November 29, 2022

Best Student Loan Consolidation & Refinance Lenders of 2021 | U.S. News

If you’re saddled with student debt and worried about making payments on your federal loans during the coronavirus pandemic, you can breathe a sigh of relief. An executive order in January extended the pause in payments on federal loans and set interest rates at 0% through September. Private lenders may offer their own special relief programs, or you can refinance your private student loans to save money.

Whether you have federal, private or both types of student loans, consolidating or refinancing them might help you reduce your student debt, better manage payments and work toward other financial goals. Too much student debt can hamper your ability to save for retirement or qualify for other loans, such as a mortgage. This guide explains the differences between refinancing private student loans and consolidating federal student loans, the pros and cons of each, and the best options for different situations.

The Best Student Loan Refinance Companies of 2021

No student loan refinancer is perfect for every borrower. These lenders are a good starting point for most people, but you should read student loan reviews and research each company on your own.

Earnest

2.50% to 5.79% with autopay Fixed APR
$500,000 Max. Loan Amount
650 Min. Credit Score

College Ave

2.99% to 4.89% with autopay Fixed APR
$300,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Discover

4.24% to 12.99% with autopay Fixed APR
No maximum Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Splash Financial

2.49% to 6.25% with autopay Fixed APR
No maximum Max. Loan Amount
650 Min. Credit Score

U-fi

3.59% to 12.34% Fixed APR
$125,000 Max. Loan Amount
680 Min. Credit Score

Laurel Road

2.80% to 6.00% with autopay Fixed APR
No maximum Max. Loan Amount
650 Min. Credit Score

LendKey

2.95% to 7.63% with autopay Fixed APR
$300,000 Max. Loan Amount
660 Min. Credit Score

PNC

3.44% to 6.24% with autopay Fixed APR
$10,000 to $75,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

RISLA

As low as 3.99% with autopay Fixed APR
$250,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

SoFi

2.74% to 6.74% with autopay Fixed APR
No maximum Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Citizens Bank

As low as 2.97% with autopay Fixed APR
$150,000 Max. Loan Amount
670 Min. Credit Score

EDvestinU

4.092% to 8.609% with autopay Fixed APR
$200,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

CommonBond

2.59 to 6.74% with autopay Fixed APR
$500,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

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2.50% to 5.79% with autopay Fixed APR
$500,000 Max. Loan Amount
650 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
2.99% to 4.89% with autopay Fixed APR
$300,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
4.24% to 12.99% with autopay Fixed APR
No maximum Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
2.49% to 6.25% with autopay Fixed APR
No maximum Max. Loan Amount
650 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
3.59% to 12.34% Fixed APR
$125,000 Max. Loan Amount
680 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
2.80% to 6.00% with autopay Fixed APR
No maximum Max. Loan Amount
650 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
2.95% to 7.63% with autopay Fixed APR
$300,000 Max. Loan Amount
660 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
3.44% to 6.24% with autopay Fixed APR
$10,000 to $75,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
As low as 3.99% with autopay Fixed APR
$250,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
2.74% to 6.74% with autopay Fixed APR
No maximum Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
As low as 2.97% with autopay Fixed APR
$150,000 Max. Loan Amount
670 Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay Fixed APR
$200,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More
2.59 to 6.74% with autopay Fixed APR
$500,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More

Fixed APR

Max. Loan Amount

Min. Credit Score

2.50% to 5.79% with autopay $500,000 650

2.58% to 5.99% No maximum 680

2.99% to 4.89% with autopay $300,000 Not disclosed

4.24% to 12.99% with autopay No maximum Not disclosed

2.49% to 6.25% with autopay No maximum 650

3.59% to 12.34% $125,000 680

2.80% to 6.00% with autopay No maximum 650

2.95% to 7.63% with autopay $300,000 660

3.44% to 6.24% with autopay $10,000 to $75,000 Not disclosed

As low as 3.99% with autopay $250,000 Not disclosed

2.74% to 6.74% with autopay No maximum Not disclosed

As low as 2.97% with autopay $150,000 670

4.092% to 8.609% with autopay $200,000 Not disclosed

2.59 to 6.74% with autopay $500,000 Not disclosed

Find the Best Student Loan Refinance Lenders

Best for fair credit

Earnest is an online lender offering private student loans to current college and graduate students and student loan refinancing to graduates. The company was founded in 2013. Borrowers can choose their loan terms to fund up to the full cost of their education.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, co-signer, refinancing, Parent PLUS refinancing, MBA, law, medical
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 650
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Earnest doesn’t charge origination, application or late fees.

