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5 Best Student Loan Refinance Companies of June 2022 | Money 6/2/2022 Andrea Agostini and Gabriella Cruz-Martínez

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Refinancing your student loans can help you pay off debt quicker and save you money in the long run. Refinance rates have been slowly rising from their historic lows in 2021, albeit somewhat unevenly across different terms, so it might be a good idea to act before they go up any further.

Check out our best student loan refinancing companies of 2022 below, along with industry insights and the latest CARES Act information. As of this writing, President Biden has extended the Covid forbearance pause on student loan payments four times, most recently until August 31, 2022.

While there has been much speculation about whether Biden will go a step further and forgive or cancel a large portion, recent statements have made clear that there are no plans to forgive $50K in federal student loans, let alone all student loan debt.

Our Top Picks for the Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

  • Credible – Best Student Loan Marketplace
  • Splash Financial – Most Affordable Loan Payment Options for Medical Students
  • PenFed – Best Credit Union
  • Laurel Road – Best Student Loan Consolidation for Medical Students
  • Earnest – Best for Customizing Loan Repayment

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Best Student Loan Refinance Reviews

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Why we chose it: We chose Credible as our best student loan marketplace because its prequalification tool allows borrowers to compare customized rates from multiple lenders, after filling out a single application.


  • Compare multiple lenders in one place
  • Check if you qualify without a hard credit check


  • Not itself a lender
  • You must research each lender individually before applying


Minimum income requirementsVaries by lenderMinimum credit scoreVaries by lenderPrepayment penaltyVaries by lenderCosigner releaseVaries by lender, but several offer itLoan amountVaries by lenderLoan typesPrivate undergraduate, graduate and Parent PLUSFeesThe marketplace does not charge you for its servicesFixed interest rateVaries by lender Variable interest rateVaries by lender

Credible is an online marketplace for private student loans and student loan refinancing that provides personalized quotes from banks, fintech companies and state loan authorities such as Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) and Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA).

The marketplace offers student loan refinancing through undergraduate, graduate and Parent PLUS loans. While not all Credible partners may offer the lowest interest rates compared to other lenders on this list, the marketplace boasts:

  • High approval rates
  • Income-driven repayment plans (particular to RISLA)
  • No partnerships with lenders that charge prepayment fees, application fees, or origination fees

Other Credible partner lenders include Advantage Education Loan, Brazos, Citizens Bank, College Ave, EdvestinU, ELFI, and PenFed.

Be aware that as a marketplace, Credible doesn’t list all terms and conditions of each lender — that’s why we recommend you do your own research to find out about specific forbearance policies, discounts, unemployment protection and other features.

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Why we chose it: We chose Splash Financial as having the most affordable repayment options for medical students due to its expertise in medical school debt, where it got its start as a company.


  • One of the few companies that offer the option of refinancing with your spouse
  • Check if you qualify without a hard credit pull


  • Not a lender
  • You must research each lender individually before applying


Minimum income requirementsVaries by lenderMinimum credit score640Prepayment penaltyVaries by lenderCosigner releaseVaries by lenderLoan amountVaries by lender, minimum of $5KLoan typesUndergraduate, healthcare graduate and Parent PLUSFeesNo origination and application feesFixed interest rateStart at 1.99% Variable interest rateStart at 1.74%

Splash Financial is an online marketplace that partners with loan servicers to provide medical students with the lowest student loan refinance rates and affordable repayment options. It also partners with lenders to refinance other student loans. While a marketplace, Splash Financial won’t show you multiple offers from the banks and credit unions in its network, and you’ll only know who it considers the best fit after filling out a full application.

Terms range from 5 to 20 years for fixed-rate loans and 25 years for variable interest loans. While there is no maximum loan amount the minimum needed to refinance is $5,000.

For medical and dental residents:

  • Refinancing medical school loans with Splash could help you lower payments to as little as $100 a month for the duration of your residency, plus an additional six months after the end of the residency or fellowship.
  • Students with associate degrees in specific medical fields are allowed to refinance up to a maximum of $50,000 with Splash.

