Refinance Student Loans: Compare the 8 Best Companies

Mike Brown
Mike Brown
Updated: July 1, 2019

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Deciding where to refinance your student loans can be difficult. We help borrowers compare the best refinance and consolidation companies in one place.

All of the banks and lenders below allow borrowers to refinance student loans, as well as consolidate them during the process. (Note: When mentioning student loan refinancing throughout this guide, it is implied that consolidation can be a part of the same process.)

Both private and federal student loans can be refinanced with a private lender. If you don’t meet the requirements of a certain lender, a creditworthy cosigner can increase your approval odds and help you receive a lower interest rate.

In this guide:

Compare Companies That Refinance Student Loans

See student loan refinancing options by adjusting the filters below to reflect your current student loan situation.

3.89%-7.89%

Fixed APR

2.54%-7.27%

Variable APR

5 - 20

Terms (Years)
Check Rateon Earnest's secure website
Loan Minimum$5,000
Loan MaximumNo Max
Eligible DegreesUndergraduate & Graduate
Eligible LoansPrivate & Federal
Min. Annual IncomeNo Minimum
Min. Credit ScoreGood or Excellent
State RestrictionsNot available in AL, DE, KY, MS, NV, or RI

What We Like

Option to skip one payment a year

3.90%-8.02%1

Fixed APR

2.54%-7.28%1

Variable APR

5, 7, 10, 15, 20

Terms (Years)
Check Rateon SoFi's secure website
Loan Minimum$5,000
Loan MaximumNo Max
Eligible DegreesUndergraduate & Graduate
Eligible LoansPrivate & Federal
Min. Annual IncomeNo Minimum
Min. Credit ScoreGood or Excellent
State RestrictionsAvailable in all 50 states

What We Like

Free career coaching

3.39%-6.69%

Fixed APR

2.80%-6.01%

Variable APR

5, 7, 10, 15, 20

Terms (Years)
Check Rateon ElFi's secure website
Loan Minimum$15,000
Loan MaximumNo Max
Eligible DegreesUndergraduate & Graduate
Eligible LoansPrivate & Federal
Min. Annual Income$35,000
Min. Credit ScoreGood or Excellent
State RestrictionsAvailable in all 50 states

What We Like

Get $400 for referring a friend

3.49%-8.92%

Fixed APR

2.67%-8.91%

Variable APR

5, 7, 10, 15, 20

Terms (Years)
Check Rateon LendKey's secure website
Loan Minimum$5,000
Loan Maximum$300,000
Eligible DegreesUndergraduate & Graduate
Eligible LoansPrivate & Federal
Min. Annual Income$24,000
Min. Credit ScoreGood or Excellent
State RestrictionsNot available in ME, ND, NV, RI, or WV

What We Like

Short cosigner release on-time payment requirements

3.75%-7.03%

Fixed APR

3.11%-7.85%

Variable APR

5 - 15

Terms (Years)
Check Rateon Splash Financial's secure website
Loan Minimum$7,500
Loan Maximum$300,000
Eligible DegreesUndergraduate & Graduate
Eligible LoansPrivate & Federal
Min. Annual Income$42,000
Min. Credit ScoreGood or Excellent
State RestrictionsAvailable in all 50 states

What We Like

Availability of customer support

Credible

Check your rates, before you apply.

Get personalized rates without impacting your credit score!

Check Rateon Credible's secure website

3.70%-6.40%

Fixed APR

2.70%-6.00%

Variable APR

5, 10, 15, 20, 25

Terms (Years)
Check Rateon U-fi's secure website
Loan Minimum$5,000
Loan Maximum$225,000
Eligible DegreesAssociate, Undergraduate, & Graduate
Eligible LoansPrivate & Federal
Min. Annual Income$36,000
Min. Credit ScoreGood or Excellent
State RestrictionsNot available in VT

