Skip to main content

Great Ways To Refinance Your Student Loan

5 minute read

Rebecca Henderson

By Rebecca Henderson

Cutting costs, sticking to a budget, and exacting as much value as possible on all fronts has largely become the financial modus operandi for many folks these days. Many government programs, such as the stimulus, have helped families as well. And in fact, the President’s order to allow student loan holders the option of delaying payments, as well as interest accrual, until the start of 2021 has also given many households some financial breathing room.

Some financial experts argue that payments made now will reduce the principal of student loan balance. However, there is another way to reduce your total loan without having to hyperextend yourself financially. If you’re struggling to make those payments, a change might be needed.

We’re talking about student loan refinancing. In this article, we’ll talk about whether refinancing will help you, when you should refinance, what companies to look into, and what your next steps might look like. By the end of it all, you’ll have a more definitive answer on whether you can depend on student loan refinancing for more savings each month, or if you should devote your efforts elsewhere.

The Two Major Types of Student Loans

There are two major types of student loans — private and federal. It’s important to understand that federal student loans can be consolidated to a single payment with one interest rate. Private student loans, however, can be combined with federal student loans and refinanced to the same end.

Here’s something you need to understand about refinancing federal student loans: “they’ll be ineligible for government programs like income-driven repayment and student loan relief due to the coronavirus pandemic.” That means you may no longer be eligible for any government assistance programs that you used in the past. At least as far as your student loan is concerned. If your loan is refinanced by a private lender, you could lose some of the government protections.

That said, loan consolidation might not necessarily allow you a lower interest rate. By going with a private student loan company, however, you do have the opportunity to “change the amount you pay, the amount of interest you accrue, and the length of time over which you are expected to pay back the loan.” There are a variety of factors that affect these terms, some of which may help you to pay less overall in student loans.

When to Refinance Your Student Loans

Before you look into refinancing further, consider your goals and how you can achieve them. Here are a few reasons why you may or may not want to refinance your student debt.

Why You Should Consider Refinancing

Why You Shouldn’t Consider Refinancing:

The great news is that you don’t have to refinance if you don’t want to. However, refinancing can be a way to give yourself more financial freedom when you need it.

Factors to Consider When Researching Refinance Companies

Deciding if you should refinance your student loans is one decision. Knowing which company to sign up with is another completely different one.

In your search, you should consider companies based on the following factors.

Every company might offer something slightly different. It will also be based on your own credit history. Below are the top refinancing companies we’ve come across. Use the considerations above to narrow down your search.

Top Student Loan Refinancing Companies

Below, in no particular order, are the top student loan refinancing companies you could consider.


One of the most popular refinancing companies, Earnest allows customers to customize their repayment schedule and offers flexible repayment terms. With a credit score as low as 650 accepted, Earnest welcomes students of many walks of life. Finally, Earnest handles all loans itself, meaning you can speak to employees directly about your loan terms.

Laurel Road

If you want to refinance during your medical/dental residency, Laurel Road is for you. They also offer co-signer options and “financial protection in case of hardship.

Education Loan Finance (ELFI)

Students looking for good customer service and a referral bonus should check out ELFI.


The folks at CommonBond bring a lot to their customers, from repayment flexibility and personalized mentoring, to a wide range of loan amounts and hybrid loan options with both fixed and variable rates.

Splash Financial

Offering both fixed and variable rates, Splash Financial is able to refinance a “broad range of student loans,” from PLUS and undergraduate loans to law, medical, and dental loans, too. There is also no maximum loan amount from Splash Financial.


LendKey is unique in that it works as a middle-man service that connects you to a community bank or credit union that will fulfill your refinancing needs.

Social Finance (SoFi)

As one of the most popular student loan refinancing companies, SoFi provides customers plenty of benefits, from no fees and online student loan refinancing to various programs to help you with your career goals.

Citizens Bank

Among many benefits, Citizens Bank also approves low-income borrowers and offers 24/7 customer service.

College Ave

With a quick application process, loan amount flexibility, and flexible repayment period terms, it’s easy to see why College Ave is one of the top student loan refinancing companies.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed)

The unique thing about PenFed is that they allow married couples who want to refinance their student loans into a single loan to do just that. It could be a great way for young couples to get better control of their finances.

Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA)

With a fixed APR and up-front terms, RISLA is a popular option among student loan refinancers. They also offer an “income-based repayment plan” for those watching every penny.

