7 Easy Ways to Refinance Student Debt

Refinancing student loans is a smart way to lower your monthly payments. In some cases, a lower interest rate can result in a significantly lower monthly payment on a school loan. Consolidating multiple loans into a single debt as part of the refi can also make managing the monthly bills a lot easier.

The trick is to know where you can refinance student debt. Listed below are six options worth considering. Some of the options, like SoFi and CommonBond specialize in student loans. In other cases traditional banks offer refinance options. Please note that while we have included information on interest rates, these rates can and do change frequently. Be sure to check with the financial institution’s website for terms and conditions before applying.

1. SoFi

In addition to various other loan types, SoFi offers student loan debt consolidation. It’s a community driven marketplace, where individuals and investors – both individual and institutional – come together. The platform makes use of nontraditional underwriting, taking merit and employment history into account in approving loans.

Loan funds are provided not only by individuals, but also by large institutions, including Barclays and Morgan Stanley. The site claims that its members save an average of $11,783 when they refinance student loans through the platform. The site has provided student loan refinancing of over $1.75 billion, and claims to be the largest such provider of these loans.

Some of the features of student loan consolidations include:

  • You can refinance both federal and private student loans through the platform.
  • There are no application, origination, or pre-payment fees.
  • Fixed rate loans range from 3.375% APR to 6.740% APR (with AutoPay)
  • Variable rate loans range from 2.355% APR to 6.280% APR (again, with AutoPay)
  • Loan terms are from 60 months to 240 months.
  • The minimum loan amount is $10,000, and no maximum is indicated.
  • Unemployment protection – if you lose your job your loan repayments will be suspended for up to 12 months, and SoFi will help you to find a job.

This looks to be an excellent program, given that student loan debt consolidations are one of their specializations.

2. Credible

This site is arguably the easiest and best tool to refinance student loans. Why? Because it gives you up to 10 different financial institutions to chose from. You simply input your financial information, and Credible evaluates your loans and finances and presents you with multiple refinancing options. You can see Credible in action here.

3. RBS Citizens

RBS Citizens Financial Group began doing student loan consolidation loans in January of 2014, and they call their program the Education Refinance Loan. The bank operates primarily in the US Northeast region.

Features of the program include:

  • Available for both private and federal student loans
  • No application, origination, disbursement or prepayment penalty fees.
  • Fixed rate loans starting at 4.74%.
  • Variable rate loans starting at 2.32%.
  • Loan terms of five to 20 years.
  • Loan amounts from $10,000 to $170,000.
  • If you need a cosigner, that cosigner can be released after 36 consecutive on-time principal and interest payments.

One other thing, you don’t need to have an existing relationship with the bank in order to get the consolidation loan.

4. Charter One

Charter One is also part of RBS, but operates as a distinct bank. The main difference from RBS Citizens is geography – while Citizens is in the Northeast, Charter One primarily operates in the Midwest.

Even so, the terms of the student loan consolidation are virtually identical to those of RBS Citizens Financial:

  • Available for both private and federal student loans
  • No application, origination, disbursement or prepayment penalty fees.
  • Fixed rate loans starting at 4.74%.
  • Variable rate loans starting at 2.32%.
  • Loan terms of five to 20 years.
  • Loan amounts from $10,000 to $170,000.
  • If you need a cosigner, that cosigner can be released after 36 consecutive on-time principal and interest payments.

And once again, you don’t need to have an existing relationship with the bank in order to get the consolidation loan.

5. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo operates its consolidation program under the name Wells Fargo Private Consolidation loan. One significant departure from the other lenders on this list is that the Wells Fargo program is for consolidation of private student loans only, not federal student loans.

Some of the features of Wells Fargo’s consolidation program include:

  • You can apply online.
  • Discounts if you have a Wells Fargo PMA Package (.50%), a Wells Fargo checking acccount (.25%), a previous federal or private student loan through Wells Fargo (.25%), or you enroll in automatic payments (.25%). Only one discount applies per loan.
  • Fixed rate loan rates from 6.99% APR to 11.79% APR.
  • Variable rate loan rates from 3.74% APR to 8.49% APR.
  • Loan terms from 15 to 20 years.
  • Minimum loan amount $5,000 – maximum loan amount $120,000
  • No application, origination or prepayment penalty fees.

You will need to qualify for the consolidation, or include a credit-worthy co-signer in order to meet the loan requirements.

6. Darien Rowayton Bank

Darien Rowayton Bank advertises that a borrower could save $13,600 on a $100,000 loan with a ten year term as a result of refinancing. Their consolidation program covers both federal and private student loans.

Features of the Darien Rowayton Bank consolidation include:

  • Refinance up to 100% of outstanding Federal and private loans (minimum loan amount $5,000).
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties.
  • Fixed rate or variable loans with rate cap.
  • Loan terms range from five to 20 years.
  • Fixed rate loans from 3.50% to 6.25%.
  • Variable rate loans from 1.92% to 3.98%.
  • There is a 0.25% discount for making automated payments from a DRB checking account.

Darien Rowayton Bank is a small Connecticut based bank with just three branches, but they operate nationwide through their website.

7. CommonBond

CommonBond is a recent startup in the student loan refinancing space. It website states that it takes just two minutes to see if you qualify and with no effect on your credit score.

  • Low fixed and variable rates.
  • Refinance up to $220,000.
  • Choose from several loan terms.
  • No penalty for prepayment.
  • Forbearance and deferral options.

As noted earlier, the easiest way is to start with Credible and let it search multiple lenders to find you best student loan refinancing rate it can.

Topics: debt

3 Responses to “7 Easy Ways to Refinance Student Debt”

  1. Thanks for sharing these different ways to refinance student debt. With more unique ways possible, student debt is becoming easier to refinance. Thanks for sharing.

    • Rob Berger

      Lauren, thanks for the comment. It does seem to be getting easier. What’s interesting is that now companies are forming that do nothing but refinance student debt. This gives us options beyond traditional banks.

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