Student Loans: Best Places to Refinance

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

Graduating from college is an exciting and scary time. Not only are you setting off into a big world with tons of possibilities, but you are expected to create a new financial life. This new life includes paying back your student loans.

If your current lender is inflexible or your rates make you cringe, it may be time to refinance your original student loans. The companies we have listed below will give you a fresh start on paying back your obligations, and they will also be flexible when your life gets in the way. Some will even let you miss a payment and make it up later.

Do you need to refinance?

The need to refinance isn't readily obvious. If you're happy with your federal loans and the rates, you may not need to refinance into a 10 year standard loan. However, if you are looking for a good rate that will help you get your student loans paid in full sooner, you're in the right place.

You also have the option to consolidate your student loans into one loan if you have multiple federal loans. This option is especially helpful if you have multiple payments or rates. All of our refinancing options will also give you the ability to consolidate.

Always keep in mind that refinancing usually requires good financial footing. This means that you should be employed, with good credit, and have the ability to repay the new loan. With all that in mind, let's get on to the list.


SoFi is the biggest student loan refinancing provider, with $18 billion in loans and more than 250,000 customers. This size allows them to offer a lot of features and low rates. The term you pick will determine your rate, from 5-20 years.

Here are some of SoFi's best features:

  • No Fees
  • 650 or greater credit score
  • All online application and service
  • Easy consolidation or refinancing into one payment

You have probably heard of SoFi, and that brand recognition helped them become the largest lender on this list.


PenFed is a credit union that does an excellent job of giving you great rates and great customer service. They provide an online application process and the ability to consolidate. They are very flexible when it comes to qualifying for your new loan.

Here are some of PenFed's best features:

  • Lower rates
  • Easy pre approval
  • No requirements to join the credit union other than an outstanding loan
  • No prepayment penalty

PenFed is a great option because of their seriously low rates, and if your credit isn't quite up to snuff, a cosigner may help you get those rates. The lower your rates, the easier to get those loans paid off.


ElFi, or Education Loan Finance, is a great option that will take you under their wing and get you into the loan you need. Their great customer service has been heralded, and that goes a long way for a company you'll be doing business with for a long time. With over 30 years of student loan experience, they know the market and how to get you into the loan that best suits you.

Here are some of ElFi's best features:

  • ParentPLUS refinancing
  • Extremely low rates
  • Very flexible terms
  • No prepayment penalty

ElFi makes the application process easy and all online, by allowing you to take pictures of the necessary documents for loan approval.


Earnest is a full service loan company that offers a lot more than just student loan refinancing. They also have a lot of options for standard personal loans as well. This customer data is used to give you a tailored loan experience that can make your loan fit your needs.

They do this by examining your habits and spending patterns to determine how a loan would fit into your life. They then tailor that loan to your needs and give you the best rate they can.

Here are some of Earnest's best features:

  • ParentPLUS refinancing
  • Your rate can change based on a monthly need
  • Change payment dates
  • Miss one payment a year

Earnest is on this list because of their amazing flexibility, something new college graduates will definitely need.


CommonBond is unique in that they will finance your entire college education from the beginning. As for the reason they are on this list, they also do an excellent job of refinancing existing student loan debt. Their extremely low rates and easy pre approval process makes the entire refinancing journey much easier.

Here are some of CommonBond's best features:

  • No fees
  • Unemployment protection program
  • Start and stop loans
  • No prepayment penalty

CommonBond is one of the first student loan private lenders, and their experience shows with the myriad of options given to you.

The right choice

While our list is not an exhaustive one, it does provide you with the best places to start shopping for student loan refinancing. Make sure you weigh all of your options and find a lender that fits your schedule and budget. With the large sums of money involved, you will want a lender that not only gives you great rates but service and flexibility, too.

Use the pre approval process to compare what rates will work for you. Try not to go through the entire lending process before deciding on the right lender. The right lender will be the one that helps you get started on the right path and gives you the best tools to end up debt free.