The Best Student Loan Refinance Options for 2024

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Edited byAmy Wilder

Updated: December 28, 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.

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Citizens Bank Review

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SoFi Review

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Discover Review

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Earnest Review

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PNC Bank Review

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Laurel Road Review

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Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) Review

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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.

Interest rates vary between lenders, but you can usually choose between fixed and variable rates.

When comparing lenders, make sure you compare the rates they offer. After all, one reason why borrowers consider refinancing student loans is to get lower rates.

Having a co-signer is a good idea if you can't meet a lender's eligibility requirements. However, remember that not all lenders offer this option.

Ideally, the earlier you refinance your student loan, the better off you'll be. After all, the sooner you get lower interest rates, the more money you'll save.

However, there are other factors to consider, such as your credit score, current income and debt-to-income ratio. Knowing these gives you the best chance of getting lower rates or being able to afford shorter loan terms.

You can refinance your student loan through different private lenders. Traditionally, borrowers approach credit unions and banks. These days, online lenders also offer student loan refinancing.

Yes, you can refinance consolidated student loans. This applies for private student loans and federal ones.

You can apply with a co-signer if you don't qualify for a refinance on your own.

However, it's best to understand why you didn't qualify in the first place, which gives you a better idea of what you need to improve. For example, if you need a higher credit score, you can begin taking steps to improve it.

Usually, lenders don't charge origination or application fees when you're refinancing your student loan. Some don't apply a prepayment penalty even if you pay your loan early.

However, nothing beats reading the fine print of your loan agreement. This way, you'll know whether you need to watch out for any fees.

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*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. Learn more about our editorial policies and expert editorial team.
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