  • You can choose your monthly payment and loan term length.

  • You can use a co-signer on undergraduate or graduate student loans, and student loan refinancing is available.

See full profile

Best for customer service

Education Loan Finance, also known as ELFI, is a student loan refinancing program offered by SouthEast Bank. Options are available in all 50 states and Puerto Rico to refinance private and federal student loans, including undergraduate, graduate, parent and MBA loans, as well as loans for law, dental and medical school. ELFI also offers private loans for students at eligible institutions.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, parent loans, refinancing, parent refinancing, MBA, law, health care
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 680
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • There are no application, origination or prepayment fees.

  • All types of student loans are eligible for refinancing.

See full profile

Best for instant approval

College Ave Student Loans offers student loans to borrowers in all 50 states. Undergraduate, graduate and parent loans are available. The lender specializes in simple applications with an instant decision.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, parent loans, refinancing, MBA, law, dental, medical, career, international
  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Loans are available from $5,000.

  • Prequalify for a rate in less than 1 minute.

  • Loan terms are available from 5 to 20 years.

See full profile

Best for no fees

Discover Bank has been operating for more than 100 years, and since 2010, it has offered private student loans to students attending more than 2,400 colleges and universities. Loans of up to 100% of education costs with fixed or variable rates are available.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, parent, refinancing, MBA, law, international, consolidation, health professions, residency, bar exam. International loans require a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Loans as small as $1,000 are available.

  • Discover has no origination, application or late fees.

See full profile

Best for speedy credit decisions

Splash Financial is a student loan refinance lender marketplace based in Cleveland, with its own lender network of banks and credit unions. Splash Financial gives borrowers quotes from its partner lenders with loans available in all 50 states. Refinancing is available for federal, private and Parent PLUS loans. A specialized refinance program is designed for doctors completing residencies or fellowships.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: refinancing, parent refinancing
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 650
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A-

Best Features

  • Refinancing is available for a range of student loans.

  • Splash Financial works with a network of banks and credit unions to provide the best possible rates.

  • There are no application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties.

See full profile

Best for flexible loan terms

U-fi from Nelnet offers private student loans and refinancing loans to borrowers in all U.S. states except Vermont. Undergraduate, graduate and refinancing loans are available. The lender specializes in offering flexible repayment options.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, MBA, law, health professions, refinance
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 680
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Borrowers can get up to 15 years to pay off the loan.

  • The lender offers an interest rate discount for automatic payments.

  • Borrowers can make full payments or pay interest only while in school, or defer payments.

See full profile

Best for graduate health care program loans.

Laurel Road, which became part of KeyBank in 2019, offers graduate student loans and refinancing on a variety of student loans.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: student loan refinancing, health care graduate, Parent PLUS refinancing
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 650
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A

Best Features

  • Loans are available from $5,000 up to 100% of the student’s school-certified cost of attendance.

  • Borrowers can make full payments while in school, or choose to pay interest only, a flat fee or defer payments.

  • Laurel Road student loans have no application, origination or prepayment fees.

See full profile

Best for minimal fees

LendKey is a student loan lending platform that connects credit unions and community banks with online borrowers. Founded in 2009, LendKey has served more than 99,000 borrowers with more than $3.1 billion in loans from partner lenders. Undergraduate and graduate student loans are available, as well as student loan refinancing.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, refinance
  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A

Best Features

  • Students can consider multiple lenders with a single application.

  • LendKey has no origination or application fees.

See full profile

Best for ACH discount

PNC Bank was established in 1845 and operates in all 50 states. The bank is engaged in a number of community efforts, including its Grow Up Great program in conjunction with Sesame Workshop and various financial literacy efforts. For students, PNC offers opportunities to win $2,000 scholarships toward education expenses. PNC provides a range of loans for students at all stages of postsecondary education, including professional training loans and refinancing.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, refinancing, MBA, law, dental, medical, bar and residency
  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • PNC offers a range of loans for undergraduate, graduate and professional education.

  • Loans are available in all 50 states.

  • Borrowers can receive an interest rate discount for automatic payment from a checking or savings account.

See full profile

Best for fixed APR

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority is a nonprofit quasi-state authority that provides college financing to students and parents. The lender specializes in providing loans to Rhode Island residents and students, though not all loans have residency requirements.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, refinance, parent
  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: unrated

Best Features

  • Students may be enrolled at least half-time and still qualify.

  • There is no prepayment fee, so borrowers may pay off their loans early.

  • Rewards are available for interns and nurses.

