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Student Loans

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing Review

Updated Jul 31, 2023   |   23-min read

  • Refinancing services across the U.S., the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
  • Potential borrowers can prequalify before making a commitment.
  • Free GradFin consultation allows borrowers to explore multiple financial strategies before deciding to refinance.
  • Several rate discounts for borrowers.
  • For refinanced parent loans, debt can be transferred to the child.
  • Loan payments for medical residents can be as low as $100 per month during residency or fellowship.

Laurel Road, a division of KeyBank, was established in 2006 with a mission to assist borrowers in navigating the often complex world of student loans. It provides a suite of refinancing options, general undergraduate and graduate student loans, parent loans, medical school loans, loans for residents, and associate degree loans. 

Ideal borrowers for Laurel Road’s student loan refinancing are those with strong credit, stable income, and jobs within specific professional fields. Healthcare professionals, including physicians, dentists, and physician assistants, could find Laurel Road’s options suitable.

In this review:

How does Laurel Road work?

Laurel Road offers an effective way for borrowers to manage their student loan debt by refinancing federal and private student loans. This process consolidates multiple loans into one, simplifying repayment and potentially reducing the interest rate.

A key advantage of considering Laurel Road is the access to a complimentary 30-minute consultation with GradFin, another brand of KeyBank. This consultation helps you explore strategies to manage your student loan debt, particularly if you hold federal student loans, including:

  • Income-driven repayment (IDR) options: Federal loan borrowers can base their monthly payment on their income, making repayment more manageable.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): If your employer is a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be eligible for federal loan forgiveness after 120 qualifying payments. As of 2023, GradFin members who met the requirement for PSLF qualified for an average of $110,000 in student loan forgiveness.

The consultation also covers:

  • Refinancing options: Discover ways to secure a lower interest rate or change your loan term to better suit your financial situation. This applies to federal and private student loans.
  • Staying the course: If you’re already in an optimal repayment program, GradFin’s consultation helps ensure you stay on course. 

If you pursue refinancing with Laurel Road, the online application process is straightforward. Borrowers (and cosigners, if applicable) provide personal, educational, and financial details. Laurel Road then conducts a soft credit check that doesn’t affect your credit score to determine your rates.

You can refinance an unlimited number of student loans as long as the total aligns with Laurel Road’s minimum and maximum limits. 

Through refinancing and the personalized plan derived from the GradFin consultation, Laurel Road aims to assist borrowers in managing their student loan debt more efficiently and potentially achieve significant savings over the life of the loan.

Laurel Road’s student loan refinancing options—an overview

Laurel Road provides an all-encompassing general student loan refinance product geared for working professionals with four-year undergraduate or graduate degrees.

Under the umbrella of its refinance student loan, Laurel Road offers specific refinancing options for parents, medical school graduates, and borrowers with an associate degree. 

These options share the same rates and terms, but they have distinct eligibility requirements and borrower benefits across each category. A fourth option is the refinance student loan for medical residents, which carries its own set of rates and repayment options.

We’ll dive deeper into the specifics of the general refinance student loan below and explore the differences between it and Laurel Road’s more specialized refinancing options.

Laurel Road’s general refinance student loan

Rates, terms, and fees

In the student loan refinancing landscape, Laurel Road emerges with fair rates, diverse terms, and the absence of origination fees or prepayment penalties. APRs vary depending on the loan term. Here’s a rundown of the details:

Rates (APR) Fixed: 5.24% – 10.99% with autopay

Variable: 4.99% – 10.89% with autopay
Loan amountsFor bachelor’s degrees and higher and parent loans: $5,000 – 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans

Associate degree: $5,000 – $50,000
Rate discountsLaurel Road linked checking (based on monthly deposits): 0.25% 3-month intro discount, up to 0.55% post-intro

Laurel Road linked savings (based on average daily balance): 0.25% 2-month intro discount, up to 0.30% post-intro

0.25% for autopay
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
Repayment assistanceNatural disaster and hardship forbearance available, conditions apply
Cosigner releaseAfter 36 consecutive on-time payments, and borrower must pass underwriting review
FeesNo origination fees or prepayment penalties

Late fee of 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less

$20 fee for any payment returned due to insufficient funds or a closed account
Unique featuresEarn $300 cash bonus with $2,500 in direct deposits to Laurel Road linked checking

Earn 2% cash back toward any eligible student loan with Laurel Road credit card

Earn discounts with select retailers through Laurel Road Perks! program

One noteworthy feature is how Laurel Road incentivizes its refinance student loan borrowers who utilize its checking and savings accounts, offering substantial rate discounts. Here’s how these rate discounts break down:

