Your Earnest student loans and COVID-19

Your Earnest student loans and COVID-19 Learn more


Change your relationship with student loans

Take 2 minutes to find out if you could cut years off your student loan payments. Check if refinancing means a lower rate for you.
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Check your rate in just 2 minutes. This won’t impact your credit score.
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      This rate check is an estimate and may not reflect your final interest rate.
      This rate check is an estimate and may not reflect your final interest rate.
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      Find a low interest rate

      Lower is better when it comes to interest rates. See your rate estimate if you refinance with Earnest today.

      Check Your Rate
      Starting at
      ( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
      variable rates
      Are rates that have an interest rate that will fluctuate over time
      Starting at
      ( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
      fixed rates
      Are rates that have an interest rate that will not fluctuate over time
      Starting at
      ( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
      variable rates
      Are rates that have an interest rate that will fluctuate over time
      Starting at
      ( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
      fixed rates
      Are rates that have an interest rate that will not fluctuate over time

      Variable rates not available in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX.

      Why Earnest?

      Refinancing with serious benefits

      Radical flexibility

      Pick your payment and loan term, remove a cosigner, and consolidate multiple loans.

      People-first service

      No robocalls. Just helpful and compassionate customer service.

      Low interest rates

      Lower rates could mean big savings and much faster loan payoff on student loans.

      2-Min Rate Check

      Ready? Here’s how it works.


      See Your Rate

      Get an instant interest rate estimate with no impact on your credit score.



      Fill out a simple application to see if Earnest is the right fit. Check our eligibility guide.


      Pay Your Way

      Pick a monthly payment from monthly or bi-weekly options.


      Why refinance with Earnest?

      You deserve to be rewarded for good financial decisions. Imagine combining all of your student loans into one monthly payment with one low interest rate.

      Refinancing with Earnest also means:

      • Customizing your new loan
      • Choosing your loan term
      • Removing a loan cosigner
      • Combining many loans into one payment
      • Accessing a Client Happiness team

      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.

      Refinancing sound right for you? Get your new interest rate estimate in 2 minutes, with no effect on your credit score.
      2 Min: Get My Rate

      Shop for the best loan

      Shop for the best loan

      Go ahead. See how Earnest student loan refinancing compares to the competition.

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      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

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      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.

      Get the FAQs on student loan refinancing

      Should I refinance my student loans?

      Refinancing student loans makes sense for people who are eligible for a lower interest rate. People with undergraduate and graduate degrees are eligible for refinancing. You could apply for refinancing after graduation, but most people wait until after their deferment period is over (especially for subsidized student loans where interest does not accrue during the deferment period).

      Student loan refinancing vs. student loan consolidation

      Consolidating your federal loans will combine multiple loans into a single payment. It’s available for federal loans, so if you consolidate your federal loans you will still have access to federal benefits, such as a federal forgiveness program. You will not lower your interest rate by consolidating and your loan balance will stay the same. You could lower your monthly payment, but doing that extends your loan term.

      For example,  if you have a loan with a 10 year term and another loan with a 15 year term, you could consolidate them into a single loan with a 20 year term. Your payment per month will be smaller, but when paid out over the 20 years, you are paying more in interest.

      Student loan refinancing allows you to consolidate both your private and Federal Direct loans (including Parent Plus Loans), select a repayment term that makes sense for you, and often get a lower interest rate. In addition to potentially lowering your interest payment, refinancing allows you to remove a cosigner and make student loan debt more manageable if the new loan terms are better than your current loan.

      Here at Earnest, the entire application process is online, and you could have your new low-interest rate loan in less than a week. If you would like to learn more about our underwriting practices (this is how Earnest determines if you qualify for refinancing) you can visit:

      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. To learn more about federal student loans, you can visit:

      What if I’m considering student loan refinancing during the pandemic or have a pending application?

      Due to recent events, including an executive order by the President to waive federal student loan interest during the COVID-19 crisis, we want Earnest clients to explore all their options before applying to refinance their federal student loans.

