Nitro Research


Last Updated: June 14, 2019

It’s time to take control of your life.
Time to get a grip on your finances.
After all, you’ve earned the right.

Here at Nitro we take pride in the research we conduct, information/data we collect and offer to our users. So we wanted to make it easier for you to find and read.

Here is a list of Nitro's research content you can find below:

Average Student Loan Debt in the U.S. - 2019 Statistics

The value of a college degree has never been higher – at least in financial terms. Over the past decade, the cost of a university education has risen three times faster than other school-related expenses. Most students finance at least some of that cost by taking out student loans, with the goal of having their investment pay off with higher earnings down the road.

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Student Loan Payback Progress

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As of 2017, student debt hit its all time high of 1.4 trillion dollars.

And that number may grow year over year, which is why it’s important to understand how graduates manage their debts. What would they do differently with their education or loans if given a chance? Do they regret seeking a college degree? And how does school debt affect borrowers? We asked over 1,000 Americans these questions and more. Here’s what we learned.

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The Details of Debt

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For some, taking on debt is a necessary part of paying for the things we need (and want). But debt requires future payments, which can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for many people. We surveyed 1,000 Americans to explore how their debt – or absence of debt – impacts their quality of life. The results reveal thoughts on debt and how having a plan to pay it off can have a large impact on a person’s overall well-being.

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The Dollars and Debt of Doctors

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Becoming a doctor is a lifelong dream for many Americans, and while getting a medical degree can be a costly pursuit, there are 88,304 students currently enrolled in U.S. medical schools. In 2016, 18,938 students graduated with medical degrees.

To explore at what cost a medical degree comes, we explored medical professionals’ finances, including their student loan debt, medical school tuition, pay satisfaction, and the pay growth of particular medical specialties. Continue reading to see what we discovered.

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Financial Advice by Generation

Everyone makes mistakes. By the time most people have crested out of their 20s and into older adulthood, experts say it’s not uncommon to look back and wish some things had been done differently. Maybe you spent too much time focused on work and not enough at home with family. You might think you’ve invested in the wrong career choice or maybe not taken care of your body well enough.

Whatever it is, in most cases it’s not too late to make a change. Few things in life are permanent after all, and there’s nothing wrong with deciding to take a different path when it comes to your career or personal life.

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The Typical American Financial Life

How does your own financial path compare to that of the average American? From opening your very first bank account to tapping into your 401(k) in retirement, life is full of financial rites of passage. As we grow older, we find new opportunities to invest in our futures, either by putting some cash away in savings or by taking on debt to fund our next big step. But whichever monetary benchmark is next on your list, you may wonder where you stand in comparison to your peers.

After all, most of us are pretty private about all things fiscal, so it’s hard to know if you’re ahead of the crowd or falling far behind. And while there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all financial plan, it would be nice to learn when most folks hit the big benchmarks, if only to learn where we stand in comparison.

We asked over 1,200 Americans...

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Life After Law School

The average law school student borrows over $112,000 to pay for school, and before 2008, educational advisors looked at law school like a “sure thing.” Programs were more competitive, and the job market after graduation was more lucrative. Since the recession, things have changed a bit. The number of people applying to the top U.S. law schools in 2016 fell by over 20% compared to the number of applicants in 2008.

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Young, Single, And Career-Oriented

Millennials have been called “lazy,” “entitled,” “selfish,” and “demanding,” but despite accusations that they’re ruining the modern workforce, more young people today are making sacrifices for their careers than they may get credit for.

In reality, when it comes to landing their dream jobs, millennials often have a strong desire to make a large impact. Even if their first or current gig isn’t where they hope to ultimately land, working hard to develop a foundation of knowledge and a growing network of professional contacts could be the boost they need to reach their goal in the future.  

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Friendly Competition

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Have you ever heard the news that a friend got a new job or fancy car or seen photos of your friends on amazing vacations while scrolling through social media? Did you immediately start to compare your own life and accomplishments to theirs? If you’re a millennial, you’ve probably set strict expectations for yourself.