What We Like

N/A

3.89%-9.99%2

Fixed APR

3.00%-9.74%2

Variable APR

5, 7, 10, 15, 202

Terms (Years)
Check Rateon Citizens Bank's secure website
Loan Minimum$10,000
Loan Maximum$350,000
Eligible DegreesAssociate, Undergraduate, & Graduate
Eligible LoansPrivate & Federal
Min. Annual Income$24,000
Min. Credit ScoreGood or Excellent
State RestrictionsAvailable in all 50 states

What We Like

Possible interest rate reductions of 0.50%

4.39%-6.59%1

Fixed APR

4.36%-6.56%1

Variable APR

10 & 15

Terms (Years)
Check Rateon PNC's secure website
Loan Minimum$10,000
Loan Maximum$75,000
Eligible DegreesNo Degree Required
Eligible LoansPrivate & Federal
Min. Annual IncomeNo Minimum
Min. Credit ScoreGood or Excellent
State RestrictionsAvailable in all 50 states

What We Like

N/A

8 Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

Each student loan refinance lender has its own specific underwriting criteria, so your approval odds may be higher at one lender than another. Our detailed reviews of the best student loan refinance companies can help you better compare your options to ensure you find the lowest rate, friendly repayment terms, and more.

The best lenders listed below are determined by our Editorial Ratings which analyze over 20 data points from 18 refinancing companies. These ratings are completely objective and are not influenced by compensation in anyway.

Note: In the following review boxes, "Cosigner Release" refers to removing the cosigner on your refinanced loan, if you have one. If you have a cosigner on a private student loan, you can refinance it without keeping them on the loan if you are eligible.

Here are LendEDU’s picks for the 8 best student loan refinancing and consolidation companies:

  • Earnest
  • CommonBond
  • Laurel Road
  • SoFi
  • ELFi
  • Citizens Bank
  • iHELP
  • LendKey

1. Earnest

What we like: Option to skip one payment a year

Earnest

Editorial Rating (4.54 / 5.0)

  • Refinance both federal and private student loans
  • Loan amounts have a minimum of $5,000 and no maximum
  • No fees
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction for setting up automatic payments
  • 12-month forbearance period as well as academic and military deferment
  • Skip one monthly payment each year if certain conditions are met
  • Considers data that other lenders don’t during the application process
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Fixed APR

3.89%-7.89%

Variable APR

2.54%-7.27%

Loan Terms

5 to 20 years

Eligible Degrees

Undergraduate & Graduate

Cosigner Release

No

Offered terms are subject to change. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.

Show Disclaimer

>> Read More: Earnest Student Loans Review

2. CommonBond

What we like: Forbearance for up to 24 months

CommonBond

Editorial Rating (4.53 / 5.0)

  • Refinance both federal and private student loans
  • Loan amounts from $5,000 to $500,000
  • No fees
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction for setting up automatic payments
  • 24-month forbearance period as well as academic and military deferment
  • Can refinance Parent PLUS loans and transfer to child if requirements are met
  • For every loan CommonBond funds, they will support the education of a child in need
Show More
Fixed APR

3.67%-7.25%

Variable APR

2.53%-7.42%

Loan Terms

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Eligible Degrees

Undergraduate & Graduate

Cosigner Release

Yes; after 36 on-time monthly payments

Offered terms are subject to change. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.

Show Disclaimer

>> Read More: CommonBond Student Loans Review

3. Laurel Road

What we like: Economic hardship support

Laurel Road

Editorial Rating (4.44 / 5.0)

  • Refinance both federal and private student loans
  • Loan amounts have a minimum of $5,000 and no maximum
  • No fees
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction for setting up automatic payments
  • 12-month forbearance period and military deferment
  • Can refinance Parent PLUS loans
  • Economic hardship support
Show More
Fixed APR

3.50%-7.02%

Variable APR

3.23%-6.65%

Loan Terms

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Eligible Degrees

Undergraduate & Graduate

Cosigner Release

Yes; after 36 on-time monthly payments

Offered terms are subject to change. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.

