The Best Student Loan Refinance Options for 2023

Refinancing can be an excellent strategy for managing student debt. The best lenders to choose from are Citizen Bank, SoFi, Discover, Earnest, PNC Bank, Laurel Road and RISLA. MoneyGeek explores the best refinance options for student loans.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 1/16/2023
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Student loan refinancing is when a lender pays off your debt by issuing you a new loan. It can be an effective debt management strategy because you may get better interest rates or shorter loan terms — both of which could allow you to save money in the long run.

MoneyGeek analyzed several lenders to help you find the best student loan refinance option for your specific needs. These are private lenders, and the order in which they're presented doesn't indicate their ranking. So, if the first lender doesn't appeal to you, don't hesitate to check out the others on our list.

Key Takeaways

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Refinancing your student loan debt often allows you to find lower interest rates and shorter repayment terms. You can also combine several student loans into a single one through refinancing. All these can help make your student debt more manageable.

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Several financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, can refinance your student loan. You can even refinance through an online lender.

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There are several excellent options to refinance your student loan. Examples are Sofi, Discover and RISLA.

Citizens Bank Review


  • Citizen Bank

    • 3.48%–10.78%Fixed APR Range
    • 1.99%–8.39%Variable APR Range
    • Up to $150,000Loan Amounts
    • Six monthsGrace Period
    • Only for some borrowersCo-signer

    on Citizen Bank Website

SoFi Review


  • SoFi

    • 3.22%–11.16%Fixed APR Range
    • 1.10%–11.68%Variable APR Range
    • $5,000 minimum, no maximumLoan Amounts
    • Deferment until six months after graduationGrace Period
    • OptionalCo-signer

    on SoFi Website

Discover Review


  • Discover

    • 3.99%–11.59%Fixed APR Range
    • 1.79%–11.09%Variable APR Range
    • $1,000 up to 100% of college expensesLoan Amounts
    • Six monthsGrace Period
    • OptionalCo-signer

    on Discover Website

Earnest Review


  • Earnest

    • 2.44%–7.99%Fixed APR Range
    • 1.74%–7.99%Variable APR Range
    • $1,000 upLoan Amounts
    • Deferment until 9 months after graduationGrace Period
    • AllowedCo-signer

    on Earnest Website

PNC Bank Review


  • PNC

    • 2.99%–9.89%Fixed APR Range
    • 1.09%–8.19%Variable APR Range
    • $1,000–$50,000Loan Amounts
    • Six monthsGrace Period
    • AllowedCo-signer

    on PNC Website

Laurel Road Review


  • Laurel Road

    • 4.03%–9.01%Fixed APR Range
    • 1.49%–8.09%Variable APR Range
    • $2,000 up to the cost of attendanceLoan Amounts
    • Six monthsGrace Period
    • OptionalCo-signer

    on Laurel Road Website

Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) Review


  • Risla

    • 2.99%–4.74%Fixed APR Range
    • Not availableVariable APR Range
    • $1,500–$150,000Loan Amounts
    • 15 days to six monthsGrace Period
    • Not required if borrower meets qualificationsCo-signer

    on Risla Website

How to Find the Best Student Loan Refinance Option

Knowing how to refinance your student loan can help you make the right decision for your needs. MoneyGeek outlined several steps to guide you through the process from comparing potential lenders to preparing the necessary paperwork.

1

Compare lenders

MoneyGeek's private student loan refinance options are recommendations, so don't hesitate to consider other options. When comparing lenders, ensure you factor in the elements that may make repayment less challenging. These include APRs, loan terms, fees and penalties.

It's also best to look into some features that may come in handy. For example, SoFi allows a 24-month forbearance, which not all lenders offer.

2

Get pre-qualified

One way to see how manageable a refinance would be for you is by getting pre-qualified. This will give you an idea of how much interest a lender is willing to offer based on your personal and financial information.

Fortunately, most lenders only do a soft credit pull during pre-qualification, which means it won't affect your credit score. This way, you'll know how much you'll need to pay each month and if it fits your budget.

3

Choose a lender and apply

Comparing lenders allows you to narrow your options, making finding the best deal more likely. Once you identify your preferred lender, you can pursue your application.

4

Submit necessary documents

When you're trying to refinance a student loan, you'll need to submit several documents to your lender. These usually include the following:

  • Proof of employment
  • A government-issued ID
  • Your transcript or diploma
  • Proof of residency
  • Documents for your existing student loan

Remember that requirements vary between lenders. It's best to confirm whether or not you should prepare other documents.

5

Complete your application and make payments

Once you've gathered everything you need to submit, wait for your lender's decision.

Remember, when you refinance your private student loan, you'll have a different monthly payment and a new due date. It might take a little getting used to — you may want to set reminders to ensure you don't miss any.

Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loan Refinance

MoneyGeek answered common questions about how to refinance student loans to help you decide whether or not it's the best move for you.

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