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Student Loans Student Loan Repayment

4 Lenders to Refinance Sallie Mae Loans With

If you have Sallie Mae loans and are unsatisfied with the customer service or repayment terms, you can refinance with other lenders. This may help you lower your interest rate and monthly payments, receive better service, or shorten your repayment term.

Best lenders to refinance Sallie Mae loans

We found that these lenders offer the best rates and features.

Company
Best for…
Rating (0-5)
Best Overall
4.9
Best for Comparison Shopping
4.8
Best Skip a Payment Benefit
4.8
Best Personalized Support
4.8

SoFi

Best Overall

4.9 /5
LendEDU Rating

Why we picked it

SoFi does a bit of everything: banking, credit cards, student loans, and even insurance.  Since it’s a large lender, SoFi can offer extra benefits you won’t find elsewhere, like financial planning services and no fees.

You can prequalify for a SoFi student loan refinance in two minutes without affecting your credit score. SoFi offers repayment assistance programs and cosigner release programs as an extra aid to student borrowers.

  • Financial planning services
  • Manage your loan through its mobile app
  • No application, origination, or late payment fees
  • Check your rate without affecting your credit
Loan Details
Rates (APR)5.59% – 16.99%
Loan amounts$5,000 – 100% of your outstanding balance
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
States50 states
Credit scoreNot disclosed
Annual incomeNot disclosed

Credible

Best for Comparison Shopping

4.8 /5
LendEDU Rating

Why we picked it

Credible is an online marketplace that lets student loan borrowers compare prequalified offers from lenders with one application. There are no costs to see offers and no impact on your credit.

The online form takes just two minutes to complete, and Credible won’t share your information with lenders until you choose to proceed. The lenders in Credible’s marketplace offer fixed or variable interest rates, no origination fees, and multiple repayment terms.

  • No costs to see prequalified rates
  • Doesn’t impact your credit score
Loan Details
Rates (APR)5.59%16.99%
Loan amountsVaries by lender
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
States50 states
Credit scoreVaries by lender
Annual incomeVaries by lender

Earnest

Best Skip a Payment Benefit

4.8 /5
LendEDU Rating

Why we picked it

Earnest lets you see an estimate of your rates before submitting a full application, which will not affect your credit score. It offers several perks, including the ability to skip one payment per year without penalty, the option to choose between biweekly and monthly payments, and no fees.

All of Earnest’s loans are serviced in-house, which usually leads to a better customer service experience for borrowers.

  • Choose your repayment terms
  • Skip one payment per year without penalty
  • No fees
  • Check your rate without affecting your credit
Loan Details
Rates (APR)5.59% – 16.99%
Loan amounts$5,000 – 100% of your outstanding balance
Repayment terms5 – 20 years
States49 states, D.C. (not available in Nevada)
Credit score680+
Annual income$35,000

ELFI

Best Personalized Support

4.8 /5
LendEDU Rating

Why we picked it

ELFI is another terrific option for refinancing Sallie Mae loans. It offers competitive rates and the option to refinance the total balance of your Sallie Mae loans.

You can check your estimated refinance rate with ELFI without a hard credit check. Instead of Sallie Mae’s less-than-stellar customer service, ELFI assigns you a student loan advisor to walk through the process and answer any questions you have.

  • Rated “Excellent” on Trustpilot by its borrowers
  • Assigned a dedicated student loan advisor to assist you through repayment
  • Check your rate without affecting your credit score
Loan Details
Rates (APR)5.59% – 16.99%
Loan amounts$10,000 – 100% of your outstanding balance
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
States50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico
Credit score680+
Annual income$35,000

Does Sallie Mae refinance student loans?

Sallie Mae doesn’t offer student loan refinancing. It only offers new private student loans to current college students.

Should you refinance Sallie Mae student loans?

Refinancing any student loan isn’t a black-and-white situation. You’ll need to weigh several factors first. Keep reading the table below for more details about each situation.

Consider refinancing if Reconsider if
You can qualify for a lower rate or payment❌ A lower rate means moving from a fixed to a variable rate
✅ You want to remove a cosigner and can qualify on your own❌ You want to remove a cosigner but can’t qualify on your own
✅ You’ve run out of payment assistance options❌ Sallie Mae offers better payment assistance options
✅ You want to qualify for better benefits❌ You plan to apply for other credit soon
✅ You’re looking for better customer service❌ Your rate or payment would be higher

When it makes sense to refinance Sallie Mae student loans

You might want to refinance Sallie Mae loans for several reasons. Here are five scenarios where ditching Sallie Mae for another lender may be sensible.

You can qualify for a lower rate or payment

One of the most popular reasons to refinance with any lender is to get lower rates or a lower payment. This can help your student loan fit within your monthly budget and cash flow patterns. You can check your potential loan options with many lenders anytime with no obligation. 

You want to remove a cosigner and can qualify on your own

Sallie Mae has a generous cosigner release policy, but not everyone is eligible. You may have stellar qualifications, but Sallie Mae won’t let you apply for cosigner release if you didn’t finish your degree. You may be able to remove your cosigner by refinancing with another lender

You’ve run out of payment assistance options

Check with Sallie Mae if you’re having trouble making your payments. Some of its assistance options, such as deferment, are limited in scope. If you’re facing long-term problems and Sallie Mae can’t help, it may be time to move to another lender who can. 

You want to qualify for better benefits

Some student loan lenders offer special programs beyond what Sallie Mae provides. SoFi offers plenty of borrower benefits, and Earnest allows you to skip a payment every year.