The company offers an easy loan application and pre-qualification process for undergraduate and Parent PLUS loans. Spouses can benefit from student loan consolidation and refinance their loans together, as the company offers the option to “take over” your spouse’s loans. Parent loans can also be transferred to the child.

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Why we chose it: We chose PenFed as the best credit union because of its spousal loan options and low interest rates.


  • Married borrowers can refinance their student loans into a single loan
  • Refinance parent PLUS loans under your name
  • Deposit $5 to open a membership account


  • Must become a PenFed member to apply


Minimum income requirementsRanges from $42,000 to $50,000, depending on the loan amount and whether there is a cosignerMinimum credit scoreUnavailablePrepayment penaltyNoneCosigner releaseAfter 1 year of consecutive on-time paymentsLoan amountUp to $300,000Loan typesGraduate, undergraduate and Parent PLUSFeesNoneFixed interest rate5.49% - 7.68%Variable interest rateUnavailable

Pentagon Federal Credit Union is the second-largest credit union in the nation that offers student loan refinancing. PenFed’s student loan products are provided exclusively by online lender Purefy.

The company offers fixed- and variable-rate options for borrowers — students, parents and couples — refinancing up to $300,000 in private or federal student loan debt, with loan payment terms ranging from five to 15 years.

With PenFed, married couples can file a loan application to refinance their student loans together.The spouse with the highest degree should apply as the primary applicant to ensure the best rates. Unlike traditional refinancing, only one person needs to have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher to refinance through PenFed’s Couple Loan.

The annual income requirement ranges from $42,000 to $50,000, depending on the loan amount and whether there is a cosigner or not. As a member of PenFed, you will gain access to member rate discounts, an advice center and financial offers.

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Why we chose it: We chose Laurel Road as the best student loan consolidation option for medical students because of its reduced student loan refinancing rates for optometrists, nurses, dentists, physicians or physician’s assistants.


  • Refinances Parent PLUS loans
  • No application, origination or disbursement fees
  • Can choose a term under 20 years


  • Shorter grace period (6 months) when compared to other lenders
  • Loans are designed for people in the healthcare field, so not all graduate programs qualify


Minimum income requirementsVaries per each applicant's financial profile.NoneMinimum credit score640, 650 or 660 depending on education levelPrepayment penaltyNoneCosigner releaseNo, you must reapply for a loan to remove a cosignerLoan amountMin: $5,000 for bachelor's degree and higher. Max: $50,000 for all non-parent PLUS refinance loansLoan typesUndergraduate, healthcare graduate and Parent PLUSFeesNoneFixed interest rate2.74% - 6.05%Variable interest rate1.64% - 5.95%

Laurel Road’s medical school loan program is available for medical residents or fellows who want to consolidate their federal and private loans into a single loan payment.

Interest won’t compound during your residency, and the company allows you to reduce payments to as little as $100 per month for up to four years before you start standard repayments.

Your eligibility requirements as a resident are based on your:

  • Credit profile
  • Monthly debt payments
  • Income projections at the end of your training period

Laurel Road offers a refinancing option for up to $50,000 for medical residents with associate degrees in eligible healthcare fields. The $50,000 maximum will not apply to parents borrowing for children pursuing an associate degree.

We liked that the lender offers a handy calculator so that prospective borrowers can see what their potential savings might be like with a refinance.

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Why we chose it: We chose Earnest as best for customizing loan repayment because of its interesting approach to underwriting based on earning potential, and its precision pricing model.


