct Consolidation Loan is free for your federal student loans.

benefit icon
Free Your Co-Signer

95% of private student loans require a co-signer, but many of these private student loan lenders will also offer a “co-signer release” after a certain number of on-time payments (and a stringent credit and income test to determine the borrower’s eligibility). While not all lenders will offer a co-signer release, one way to free the co-signer on your original student loan debt from any responsibility is by refinancing and taking out the new loan in your name only.

A Note About Federal Student Loans

As you consider your refinancing options, what decisions you make may depend on whether you have federal student loans, private student loans, or both. When it comes to federal education loans, there is a wide variety of repayment options – many more than you will likely find with any private lender – including several income-based repayment plans.

Because of this, it’s often in your best interest to work with your federal loan servicer to adjust payment options as needed if you’re having difficulty making payments or to arrange forbearance or deferment. It’s also possible to consolidate your federal loans with your federal loan servicer so that you only have one student loan payment each month and a fixed interest rate (the weighted average of all current rates rounded up to the nearest eighth of a percent).

The federal student loan program also has options for loan forgiveness, such as its Public Service Loan Forgiveness program or the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. In extenuating circumstances, like COVID-19, student loans may also be frozen, requiring zero payment. If any forgiveness option applies to you, it’s definitely in your best interest not to refinance your federal loans with a private lender.

While going from federal student loans to a private lender when refinancing can limit your repayment options and limit access to loan forgiveness programs, if the lowest rates are coming from a private lender, it may still be a financially sound decision to refinance federal student loans with a private lender.

However, note that while federal loans can be refinanced with private lenders, private loans can’t be consolidated with a federal loan. So, when it comes to refinancing your private student loans, your goal is to find the best private lender – whether it’s a bank, credit union, or online lender – with the best rates and terms.

What You Need to Do to Refinance Student Loans

Here, we break down everything you need to know about student loan refinancing, including how to do your research and find the right loan, the application process and what it takes to get approved, and how to repay the new loan.

Research
Research

Research

Before choosing a lender, you need to do your research and compare prospective lenders. Keep in mind, as mentioned, that refinancing federal student loans comes with different considerations.

The following are some things to explore for each lender you’re considering:

  • How interest rates compare
  • Whether variable- or fixed-rate loans are available
  • What the loan minimums and loan limits are
  • If there are any origination fees
  • If discounts are offered for making automatic payments
  • Repayment plan options and repayment terms
  • How the lender determines creditworthiness
  • Whether there are any special offerings or borrower benefits, like an annual skipped payment, access to a financial adviser, or a loyalty discount for borrowers who need to open a new account

List your top choices and carefully weigh the pros and cons of each. Note that some lenders will allow you to prequalify with a soft credit check, after which you’ll be able to see what rates you have qualified for. This can help you decide between your final choices.

Apply
Apply

Apply

Once you’ve done your research and chosen a lender, it’s time to apply and complete the loan application. If you are new to using credit cards or your credit report score is less than desirable, you will want to enlist a co-signer to improve your possible loan rates or odds of qualifying.

While loan applications vary, you will typically be required to provide your personal information, and they will look at your credit report, other debt, and income history. You can often complete these applications online.

Note that the decisioning process usually happens fast, and many private lenders respond quickly to loan applications. Still, it’s a good idea to complete the process at least a few weeks before you hope to be on a new payment plan. Always keep paying on your existing loans until the new loan is complete.

Repay
Repay

Repay

Once you accept the new loan, the new lender will pay off your existing loans and begin sending you monthly bills for repayment. Make sure you keep up with on-time payments so that you can avoid late fees and credit problems down the road.

Ask if autopay is an option. Autopay makes it easy to submit payments on time, and it usually comes with a slight interest rate discount. You should also consider making extra payments to pay the loan off early, if possible, since doing so will save you money in the long run.

If you find that you’re unhappy with your new loan terms – or if prevailing interest rates go lower – it’s possible to refinance again.

Individual Student Loan Refinance Provider Fact Sheet

As mentioned, it’s important to do your research. CollegeFinance.com aims to make that easier for borrowers in repayment by doing the legwork for you. Below are individual fact sheets for each provider.