Show Disclaimer

>> Read More: Laurel Road Student Loans Review

4. SoFi

What we like: Free career coaching

SoFi

Editorial Rating (4.43 / 5.0)

  • Refinance both federal and private student loans
  • Loan amounts have a minimum of $5,000 and no maximum
  • There are no fees when you refinance student loans with SoFi
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction for setting up automatic payments
  • 12-month forbearance period as well as academic and military deferment
  • Can refinance Parent PLUS loans and transfer to child
  • Exclusive career coaching benefit for all SoFi members
  • Attend community experiences hosted by SoFi
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Fixed APR

3.90%-8.02%

Variable APR

2.54%-7.28%

Loan Terms

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Eligible Degrees

Undergraduate & Graduate

Cosigner Release

No

Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 8.179% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.570% APR to 6.980% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 14, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.570% APR assumes the current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 0.740% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.

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>> Read More: SoFi Review

5. ELFi – Education Loan Finance

What we like: Get $400 for referring a friend

ELFi

Editorial Rating (4.20 / 5.0)

  • Refinance both federal and private student loans
  • Loan amounts have a minimum of $15,000 and no maximum
  • No fees
  • 12-month forbearance period and military deferment
  • Can refinance Parent PLUS loans but cannot transfer to child
Show More
Fixed APR

3.39%-6.69%

Variable APR

2.80%-6.01%

Loan Terms

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Eligible Degrees

Undergraduate & Graduate

Cosigner Release

You must apply again without your co-signer

Offered terms are subject to change. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.

Show Disclaimer

>> Read More: ELFi Student Loans Review

6. Citizens Bank

What we like: Possible interest rate reductions of 0.50%

Citizens Bank

Editorial Rating (4.12 / 5.0)

  • Refinance both federal and private student loans
  • Loan amounts from $10,000 to $90,000 (Undergraduate) and $350,000 (Graduate)
  • No fees
  • Up to 0.50% interest rate reduction for setting up automatic payments and being a member of the bank
  • 12-month forbearance period as well as academic and military deferment
  • Can refinance Parent PLUS loans but cannot transfer to child
Show More
Fixed APR

3.89%-9.99%

Variable APR

3.00%-9.74%

Loan Terms

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Eligible Degrees

Undergraduate & Graduate

Cosigner Release

Yes; after 36 months of on-time payments

Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of June 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.43%. Variable interest rates range from 2.93%-9.67% (2.93%-9.67% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower's loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 3.89%-9.99% (3.89%-9.99% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.

The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.

Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

Click for rate and repayment information
Show Disclaimer

>> Read More: Citizens Bank Student Loans Review

7. iHELP

What we like: No graduation requirement

iHELP

Editorial Rating (4.02 / 5.0)

  • Refinance both federal and private student loans
  • Loan amounts from $10,000 to $250,000
  • No fees
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction for setting up automatic payments
  • 24-month forbearance period and academic deferment
  • Can refinance Parent PLUS loans and transfer to child
  • Access to unique repayment plans such as graduated and income sensitive repayment
Show More
Fixed APR

4.90% - 9.90%

Variable APR

4.00% - 8.00%

Loan Terms

10, 15 or 20 years

Eligible Degrees

Undergraduate & Graduate

Cosigner Release

Yes; after 24 on-time monthly payments

Offered terms are subject to change. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.

Show Disclaimer

>> Read More: iHELP Student Loans Review

8. LendKey

What we like: Short cosigner release on-time payment requirements

LendKey

Editorial Rating (3.96 / 5.0)

  • Refinance both federal and private student loans
  • Loan amounts from $7,500 to $125,000 (Undergraduate), $250,000 (Graduate), and $300,000 (Medical)
  • No fees
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction for setting up automatic payments
  • 18-month forbearance period
  • Option of interest-only payments for the first four years
Show More
Fixed APR

3.49%-8.92%

Variable APR

2.67%-8.91%

Loan Terms

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Eligible Degrees

Undergraduate & Graduate

Cosigner Release

Yes; after 12 on-time monthly payments

Offered terms are subject to change. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.