Comparing yourself to those around you is a natural response to life and can help motivate us in certain situations. But for millennials, this can escalate to “ruthless” proportions based on extreme standards leading to anxiety and uncertainty. But does the reality to which they compare themselves exist only on social media, or is this not quite accurate? Research has shown spending too much time trying to measure up to what is seen on social networks like Facebook can have a damaging impact on people’s mental health and can create feelings of depression.

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Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venmo

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venmo: Our study of recent Venmo usage by gender.

“Separate checks, please!” The waiter looks at all twelve of you and asks, “And how would you like to split that?”

Venmo has revolutionized the way people send and receive money. And it’s insanely popular with millennials. Now, when spending money on food and drinks, rent, tickets, and everything else where costs are often shared, Venmo users can easily and instantly send money to other people or businesses via their mobile devices.

Part of the app’s success comes from the fact that it has embraced the way many younger people communicate. It requires each user to compose a short description for each transaction, and encourages them to use emojis when they write. Venmo then publishes this transaction information on a public feed.

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From Relatives To Roommates

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Experts suggest there are five important paths all young people take to adulthood: finishing school, moving out, getting a stable job, getting married, and becoming parents.

You probably don’t have to look very far, though, to find young people who’ve put on hold one or more of these transitions to independence. The idea of what constitutes a stable job is changing, marriage rates are down, more and more millennials are putting off having kids, and Americans collectively owe an estimated $1.4 trillion in student loan debt.

So what’s really holding young adults back from checking more milestones off their list even though they want to?

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Lending To Life Goals

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From renting your first apartment to retirement, most of life’s major milestones have a monetary component. And if individuals encounter new costs at each stage of life, just wait until kids become part of the equation. Caring for a child requires serious cash, and that’s before the college tuition bills start rolling in. Looking further down the road, we need to plan to take care of ourselves as we age. From a liveable fixed income to unpredictable healthcare costs, the golden years demand plenty of green. Those demands could present a problem for the majority of millennials who currently have nothing saved for retirement.

Life shouldn’t be assessed in dollars and cents – no ledger holds the secret to happiness. But it would be nice to know how much most people have saved for major life events, so we can gauge if we’re keeping up.

 In this project, we asked over 1,000 people to estimate their financial...

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Chasing The Dream  Or The Green?

Are workers in search of money or meaning? Among academics and executives across the country, this essential question remains unresolved. And as millennials come to dominate the American workforce, the conflict between idealism and income seems more important than ever.

In one camp, experts emphasize office culture and creative freedom as the keys to employee engagement. If workers feel empowered to do meaningful work, these theorists argue, they’re unlikely to feel stifled in their roles. Additionally, recent studies indicate millennial professionals feel more drawn to noble causes than earlier generations. As they weigh job prospects, young workers are attracted to companies that value the “double bottom line”: profitability coupled with social purpose.

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Perceptions Of Prosperity

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There’s no one definitive way to measure success. When it comes to your job, you might rate your accomplishments by titles or a feeling of purpose in your day-to-day work. When it comes to family, maybe your vision of success is how happy your children are, or how well they do at school. Perhaps you consider yourself to be well-off by receiving a quality education and successfully paying off student loans. Even people we perceive as being overwhelmingly successful tend to have very different definitions of what makes them so great at the things they do.

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Debt Regret

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Let’s be honest: On the subject of financing significant expenses, there’s little consensus – and plenty of strong feelings.

Some see responsible borrowing as a path to financial stability, empowering prudent investments such as higher education. Others view loans as liabilities and caution against assuming debt unwisely. On the spectrum between these competing perspectives, how do most Americans approach paying off purchases? We endeavored to find out.

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Budget By The Buck

You may have heard it from friends and family or have seen it on any number of personal finance blogs or websites: You need a budget.

Even if you think you’ve got your money under control, or you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck, most finance gurus and experts will tell you that budgeting is one of, if not, the most important factors for managing your money successfully. Other actions like refinancing your student loans (if you have them) can be very beneficial under a number of circumstances, but budgeting is almost universal. And not having a budget in place is one of the quickest ways to land in debt. Not only can you lose track of the money you’re already spending, you may have no idea how much you could (or should) be saving.

