Updated on April 30, 2019
By Jen Williamson
If you’re in the market to refinance your loan, then you probably know the lender you choose makes a difference.
Laurel Road offer student loans refinancing for all college grads, but this lender has some rather unique options as well. It has special refinancing packages built especially for medical and dental students, as well as parents who’ve taken out loans for their children.
Their flexibility and
Laurel Road has small-town roots, but it has grown into a national online lending powerhouse.
This lender started its life as Darien Rowayton Bank of Connecticut, a traditional local bank. Seeing a clear need among tech-savvy millennials, the bank’s top brass decided that they could better serve their customers’ with more tech-driven options. They set to work on transforming their community bank into a national online lending organization with customers throughout the country.
Laurel Road was one of the first to completely digitize the loan process using proprietary tech. Their target market is tech-savvy millennials—and they’ve streamlined the application process to fit these borrowers’ expectations.
Laurel Road claims their customers save an average of $20,000 or more over the life of their loans. Their variable rate loans start at just 2.50% interest.
Many private lenders do not offer forbearance options. In fact, one of the biggest drawbacks of refinancing federal loans instead of consolidating them with a Direct Consolidation Loan is that you lose access to these options.
Laurel Road is one of a few lenders to offer this kind of reassurance if your finances change. They offer a year of forbearance for borrowers who qualify. That kind of piece of mind is hard to come by with private lenders.
Plus, as we mentioned above, Laurel Road offers some distinctive programs. One is refinancing for medical students going into residency or fellowship.
Under this program, medical students can refinance their loans the minute they match to a residency or fellowship program. They pay only $100 per month throughout the program, and accrued interest does not capitalize while they’re enrolled.
The parent refi option is also unique. Laurel Road is one of
In addition, Laurel Road offers a referral program to all borrowers. If you refer a friend or family member who refinances their loans with Laurel Road, you could potentially earn up to $400 per referral.
Laurel Road offers both fixed- and variable-rate loans.
With fixed-rate loans, the interest rate stays stable for the duration of the loan. With variable-rate loans, it changes based on market conditions.
Variable-rate loans usually start off with a lower interest rate, although that rate can change over time.
You can select from loans terms of five to 20 years.
Laurel Road offers student loan refinancing for borrowers with good credit histories. They will take a look at your existing finances, including your income, debt, and expenses, to decide if you qualify.
In addition, you must be:
Parents refinancing PLUS loans must have children who graduated from Title IV institutions.
Laurel Road offers fixed- and variable-rate loans with terms of five to 20 years.
The longer the term of the loan, the higher the interest rate. Your credit score and finances determine which rate you qualify for.
The breakdown is as follows:
Laurel Road does not charge origination or prepayment fees. That means that if you want to pay ahead to save money over the life of the loan, you can pay off the entire loan ahead of the due date without penalties.
There is a 0.25% interest rate discount if you sign up for automatic payments.
Apply online through Laurel Road’s easy-to-navigate platform. The whole process should take about 30 minutes and you’ll get a conditional answer within minutes.
Here’s how it works:
You know, the obvious…your name, your email, and a password for your new account.
Laurel Road will ask you where you live and how long you’ve lived there. It will also ask for your social security number at this point.
You will also need to provide details about your citizenship in this section. As we mentioned before, they only accept applications from U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Laurel Road will ask you details about your finances—including your gross annual income, your employment status, and how much you pay in rent or mortgage. They’ll also ask you about your education.
This info will help to form a clearer financial picture of your life both now and in the future. Your housing costs are one of your biggest recurring expenses unless you live in a no-rent situation, and your education gives them a clue as to your future earning potential.
If you’re a parent looking to refinance a loan you took out on behalf of a child, now’s the time to tell them.
After this point, Laurel Road will do a soft credit pull to assess your finances. This doesn’t affect your credit, but it allows them to get
Borrowers get initial rate estimates immediately after submitting the online application. You’ll get a final offer within 24 hours; just review, send back your e-signature, and you’re done.
The entire process is digital—you can go from start to finish without talking to a person.
If you want to talk someone before signing on, though, that’s possible too. Laurel Road offers secure online chat (with a super-fast response time) as well as proprietary email.
Laurel Road’s unique products for medical and dental school grads, as well as parents, make them a very attractive option for people in these categories. But there’s a lot to like even if you’re not this kind of borrower.
They specialize in lending to millennials who have stringent expectations regarding customer service, speed, and tech—so younger borrowers will like the way they operate. They also offer
Works with 275+ not-for-profit community lenders for higher approval chances
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.
Offers unemployment protection and career/coaching/networking
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.
For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need
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.
Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.
Earnest empowers people with the financial captial they need to live better lives.
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.
Click here to apply with Earnest and to see how much you can save.
Operates in all 50 states; 2nd largest student loan refinancing lender
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.
Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products
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.
Click here to see more of Splash's offerings and to see how you can save money.