Laurel Road linked checking discount

FeatureRate discount
3-month intro discount (for all deposit amounts)0.25%
Post-intro discount with $2,500 in monthly deposits0.25%
Post-intro discount with $7,500 or more in monthly deposits0.55%

Laurel Road linked savings discount

FeatureRate discount
2-month intro discount (for all balance amounts)0.25%
Post-intro discount with $0 – $999 daily balance0.00%
Post-intro discount with $1,000 – $9,999 daily balance0.10%
Post-intro discount with $10,000 – $19,999 daily balance0.20%
Post-intro discount with $20,000 or more daily balance0.30%

These rate discounts can make the overall interest rates even more competitive. By coupling these discounts with an array of loan terms, repayment assistance, and no hidden fees, Laurel Road refinancing can provide a holistic and economical loan solution.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Laurel Road offers refinancing options for student loans to a broad range of borrowers, but applicants must meet certain criteria. 

The lender accepts cosigners, which can be beneficial for borrowers without a strong credit history. A cosigner isn’t required, but one might increase the chances of approval and even help you secure a lower interest rate. 

The requirements to refinance student loans with Laurel Road are as follows:

CitizenshipBorrower and cosigner, if applicable, must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Must have valid I-551 card showing at least 10 years between “resident since” date and card expiration date, or have no expiration date
Minimum ageMust be at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application, which is 18 in most states
State of residenceAll 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico
Graduation statusGraduated or enrolled an in good standing in the final term before graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school

Employed or have an eligible employment offer
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed but must meet Laurel Road’s credit history underwriting criteria
Minimum incomeNot disclosed but must meet Laurel Road’s underwriting criteria for employment, debt-to-income, and disposable income

Laurel Road’s parent refinance loan details

Laurel Road’s parent refinance student loans are designed as a financial resource for parents who wish to more efficiently manage loans they’ve taken out to help fund their child’s education.

This refinancing option is well-suited for parents with a solid credit history and steady income who are interested in lowering the cost of the student loans they’ve taken out for their child’s education.

With Laurel Road, parents can refinance Federal Parent PLUS and private parent loans. Laurel Road provides an option to transfer the refinanced debt to the child if the child satisfies its lending requirements. 

Rates, terms, and fees

Laurel Road’s parent refinance student loans and standard refinance student loans share the same rates, terms, and fees. 

Note that parent loans are not subject to the reduced loan maximum of $50,000 that applies to associate degree borrowers, even if the student earned an associate degree. (More details on associate degree student loan refinancing are below.) 

Parents can refinance $5,000 up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans, regardless of the degree earned.


The difference between the parent student loan refinance option and the general student loan refinance option lies in the graduation status of the eligibility details:

Type of loan refinanceStudent eligibility requirements
Parent student loan refinanceThe student must have attended an accredited Title IV School, but graduation is not required
General student loan refinanceGraduation required from an accredited Title IV school

Student can be in final term before graduation with an eligible employment offer to apply

Parents who are refinancing a parent loan used to fund an associate degree are subject to the eligibility requirements of associate degree borrowers—meaning the degree must have been earned in certain programs. See that section of this article for more details.

Laurel Road’s medical school refinance loan details

Laurel Road offers a specialized loan refinancing option tailored for doctors, including physicians, dentists, optometrists, and physician assistants

Rates, terms, and fees

The loan refinancing terms for medical professionals are similar to the general student loan refinance option, but rates are lower. Laurel Road doesn’t state the specific reduced pricing rates; you must use Laurel Road’s refinancing calculator or check your rates to see the potential savings.

Laurel Road’s medical school refinance loans come with unique benefits in addition to the benefits of the general student loan refinance product. These include: 

  • Access to financial insights and resources, such as a benchmarking tool to compare your financial standing with your peers based on specialty and location, and a financial planning tool offering customized recommendations.
  • Financial literacy content tailored for physicians and dentists.
  • Access to a high-yield savings account earning 4.80% APY with no minimum balance and no cost to open.

