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The Best Student Loan Refinance Rates

We searched the entire marketplace and ranked the lenders offering the best student loan refinance rates over a wide range of terms.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

Last Updated:

The Best Student Loan Refinance Rates

We searched the entire marketplace and ranked the lenders offering the best student loan refinance rates over a wide range of terms.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

Last Updated:

Editor’s Note: We update the rates on these tables monthly.

Student loan debt in the United States has reached well over a trillion dollars. Therefore, it is no surprise that new lenders continue to pop up in the refinance marketplace.

Unfortunately, finding the lender offering the best student loan refinance rates can be tricky. The vast majority of companies only advertise their lowest rate. However, this rate generally applies only to customers looking for a five-year variable-rate loan. This information is not very useful if you are looking for a 20-year fixed-rate loan.

To make shopping lenders a little easier, we’ve scanned the entire student loan marketplace. We ranked the lenders offering the best rates in various categories of loans. These loans include fixed-rate loans, variable-rate loans, and 5-, 7-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year loan terms. For each category, we have included some tips and lender notes for prospective borrowers.

The Lowest Student Loan Refinance Rates

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
1Laurel Road1.64%Laurel Road Review
T-2Earnest1.88%Earnest Review
T-2Splash Financial1.88%Splash Financial Review

To get the lowest advertised student loan refinance rates, you will need good credit and a good debt-to-income ratio. You will also have to be willing to accept a 5-year variable-rate loan. Paying back the loan in only five years is an aggressive route. But, it is the best way to minimize spending on interest. The risk with this option is that payments could conceivably go up. However, by having such a short loan term, the hope is that the loan is paid off in full before interest rates make a measurable jump.

At present, we have several top lenders within a fraction of a percent of the best rate. This isn’t a surprise as there is a lot of competition to have the lowest advertised rates on the market. This is good news for borrowers looking for a 5-year variable rate loan. Unfortunately, those needing a longer loan term or a fixed rate should keep scrolling.

Seven-Year Variable-Rate Loans and Lenders

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
1CommonBond2.59%CommonBond Review
2Citizen's Bank2.71%Citizen's Bank Review
3SoFi2.98%SoFi Review

By extending your repayment length to seven years, you may think that the interest rate will jump only slightly. Sadly, this does not always prove to be the case. The 5-year loan is always the lowest advertised rate, so lenders will keep this rate as low as possible to appear competitive. 7-year loan rates get less advertisement and competition between lenders. As a result, borrowers seeking a variable-rate loan are often better off with a 5- or 10-year loan.

Ten-Year Variable-Rate Loans and Lenders

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
1EDvestinU2.31%EDvestinU Review
2Citizen's Bank2.74%Citizen's Bank Review
3CommonBond2.79%CommonBond Review

An entire decade is a long time to carry a variable interest rate student loan. However, if you decided to get a variable-rate loan ten years ago, you likely would have saved money compared to a fixed-rate loan over that same period.

Scrolling down to the fixed-rate 10-year loans, you will see that the interest rates start at about the same amount. If you’re looking for a ten-year loan, you’ll need to weigh the stability of a fixed rate against the possibility that rates can drop with variable-rate loans.

We should also point out that many lenders do offer a 15- and 20-year variable-rate loan. These loans don’t appear here because we think having a variable rate for that long would be a mistake. With interest rates currently near historic lows, it makes far more sense to lock in low fixed rates for extended repayment options.

The Best Fixed-Rate Refinance Loans

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
1Laurel Road2.25%Laurel Road Review
2Splash Financial2.49%Splash Financial Review
3ELFI2.58%ELFI Review

If you want the lowest rate with the certainty that it won’t increase, the 5-year fixed-rate loan is a winner. With most lenders, the fixed-rate loan is about .5% higher than a 5-year variable-rate loan. Consider that the price of interest rate stability.

Seven-Year Fixed-Rate Loans

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
1Splash Financial2.59%Splash Financial Review
2ELFI2.68%ELFI Review
3CommonBond2.69%CommonBond Review

7-year fixed-rate loans are popular amongst recent graduates wanting to rid themselves of student loan debt by age 30. This loan duration is an opportunity for borrowers to lock in lower interest rates and potentially reduce monthly payments.

