The low interest rates offered by Brazos could mean significant savings for borrowers.
The big risk to refinancing is giving up the perks that come with federal student loans.
Lower monthly payments are available for borrowers who select longer repayment plans.
Brazos is only available to residents of Texas, so most borrowers will have to look elsewhere for better interest rates.
Overview: Brazos Student Loan Refinance Review
Let’s get the big limitation out of the way first: Brazos is only for residents of Texas. If you don’t currently reside in Texas — even if you went to a Texas school — you can’t refinance with Brazos.
Those who don’t live in Texas will have to shop elsewhere for student loan refinancing.
As for the Texans reading this article, Brazos is an excellent option for student loan refinancing. In fact, for most Texans, Brazos may be the very best student loan refinance lender available.
Brazos Student Loan Refinance Basics
|Loan Terms||5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 Years|
|Variable Rate Loans||5.32% - 9.12%|
|Fixed Rate Loans||4.90% - 6.99%|
|Minimum Refinance Amount||$10,000|
|Minimum Yearly Income||$60,000|
Brazos will refinance private loans and federal loans, including Parent PLUS loans. The maximum balance that Brazos will refinance is $400,000 for graduate borrowers and $150,000 for undergraduate borrowers.
The minimum credit score for borrowers is 720. However, Brazos will accept credit scores as low as 690 if the borrower has a cosigner.
Like other legitimate lenders, Brazos does not charge any loan origination, prepayment, or application fees.
All Brazos loans are serviced by Firstmark servicing.
Reasons to Choose Brazos to Refinance
Unlike most national lenders, Brazos is a nonprofit, and they get major points for transparency.
If you visit the Brazos site, you can see a detailed table that shows the exact interest rate offered to borrowers, depending on their credit score. The for-profit lenders don’t share this level of detail with consumers.
It is also worth noting that the rates offered are excellent. They compare very well with the top rates on the national market.
Reasons to Avoid a Brazos Refinance
My number one concern with Brazos applies to every refinance lender: It isn’t always a good idea to refinance federal loans with a private lender. If you choose to refinance with Brazos, you permanently erase federal benefits like income-driven repayment and student loan forgiveness.
Borrowers should carefully weigh the federal perks against the benefit of lowered interest rates from refinancing.
The other big downside to Brazos is the strict requirements. In addition to only being available for Texas residents, the $10,000 minimum to refinance is higher than most lenders who only require $5,000. Likewise, the minimum credit score and income are relatively high for a refinance loan. Most national lenders have more forgiving underwriting requirements.
Brazos also does not offer a cosigner release program. The transparency is good because many lenders advertise a release but make it difficult to qualify. However, most cosigners will want an option to get released from the loan.
Final Thoughts: Brazos Refinance Review
Most borrowers won’t qualify for a Brazos loan because of their strict requirements.
However, those who qualify will receive excellent interest rates from a reputable lender.
If you live in Texas and have an excellent credit score, Brazos is a superb refinance opportunity.