  • Customizable payments and loan terms
  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months
  • Autopay discounts are available
  • Can refinance your full student loan amount


  • Doesn't allow co-signers
  • Not available for citizens of Kentucky and Nevada


Minimum income requirementsVaries per each applicant's financial profile. The lender currently doesn't accept cosignersMinimum credit score700Prepayment penaltyNoneCosigner releaseUnavailableLoan amount$5,000-$500,000Loan typesUndergraduate, graduate and Parent PLUSFeesNoneFixed interest rateStarting at 2.74%Variable interest rateStarting at 1.74%

Backed by student loan giant Navient, Earnest offers multiple loan repayment options and refinance loans for students and parents at competitive rates. The company also features a unique underwriting approach, which factors your earning potential to determine your interest rate and payments. Earning potential is based on your degree, your history of on-time payments and your credit score.

Earnest also offers a “precision pricing” option, which:

  • Allows you to choose a loan repayment term based on your ideal monthly payment amount
  • Offers term lengths at 1 to 3-month intervals between 5 to 20 years
  • Benefits recent graduates or borrowers that may not have sufficient credit history to qualify for refinancing elsewhere

To refinance your student loan through Earnest, you must have a minimum loan balance of $5,000, or $10,000 if you reside in California. The company states that once you are approved, you are automatically approved for your entire loan amount, but you can choose to refinance less.

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Other student loan refinance companies we considered

Navy Federal Credit Union


Minimum income requirementIndividual: 21 months or more of credit history and a monthly income of at least $2,000. Cosigner: Borrower must have a minimum monthly income of $1,000, and the cosigner must have a minimum monthly income of $2,000Minimum credit scoreUnavailablePrepayment penaltyNo prepayment penaltiesCosigner releaseAvailable after 12 consecutive, on-time principal and interest paymentsLoan amount$7,500-$125,000 for undergraduate debt. $7,500-$175,000 for graduate or combined debtLoan typesUndergraduate, graduate and Parent PLUSFeesNo application or origination feesFixed interest rateStarting at 2.34%Variable interest rateStarting at 1.79%

Navy Federal is the largest credit union in the world and specializes in banking and financial services for members of the military. Students with any type of student loan with Navy Federal are eligible to use the Career Assistance Program, an online job training tool that provides tips on interviewing, resume building and more. Parents that have taken out loans for multiple children can refinance and benefit from student loan consolidation.

Why it didn’t make the cut:

  • Limited membership: The credit union only services members of the military or those who have family or household members in the armed forces.

Citizens Bank


Minimum income requirementsUnavailableMinimum credit scoreUnavailablePrepayment penaltyNo prepayment penaltiesCosigner releaseMay be requested after 36 consecutive on-time principal payments on principal and interestLoan amountMinimum of $10,000. Maximum of $300,000 (Undergraduate degree), $500,000 (Graduate degree) and $750,000 (Professional degree)Loan typesUndergraduate, graduate and Parent PLUSFeesNo application or origination feesFixed interest rateStarting at 3.75%Variable interest rateStarting at 1.99%

Citizens Bank combines the stability of a traditional bank with the flexibility of online lending and offers refinancing options for both students and parents.

Loan refinancing is available to permanent resident aliens and non-U.S. citizens (with a qualified co-signer), something that most other loan servicers don’t offer.

Why it didn’t make the cut:

  • Citizens Bank has a history of complaints. This eventually resulted in regulatory action by the CFPB in 2015. The issue seems to have improved within the past few years, as there are currently only 43 complaints against the company’s student loan refinance products at this time.



Minimum income requirementsDoes not discloseMinimum credit scoreDoes not disclosePrepayment penaltyNone, as well as no late payment charges. Cosigner releaseMay be requested after the student has graduated and completed 12 on-time payments, among other requirementsLoan amount$5,000 up to your total outstanding loan balanceLoan typesUndergraduate, graduate and Parent PLUSFeesNo application, origination or disbursement feeFixed interest rateStarting at 3.49% Variable interest rateStarting at 1.74%

SoFi is a leading online loan servicer that offers student loan consolidation and refinancing for undergraduate, graduate, medical student and Parent Plus loans.

