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Student Loans Student Loan Repayment

Refinance Parent PLUS Loans

Refinancing Parent PLUS loans can lower your interest rate and save you money. Some lenders even allow you to transfer the debt into your child’s name. However, you may not want to refinance Parent PLUS loans if you don’t want to lose federal loan benefits.

Below are four lenders that refinance Parent PLUS loans. We’ll also discuss whether refinancing makes sense in certain situations.

When it makes sense to refinance Parent PLUS loans

Consider refinancing if…Reconsider if…
You can qualify for a lower rateYou can’t qualify for a lower rate
You want to transfer the debt to your childYou don’t want to lose access to federal benefits

Consider refinancing Parent PLUS loans if one of the following applies to you:

  • You can qualify for a lower rate. Depending on your credit score and finances, you might be able to secure a lower interest rate. This could save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
  • You want to transfer the debt to your child. The only solution is to refinance if you want to make your child legally responsible for repaying the debt.

When to reconsider refinancing Parent PLUS loans

Refinancing can be beneficial, but it isn’t the right move for everyone. It’s likely better to consider other solutions in the following situations.

  • You can’t qualify for a lower rate. Refinancing might not make sense if you can’t qualify for a lower interest rate since it won’t save you money.
  • You don’t want to lose access to federal benefits. If you plan to take advantage of federal benefits, such as income-driven repayment plans or student loan forgiveness programs, you won’t want to refinance.

Lenders that refinance Parent PLUS loans

Compare Parent PLUS Loan refinancing options with four lenders.

LenderRates (APR)Term lengths
Earnest4.14% – 8.99%5 – 20 years
SoFi2.25% – 7.13%5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
ELFI3.99% – 7.64%5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
Citizens Bank5.09% – 11.88%5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years

Here’s more about the four lenders we researched that offer Parent PLUS loan refinancing:

Earnest

  • Pick your payment and loan term
  • Skip one payment per year, if needed
  • Check your rate without affecting your credit

Earnest is a highly-rated student loan refinance lender. Borrowers can refinance Parent PLUS loans but can’t transfer the loan to a child.

One unique benefit of refinancing with Earnest is the ability to skip one payment per year without penalty. This can come in handy if an unexpected financial loss or expense occurs. Earnest strives to offer a unique application and approval process for people who want to refinance Parent PLUS loans. It doesn’t just consider the applicant’s credit score, but it tries to account for various factors. It has no set income requirements.

With over 6,000 reviews on Trustpilot, Earnest’s reputation is excellent—customer scores average 4.7 out of five. It earns just 1.67 out of five on Better Business Bureau (BBB), but only 15 customers have reviewed it as of January 2024.

  • Minimum credit score: 700
  • Variable rates (APR): 3.99%8.29%
  • Fixed rates (APR): 4.39%8.99%

SoFi

  • SoFi members gain access to career coaching, financial advice, and more
  • No application, origination, or prepayment fees
  • Check your rate without affecting your credit

SoFi is an online lender that allows you to refinance Parent Plus loans into your child’s name. A unique perk SoFi offers is unemployment protection, which can be beneficial if you lose your job. SoFi also offers free career coaching and tools to eligible members.

SoFi charges no fees. As of January 2024, its Trustpilot customer review scores are an excellent 4.7 out of five with over 7,000 reviews. On BBB, it earns a lower 1.7 out of five with fewer customer reviews (297 as of January 18, 2024).

  • Variable rates (APR): 4.49%8.89%
  • Fixed rates (APR): 4.49%8.89%

ELFI

  • You’ll be assigned a single Student Loan Advisor
  • No application, origination, or prepayment fees
  • Prequalify and see personalized savings with no impact on your credit

ELFI is a lender that allows parents to refinance their Parent PLUS loans into a child’s name. Borrowers can get a rate estimate with a “soft” credit pull before submitting a complete application. 

A Student Loan Advisor will assist you through the entire process. As of January 2024, it earns an excellent 4.8 out of 5 with over 2,000 customer reviews on Trustpilot. It doesn’t have a presence on BBB.

  • Minimum credit score: 680
  • Minimum annual income: $35,000
  • Variables rates (APR): 3.99%7.24%
  • Fixed rates (APR): 4.83%7.64%

Citizens Bank

  • Choose your repayment term
  • Check your rate with no impact on your credit

Citizens Bank is a national bank that offers a specific student loan refinance product for those looking to transfer a Parent PLUS loan to a child. You can refinance loans for multiple children, even while they are still in school.

Its Trustpilot customer reviews are a dismal 1.2 out of 5 with over 400 reviews as of January 2024. It earns just 1.7 out of 5 on BBB.

  • Variable rates: 5.09% – 11.67%
  • Fixed rates: 5.39% – 11.88%

How to refinance Parent PLUS loans

If you’re ready to refinance Parent PLUS loans you acquired to help your child pay for college, take the following steps:

  1. Shop around. To find the student loan refinancing option that best matches your needs, compare rates, terms, fees, and eligibility requirements across multiple student loan lenders.
  2. Submit a refinance application. After you’ve chosen the best lender for you, submit a loan application. You’ll likely need to provide information including your bank statements, government-issued ID, most recent pay stubs, and most student loan statements.
  3. Review and sign your loan agreement. If approved, a lender will send you a loan agreement. Review it to make sure you agree with the terms before signing.
  4. Repay your new loan as promised. Make sure to pay your loan as promised to avoid late fees and possible damage to your credit. One way to ensure your future bills are paid on time is to enroll in autopay.

How to refinance Parent PLUS loans to a child

If you’re a student and want to take over the loan from your parent, take these steps:

  1. Make sure you’re ready to take on new debt. Although requirements vary, you’ll likely need good credit and a solid income to qualify for a loan. Review your income and credit score to see where you stand.
  2. Compare lenders. While comparing your options, make sure the lender allows your parent to refinance Parent PLUS loans into your name. 
  3. Submit a refinance application. Once you’ve found a lender, submit a loan application, and provide any required documentation, such as proof of income, bank statements, and pay stubs.
  4. Manage your new loan. Once the original PLUS loan is paid off, you’ll be responsible for repaying the debt. Consider enrolling in autopay to avoid missing payments.

Note: The process to refinance Parent PLUS loans into your child’s name varies by lender. Some lenders will require you to add your child as a cosigner on the refinanced loan first so they can refinance again in their name afterward. 

Alternatives to refinancing Parent PLUS loans

If you believe refinancing your Parent PLUS loans isn’t the right move for you, or you’re having trouble qualifying, consider the alternatives below.

  • Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): If you have a certain amount of equity in your home, you may qualify for a HELOC. You can use a HELOC to pay off student loans. But a significant downside is if you default on the loan, a lender can foreclose on your home.
  • Home Equity Loan. You can also use a home equity loan to pay off student loans. But similar to a HELOC, a lender can take your home if you fail to repay the loan as promised.