College Ave Student Loan Refinance Review


Updated on May 7, 2019
By Jen Williamson

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College Ave logo

Now that you’ve started your search for a refinancing lender, you’ve probably noticed that there are many options to meet a wide range of borrowers’ needs.

Let’s take an in-depth look what you can can expect if you refinance your student loans through College Ave.

Known as a non-traditional lender that’s flexible in loan term options with an easy-to-navigate platform, College Ave is a popular lender for refinancing. But the question is, are they the right lender for you?

What are the benefits of refinancing through College Ave?

If you’re looking for extra flexibility in your payment options, College Ave may be an excellent option for you.

College Ave offers multiple options for borrowers looking to refinance their student loan debt, including the choice between making full payments or paying only interest for the first two years. This makes the lender a great option for borrowers who want to prioritize lower monthly payments.

If you’re not sure how you want to pay, or whether you want a fixed or variable rate, you can rely on College Ave’s portal to compare and decide which loan terms are best for you. The site allows you to see how different terms affect your monthly payments and loan totals.

In addition to the flexible payment options, College Ave offers low, competitive interest rates, plus the chance at an interest rate reduction when you sign up for automatic monthly payments.

Why refinance through College Ave?

There are many lenders with great refinancing options, so why College Ave?

In addition to flexibility and ease of use, College Ave has made it is mission to help borrowers understand the refinancing process. Cofounders Joe DePaulo and Tim Staley, former executives at Sallie Mae, felt that student loans and student loan refinancing needed a do-over.

Since launching in 2014, College Ave has become a top choice for personalized, easy refinancing. While a relative newcomer to the student loan market, the lender has garnered millions of dollars of investment backing from Comcast Ventures and has been able to compete alongside traditional lenders.

It’s also a lender you can trust, since all of its refinance loans are offered through FDIC-backed Nationwide Bank.

What refinancing options does College Ave offer?

The folks at College Ave believe there’s no single best refinancing plan for everyone.

When refinancing your student loans College Ave, you can decide how long you want to take to repay your loans. Its flexible loan terms range from five years to 15 years, allowing you to decide how long you want to take to repay.

College Ave offers refinancing options for loan amounts as low as $5,000. Borrowers who complete undergraduate and graduate programs can refinance as much as $150,000, and graduates of medical, dental, veterinary or pharmacy programs as much as $250,000.

Graduates can choose between low fixed rates (between 3.25% and 8.00% APR) or variable rates (between 2.88% and 7.63% APR).

The lender also offers two ways to pay:

  1. You can make full payments each month, which pays down your principal and interest. This offers a higher monthly payment but provides larger savings over the life of your loan.
  2. You can also opt to pay interest-only for the first two years—a unique option among student loan lenders. This payment plan will result in a modest initial monthly payment that will increase after two years. This is an excellent option if you need to focus on lowering your monthly bills for a temporary period of time.

The choice between the two repayment plans allows you to budget at your own discretion, letting prioritize monthly bills or long-term savings.

The lender also offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you enroll in autopay and an additional 0.25% reduction when you link your autopay to a Nationwide Bank account.

If you want to see what refinancing through College Ave would look like before you apply, the lender’s refinancing calculator lets you estimate your savings.

Who qualifies for refinancing through College Ave?

College Ave will refinance and consolidate all qualified education loans. Borrowers must:

  • be 18 years or older
  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • have graduated from a Title IV eligible undergraduate or graduate program, and
  • meet College Ave Refi’s underwriting requirements.

How to apply for student loan refinancing through College Ave?

Applying online through College Ave is easy.

First, enter your personal information, including name, social security number and the school you attended.

Personal information_College Ave

Using your personal information, College Ave will give you a summary of possible rates and fees. This is not your specific loan offer, but it can be a good indicator of what to expect if and when the lender accepts your application for refinancing.

Take a look at the general terms the lender has compiled for you to determine whether College Ave is the right lender for you.

General terms_College Ave

Once you’ve examined the terms, click the orange tab that says “Next” to move forward.

On the next page, the lender will ask how you would like to apply — either on your own or with a cosigner. While a cosigner is not required, it can give you a better chance of the lender accepting your application if your credit score is on the lower end. Having a cosigner can also help get you a better interest rate, even if you already have good credit.

This is where the lender asks for your permission to obtain your credit.