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between medical school student loan refinancing and general student loan refinancing with Laurel Road:

Medical school student loan refinanceGeneral student loan refinance
Rates (APR)Lower than general student loan rates, but exact rates not published—can be determined when you prequalify

Borrowers can choose fixed or variable
4.99% – 10.89% (all rates)

Borrowers can choose fixed or variable
Unique featuresEarn $300 cash bonus with $2,500 in direct deposits to Laurel Road linked checking

Earn 2% cash back toward any eligible student loan with Laurel Road credit card

Earn discounts with select retailers through Laurel Road Perks! program

Financial planning and benchmarking tools

Financial literacy content tailored for medical professionals 

Access to a high-yield savings account
Earn $300 cash bonus with $2,500 in direct deposits to Laurel Road linked checking

Earn 2% cash back toward any eligible student loan with Laurel Road credit card

Earn discounts with select retailers through Laurel Road Perks! program


Borrowers looking to take advantage of Laurel Road’s specialized rates and unique benefits when refinancing medical school student loans must have one of the following degrees:

  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
  • Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • Doctor of Optometry (OD)
  • Physician Assistant Master of Science in Medicine (PA)

Here’s a snapshot of how that compares to the general student loan option:

Medical school student loan refinanceGeneral student loan refinance
Graduation statusMust be a graduate from an accredited Title IV U.S. school

Must hold a specific medical degree (MD, DO, DMD, DDS, OD, PA)

Not available to residents, fellows, or students
Must be a graduate or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school 

Must be employed or have an eligible employment offer

Laurel Road’s associate degree refinance loan details

Laurel Road provides a unique refinance option for graduates of associate degree programs. This product is tailored to meet the needs of professionals who have earned an associate degree and are working in their field of study. 

These programs include areas such as dental hygiene, nursing, and radiologic technology, among others.

Rates, terms, and fees

The associate degree refinance loan has the same rates, terms, and fees as Laurel Road’s general student loan refinance. The only difference is in the maximum loan amounts:

Loan amounts
Associate degree refinance$5,000 – $50,000
Bachelor’s degree or higher student loan refinance$5,000 – 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans


The associate degree refinance loan also holds two unique eligibility requirements to ensure the loan is serving professionals in the associate degree fields.

Graduation statusEnrolled in the final term of an eligible associate degree program with an offer of employment in the same field, or a graduate of an eligible program employed for at least 12 months in the field of study
Eligible programsCardiovascular technologist (CVT)

Dental hygiene

Diagnostic medical sonography


Nuclear technician


Occupational therapy assistant

Pharmacy technician

Physical therapy assistant

Radiation therapy

Radiologic/MRI technologist

Respiratory therapy

Surgical technologist

How does repayment work on Laurel Road’s refinance loans?

Repayment is similar to that of Laurel Road’s general student loan refinancing, along with its parent, medical school, and associate degree refinancing loans. 

You can choose a repayment plan that best fits your financial situation when you apply. 

Laurel Road offers term lengths from five to 20 years, so you can manage your monthly payments and overall budget more effectively. However, it’s important to remember that a longer loan term might result in a lower monthly payment, but it also means you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan.

Let’s look at an example using an 8% fixed annual percentage rate (APR) for five, 10, and 20-year terms on a refinanced amount of $10,000:

5-year term10-year term20-year term
No. of payments60120240
Monthly payment$202.76$121.33$83.64
Total payments$12,165.60$14,559.60$20,075.20

Laurel Road’s resident refinance loan

Laurel Road’s refinancing loan for residents is the one option that differs more dramatically from the general student loan refinancing offering. 

It’s designed for medical school graduates who’ve been matched with a residency program, allowing them to lower their debt payments during residency and fellowship.

Rates, terms, and fees

Most details of the resident refinance loan are the same as the standard option, but it has different rates and a different repayment structure. With this plan, you can start repaying your medical school debt by making minimum payments of only $100 per month throughout your residency or fellowship.

Here’s a breakdown of the rates and repayment options for the resident refinance loan.

Rates (APR)Fixed: 7.40%11.09%

Variable: 7.31%11.00%
Repayment options during residency$100 per month through residency or fellowship

Full repayment begins when residency or fellowship ends


Laurel Road’s residency refinance student loan shares the same eligibility requirements as its standard refinance student loan, with one distinction: Applicants must be medical school graduates or in their final term of medical school and matched with a residency program.

As soon as a student is matched with a residency program, they can apply to refinance their student debt with Laurel Road.

This match typically occurs in March before medical school graduation. It allows future residents to get a head start on managing their student loan payments, well before they transition into their residency roles.

Cosigners are accepted and can be beneficial for applicants who may not meet the credit score or income requirements on their own. A creditworthy cosigner may increase your chance of approval and help you secure a lower interest rate.

How does repayment work?

Repayment for Laurel Road’s medical resident refinance loan offers flexibility that’s beneficial for medical professionals early in their careers. 

A unique feature is the $100 monthly payment through the duration of the residency or fellowship. This is lower than many other lenders’ requirements, allowing you to focus on your training without worrying about large loan payments.

Note that interest accrues during this reduced payment period, which could increase the overall cost of the loan. You’ll transition to a standard repayment term after your residency or fellowship. 