College Ave

Variable APR

Fixed APR

Variable APR: 0.99% - 11.98%2

Fixed APR: 2.99% - 12.99%2

  • Apply in as little as 3 minutes and get an instant credit decision
  • Multiple repayment options from deferred to immediate principal and interest
  • Choice of how long you take to repay the loan – 5, 8, 10, or 15 years3
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check

  • Choice of  how long you take to repay the loan – 5 through 20 year terms
  • .25% rate reduction when you make required payments by automatic debit
  • Cosigner release option available if half of the repayment period has passed and borrower meets a certain payment income requirement (considered a con by Nerdwallet)
  • Can check rate and qualifications without a hard credit check
  • Available six-month grace period extension

  • Does not publicly list many eligibility requirements on its website, which requires borrower or refinancers to get a quote
  • Has a maximum forbearance period of 12 months and is limited to 3 or 6 month increments

Disclosures
Discover – PSL

Variable APR

Fixed APR

Variable APR: 1.12% - 10.22%1

Fixed APR: 3.49% - 11.59%

  • Zero fees – No application fee. No origination fee. No late fees
  • Cover up to 100% of school-certified college costs - tuition, housing, books and more2
  • Apply in 15 minutes or less - it's fast and easy

  • Zero application or origination fees
  • No cosigner required
  • FDIC insured 
  • Available one time cash reward n each new loan if you get at least a 3.0 GPA
  • No late fees
  • Can refinance without a degree

  • No cosigner release (if there is a cosigner)
  • Applying for a loan will temporarily hurt your credit score
  • Loan type only has one repayment plan (15 years for undergraduates and 20 years for graduates)

Disclosures
Sallie Mae – PSL

Variable APR

Fixed APR

Variable APR: 1.13% - 11.23%1

Fixed APR: 4.25% - 12.59%1

  • Cover all types of learning, whether you're studying online or on campus.
  • Chegg Study - Get 4 months of study help included with your Undergraduate Loan.2
  • Consider adding a cosigner: Student are nearly 4X more likely to be approved with a cosigner3 and it may help you get a better rate.

  • No origination fees
  • 100% of school-certified costs covered
  • Available for students attending online classes, summer classes, or less than half-time
  • Non-U.S. citizen and DACA students can apply with a U.S. cosigner 
  • Offers loans to part-time students

  • Only offers a 12 month period of forebearance 
  • Does not publicly list most eligibility requirements on its website

Borrow Responsibly

We encourage students and families to start with savings, grants, scholarships, and federal student loans to pay for college. Students and families should evaluate all anticipated monthly loan payments, and how much the student expects to earn in the future, before considering a private student loan.

This loan is for undergraduate students at participating degree-granting schools. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., attend a participating school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident) and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID to verify their identify. Applications are subject to a requested minimum loan amount of $1,000. Current credit and other eligibility criteria apply.

1Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. Payments may be required during the grace/separation period depending on the repayment option selected. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRs assume a $10,000 loan to a borrower who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae loans. The borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction benefit. This benefit applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. It may be suspended during forbearance or deferment, if available for the loan.

2This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with undergraduate or parent loans with a first disbursement between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022. Borrowers are not eligible to activate the benefit until July 1, 2021. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. Chegg Study® offers expert Q&A where students can submit up to 20 questions per month. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit http://www.chegg.com/legal/smtermsandconditions for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.

3Based on a comparison of approval rates for Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loans for Undergraduate Students who applied with a cosigner versus without a cosigner during a rolling 12 month period from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.
SALLIE MAE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

Information valid as of 8/25/2021.

Smart Option Student Loans® are made by Sallie Mae Bank.
Sallie Mae, the Sallie Mae logo, and other Sallie Mae names and logos are service marks or registered service marks of Sallie Mae Bank. All other names and logos used are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

©2021 Sallie Mae Bank. All rights reserved.

SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Sallie Mae Bank, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

">Disclosures
FundingU – PSL

Variable APR

Fixed APR

Variable APR: n/a

Fixed APR: 7.99% - 13.49%

  • Pre-approval in minutes.
  • All of their loans are fixed interest. None of their loans have hidden fees.
  • Every student is assigned a single Loan Officer whose job is to be helpful.

  • No cosigner or credit history needed to get a loan
  • DACA students with an eligible Social Security number can qualify
  • Can check for rate and qualification without a hard credit check

  • Not available in 22 states
  • Payments are required during the grace period and while in school
  • low maximum funding amount

Disclosures
Union Federal – PSL

Variable APR

Fixed APR

Variable APR: 1.02% - 9.52%1,2

Fixed APR: 3.99% - 10.56%1,2

  • Prequalify in minutes with no impact to your credit score4
  • Limited time offer extended! Get 0.50% interest rate reduction on new loans3
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction after making 36 consecutive on-time payments4

  • Multiple interest rate discounts available 
  • Available in-school repayment options
  • No fees
  • Variable and fixed interest rates available 

  • Only three available term lengths
  • Long cosigner release period
  • Not available in every state

Disclosures
CommonBond – PSL

Variable APR

Fixed APR

Variable APR: 4.13% - 9.64%

Fixed APR: 3.99% - 10.99%

  • Award-winning Care team available when you need them
  • Protections you need like grace period and forbearance
  • Check your rate with your cosigner in 2 minutes or less

  • 24 months of forbearance available throughout the life of the loan
  • Offers natural disaster forebearance which allows borrowers to pause payments during a national emergency such as Covid-19
  • Minimum loan amount is only $2,000
  • Allows for cosigner release after 24 consecutive on-time payments
  • Allows to refinance a parent PLUS loan in your name
  • Can check rate and qualification without a hard credit check

  • Cosigner required unless pursuing a business, medical, or dental degree
  • Loan in not available in Mississippi or Nevada

Disclosures
SoFi – PSL

Variable APR

Fixed APR

Variable APR: 0.99% - 11.33%

Fixed APR: 2.99% - 10.90%

  • Easy online application!
  • No origination fees, late fees, and no insufficient fund fees
  • Flexible repayment options to help you find the right loan for you
  • 0.25% discount when you set up autopay*

  • No origination fees, late fees, or insufficient fund fees
  • .25% discount with autopay
  • Can refinance parent PLUS loan in student name
  • Can check qualification and rate without a hard credit check

  • No cosigner release available 
  • High minimum loan size
  • 680 credit score required for loan

Disclosures
Earnest – PSL

Variable APR

Fixed APR

Variable APR: 1.04% - 11.44%

Fixed APR: 3.34% - 12.78%

  • Skip a payment once per year (once repayment period restarted)**
  • Check your eligibility in just 2 minutes
  • 9 month grace period (3 months more than most lenders)***

  • Flexible terms that let you pick your exact monthly payment or switch between fixed and variable rates
  • No fees for origination, prepayment, or loan disbursement
  • Two-minute rate check with no obligation or impact to your credit score
  • No cosigner needed
  • Allows eligible borrowers to skip a payment every 12 months 
  • Borrower get a $200 referral bonus if they refer a friend

  • No cosigner release (Bankrate)
  • No cosigner option available (Nerdwallet)
  • Requires a credit score of at least 650, so those with poor credit are ineligible
  • Not available in Kentucky or Nevada

Disclosures
Ascent – PSL

Variable APR

Fixed APR

Variable APR: 2.44% - 12.39%

Fixed APR: 3.38% - 13.72%

  • Cash back. After graduation, you may be eligible to get 1% of your loan back as a cash reward.
  • Referral bonus. Tell your friends about Ascent, and you could earn up to $525.
  • No fees. You’ll pay no money to open an account, make a payment, or handle other routine tasks.
  • Small loans. Some students need to borrow large amounts every year. Ascent offers loans as big as $200,000, but if you need just $1,000, they can help you too.

  • Ability to sign without a cosigner even with no credit history, and ability to remove cosigner after 24 consecutive on-time payments
  • Small loan amounts available, with a minimum requirement of only $1,000
  • A total of 24 months of forbearance is available throughout the life of the loan
  • Borrowers who graduate within 5 years get one time payment equal to 1% of their loan amount
  • International students are eligible with a cosigner 

  • Limited repayment terms
  • Only juniors and seniors qualify for non-cosigned loans based on their future income, freshmen and sophomores are ineligible 
  • Students enrolled less than half-time are not eligible 
  • Cosigner release not available to international students

Disclosures
Custom Choice – PSL

Variable APR

Fixed APR

Variable APR: 1.02% - 9.52%1,2

Fixed APR: 3.99% - 10.56%1,2

  • Adding a cosigner with good financial standing makes approval 4x more likely
  • Past Due Balance option is now extended to 12 months8
  • 2.00% principal reduction with proof of graduation6

  • Borrower who complete their degrees get a reward of 2% off their principal balance upon graduation
  • No cosigner needed to apply
  • Ability to pause payments for up to 12 months through the life of the loan in 2 month increments in the event of a national disaster or job loss

  • Loans are not available to international students or people in Arizona, Iowa, or Wisconsin

Disclosures

Refinancing Student Loan FAQs

Check below for answers if you still have questions about refinancing your student loans.

The best time to refinance your student loans is when you’re in a strong financial position and interest rates are low. After working for a few years, you’ll have had time to build your credit history and show consistency with repayment. This makes you attractive to prospective lenders.

There can be. If you refinance at a higher interest rate or for longer repayment terms, the refinance can end up costing you more money in the long run. If you have federal student loans and refinance them with a private lender, you may miss out on the flexibility and loan forgiveness options available.

In general, you don’t pay any additional money upfront. In fact, you might even get to skip a payment if the timeline works out.

Which lender is best can vary based on your financial situation, goals, and amount of debt. Check out our list of the top student loan refinance lenders above to learn more.

Refinance Your Student Loans Today

If you’re ready to refinance your student loans, let CollegeFinance.com help you with the research and provide you with everything you need to know about paying off student debt. Click the links in the lender fact sheet to learn more about each refinance option.

View Loan Options