Close to finding out_College Ave

To complete the application, click the “Submit Application” button. The last page you’ll see will be a page that indicates whether or not your application was accepted.

Once you’re accepted, the lender will explain the next steps.

The process is that simple. When you apply, you’ll also need:

  • the name of your current servicer
  • your servicer account number for each of the loans you wish to refinance, and
  • the total amount you wish to refinance.

So, does College Ave meet your refinancing needs? With a technology-forward, easy-to-navigate portal that makes it easy to see which of the multiple flexible repayment and loan term options suit you best, College Ave is definitely a lender to consider.

To learn more about what the lender offers or apply for refinancing, visit College Ave Student Loans.

Refinance & Save Today With These Leading Lenders

#1 - Comet Recommended View More Details

Earnest empowers people with the financial captial they need to live better lives.

  • APR: 2.41% - 7.82%
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Refinance up to $500K
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Visit Earnest View Loan Disclosure

Using technology, data, and design to build affordable products, Earnest's lending products are built for a new generation seeking to reach life's milestones. The company understands every applicant's unique financial story to offer the lowest possible rates and radically flexible loan options for living life.

  • Commitment-free 2 minute rate check
  • Client Happiness can be reached via in app messaging, email, and phone 
  • No fees for origination, prepayment, or loan disbursement
  • Flexible terms let you pick your exact monthly payment or switch between fixed and variable rates
  • Skip a payment and make it up later
  • Online dashboard is designed to make it easy to apply for and manage your loan

Click here to apply with Earnest and to see how much you can save.

#2 View More Details

Many ELFI customers save hundreds per month month and thousands over the length of the loan term.

  • APR: 2.80% - 6.69%
  • Minimum credit score: 680
  • No refinancing maximum amount
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Visit ElFi View Loan Disclosure

Education Loan Finance is designed to assist borrowers through consolidating outstanding education loans into one single loan that effectively lowers your costs of education and/or makes repayment very simple. Education Loan Finance - backed by the strength of SouthEast Bank - combines the benefits of traditional education loan refinancing with the superior products, service, and support found in the private market.

Education Loan Finance (ElFi) review

Check out their low rates today to see how much you can save.

  • Get Your Rate. With Education Loan Finance's Find My Rate tool, you can complete a short application to receive a preliminary quote on your eligible rates and terms, all without affecting your credit score.
  • Apply in Minutes. Education Loan Finance's online application is fast and simple.
  • Outstanding Personalized Service. Our Personalized Loan Advisors specialize in student loan refinancing and help busy professionals find the option that's right for them.
  • Student Lending Experience: Education Loan Finance isn't a start-up company - we have a longstanding history and expertise in serving student loan borrowers.

Attractive Bonus and Referral Programs:

  • Education Loan Finance Fast Track Bonus**: Education Loan Finance's application process is streamlined and simple, and you can earn a $200 bonus just for closing your loan within 30 days of your initial application.
  • Education Loan Finance Referral Program**: Earn $400 for each new Education Loan Finance Client referred by you!
#3 View More Details

Works with 275+ not-for-profit community lenders for higher approval chances

  • APR: 2.38% - 7.50%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Refinance up to $300K
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Visit LendKey View Loan Disclosure

LendKey operates student loan programs for over 275 not-for-profit and community lenders across the country. By partnering with these lenders, LendKey is able to give consumers direct access to the best rates available from the most borrower friendly institutions. As the servicer of all loans obtained through its platform, you can rest easy knowing your personal information will be safe and that the best customer service team will be ready to answer your questions from application until your final payment.

LendKey Student Loan Refinance review

  • Lightning fast rate check - 2-minute rate check with no impact on your credit score
  • More lenders, more options - see the best offers from over 275 not-for-profit and community lenders for higher approval chances
  • Life of loan relationship - With LendKey, your personal information will never be sent or passed on to third parties. Their customer service team is with you from the moment you land on their website until you've completely repaid your loan.
  • Unmatched benefits- Community lenders put people over profits and offer unique benefits like cosigner release after 12 on-time payments, interest only repayment options to keep monthly payments low, the largest unemployment protection period in the market, and more.

Get a personalized quote from LendKey now.

#4 View More Details

Operates in all 50 states; 2nd largest student loan refinancing lender

  • APR: 2.43% - 7.02%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • No refinancing amount maximum
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Visit Laurel Road View Loan Disclosure

Laurel Road is a national online lender with customers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Many of our non-bank competitors are not able to lend in all 50 states.Laurel Road has grown to be the second largest player in the student loan refinancing space in large part because of our reputation as the go-to low rate provider.