Let’s take a look at how the repayment structure would work with a fixed-rate loan of $135,000 with a 9% APR:

TermMonthly payment during residencyMonthly payment post residencyTotal loan amount
5 years36 months of $10060 months of $2,808.41$170,504.60
7 years36 months of $10084 months of $2,178.19$186,107.96
10 years36 months of $100120 months of $1,708.37$205,004.40
15 years36 months of $100180 months of $1,367.59$246,166.20
20 years36 months of $100240 months of $1,214.85

How can Laurel Road improve its refinance student loans?

Laurel Road offers an impressive range of student loan refinancing options, but it could enhance its offerings compared to other lenders in several ways. 

It’s essential to shop around and explore multiple options to find a loan that fits your unique needs and circumstances.

Areas for improvementRecommended lender alternatives
Nondisclosure of specific rates for medical school refinanceEarnest provides detailed rate information upfront
Higher starting rates and interest accrual for resident refinanceSoFi typically offers lower initial rates. Read more about how Laurel Road compares to Sofi.
Lower loan amounts and limited scope for associate degree refinanceCitizens Bank offers higher loan limits and a broader range of degree programs

Remember: These are simplified calculations and may not account for all specifics of your situation or loan conditions. It’s recommended to consult with a loan officer or financial advisor for exact calculations and advice.

How have Laurel Road refinance student loans evolved over the years?

As a dynamic financial service provider, Laurel Road has consistently adapted and evolved its services to keep up with market trends and cater to the changing needs of its borrowers. Here’s a brief overview of Laurel Road’s journey:

  • 2013: Laurel Road established. The focus was to help professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance their federal and private school loans.
  • April 2019: Laurel Road became part of KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies and a member of the FDIC. This association expanded Laurel Road’s reach and added more capabilities to its offerings.
  • 2022 – 2023 school year: Laurel Road stopped offering new graduate student loans, shifting its focus to student loan refinancing. The goal was to enhance its services in this specific area and provide better options for students who want to refinance their student loans.
  • Present: Laurel Road continues to offer a variety of student loan refinancing options with multiple rate discounts and unique features, including GradFin consultation services.

How do Laurel Road refinance student loans compare to other lenders?

When deciding on a student loan refinance lender, it’s critical to compare different student loan companies to find the best fit for your financial situation and goals. Here’s a comparative look at Laurel Road against Earnest, ELFI, and Splash:

Laurel RoadEarnestELFISplash
Our rating (out of 5 stars)Not rated4.74.54.5
Best forNo designationBest overallBest for transferring Parent PLUS loans to childBest for those in a residency or fellowship
Rates (APR)Fixed: 5.24% – 10.20%

Variable: 4.99% – 10.10%
Fixed: 4.96% – 8.99

Variable: 5.32% – 8.94%
Fixed: 5.08% – 8.04

Variable: 5.03% – 8.74%
Fixed: 4.96% – 10.99

Variable: 4.99% – 10.89%
Loan amount$5,000+$5,000 – $500,000$10,000 – total outstanding loan balance$5,000+
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years5 – 20 years5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, or 25 years
View RatesView RatesView RatesView Rates

As you can see, while Laurel Road offers a wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms, it is unrated and doesn’t hold a specific “best for” designation. 

Earnest stands out with the highest rating and the broadest range of loan amounts, catering to various financial situations. ELFI might be a top choice for those looking to transfer Parent PLUS loans, while Splash’s repayment term flexibility is suited for individuals in residency or fellowships. 

Always consider your personal financial situation and loan needs when choosing a refinance lender.

Is Laurel Road a reputable lender?

Customer feedback offers a window into a lender’s reputation. Here are ratings Laurel Road has earned from two trusted review platforms—Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB):

Review sourceCustomer ratingNumber of reviews
Trustpilot3.3 out of 5 starsNot specified
BBB1 out of 5 stars4 reviews

Data collected July 12, 2023

On Trustpilot, Laurel Road received an average rating of 3.3 out of five stars. Customers appreciated the smooth all-digital refinancing process. However, some clients voiced concerns about frozen accounts when they attempted to open a checking or savings account.

The BBB, on the other hand, showed less favorable reviews for Laurel Road, averaging only one out of five stars from four reviews. Similar to Trustpilot, the primary grievance revolved around frozen accounts and the inability to access funds.

As part of KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, Laurel Road carries FDIC membership. This association helps enhance its credibility as a reputable lender.

Does Laurel Road have a customer service team?

Laurel Road’s Member Services team is available from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern. This team assists with all customer inquiries and helps facilitate a smooth borrowing experience. 

Once your student loan is funded with Laurel Road, it assigns repayment management and communication to MOHELA, its student loan servicing partner.

