The Top 5 Places to Refinance Student Loans in 2019

 

Refinance Student Loans in 2019

 

Are student loans holding you back from escaping Broke Phi Broke?  Have you considered refinancing your debt to expedite your payoff date?

I considered it a couple of years ago, but found out that since I only had $5,000 in student loans, I did not qualify for SoFi.

If you are looking to refinance your loans, I am definitely not the guy to speak with.  That’s why I am going to disappear and let my man Nate do all the talking (writing, if you want to be all ‘technical’).

 

The following post is written By Nate Matherson, Co-founder of LendEDU, a website/blog launched in 2014 to help students and recent gradates better manage student loan debt and financial aid.

 

When I graduated from the University of Delaware with $50,000 in student loans, I was eager to get that debt paid down and to keep my interest costs low. Since graduating in 2016, I’ve now paid off around half of my total debt balance.

 

Read More: How I (Ceyera Byrd) Got a Full Scholarship to Loyola University

 

In addition to making extra payments, one step I took to make repayment easier was to refinance and consolidate all of my private loans and even some of my federal student loans that had high interest rates. This meant taking out a new loan with a better rate and using it to repay multiple existing student loans.

When I refinanced and consolidated my student debt, I first refinanced with College Ave and then refinanced again with ELFI. I actually refinanced twice in search of the lowest possible interest rates and the best possible terms. Unfortunately, comparing student loan consolidation companies isn’t easy for everyone – which is why we’ve worked so hard to simplify the process.

 

Read More: How Mike from MikeUp Blog Paid Down Student Debt

 

One of the ways we aim to help graduates tackle their own debt is with our editorial rankings for student loan refinancing.  To identify the best student loan refinancing companies, we analyzed more than 20 different data points from 18 different companies to create completely objective ratings that can help borrowers target their search for the best refinance lenders.  Based on these rankings, here are our picks for the five best companies to refinance and consolidate your own student loans.

 

Earnest

 

Earnest earned top marks because:

 

  • Rated 4.54 / 5.00 by LendEDU’s Editorial Team
  • You can refinance both federal and private student loans
  • You can refinance both undergraduate and graduate loans
  • You can refinance loans as low as $5,000
  • There’s no fees for refinancing
  • You have flexibility in choosing a loan repayment term ranging from 5-20 years
  • You can refinance to a fixed rate loan with an APR of 3.50% to 7.89% or a variable rate loan with an APR range of 2.49% to 7.27%
  • Borrowers have the option to skip one payment annually
  • You can earn a .25% reduction in your interest rate for setting up automatic payments

CommonBond

 

CommonBond was our second choice for would-be refinancers because:

 

  • Rated 4.53 / 5.00 by LendEDU’s Editorial Team
  • You can refinance both federal and private loans
  • You have the option to refinance loans for undergrad and grad degrees and even to refinance Parent PLUS loans and transfer them to the student borrower — as long as certain eligibility criteria are met
  • Loan sizes range from $5,000 to $500,000
  • You won’t pay fees for refinancing
  • You have flexibility in choosing a 5-year, 7-year, 10-year, 15-year or 20-year repayment term
  • You can refinance to a fixed rate loan with an APR of 3.67% to 7.25% or a variable rate loan with an APR range of 2.53% to 7.42%
  • You can qualify for a .25% interest rate reduction for setting up automatic payments
  • Borrowers have the option to put loans into forbearance for up to 24-months, as well as to defer payments if they return to school or serve in the military
  • Cosigner release is available after 36 on-time monthly payments

Laurel Road

 

Laurel Road was also among our top refinance lenders for all of the following reasons:

 

  • Rated 4.44 / 5.00 by LendEDU’s Editorial Team
  • You can refinance both federal and private loans
  • You can refinance loans for both undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as Parent PLUS Loans
  • Must consolidate a minimum of $5,000 and there’s no maximum refinance amount
  • You won’t pay any fees for refinancing
  • Laurel Road provides economic hardship support, as well as forbearance for up to 12 months and deferment for active duty military service
  • You can choose a 5-year, 7-year, 10-year, 15-year, or 20-year repayment timeline
  • You can qualify for a .25% interest rate reduction if you set up automatic payments
  • You can refinance to a fixed rate loan with an APR of 3.50% to 7.02% or a variable rate loan with an APR of 3.23% to 6.65%.
  • Cosigner release is available after 36 on-time monthly payments

SoFi

 

SoFi is number four on our list because:

 

  • Rated 4.43 / 5.00 by LendEDU’s Editorial Team
  • You can refinance both federal and private loans
  • You can refinance loans for both undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as refinance and transfer Parent PLUS Loans to student borrowers
  • Minimum loan size of $5,000 and there’s no maximum refinance amount
  • There’s no fees charged to refinance your loans
  • SoFi provides career coaching and access to SoFi community experiences
  • You can put loans into forbearance for up to 12 months or qualify for academic or military deferment
  • You have the flexibility to select a 5-year, 7-year, 10-year, 15-year, or 20-year repayment timeline
  • You can qualify for a .25% interest rate reduction if you set up automatic payments
  • You can refinance to a fixed rate loan with an APR of 3.89% to 8.07% or a variable rate loan of 2.49% to 7.11%.

ELFI

 

Finally, ELFI rounds out our list because:

 

  • Rated 4.20 / 5.00 by LendEDU’s Editorial Team
  • You can refinance both federal and private loans
  • You can refinance loans for both undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as refinance Parent PLUS Loans (although Parent PLUS loans cannot transfer to student borrowers)
  • Must consolidate at least $15,000 in loans with no maximum loan amount
  • You’ll pay no fees for refinancing
  • You have the flexibility to select a 5-year, 7-year, 10-year, 15-year, or 20-year repayment timeline
  • You can refinance to a fixed rate loan with an APR of 3.39% to 6.69% or a variable rate loan with an APR of 2.80% to 6.01%.

 

Personal note, in my personal experience I found that ELFI requires slightly higher credit scores and income in order to qualify. Also, ELFI is a little unique because you need to go through the process of verifying your email address before completing the application. I will say that the customer support team was really personable and easy to get hold of throughout the consolidation experience.

 

How to Find the Best Private Student Loan Consolidation Company for You

 

While each of these companies are our top picks, you should be sure to get individual quotes from several lenders to find the best loans for you. Your loan rate, loan terms, and eligibility will be determined by your own financial situation, so shopping around is important. These five lenders are a good place to start, though, as they stand out among competitors for providing good terms and top-notch borrower benefits.

 

[Peerless Speaking again: Thanks for writing this post, Nate!]

 

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Author: Jerry

Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.

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