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance Review

  • National reach - Online lender that is available in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
  • No fees & the lowest rates in the space - Laurel Road is the most transparent about the rates they provide customers, and offer the lowest rates where it counts. Our customers will save more than $20,000 over the life of their loans on average. 
  • Customer service reputation - Laurel Road's customer service representatives are no rookies. With 19 years of experience on average, Laurel Road’s Customer Service team delivers an experience that is best in the industry. They work to build meaningful, life-long relationships with our valued customers to improve their overall financial wellness.
  • The stability & security of a bank - They are a division of Darien Rowayton Bank, a stable and secure FDIC-insured bank, regulated by the FDIC and the Connecticut Department of Banking.

Get your personalized, pre-approved rates in less than 5 minutes.

#5 View More Details

For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need

  • APR: 2.48% - 6.25%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Refinance up to $500K
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Visit CommonBond View Loan Disclosure

CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three MBA graduates from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who wanted to help their peers escape from high-interest student loan debt. Its original focus was on grad students, but it has since expanded to cover undergrads as well.

Of all the companies we reviewed, CommonBond has some of the best customer service. The company prides itself on being easy to reach by email, phone, or live chat. It offers networking events, expert panels, insider newsletters, and even has a program help borrowers who lose their jobs to find new ones. CommonBond also makes you feel good about choosing to refinance with them by donating money to an education nonprofit for each loan they write.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance review

  • Unemployment protections - If you lose your job or decide to go back to school, you can delay your payments for up to 24 months.
  • Social promise - For every loan they fund, they also contribute to the education of a child in need.
  • Hybrid loan option - Offerings include a 10-year hybrid loan with fixed interest for the first five years, and variable interest for the final five.
  • Referral bonus - For every friend you refer who refinances their loans with CommonBond, you’ll earn a $200 cash bonus.
  • Qualification - Borrowers must have graduated at least 2 years prior if they want to apply without a co-signer. And borrowers in 6 states – Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, and Vermont – cannot currently refinance through CommonBond.

Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.

#6 View More Details

Offers unemployment protection and career/coaching/networking

  • APR: 2.430% - 8.074%
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Refinance up to 100% of student debt
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Visit SoFi View Loan Disclosure

SoFi, which stands for “Social Finance,” was created by a group of Stanford business students who found themselves with a mountain of debt after graduation. They set out to change the student loan industry and help borrowers like themselves to get lower interest rates. SoFi has some of the lowest interest rates and, unlike the other lenders we reviewed, it has no maximum amount you can finance. However, Nevada residents can’t currently refinance with SoFi. Minimum loan balances are higher in Arizona, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania due to state laws. Additional state restrictions may apply.

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Review

  • Low interest rates - For well-qualified borrowers, SoFi offers some of the lowest rates we have found.
  • Strong customer service - It has more than 350 customer service reps available to help applicants through process.
  • Career coaching and networking - Perks include career services representatives who can help you find a job or negotiate a higher salary. SoFi also hosts networking events, happy hours and educational lectures on topics like buying a home in major cities around the country.
  • Unemployment protection - Borrowers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own may apply for Unemployment Protection. If approved, SoFi will suspend their monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during the forbearance period. These benefits are offered in three month increments, and are capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. Note that interest will still accrue while loans are in forbearance.

Find out what interest rate SoFi can offer you here.

#7 View More Details

Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products

  • APR: 3.02% - 7.76%
  • Minimum credit score: 670 w/cosigner
  • Refinance up to $350K
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Visit Splash View Loan Disclosure

Splash Financial is a leader in student loan refinancing with new rates as low as 3.25% fixed APR which can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loans. No application or origination fees and no prepayment penalties. Splash Financial is in all 50 states and is intensely focused on customer service. Splash Financial is also one of the few companies that offers a great medical resident and fellow refinance product. You can check your rate with Splash in just minutes.

  • Low interest rates – especially for graduate students
  • No application or origination fees. No prepayment penalties.
  • Co-signer release program - you can apply for a cosigner release form your loan after 12 months of on-time payments
  • Specialty product for doctors in training with low monthly payment

Click here to see more of Splash's offerings and to see how you can save money.

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