Member perks include career coaching, free access to a college cost comparison tool, free access to personalized financial planning advice and a referral program that pays you and the person you referred $300 for refinancing with SoFi.

Why it didn’t make the cut:

  • While SoFi offers competitive rates and provides members with various cost-free benefits, the lender barely missed making our list of top student loan refinance servicers. It currently has 53 complaints against it with CFPB, mainly relating to its loan process.

Student Loan Refinance Guide

In this guide, you will find information on what refinancing your student loans entails, when the best time to refinance is and what you need to qualify.

Table of Contents:

  • How does refinancing student loans work?
  • When to refinance student loans
  • How to refinance student loans
  • Student loan refinance application requirements
  • Student loan refinancing vs. Student loan consolidation
  • Student Loan Refinance and COVID-19
  • Latest News on Student Loan Refinance

How does refinancing student loans work?

When you refinance your student loan you are replacing your current loan with a new loan with new terms from a private lender. Generally, borrowers refinance student loans to extend their repayment period, obtain a low interest rate (and therefore lower monthly payments) or consolidate multiple student loans into one single payment.

You can only refinance student loans through a private lender, not the federal government. If you have federal student loans, keep in mind that you will be giving up federal benefits that come with government loans such as student loan forgiveness and certain loan repayment programs should you choose to refinance. If your student loan is from a private lender you can refinance with your current lender or choose a different lender.

When to refinance student loans

With interest rates near historic lows but slowly trending upwards, refinancing your student loans — whether federal or private — can save you money by replacing your existing education debt with a new loan under a private lender.

Be aware that refinancing a federal loan can mean losing valuable benefits and protections, such as income-based loan repayment plans, public service loan forgiveness, interest subsidies and student loan tax deductions.

Take a look at the following pros and cons to determine if refinancing your student loan is right for you.


  • Take advantage of market fluctuations to reduce your rate
  • Shorten your loan repayment term
  • Increase or lower your monthly payment
  • Consolidate federal and private student loans and have a single monthly payment
  • Option to remove your cosigner
  • Multiple repayment terms are available, often 5 to 20-years


  • No federal repayment protections
  • No federal student loan forgiveness
  • Subject to the private lender's repayment terms
  • No flexibility to alter the repayment plan without refinancing
  • No income-based repayment option
  • Irreversible: private loans can't be converted back to federal loans

How to refinance student loans

Check your credit

Student loan refinance lenders will take into account your creditworthiness. Generally, borrowers with credit scores in the high 600s, typically around 650 to 680, are more likely to qualify for a refinance loan.

If you have a low score or bad credit, a good first step is to check your credit reports for any incorrect information that may be affecting your score. By recognizing errors early on, you can remove them from your credit history and work to improve your financial situation.

Consider the types of loans you have

Refinancing a federal loan means you lose exclusive benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Education, including public service loan forgiveness (PSLF), income-driven repayment plans, forbearance options and deferment. Private student loans generally have a limited disaster or emergency forbearance period compared to federal loans.

Shop around

When comparing refinancing lenders, look at the credit score and annual income requirements, the annual percentage rate (APR) offered and debt-to-income ratio (DTI) requirements. Take the time to check the lender’s history with customer complaints or whether they’ve had any recent lawsuits related to their student loan products within the last 5 years.

Evaluate cosigner release options

Some private lenders may offer cosigner release options if the primary borrower meets specific repayment qualifying criteria. With a co-signer release, the cosigner’s credit will be cleared of debt, but the loan will remain in their credit history.

Research lender’s financial hardship relief options

Some online lenders offer student loan unemployment deferment and forbearance, relief options that allow you to temporarily pause loan payments until you get back on your feet. A typical forbearance period with a private lender can be two to three months.

To learn more, check out our full guide on how to refinance student loans.

Student loan refinance application requirements

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Good credit

Most lenders require credit scores above 650, though you’ll need a higher score to qualify for the lowest advertised rates. If your credit is too low or you have a short credit history, you’ll likely have to apply with a cosigner that has strong credit and a stable income.

