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How to Apply for Student Loan Refinancing in 2022

April 7, 2022

Refinancing your student loans can seem daunting, but if you follow the right steps, the process is simple. You can even compare multiple offers side by side on Credible to speed things up. Once you apply, your lender takes over and works behind the scenes, which can take time but requires little effort on your end.

As long as you have a good credit score and your finances are in order, you’ll likely get a lower interest rate and save money. Here’s how to get the best results.

4 Steps to Get a Student Loan Refinance

1. Shop Around and Get Rate Estimates

It’s best to start by researching multiple lenders. Although they might seem alike, each lender has different features. For example, if you didn’t graduate, you’ll need to find a lender that doesn’t require a completed degree.

Next, you’ll get rate estimates by prequalifying. This requires a soft credit pull and won’t impact your credit. Most lenders ask for basic information, such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Income
  • Monthly housing cost
  • Total student loan debt
  • University and degree

2. Pick a Lender and Loan Terms

As you get offers from different lenders, you’ll see fixed and variable interest rates, as well as a range of repayment terms. A variable interest rate usually provides a lower rate to start, but after a certain period, that rate can fluctuate. A fixed interest rate stays the same throughout the life of the loan.

Most people choose the lender offering the lowest interest rate. You may want to consider any other discounts, like autopay or loyalty discounts, before deciding.

3. Collect Documentation and Apply

When you’ve made a decision on your lender, you’ll complete an application. Most lenders require some documentation, including a government-issued photo ID, social security number, federal and private loan statements, and proof of income.

4. Wait for Approval and Loan Payoff

Once your application is complete, you’ll continue making your payments as usual while you wait for approval. This usually takes about 3 weeks, though it varies by each lender. When your new lender confirms approval, it will pay off your existing lender(s) and you’ll begin making payments to your new lender.

Compare Student Loan Refinancing Offers on Credible

The Best Lenders for Student Loan Refinancing

1. Credible

Credible is an online marketplace where you can compare offers from up to 13 different lenders in one place. This allows you to prequalify just once and compare rates in a couple of minutes. You can refinance as little as $5,000, up to the total amount of your qualified student loans. Credible charges no service, origination, or prepayment fees. Plus, it offers options for refinancing whether you got your degree or not.

Unlike some other marketplaces, Credible won’t share your information with lenders during the prequalification phase, so you don’t have to worry about getting unsolicited calls. If you decide to move forward with a lender, you can apply in as little as 5 minutes by using Credible’s easy import tools to add documentation. You’ll get a final offer in just 1 business day, at which point your chosen lender will contact you with next steps.

Compare Student Loan Refinancing Offers on Credible

2. Splash Financial

As a loan marketplace, Splash Financial can connect you with lenders whether you want to refinance private, federal, or Parent PLUS loans. You may want to consider this lending platform if you need to refinance with a spouse, as it’s one of the only platforms that has lenders to offer this option. Some of the lenders also have no loan maximum, so you can refinance a large amount of student loan debt in one place.

You can get preapproval with Splash Financial in just a couple of minutes, which provides you with personalized rates. From there, you’ll complete an application and upload documentation, including your photo ID, housing costs, employment information, tax returns or pay stubs, and a copy of your transcripts or diploma. You’ll receive a decision within 3 days and funding in 3 weeks.

3. Earnest

Earnest allows you to refinance student loans up to $500,000. You might want to consider this lender if you need flexible repayment options. Earnest gives you the option to choose between monthly and bi-weekly payments. It also offers the opportunity to skip a payment every 12 months.

You’ll first prequalify with Earnest to get estimated rates. From there, you’ll complete an application, providing information and documentation of your identity, income, school, and employment. You’ll get a decision within 5 days and Earnest will pay off your old loan within 10 days.

The Bottom Line

Applying for student loan refinancing takes just 4 simple steps. First, shop around for the lowest rates, then pick your lender and terms. Marketplaces like Credible can make this step easy by providing you with multiple offers to compare side by side.

Once that’s done, apply with the appropriate documents and continue making payments to your old lender while you wait for approval. Although some lenders take weeks to disburse funds, Earnest can pay off your old loan within 10 days. When you’ve completed all 4 steps, you’ll have a new loan with a lower interest rate and better terms.

Compare Student Loan Refinancing Offers on Credible

FAQ

What does it mean to refinance a student loan?

When you refinance your student loans, you get a new loan, usually with an improved interest rate or better terms. The new loan pays off your original loan, and you begin paying monthly payments to your new lender. You can easily compare refinancing rates from multiple lenders on Credible.

Is student loan refinancing right for me?

Student loan refinancing might be right for you if you have a good credit score and stable income. It can be especially helpful if you have a high interest rate or multiple loans. It might not be for you if you have federal loans and want to take advantage of federal forgiveness and assistance programs.

Which student loans should I refinance?

While you can refinance both private and federal loans, it’s best to only refinance private loans. It’s almost always beneficial to refinance private loans for a lower interest rate. If you refinance federal loans, you’ll lose out on federal assistance programs, like income-based repayment.

Ginny Dorn
Written by
Ginny Dorn is a freelance personal finance writer. She specializes in credit card debt, personal loans, and mortgages. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences.