The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) student loan refinancing program is available to borrowers in all 50 states.
RISLA offers qualifying individuals the option of income-based repayment plans — something virtually unheard of when it comes to student loan refinance programs.
Read on to learn more about refinancing your student loans with RISLA.
The RISLA refinance program only offers fixed interest rates. Refinance loan terms include 5, 10, and 15 years with amounts ranging from $7,500 to $250,000, depending on the borrower’s highest level of degree earned. Additionally, late fees of 6% will apply to any payment past due.
To qualify, borrowers must have a minimum credit score of at least 680 and a yearly income of $40,000. The maximum debt-to-income ratio permitted is 50%.
Borrowers who have filed for bankruptcy within the past five years are not eligible for student loan refinancing through RISLA.
U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required.
Income-based repayment plan with forgiveness
Uniquely, RISLA offers qualifying borrowers the opportunity to use income-driven repayment plans for their medical school loans. This type of plan pulls a maximum of 15% of the borrower’s income per month if they cannot afford their bills with the option for whatever remaining balance to be forgiven after a twenty-five-year period. The forgiven amount will, however, be taxed.
Degree-less refinancing available
While some student debt refinancing programs only allow students who have completed at least one degree to qualify for refinancing, the program offered by RISLA allows students who haven’t completed any degrees to refinance the student debt they have. This is especially valuable because individuals who haven’t completed degrees often struggle with finding ways to reduce their debt.
Deferment and forbearance policies available
Deferment and forbearance options are a great benefit for student loan refinance companies to offer. They allow borrowers periods of grace when they cannot make their payments for various reasons. RISLA specifically offers academic and military deferment options. The academic option allows students to postpone repayment if they are enrolled in graduate school in at least a half-time capacity, though it is not applicable to students trying to finish an undergraduate degree. The military option allows anyone who is currently active-duty military to defer payments as long as they remain in active service. Further, forbearance payments are available to struggling individuals for up to twelve months.
No co-signer release
Unlike other loan repayment programs, RISLA does not offer co-signers the option to back out of their agreement once the primary borrower has proven they are responsible and trustworthy enough to keep up with the payments themselves. This means that the co-signer will be legally responsible for any accrued debt if anything happens to the original borrower’s repayments, even if they have proven themselves to be responsible.
Hard credit checks required
While the majority of other student loan refinancing companies allow individuals to undergo soft credit checks to protect their score, RISLA does not. Instead, it requires every individual to undergo a hard credit check from the start, which can have a negative effect on their overall credit score if they are applying to multiple lenders over a longer period of time.
No personalized rate estimates
RISLA also doesn’t offer potential borrowers to see what their potential rates will be in estimation like many other student debt refinancing programs do. This keeps individuals from being able to determine the best lending options for themselves, as they are denied a key piece of information that they will need in the decision-making process.
Jack is a Creighton University graduate and former advertising creative who has written extensively about topics in personal finance, employee benefits, and technology. You can find Jack's writing on Calendar.com, StartupNation, and Muck Rack.