Show Disclaimer

>> Read More: LendKey Student Loans Review

Commonly Asked Student Loan Refinance Questions

We know student loan refinancing can seem complicated. That's why we decided to answer some of the most commonly asked questions to help borrowers better understand the process.

Refinancing student loans is for both private and/or federal student loan borrowers looking to reduce the overall cost of their loans.

It is important to know, however, that borrowers with federal student loans ensure that they don’t plan on taking advantage of income-driven repayment plans or federal forgiveness programs as they will lose access to these and other federal benefits. It’s also worth noting that federal student loans may be forgiven upon the borrower’s death, whereas private loans are not.

You can also consolidate your federal student loans with the government, but it will not save you money. If you are unsure whether you should refinance and consolidate your student loans with a private lender or consolidate with the government, our Student Loan Consolidation guide may be able to help you decide.

>> Read More: How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast

Borrowers can refinance student loans for multiple reasons, including the following:

  • To save money on their loans with lower interest rates
  • To choose new repayment terms (the scenarios below assume a lower rate)
    • Shorter repayment terms mean a higher monthly payment, but save you money on the total cost of your loan due to reduced interest accrual
    • Longer repayment terms mean a lower monthly payment, but possibly increase the total cost of your loan due to added interest accrual
  • To switch to a more helpful servicer
  • To remove a cosigner from your loan
  • To combine multiple loans into a single loan, with a single monthly payment

There are many things that lenders consider when deciding if you are a good candidate for student loan refinancing. Here are what companies typically consider:

  • Eligible Loans: Most lenders refinance both federal and private student loans for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. There may be additional criteria towards eligible degrees and schools.
  • Credit History: Most lenders look for a credit score of at least 660.
  • Repayment History: You will need to have a solid repayment history on your current student loans.
  • Employment History: You will need to demonstrate a stable employment history with an income sufficient enough to afford your new monthly payment.
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: Some lenders may look at your debt-to-income ratio to gauge your ability to afford the monthly payments on your new loan. Ideally, your debt-to-income ratio should be 40% or less.
  • U.S. Citizenship: Most lenders require that you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or have a cosigner that is.
  • State Requirements: Some banks and lenders may only accept applicants from certain states.

If you can’t meet some of the criteria above, you may want to consider applying with a creditworthy cosigner. A cosigner can help you become eligible and give you access to lower student loan refinance rates.

Cosigning does come with some risks. Cosigners share equal responsibility for repayment and their credit will be affected if the borrower misses payments. If the primary borrower does not make payments, the cosigner will be responsible. However, many lenders do offer cosigner release after making a certain number of consecutive on-time payments.

If you have decided to refinance your student loans, the first thing to do is shop around and compare your options. Many student loan refinance lenders allow you to see your expected interest rate with a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score.

Once you review your offered student loan refinance rates, you can then finish the process by filling out a full application with the lender you choose. Submitting the full application may require a hard credit check and could affect your credit slightly.

It is free to refinance student loans. None of the lenders on this page that made the list of the best student loan refinance companies charge prepayment, application, or origination fees.

Yes, you can refinance student loans multiple times. Before doing so, carefully consider whether it makes financial sense to refinance the loan an additional time. You should only do this if you can receive a lower interest rate or want to consolidate another loan with your already refinanced loan.

Yes, parents may be able to transfer their Parent PLUS loan to their children through refinancing. Some of the best student loan refinance companies listed above offer this option. You can check the bulleted list within each lender review to find a company to work with.

>> Read More: Best Lenders to Refinance Parent PLUS Loans

There is no right answer for whether to choose a variable or fixed interest rate. Variable rates typically start out lower but will fluctuate with the market (meaning they may end up increasing to more than the offered fixed rate) while fixed rates remain the same throughout the life of the loan.

A general rule of thumb is that if we’re experiencing a rising interest-rate market, a fixed-rate loan may be a better choice. If we’re in a falling interest-rate market, a variable-rate loan may make more sense. However, this may be a conversation to have with a financial planner or CPA.