See full profile

What Does It Mean to Refinance or Consolidate a Student Loan?

Refinancing means getting a new (lower) interest rate on an existing loan. Consolidating student loans means combining multiple loans into one monthly payment. Federal loans can only be consolidated. Private loans can be consolidated and refinanced together.

You can consolidate loans through the U.S. Department of Education. The consolidation will give you one monthly payment with a new loan term and fixed interest rate that is the weighted average of your previous rates.

When you refinance student loans, a private lender repays your loans and issues a new loan based on your creditworthiness. If you can qualify for a better interest rate, you could save money and get lower monthly payments when you refinance student loans.

How Can You Refinance or Consolidate Student Loans?

Refinancing terms for your new private student loan are based on many factors, including your annual income, debt, employment and credit.

You can refinance federal student loans through private lenders, but it’s not always a good idea. That’s because you’ll lose access to flexible repayment options, including federal income-based repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.

Consolidating your federal loans neither changes the interest that accrues on them nor your ability to get more federal student loans. Consolidating your federal student loans requires no hard credit check and could offer you access to more flexible repayment options or forgiveness programs.

Rather than consolidate your loans, you could consider changing repayment plans to extend your loan terms and get lower monthly payments. But this also won’t reduce the cost of borrowing.

U.S. News Survey: Student Loan Payments Can Hinder Retirement Savings and Personal Goals

Many borrowers don’t regret their student loans and haven’t explored refinancing them for savings, according to a U.S. News survey of consumers with federal or private student loans. They revealed how much they borrowed, whether their payments are affordable and other details about how their student loans have affected their lives.

Among the survey’s key findings:

  • About half of respondents said their student loan payments are reasonable.
  • Student debt can impede personal goals, including saving for retirement, increasing disposable income and setting aside money for a down payment on a home.
  • Although lenders typically offer hardship options, such as deferment and forbearance, only about half of borrowers said they’ve used them.
  • Just 12% of survey respondents have refinanced student loans, and 22% have consolidated federal student loans.
  • More than half of respondents said they didn’t research lenders before getting a student loan.
  • About 41% of student loan borrowers surveyed said they have regrets about taking out student loans.
  • Loan refinance rate, loan amount, and repayment or hardship options were the top factors student loan borrowers considered when choosing a refinancing lender.

Most student loan borrowers surveyed took out less than $50,000 in loans.

A little more than half of survey respondents said their monthly student loan payments are affordable.

Student debt can get in the way of personal goals.

Only about half of respondents have used hardship options, such as deferment or forbearance.

Most student loan borrowers aren’t consolidating or refinancing student loan debt.

More than half of student loan borrowers didn’t research lenders.

Student loan borrowers tried financial aid alternatives before taking out private student loans.

Survey respondents are somewhat split on whether they regret taking out student loans.

Respondents said interest rate was the most important factor when choosing a loan.

  • U.S. News ran a nationwide survey in April 2020 through Google Surveys.
  • This survey sampled 500 people in the general American population who visit desktop and mobile sites where Google conducts surveys.
  • The survey asked 10 questions related to student loans.

Are You Eligible to Consolidate or Refinance Student Loans?

Before you proceed with consolidating or refinancing, check that your loans are eligible and make sure your choice is the right fit.

Federal student loan consolidation eligibility

Private student loan refinance eligibility

Eligibility can vary by lender, but many private student loan refinancing companies look at these factors:

  • Minimum credit score. You’ll usually need a minimum credit score of 670 or higher, which falls in FICO’s good range. But even if you qualify for refinancing, you may not get a lower interest rate than you have now.
  • Credit history. Lenders typically review your credit history for derogatory marks, such as late payments, and consider this information to determine your creditworthiness. You can order free copies of your credit reports – now weekly through April 2022 – at AnnualCreditReport.com to monitor for errors and dispute them, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of research for Savingforcollege.com, a resource for saving and paying for college.
  • Proof of stable work and income. Some lenders may have minimum annual income requirements.
  • Debt-to-income, or DTI, ratio. This is the percentage of your total monthly income that goes toward debt payments, and it can help lenders determine if you’ll have trouble making your loan payments. A lower DTI ratio is better because it indicates that you have more room in your monthly budget. The maximum DTI ratio is typically 40-50%, according to the lenders that disclose it. You can reduce your DTI ratio by switching to longer repayment plans, Kantrowitz says.

Also, lenders may require you to meet other conditions for refinancing student loans. If you can’t qualify on your own, some lenders might approve you with a creditworthy co-signer.