Ten-Year Fixed-Rate Loans

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
1Splash Financial2.64%Splash Financial Review
2ELFI2.88%ELFI Review
3CommonBond2.89%CommonBond Review

These loans could be a good option for borrowers working towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) with their federal loans but looking for the most efficient way to pay off their private loans. These borrowers can get their federal loans started towards PSLF. They can then refinance their private loans to spend as little as possible. Accordingly, they can pay off their private loans in the same amount of time as their federal loans.

Fifteen-Year Fixed-Rate Loans

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
1ELFI2.98%ELFI Review
T-2CommonBond2.99%CommonBond Review
T-2Splash Financial2.99%Splash Financial Review

At one point, the maximum length loan with most lenders was 15 years. As a result, these loans usually offered the lowest monthly payments. With lenders now willing to refinance over a 20-year term, the 15-year loans have largely fallen out of favor.

A 15-year loan will still make sense in some circumstances. However, as the next section demonstrates, a 20-year loan will likely be a better option for most borrowers.

Twenty-Year Fixed-Rate Loans

RankLenderLowest RateSherpa Review
1ELFI3.18%ELFI Review
2CommonBond3.19%CommonBond Review
3Splash Financial3.53%Splash Financial Review

Most refinance companies offer twenty years as the maximum repayment length. This is usually the option for the lowest possible monthly payment. Even though the rates are often nearly double the rates of 5-year variable-rate loans, they still represent an opportunity for many borrowers to lower the interest rates on their student loans.

It is also worth pointing out that the interest rate difference lenders offer for 15- and 20-year fixed loans is usually quite small. The very slight increase in interest rate gives you five extra years to pay back your loan. Additionally, lenders still allow borrowers on a 20-year repayment plan to pay off their loans early. Opting for a 20-year plan provides the most flexibility for this reason. Borrowers can pay off their loans aggressively, but when cash is tight, they have the safety of a much lower minimum monthly payment.

The Best Student Loan Consolidation Rates

Many borrowers and lenders use the terms refinance and consolidation interchangeably. If you are looking for a private lender to consolidate your student loans, the refinance rates are the same as the consolidation rates.

However, some borrowers define consolidation as the process of combining federal loans through the federal government. Federal student loan consolidation is a separate process done through the government. Going through federal consolidation will not lower your interest rates as the government uses a weighted average of your existing loans. However, federal consolidation can help some government loans gain eligibility for federal programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Lowering Federal Student Loan Interest Rates

It is crucial to proceed with care when refinancing federal loans with a private lender.

The advantage might be lower interest rates, but you lose the perks that go with federal loans, such as income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness. Because there is no way to undo a student loan refinance, it is critical to be willing to give up the federal perks before proceeding. Many borrowers choose to refinance their high-interest private loans and then revisit the option to refinance federal loans later.

The Lowest Student Loan Refinance Rates

If you know the loan type and duration that you are looking for, you can work your way through the top lenders in your desired category. If the lender in first place doesn’t offer you their lowest rate, apply to lenders two and three. This form of shopping around generally doesn’t hurt your credit score, and it’s the best way to ensure you find the best deal. Because each lender evaluates their applications slightly differently, the lender with the 3rd lowest advertised rate may offer you the best actual rate. If you reach out to the top lenders in your category and none of them offer a rate near the lowest, it might be time to broaden your search. Our complete list of student loan refinance lenders should help in this endeavor.

Finally, if you are disappointed that you can only slightly improve your rates now, keep in mind that you can always refinance again later. For the average borrower, credit scores and income are at rock bottom when first applying for student loans. However, once school is complete, credit scores and income usually increase. This makes refinancing a viable option. As time progresses, credit scores and debt-to-income ratio continue to improve. This is the reason that many borrowers take advantage of the fact that there is no limit to the number of times you can refinance your student loans.

About the Author

Student loan expert Michael Lux is a licensed attorney and the founder of The Student Loan Sherpa. He has helped borrowers navigate life with student debt since 2013.

Insight from Michael has been featured in US News & World Report, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other online and print publications.

Michael is available for speaking engagements and to respond to press inquiries.

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