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Millennial Living

In recent years, an increasingly common living arrangement for young people between the ages of 18 and 34 hasn’t been getting a small apartment or moving in with friends: It’s living with their parents.

There’s another narrative about millennials you may have also heard. They love living in some of the country’s most popular (and sometimes expensive) cities and will do almost anything to get there. However, both choices depict two very different financial truths for what it means to be young and independent in America today.

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Habits Of Financially Secure People

Have you ever driven past a billboard for a massive lottery jackpot or seen a contest promising a hefty cash prize and wondered how being rich might change your life?

You probably wouldn’t have to work a traditional job, and you’d certainly have more freedom for your passions. Maybe you’d pay off your student loans, work less, and travel more. While money can’t buy happiness outright, a sudden influx of it could certainly make you happier.

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Waiting For Wedding Bells

After two or four years of college, your life can undergo a massive change. One time majoring in business and headed for a career in finance, you may have swapped Wall Street for Broadway after uncovering a love for theater. After traveling abroad for a semester, you could have decided to make an international lifestyle a permanent affair. You most likely made friends you’ll stay in touch with for years to come – at least digitally. You may have also even met the love of your life between freshman orientation and graduation day.

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Dating And Debt

Debt truly makes the world go ’round. It is the ultimate stepping stone toward getting an education, owning a home, driving away in a new car, and financing essential purchases that you may not be able to pay for upfront. While the word “debt” can sometimes feel extremely heavy, shrouded in stigma and misplaced shame, good debt can actually be quite healthy.

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Remake The School System

More than 44 million Americans owe a collective $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. For the first time in history, that figure has eclipsed credit card debt and auto loan commitments, and it only continues to rise.

In fact, student loans equate to more than $30,000 for a quarter of millennials and over $100,000 for more than 1 in 10 people. And while 22% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 came out of school debt-free, many more are tied to high monthly payments that could alter how they handle future finances.

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More coming soon...

Refinance & Save Today With These Leading Lenders

#1 - Nitro Recommended View More Details

Credible is an online marketplace that provides borrowers with competitive, personalized loan offers from multiple, vetted lenders in real time.

  • Free to use, no hidden fees
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • No refinancing maximum amount
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Visit Credible View Loan Disclosure

Credible is a multi-lender marketplace that empowers consumers to discover student loan refinancing options that are the best fit for their unique circumstances. Our integrations with leading lenders and credit bureaus allow consumers to quickly compare accurate, personalized loan options ― without putting their personal information at risk or affecting their credit score. The Credible marketplace provides an unrivaled customer experience, as reflected by over 2,000 positive Trustpilot reviews and a TrustScore of 9.5/10. Credible is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

For more information, click here to apply now with Credible.

  • Compare prequalified rates from multiple, vetted lenders in 2 minutes.
  • Refinance federal, private and ParentPLUS loans.
  • San Francisco-based customer support 7 days a week.
  • Checking your rates won't affect your credit score.
  • Get your final offer in as little as 1 business day.
  • Credible’s partner lenders do not charge prepayment penalties, loan application fees, or origination fees.
  • Free to use, no hidden fees: Requesting rates can take just minutes and costs you nothing.
#2 View More Details

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

  • APR: 2.05% - 6.99%
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Refinance up to $500K
View More Details
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.

#3 View More Details

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

  • APR: 2.25% - 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.

#4 View More Details

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

  • APR: 2.14% - 7.24%
  • 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.

#5 View More Details

Offers unemployment protection and career/coaching/networking

  • APR: 2.27% - 7.94%
  • 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.

#6 View More Details

Works with 300+ community lenders for higher approval chances

  • APR: 2.01% - 8.88%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Refinance up to $300K
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Visit LendKey View Loan Disclosure

Connecting student borrowers to a network of over 300 community lenders with low interest rates. 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 300+ 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.

#7 View More Details

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

  • APR: 2.39% - 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!
#8 View More Details

Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products

  • APR: 2.43% - 7.60%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • No Maximum when refinancing
View More Details
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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