      Refinancing a federal student loan with a private lender means you will no longer have access to benefits of your federal loans, including the temporary 0% interest rate on federally held loans, suspension of payments, and any future student loan forgiveness.

      Please carefully review your current and potential benefits with a federal loan servicer before refinancing.

      Call us at 1-888-601-2801 if you have a pending refinancing and want to review your options or cancel your pending loan, as described below:

      If you recently refinanced your student loans with us, you have a right to cancel this transaction, without penalty, by midnight of the third business day on which you received your Final Disclosures. Please see your Final Disclosures for the specific date and instructions on how to cancel. Your Final Disclosures were emailed to you with the subject line “Your Earnest Loan Agreement” on the day you finalized your loan. If you’re unable to locate your Final Disclosures, please reach out to our Client Happiness Team.

      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— depending on your loan type, even if you are in a grace period. That being said, you must be employed with certain income requirements 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 student loan refinancing 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 only 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.

      Because you’ll be accepting a new loan when you refinance,  you will get to choose either a fixed rate loan or a variable rate loan.

      Here are the differences between variable and fixed interest rates:

      • A fixed interest rate tends to start higher and stays the same for the life of the loan. This means that once you refinance, your new loan interest will not change.
      • A variable interest rate tends to start lower, but may fluctuate over the life of the loan. This means that the total interest you can expect to pay on the loan could change.
      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.

      Once your education loans from the federal government are refinanced into private student loans, you will get a new interest rate. That rate might be lower (ideally, it would be) or in some cases, it may be higher. An interest rate reduction will mean you’ll pay less interest over time.

      Some lenders’ student loan refinancing products may include prepayment penalties or origination fees. Earnest will never punish you for paying off your loans early or make you pay for taking out a new loan.

      What credit score do I need to refinance my student loans?

      Different lenders have different requirements and qualifying factors, such as your credit history. Your credit history is a combination of student debt, credit card debt, rent payments, and any other record of how you managed your credit lines. Good credit is built over time, by managing your debt and making your monthly payments.

      To learn more about creditworthiness and building your credit, we encourage you to read this Experian article.

      Earnest eligibility

      In our case, a minimum credit score of 650 is necessary for approval. At Earnest, your credit history isn’t the only factor in your loan application. In addition to the credit check, we look at data other lenders don’t and look at your financial profile most holistically to offer our best student loan refinance rates.

      You can visit to read our full eligibility guide.

      Does refinancing student loans hurt your credit?

      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. Once you determine which lender (bank, credit union, or online lender) has the best offer, 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).

      In the months and years after refinancing, your credit score should see steady improvement as you make on-time payments and pay down your student debt. You can set up an automatic payment through our Auto Pay loan program to ensure you never miss a loan payment.

      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. You currently reside in the District of Columbia or one of the 47 states we lend in (all but Delaware, Kentucky, and Nevada). *Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX.

      How do I refinance my student loans?

      Like other forms of debt, you can refinance a student loan (both private loans and federal student loans are eligible for refinancing). With some 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 origination fees or late payment fees before making a final decision. Earnest, for example, does not charge any fees. In fact, clients are so happy with Earnest student loan refinancing, we were granted the “Best Student Loan Refinancing” 2020 Award from NerdWallet.

      The next step is to submit a loan 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 you will have a new refinanced loan.

      Do you offer a rate discount?

      Yes, we offer a .25% Auto Pay discount on all of our student loans. To take advantage of this feature, you must be enrolled in Auto Pay. Read the full Auto Pay disclosure here.

      What’s the difference between an APR and an interest rate?

      An APR (both fixed and variable APR) is the interest rate plus any fees you pay your lender, but because Earnest does not charge origination fees, our interest rates are equal to our APR, or “annual percentage rate.”

      The interest rate is the cost of taking out the loan, and does not include any fees or additional changes.

      For details on this, check out our blog post on the topic.

      The Earnest Blog

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