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.
STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING 101
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 variable or fixed-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 terms
- Better customer service (from Earnest)
- Remove a cosigner
Let’s Talk Loans
Student Loan Consolidation vs. Refinancing
In this quick video, we cover how refinancing private and federal loans to a lower interest rate and more favorable repayment terms can impact your student debt repayment timeline.
Today's student loan refinance interest rates
Student loan refinancing rewards your financial progress and can save you money over the life of the loan. We’re proud to offer some of the lowest rates available.
Variable rates not available in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX.
How to refinance your student loans with Earnest
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 loan 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.
Compare lenders—we don't mind
See how Earnest stacks up to the competition (hint: we're better)
|in-house servicing||in-house servicing||in-house servicing|
|customized loan terms||customized loan terms||customized loan terms|
|skip 1 payment a year||skip 1 payment a year||skip 1 payment a year|
|biweekly autopayments||biweekly autopayments||biweekly autopayments|
Feature comparison current as of April 1, 2020
Feature comparison current as of April 1, 2020
Managing your student loans made easy
With payment flexibility, no fees, and smart design, we are a loan servicer focused on you.
- Consolidate your private and federal loans
- Select autopay to never miss a loan payment
- Choose your preferred payment amount based on your budget
- Select biweekly or monthly payments
- 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
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 personal finance. Topics include building good credit, the right personal loan for a home improvement project, and managing credit card debt. And keep an eye out—we’re always adding more.
FAQs about student loan refinancing
Should I refinance my student loans?
Refinancing student loans makes sense for many people if they are eligible for a lower rate. 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 private and federal loans (including Parent Plus 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 or select a variable rate loan, and private student loans are not eligible.
When should I refinance my student loans?
The sooner you refinance loans, 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 or deferment. That being said, you must be employed with certain income requirements or possess a job offer to be eligible to refinance your existing loans with Earnest. The more your financial situation has improved since you took out the loans originally, the better your refinancing loan rates will be.
You may also want to refinance a loan if your current loan doesn’t have a cosigner release option. Refinancing with Earnest means the cosigner will no longer have this loan impacting their debt-to-income ratio.
Can I refinance just my high-interest loans?
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.
Is it possible to refinance both federal and private student loans?
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 for an interest rate deduction or lower monthly payments with a private lender like Earnest.
What credit score do I need to refinance my student loans?
Different lenders have different credit requirements, but for Earnest, a minimum credit score of 650 is necessary for approval. Typically, the better your credit history, the lower a rate a lender will be willing to offer after a credit check. 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 our lowest rates that are customized to you. We’ll help you determine if a fixed interest rate or a variable rate is best for your situation.
Does refinancing student loans hurt your credit?
In short, refinancing student loans generally does not hurt your credit. When getting your initial variable or fixed 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 (banks or credit unions) 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. You can set up an automatic payment through our Auto Pay loan program to ensure you never miss a payment.
How do I refinance my student loans?
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). It’s another reason why NerdWallet has granted Earnest with the “Best Student Loan Refinancing” award for 2020.
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 private loan with a new fixed or variable interest rate.
Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident?
Yes, you need to be a U.S. Citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card. Earnest currently lends in the District of Columbia and all US states except for Delaware, Kentucky and Nevada. This applies for both undergraduate and graduate degrees.