You’re looking for better customer service

Sallie Mae has a poor reputation for customer service, with over 2,000 official complaints lodged against the company’s student loan division since 2015. If you’ve been burned by Sallie Mae, switching lenders can help give you peace of mind. 

When it might not make sense to refinance Sallie Mae student loans

Before you get rid of Sallie Mae, consider whether any of these scenarios apply to you:

You want to remove a cosigner but can’t qualify on your own

Sallie Mae allows you to apply for cosigner release in as little as one year after you’ve been making full payments—much faster than many other lenders. If removing your cosigner is your priority, it may be better to stick it out and focus on building credit for now. 

Sallie Mae offers better payment assistance options

Sallie Mae provides a “graduated repayment” program: Rather than restarting full payments in six months like most private student loan lenders, you get a full year of interest-only payments. 

Your rate or payment would be higher

In high-interest-rate environments, it may be tough to refinance your student loans for a lower rate than you have with Sallie Mae. 

You’ll be applying for other credit soon

It’s best to hold off on applying for new credit (including student loan refinancing) if you have big plans to apply for other credit soon, such as a loan for a home or a car to get to work.

A lower rate means moving from a fixed to a variable rate 

If you’re considering refinancing to a loan with a variable interest rate because the initial rate is lower, you risk the rate (and your payments) increasing over time. Depending on economic conditions, you could pay more than if you had kept your original loan.

Refinance Sallie Mae loans vs. consolidate 

You should understand the significant differences between consolidating and refinancing your loans if you’re trying to change your Sallie Mae student loans.

Consolidation

Consolidation can simplify your monthly payments between multiple loans by combining everything into one payment. You’ll often see this with federal loans via a Direct Consolidation Loan from the Department of Education. But Sallie Mae loans are private and aren’t eligible for a Direct Consolidation Loan.

You can consolidate private student loans through a private lender, but the process is the same as refinancing. 

Refinance

Refinancing student loans is often confused with consolidation, and the two are interchangeable when referring to private student loans.

Regarding federal loans, the two are similar, but refinancing has a different purpose. The goal of refinancing isn’t just to combine all your debt into one big loan. It’s to help borrowers do one or all of the following:

  • Lower interest rates
  • Change repayment terms for a lower monthly payment
  • Change or remove the cosigner

You can’t refinance Sallie Mae loans with Sallie Mae because the company doesn’t refinance its own loans (or any other student loans, for that matter)

But you can choose from various private lenders to get better terms on your student loan. 


Tip

If you extend your term to a longer time frame than you have on your current loan, you’ll pay more in interest over time, even if your rate is lower.


Can you refinance your Sallie Mae loans?

You can refinance your student loans anytime, including those from Sallie Mae. You’ll need to be approved for a new student refinance loan first, and every lender is different. In general, here’s what most lenders look for:

  • Credit score: You’ll need a credit score of 650 or higher to get approved with most lenders; the higher your credit score, the better your chances of getting the best rate.
  • Credit history: Many lenders won’t approve you if your credit report shows a recent history of past-due payments, bankruptcies, or other negative marks.
  • Loan amount: Typically $5,000 or more, but this varies by lender. 
  • Income: You’ll need to show proof of income to your lender’s satisfaction, especially in relation to your monthly debt payments. Having a stable, consistent job can help. 
  • Degree: Most lenders want to see that you’ve completed your degree, but some lenders will refinance education debt for borrowers who dropped out before graduating. 
  • Residency: You’ll need to live in a state where the lender is licensed. Most lenders only offer loans to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. 

How to refinance Sallie Mae loans

If you’re interested in refinancing your Sallie Mae student loans with another lender, you’ll follow the same general set of steps. This may vary by lender, but the big picture looks like this:

  1. Get ready to apply
  2. Check your rate with different lenders
  3. Complete a full application
  4. Get a decision
  5. Continue making payments on your Sallie Mae loans

We’ll explain these steps in more detail so you know what to expect at each stage.

Step 1: Get ready to apply

Knowing where you stand can help you narrow down your list of potential lenders to the ones you’re most likely to qualify with. 

Here’s a checklist of what to verify before you start shopping:

  • Credit score
  • Current student loan payoff amount
  • Credit report (check for any errors, and dispute any you find)
  • How much you can afford for a monthly payment
  • Save copies of current financial statements, including recent tax returns, W-2s, bank statements, and student loan statements

Step 2: Check your rate with different lenders

Most lenders allow you to check your rate and potential loan options on their website without completing a full application. This doesn’t hurt your credit as long as the lender does a soft credit check. Use this information to help you choose the best lender to apply with.

Step 3: Complete a full application

Submit a full application for a student loan with your chosen lender. Stay in touch so you can respond if the lender needs more information. You’ll often get an instant decision, but it may require more time if the lender needs to review your application manually.

Step 4: Get a decision

Once you’re approved for the loan, the lender will send you a final loan agreement to sign. After you sign the document, it’s official: You have a new lender, which will pay off your old Sallie Mae student loans. 

Step 5: Continue making payments on your Sallie Mae loans

Switching lenders can take time. Until you hear otherwise, it’s essential to keep paying your student loans with Sallie Mae until you receive confirmation that your new lender has paid off your old Sallie Mae loans. You can then set up autopay for your new loans.

Recap of the best lenders to refinance Sallie Mae loans

Company
Best for…
Rating (0-5)
Best Overall
4.9
Best for Comparison Shopping
4.8
Best Skip a Payment Benefit
4.8
Best Personalized Support
4.8