Find any companies you like? Consider doing your own research to find out more.

Next Steps: Quote, Consider, and Act

We hope this article has helped you narrow down your search for a student loan refinancing company. Of the companies that made your short list, consider reaching out to a select few for a pre-qualification process. Typically the companies will perform only a soft credit check, which won’t hurt your score.

We urge you to carefully weigh not only the financial factors, but the emotional and mental aspects as well. Remember that at any time, you can stop the refinancing process. What moves will benefit you specifically? Ask questions along the way, research companies and interest rates, and above all, seek out help when in doubt. After all, your financial future could depend on it.

Piggy Bank with Money and CalculatorShutterstock
Rebecca Henderson

Freelance Writer

Rebecca Henderson has a Master's in German and a Bachelor's in Creative Writing. She alternates her time between writing and working on a variety of motorized projects. Most recently, she and her boyfriend have been building a custom drift trike. Rebecca believes that language, love, and a life worth living are only the first ingredients to happiness.


How to Get the Most Out of Your Education Dollars Student Loans

How to Get the Most Out of Your Education Dollars

It’s long been accepted that furthering your education is one of the best ways to increase your earning power. Specialized training can go a long way toward developing skills that others are willing to pay more for. However, there is no singular “right” way to get this education or training. As a society, we place […]

Read More about How to Get the Most Out of Your Education Dollars

9 minute read

What Happens If You Can’t Pay Your Student Loans? Student Loans

What Happens If You Can’t Pay Your Student Loans?

College or university costs a ton these days. Many students find themselves taking on a great deal of student loan debt. It’s not unheard of for some students to graduate with as much as half a million dollars in student loans. Let that sink in for a second. That’s $500,000 to eventually have to pay […]

Read More about What Happens If You Can’t Pay Your Student Loans?

9 minute read

Should You Count on Student Loan Forgiveness? Man looks at Student Loan Notice Student Loans

Should You Count on Student Loan Forgiveness?

Now that January 20 has come and gone, there’s a new Democratic administration in the White House. We don’t want to get bogged down in the politics of the transition. However, President Biden taking office has many Americans hopeful he will do something to address the staggering student debt problem the country is facing. As […]

Read More about Should You Count on Student Loan Forgiveness?

4 minute read

Why You Should Never Pay an Upfront Fee For Student Loan Relief Student Loan Relief Application on Table Student Loans

Why You Should Never Pay an Upfront Fee For Student Loan Relief

Student debt is a major problem in America. The country collectively owes more than $1.5 trillion — yes, with a T — in outstanding student loans. It’s become a crippling problem for millions, as wages remain low and unemployment hit record highs in 2020. (Yes, part of that is pandemic related, but it’s still the […]

Read More about Why You Should Never Pay an Upfront Fee For Student Loan Relief

4 minute read

How Will You Help Your Kids Pay for College? Graduation Cap With Cash Student Loans

How Will You Help Your Kids Pay for College?

Every parent wants to help their children establish the best possible future. One of the ways to do this is to encourage them to get a good education. While this doesn’t always have to mean getting a college degree, many families do take this route. While there are other post-secondary education options, this is a […]

Read More about How Will You Help Your Kids Pay for College?

5 minute read

You Now Have a Bit More Time to Pay Off Your Federal Student Loans Student Graduation Cap on Top of Money Student Loans

You Now Have a Bit More Time to Pay Off Your Federal Student Loans

For much of 2020, anyone with outstanding federal student loans were given a break. In the wake of the pandemic, the government offered a generous forbearance program that let borrowers breathe easy about those costly monthly payments. However, that original program is scheduled to end in September. If you’re still stressed about how you’re going […]

Read More about You Now Have a Bit More Time to Pay Off Your Federal Student Loans

2 minute read

Five Questions To Ask Before Taking Out A Student Loan Cash with Student Grad Cap Student Loans

Five Questions To Ask Before Taking Out A Student Loan

Student loans can be a real financial wrecker. The U.S. Federal Reserve estimates that Americans now owe between $900 billion and $1 trillion in student loan debt. That figure has been steadily growing since the 1980s. Other estimates put the total amount of student debt around $1.5 trillion. The average American leaving college owes more […]

Read More about Five Questions To Ask Before Taking Out A Student Loan

5 minute read

See all in Student Loans