Lenders could restrict refinancing to those who:

  • Complete degrees
  • Have certain types of degrees, such as law or medicine
  • Live in certain states

How soon can you refinance student loans? You’re not likely to get approved for refinancing while still in school, unless you have income. Once you graduate and find a job, you should be able to refinance.

Parent PLUS loan refinance eligibility

Parents can refinance student loans, too. Parent PLUS refinancing is available with private lenders. When you refinance Parent PLUS loans or private parent loans, you could lower your interest rate, transfer the debt to your child or both.

Kantrowitz says, “You don’t lose as many benefits when refinancing a federal Parent PLUS loan into a private loan since parent borrowers are not eligible for income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.”

Should You Consolidate or Refinance Student Loans?

Use this chart to compare consolidating federal student loans with refinancing private student loans.

Federal Direct Consolidation Loan

Private Student Loan Refinancing

Are federal loans eligible?

Yes Yes

Are private loans eligible?

No

Yes

Can you lower your monthly payments?

Yes

Yes
Is a hard credit check needed? No Yes
Can you lower your interest rate? No Maybe, if you have good credit
Can you use a federal repayment plan? Yes No
Can you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness programs? Yes No

Consolidation does nothing for your interest rate, but it does make your loans easier to manage, says Travis Hornsby, founder of Student Loan Planner, a consulting firm that helps borrowers manage student loans.

Consolidation could make sense if:

  • You’re having trouble making payments. Consolidating and increasing your loan’s term could give you a lower monthly payment. You’ll keep access to federal loan repayment plans as well as deferment or forbearance, which can offer a safety net.
  • You’re struggling to manage multiple loans. By consolidating, you will combine all of your federal student loans into one new loan and one monthly payment.
  • You plan to work in a profession eligible for student loan forgiveness. If you have federal loans that aren’t eligible for a federal student loan forgiveness program, consolidating those loans could make them eligible. But don’t consolidate loans that are eligible for forgiveness if you’ve been making payments on them, because that will restart the clock on forgiveness.
  • You have a loan in default. You may be able to consolidate your loan and bring it out of default.

On the other hand, choose refinancing “if you’re trying to reduce your interest rate and you need to pay off your balance in full,” Hornsby says. Refinancing your student loans with a private lender could be a good idea, as long as:

  • You qualify for better terms. If you have good credit and meet the loan refinance lender’s minimum income requirement and other requirements, you may qualify for a better interest rate that can decrease your monthly payment and the cost of the loan.
  • You want to combine your federal and private student loans. You’ll have to refinance student loans with a private lender to combine private and federal loans.
  • Your income is stable. Refinancing federal student loans means you’ll no longer be eligible for income-driven repayment plans or federal hardship programs.
  • You don’t plan to use federal student loan forgiveness options or alternative payment plans. Private loans aren’t eligible for these federal loan programs.

Could You Save by Consolidating or Refinancing?

Congratulations! You just graduated and were hired for your first job earning $65,000 a year in San Francisco.

You have three federal direct subsidized loans: one for $10,000, one for $6,000 and the other for $5,000. To pay down your student debt under the standard repayment plan, you will spend 10 years and roughly $24,000, including interest.

Here’s how this scenario could change by either consolidating your federal loans or refinancing them with a private lender.

New APR

New monthly payment

Interest paid

Total paid

Consolidate with a 20-year term

5.53%

$145 $13,755

$34,755

Refinance with a five-year term

4.99%

$396

$2,772

$23,772

Refinance with a 10-year term

5.25%

$225 $6,038

$27,038

Refinance with a 15-year term

5.5%

$172

$9,886

$30,886

Be sure to compare the monthly payment with the total cost when you are considering consolidating or refinancing student loans, Kantrowitz says. Your monthly payment could be lower – sometimes much lower – but you could pay thousands of dollars more in interest.

Of course, you’ll want to compare more than just your monthly payment and interest rate to determine whether consolidating or refinancing your student loans might make sense.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Student Loan Refinancing Company

You can select the right loan refinance company for your needs by reviewing eligibility requirements and these key factors:

Loan refinance rates

Low interest rates are key. When you compare student loan refinance companies, look for competitive interest rates so you can pay the lowest annual percentage rate possible. You can choose between fixed rates and variable rates, depending on the lender.

  • Fixed-rates range. Loan refinance rates will vary based on your lender and credit, as well as loan terms and market rates. Fixed-interest-rate loans have a rate and monthly payment that doesn’t change over the life of the loan.
  • Variable-rates range. Variable-rate loans may initially have lower interest rates than fixed-rate loans.

