REFINANCE STUDENT LOANS
Pay less interest, pick a payment that fits your budget.
See why our clients love Earnest student loan refinancing. Get your rate estimate without affecting your credit score.2 Min: Get Your Rate
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How student loan refinancing works
When you refinance student loans, you consolidate your existing federal and private education loans into a single loan. This new loan does not have an origination fee and typically has a lower interest rate. You can often choose between a fixed or variable rate loan when refinancing.
There are many reasons to consider refinancing your student loan debt:
- Lower your interest rate
- Customize your loan payment
- Combine multiple loans to simplify your payments
- Choose your loan term
- Improve your customer service
- Remove a cosigner
Today's student loan refinance interest rates
You earned a degree—now you deserve a better interest rate
Student loan refinancing rewards your financial progress and can save you money over the life of the loan. Fixed interest rate loans often start with a higher interest rate, but that rate is locked in for the life of the loan. Variable interest rate loans typically start with a lower interest rate, but the rate can go up and down—along with your monthly payment. You can learn more about variable rate loans here. We’re proud to offer some of the lowest rates available.
Save time and money in 4 easy steps
1) RATE ESTIMATE
By analyzing information beyond your credit score, we can provide an instant rate estimate. You'll receive your final rate when your application has been approved.
Our application gathers further information to fill out your profile—such as indicators of financial responsibility. Read our eligibility guide.
We look at data other lenders don’t (like your savings, education, and earning potential) to offer fair, customized rates. Read more about what makes us different.
If you’re approved to refinance, you can set your preferred monthly payment, based on your budget. Learn about our money-saving Precision Pricing.
How Earnest compares to other lenders (hint: we're better)
Feature comparison current as of April 26, 2019
|In-house servicing / customer support|
|Customized loan terms for extra savings|
|Option to skip one payment per year and make it up later|
|Biweekly automatic payments|
Managing your student loans is easy with our dashboard
- Choose your preferred payment amount based on your budget
- Increase payment anytime to pay off loan faster
- Adjust your payment date anytime with ease
- Make extra or early payments without prepayment penalties
- Skip a payment and make it up later
- Consolidate your private and federal loans
Credit is complicated—learn the basics here
We’ve put together a library of essential resources (like how-to guides, comparisons, and calculators) to help you make better choices when it comes to refinancing student loans. And if you’re managing credit card debt too, check out our post on when to refinance it. And keep an eye out—we’re always adding more.
Common questions about student loan refinancing
Refinancing student loans makes sense for many people if they are eligible. For starters, student loan consolidation (which is included in the student loan refinancing process) simplifies the management of your monthly payments. Refinancing allows you to consolidate both your federal and private loans, select a repayment term that makes sense for you, and often lower your interest rate. Here at Earnest, the entire application process is online, and you could have your new low interest rate loan in less than a week.
Borrowers who refinance federal student loans should be aware of the repayment options that they are giving up. For example, Earnest does not offer income-based repayment plans or Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
It’s possible to consolidate federal student loans (Federal Perkins, Direct subsidized, Direct unsubsidized, and Direct PLUS loans) with a Direct Consolidation Loan from the Department of Education, but this will not allow you to lower your interest rate and private student loans are not eligible.
The sooner you refinance, the more you could save. The longer you hold your loan at a higher rate, the more interest you are accruing—even if you are in a grace period. That being said, you must be employed or possess a job offer to be eligible to refinance with Earnest. The more your financial situation has improved since you took out the loans originally, the better your refinancing offer will be.
Once you’re approved, you are automatically approved for the total eligible student loan amount listed on your credit report. When you’re ready to accept your loan, you can choose to refinance less than the requested amount (as long as it’s above $5,000) or up to 105% of your approved amount.
Absolutely. When considering refinancing your federal student loans, it is important to review the current protections and benefits you are granted with those loans, and understand which of those you may be giving up when refinancing with a private lender like Earnest.
In short, refinancing student loans generally does not hurt your credit. When getting your initial rate estimate, all that’s required is a ’soft credit inquiry,’ which doesn’t affect your credit score at all. Once you determine which lender has the best offer (Earnest, we hope), you’ll complete a full application. This application does require a ‘hard credit inquiry,’ which can have a minor credit impact (typically a few points).
However, in the months and years after refinancing, your credit score should see steady improvement as you make on-time payments and pay down your debt.
Different lenders have different credit requirements, but for Earnest, a minimum credit score of 650 is necessary for approval. Typically, the better your credit, the lower a rate a lender will be willing to offer. But at Earnest, your credit score isn’t the only factor we consider when evaluating your application. We look at data other lenders don’t (like your savings, education, and earning potential) to offer fair rates that are customized to you.
Like other forms of debt, you can refinance a student loan (both private student loans and federal student loans are eligible for refinancing). With most lenders, you start with a rate estimate, which doesn’t require a hard credit inquiry. When comparing rates from different lenders, be sure to pay attention to additional key differences, such as fees, before making a final decision (Earnest has no fees, for what it’s worth).
The next step is to submit an application, and provide any additional required verification, such as IDs or pay stubs. Once you’re approved, you sign a few documents and indicate the loans you’d like to refinance. Your new lender will pay off these old loans, and voila, you have a shiny new refinanced student loan.