Here are the various ways to get in touch with Laurel Road:

For inquiries related to loan payments after funding your loan with Laurel Road, you can contact MOHELA at 877–292-6845. For TDD/TTY device users, the contact number is 800–539-8336.

How to apply for a Laurel Road refinance student loan

Applying for a student loan with Laurel Road is a streamlined digital process, making it convenient and efficient compared to some other lenders. You can receive a preliminary rate in as little as 5 minutes, and the entire application process is conducted online. 

Here are the steps to apply for a student loan from Laurel Road:

1. Complete a short application: Provide basic information about your loan, education, and employment. Authorize a soft credit pull to receive preliminary rates. These rates are conditional and depend on further underwriting review and a hard credit pull.

Source: Laurel Road

2. Upload supporting documents: Using Laurel Road’s secure dashboard, upload the necessary documents, and authorize a hard credit pull to finalize your online application. Once it receives your application, Laurel Road will underwrite your loan and provide final rates and loan terms if approved.   

3. Select your loan type and term: Once approved, choose the type and term of your loan. E-sign all necessary disclosures and your promissory note in the Laurel Road dashboard.

4. Loan disbursement: Laurel Road will pay off your student loans to your current lenders and provide you with instructions to set up servicing of your new loan. Your first payment to Laurel Road will be due one month from your disbursement date.

What if I’m denied a private student loan from Laurel Road?

If your application for a student loan from Laurel Road is denied, it’s natural to wonder what went wrong and what steps to take next. 

You’ll receive an adverse action notice from Laurel Road which will provide the specific reason for your denial. Common reasons often involve credit factors such as a low credit score, high debt-to-income ratio, or insufficient income.

If this happened, you can employ several strategies:

  • Improve your credit score. If your credit score was too low to meet Laurel Road’s criteria, it’s time to focus on ways to increase it. Regular, on-time bill payments, lower credit utilization, and checking your credit report for errors can contribute to a higher score.
  • Decrease your debt-to-income ratio. A high debt-to-income ratio may signal risk to lenders. If you’re carrying significant debt relative to your income, try to pay it down where possible.
  • Apply with a cosigner. If your individual credit isn’t strong enough, a creditworthy cosigner could improve your odds of being approved.
  • Explore other lenders. Different lenders have different criteria. While Laurel Road may have denied your application, another lender might approve you. Review our best student loan refinance lenders to find options. Always compare offers from several lenders to ensure you’re getting the best rates and terms for your situation.

Remember, a denial isn’t a final verdict on your financial health. It’s a moment to assess, adjust, and try again. 

Laurel Road FAQ

Does Laurel Road offer private or federal student loans?

Laurel Road specializes in student loan refinancing, which is a private student loan. Laurel Road’s refinancing is designed to consolidate and reduce the cost of your student debt, whether it’s from private or federal loans.

Does applying with Laurel Road hurt my credit?

Applying for a student loan with Laurel Road involves an initial soft credit pull to provide you with preliminary rates. This soft inquiry won’t affect your credit score. However, once you proceed with a loan application, the lender will conduct a hard credit pull. This can have a small, temporary impact on your credit score.

Does Laurel Road require a cosigner?

A cosigner is not required when applying for a student loan with Laurel Road. However, a creditworthy cosigner could improve your chances of approval and help you secure better loan terms, particularly if you have a limited credit history or low credit score.

Does Laurel Road allow cosigners to be released?

Yes, Laurel Road provides the option to release a cosigner from a refinanced student loan. Borrowers can apply for a cosigner release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments and meeting other credit criteria demonstrating their ability to manage the loan independently.

How long does it take to receive funds from Laurel Road?

Once you’re approved for student loan refinancing by Laurel Road, paying off your old loans can take several weeks. This depends on the processing times of your current lenders. Laurel Road will pay off the balances on the loans you refinance, and you’ll then make payments to Laurel Road.

Is Laurel Road responsible for paying off my current student loans?

Yes, when you refinance with Laurel Road, it is responsible for paying off your student loans to your current lenders. Once the loan is approved and the promissory note signed, Laurel Road will pay the funds to the lenders, consolidating your student loans into one new loan.

Can Laurel Road student loans be forgiven?

Laurel Road student loans, being private refinanced loans, do not qualify for federal loan forgiveness programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

However, Laurel Road partners with GradFin, a financial wellness firm, to provide student loan consultations that can help borrowers explore potential loan assistance and forgiveness opportunities that may be available through their employer, state programs, or professional associations.

Recap of our Laurel Road student loans review

Student loan
Student loan refinanceView Rates
Medical resident refinance student loanView Rates