Student loan companies usually advertise interest rate ranges on their websites, so that’s a good place to start. Some lenders offer a rate check option. This allows you to prequalify or see estimated loan refinance rates and terms using a soft credit check, which won’t hurt your credit. It’s a good idea to check rate options before you formally apply.

Loan and refinancing terms

Make sure a student loan refinancing company offers terms that meet your needs. Compare loan amounts and repayment terms to determine a good fit.

  • Maximum loan amount. Most people won’t need to worry about maximum loan amounts. Loan amounts range from $75,000 to $500,000. In some cases, lenders don’t have maximums. But this could be a concern for some borrowers with an exceptionally high student loan balance.
  • Minimum loan amount. Many student loan refinancing companies will require you to refinance at least $1,000, and some may expect you to refinance more. If you have a small amount of student debt, you might not be able to refinance it.
  • Loan repayment term. Most refinancing lenders offer loan repayment terms of 10, 15 and 20 years. Choosing a shorter repayment term could increase your monthly payment but reduce the interest you pay and get you out of student debt sooner.
  • Autopay deduction. Many lenders offer borrowers a 0.25-point APR discount if you sign up for autopay.

Repayment and hardship options

If you need flexible repayment or want hardship options available in case of emergency, find out what lenders offer. Some lenders may have flexible repayment options, perhaps allowing you to make interest-only payments for a certain period of time. Deferment, forbearance and other hardship options may be available, too.

Fees

Interest rate isn’t the only cost you’ll face. Refinanced student loans may come with origination, late or returned payment fees.

Customer service

Learn about how well a student loan refinancing company does with customer service by reading student loan reviews. You’ll want to know what experts and other consumers have to say about a loan refinance lender before you sign on the dotted line.

Overall, interest rate and ease of refinancing are the most important considerations when refinancing, Hornsby says, and that can guide your decision-making. Also, take a look at how generous the forbearance terms are and which servicer the company uses.

“That said, student loan refinancing is really a commodity,” Hornsby says. “You’re looking for the lowest interest rate with the least amount of pain in the application process. Luckily, that process is generally pretty fast and easy.”

View More Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

Best for multiple repayment options and no fees

SoFi is an online lender offering student loan refinancing, undergraduate, graduate and parent loans in all 50 states. The lender has served more than 375,000 borrowers with $30 billion in refinanced student loans. Although SoFi focused on refinancing in its early years, the company has expanded to also offer its own undergraduate, graduate and parent loans.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, parent loans, refinancing, parent refinancing, MBA, law, dental, medical
  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • All types of student loans are eligible for refinancing.

  • SoFi’s lending process is completely online.

  • Loan terms are available from five to 20 years.

See full profile

Best for streamlined approval process

Citizens Bank was founded in the late 1800s in Rhode Island. Today, it’s one of the largest commercial banks in the U.S. with a presence in 11 states. Branches are concentrated in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, parent loans, refinancing, parent refinancing
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 670
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Citizens Bank offers multiyear approval loans, meaning that once you get started, you will continue to secure funding for subsequent years in school without needing to go through a credit check every year.

  • Borrowers who are Citizens Bank customers who sign up for auto payments can reduce their interest rates by 0.5%.

  • International students can apply if they have a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with good credit.

See full profile

Best for small loan amounts

EDvestinU is a nonprofit student loan lending and refinancing organization. It offers student loans to borrowers in all 50 states. Undergraduate and graduate loans and student loan consolidation are available.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, refinancing
  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Co-signer accepted: yes
  • Better Business Bureau rating: B

Best Features

  • Loans are available from $1,000.

  • Borrowers can make full payments while in school, pay the interest only or defer payments.

  • EDvestinU student loans have no application, origination or prepayment fees.

See full profile

Best for online preapprovals

Founded in 2012, CommonBond has funded more than $3 billion in student loans. The lender offers undergraduate, graduate, MBA and student loan refinance loans.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: undergraduate, graduate, refinancing, parent refinancing, MBA, dental, medical, law
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed
  • Co-signer accepted: A co-signer is required for the undergraduate and graduate products. No co-signer is required for MBA, dental or medical loans. The lender offers a co-signer release after 24 on-time, consecutive payments. Parent PLUS loans can be refinanced to the child’s name, if they are eligible borrowers.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: B+

Best Features

  • Co-signers are accepted for all loans.

  • Borrowers can make up to full monthly payments while in school or choose to pay interest only, a flat fee or defer payments.

  • Online preapproval is available.

See full profile

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