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Proof of Income

Stable annual income is essential. Lenders will evaluate your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), meaning the percentage of your gross income that goes toward paying debts each month. Most companies require you to have a low DTI to qualify, but some may accept written job offers as sufficient evidence.

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Applicants with insufficient credit history, low income or a low credit score will benefit from a cosigner. A cosigner can be a parent or relative that applies for the loan with you and takes on the responsibility of paying it back if you can’t. Cosigners must have sufficient income and strong credit.

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College degree

A college degree isn’t always necessary to refinance your student loans, but having a degree gives you more options. Most lenders require a bachelor’s degree to qualify for refinancing, and a few accept borrowers with associate degrees.

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U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status

Most, if not all, lenders require you to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to be eligible to refinance your student loans. If your student loans are foreign, it’s recommended that you build sufficient credit in the United States to qualify for refinancing.

Student loan refinancing vs. Student loan consolidation

One of the benefits of refinancing through a private student loan lender is that borrowers can consolidate multiple loans into one loan and have a single monthly payment under one servicer. Here are the key differences between student loan consolidation and refinance:

Private Loan Refinance Direct Consolidation Loans
Replaces one or more existing loans — federal or private — with a new private loan. Combines your existing federal student loans into one federal student loan.
Available for federal and private loans, depending on the lender. Available for federal student loans only.
Interest rates are determined by your credit history and potential market trends. This may result in a lower interest rate. Your new interest rate will be the result of the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans you’re consolidating, so this option does not reduce the amount of interest you’re paying each month.
Credit history will be verified. Does not require a credit check for approval.
Fixed- or variable-interest-rate loans. Can consolidate variable rate loans into fixed-rate loans.
Multiple repayment terms are available, often 5 to 20-years. Consolidation loans offer several repayment options besides the standard 10-year repayment plan and can extend the term of the loan by 12 to 30 years.
Parent PLUS loans can be refinanced under the adult child’s name, relieving parents of debt. Parent Plus loans cannot be consolidated under the adult child’s name.
You lose all benefits associated with federal student loans. You retain all benefits and protections available to federal student loans.

Student Loan Refinance and COVID-19


As of April 2022, the Biden administration announced a further extension on the current suspension of federal student loan payments, interest and collections to August 31, 2022. That relief also applies to defaulted loans, as collections and garnishments have been suspended until that date.

Student loan servicers’ COVID-19 response


• Forbearance or adjusted loan repayment plan for up to 6 months for those who qualify

• The option to file a COVID-19 Hardship Application for additional support

Consumers can find more information here.
Laurel Road

• Forbearance of 3 monthly payments

• The option to request an additional 3-month forbearance if you are still unable to meet your payments. To qualify for these additional 3 months your account must have been current before the first COVID-19 forbearance.

For more information, please refer to their Coronavirus Response page. This resource consists of a financial guide centered on the current pandemic and discusses how to better navigate hardship.

Consumers can find more information here.

Splash Financial
• Lower rates in response to the economic crisis

Splash Financial encourages clients to reach out directly at (800) 349-3938 so they can negotiate accommodations like forbearance or waiving fees.

Consumers can find more information here.


• Short-term forbearance, which will make eligible loans current and postpone payments for at least a month.

• Coronavirus national emergency forbearance, which allows qualified customers up to three months of delayed payments.

Short-term interest-only program that allows clients to make lower (interest only) payments for up to 90 days.Customers are encouraged to access their Coronavirus Response Center, a web page that addresses common questions about hardship, disaster forbearance and their other payment postponement options.

Navy Federal Credit Union

Eligible members have access to:

• Loan extensions

• Deferred payments

• credit card line increases

• Student loan forbearance through LendKey

• Overdraft protection, fee-free transfers

• Penalty-free certificate withdrawals.

The company encourages borrowers to contact their Student Loan Center at 1-877-304-9302 for more information. Consumers can find general Covid FAQ information here.
Citizens Bank

• Three-month emergency loan forbearance. Interest will still accrue.

• The option to request two additional three-month forbearance periods, for a total of nine months.

• All late fees are waived

Consumers can find more information here.

• Payment deferral.

• Unemployment protection

• The option to request a forbearance period for up to 12 months in 3 month increments (interest will still accrue, and the life of the loan will extend).Consumers can find more information here.

Credible is excluded from this section because it’s a loan marketplace and does not issue loans. As it does not have its own COVID-19 policy in place, we recommend you refer to the specific loan servicer’s platforms for further information.

Latest News on Student Loan Refinance

Starting July 1, the federal government will increase student loan interest rates. We explain why, and by how much in our article: Interest Rates on Federal Student Loans Set to Rise This Year.

Student loan forgiveness was a central talking point on Joe Biden’s campaign trail, yet a year into his presidency, close to 43 million Americans still carry a heavy student debt burden. Learn what his administration set out to do, and what it has and hasn’t achieved in our recent article: Why Hasn’t Joe Biden Forgiven All Your Student Loan Debt? Short Answer: He Never Promised To.

As inflation skyrockets, some argue that massive student debt relief will worsen it. However, according to recent research, economists and financial experts, this concern is misguided and distracts from more important obstacles regarding debt forgiveness. Read what experts had to say about inflation and student debt cancellation in Would Student Loan Forgiveness Make Inflation Even Worse?

Best student loan refinance FAQ

Can you refinance federal student loans?

Yes, even though federal loans can be consolidated, you can choose to refinance them instead. However, note that you will lose federal student loan benefits, including repayment options.

How to refinance a student loan?

First, decide if refinancing is the right option for you, as opting to refinance your federal loan will eliminate various federal loan benefits, including low interest rates, repayment grace periods and deferment/forbearance options. Once you've made up your mind, you can shop for rates online and pick the best offer for you.

How often can you refinance student loans?

You can refinance your student loan as many times as you want. Student loans typically don't carry any origination or prepayment fees. If you've already refinanced your student loan but have improved your credit score or found a better rate, you can refinance again.

Why refinance student loans?

Refinancing your federal student loan isn't the best option for everyone. Federal loans usually have favorable terms and benefits you would lose by refinancing with a private lender. Before opting to refinance, look into the benefits of consolidating your federal student loans. Refinancing can be worth it only if it considerably lowers your interest rate and saves you money in the long run.

What is the best student loan refinance company?

The simple answer is that the best student loan refinance company for you is just that: the best for your situation. If you want a customizable payment option, maybe Splash Financial may offer better terms. In any case our best student loan refinance list can help narrow down your options.

How We Chose the Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

Loan refinance selection

Some lenders didn’t make our cut because they didn’t offer a full range of refinancing options, such as for ParentPLUS student loans, which was a non-negotiable point in our criteria.

Payment options and fees

We favored companies with flexible payback policies, such as co-signer release and financial hardship relief options for qualified applicants. We also looked for financial institutions that offered refinance loans without charging application or origination fees, or even prepayment penalties. Additionally, we favored lenders who offered interest rate reductions for signing up for automatic payments, or autopay programs.

Customer experience

When we researched each company on our shortlist, it was important for us to evaluate whether lenders had an inordinate number of complaints or any ongoing actions with regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

Summary of Money’s Best Student Loan Refinance Companies of June 2022

  • Credible – Best Student Loan Marketplace
  • Splash Financial – Most Affordable Loan Payment Options for Medical Students
  • PenFed – Best Credit Union
  • Laurel Road – Best Student Loan Consolidation for Medical Students
  • Earnest – Best for Customizing Loan Repayment

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This article originally appeared on and may contain affiliate links for which Money receives compensation. Opinions expressed in this article are the author's alone, not those of a third-party entity, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed. Offers may be subject to change without notice. For more information, read Money’s full disclaimer.

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