Student Loan Refinancing for Doctors, Simplified.

Student loan refinancing can save you thousands. But finding a great rate can be a hassle. We help you cut through the noise to compare offers from the best student loan refinancing companies with ease.
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Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
Lendkey Student Loan Refinancing
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

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Understanding student loan refinancing.

What is student loan refinancing?

Student loan refinancing is a great way to pay off student loans faster and reduce your interest rate. It means using a new loan with a lower interest rate to pay off old loans with higher interest rates. Once your old account closes, you are only responsible for the new loan. None of the rates, terms or conditions from the old loan apply to the new one. In fact, you don’t even need to use the same lender to refinance.

The benefits of student loan refinancing are too enticing to ignore. And even more so for doctors, given their starting salary and income potential. Not only is refinancing is the easiest way to lower your interest rate, but it also allows you to adjust your monthly payment and term length. When done right, refinancing can amount to thousands in savings over time.

What is the difference between student loan consolidation and refinancing?

Student loan consolidation combines multiple loans into a single loan. That means one lender. One interest rate. One monthly payment. Like refinancing, the goal of consolidation is to simplify your financial situation. But they are not the same. To understand the difference between the two, it helps to first know the difference between federal and private student loan consolidation.

Federal student loan consolidation is a program run by the Department of Education. It merges multiple federal education loans into a single direct consolidation loan. But there's a catch. Your new interest rate is the weighted average of rates from your previous loans. It will not decrease. Even with a lower monthly payment, it may require paying more interest over time. However, private student loans do no qualify for a direct consolidation loan. Criteria to qualify varies among private lenders.

The shortcomings of consolidation highlight the advantages of refinancing. For both federal and private loans. You can lower your interest rate based on credit history. You can also adjust your monthly payment and term length based on income. In essence, refinancing and consolidation seek the same end goal. To simplify and improve your financial situation. But refinancing can actually save you money long-term.

What is the difference between the PAYE and REPAYE programs?

Timing. It's the key difference between the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) and revised-pay-as-you-earn (REPAYE) programs. Of course, both have their respective pros and cons. But the length of your education may qualify you for one, but not the other.

PAYE caters to students who borrowed in 2008, graduated in 2012 and took out additional loans for graduate school. Further narrowing the application pool, only students with federal direct loans qualify for PAYE. However, combining Perkins and Federal Family Education loans also works.

Like the income-based repayment (IBR) plan, PAYE requires proof of partial financial hardship. Your payment must also be lower than what you would pay under the standard 10-year plan. If so, it's 10% of the difference between your monthly income and 150% of the federal poverty line. When your income increases, your adjusted payment caps at what you would pay on the standard plan.

REPAYE is the Department of Education’s 2015 update to PAYE. It is an income-driven repayment (IDR) program that depends on your earnings. Although similar to PAYE, it does not contain the same time restrictions to qualify. REPAYE extends PAYE’s 20-year forgiveness for graduate students to 25 years. REPAYE also does not require the borrower to prove the burden of student loan debt.

Under REPAYE, the government picks up unpaid interest on subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans. PAYE lets the government cover unpaid interest on subsidized student loans for three years if the monthly installment didn’t cover all of the interest. REPAYE matches this to expand subsidy to unsubsidized federal loans and unpaid interest on subsidized loans over the designated three years. This makes REPAYE a better choice for low-income borrowers because the 10% cap rarely covers the entire payment.

REPAYE is the more recent, relaxed version of PAYE. But if you qualify for PAYE, this is likely the more beneficial route. These programs best reflect the reality of student loan debt in America today. This makes them the most common ways to refinance.

What other student loan refinancing payment plans are available?

Other income-driven repayment (IDR) plans include income-based (IBR) and income contingent (ICR). Under ICR, payments vary based on income, family size, loan balance and interest rate. Under IBR, payments strictly reflect income and family size. Payment is limited to 10-15% of your discretionary income.

There are also standard and graduated repayment plans. And there’s a reason we saved these for last. With the standard, monthly payments are fixed to pay off all loan principal and interest in 10 years. With the graduated plan, a lower initial payment increases every two years to pay off all loan principal and interest in 10 years. The reason these are less than desirable is simple. They take all the power and leverage away from the borrower.

Best student loan
refinancing companies

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LendKey physician student loan refinancing

Loan Terms 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 year options

Maximum Loan Amount $300,000

Available in 46 states

About Pros & Cons Founded in 2007, LendKey is a online marketplace made up of over 300 local community banks and credit unions. The New York City-based lender matches borrowers seeking student loan consolidation and refinancing services with non-profit lenders across the country. LendKey also offers home improvement loans and green mortgage loans.

As a large community network, LendKey provides some of the lowest interest rates available on both federal and private loans. Its platform features small lenders that struggle to compete given a lack of marketing resources. Added exposure from LendKey allows them to offer better rates.

LendKey's unified application process prevents you from sorting through various domains and user interfaces. It simplifies the user experience by delivering multiple loan options in as quick as two minutes.

Pros

  • Get pre-approval in minutes with a seamless, online process.
  • Checking rates does not affect your credit score.
  • No origination fees, application fees or prepayment penalties.
  • Use the interest-only payment option for the first four years of a 15 or 20-year loan term to lock in affordable monthly payments on in your career.
  • Get help hardship forbearance if you’re struggling to make payments.
  • Competitive rates are available for a wide range of applicants. This caters to low-income individuals with poor FICO scores.
  • Pause payments for up to 18 months if you lose your job. This is the largest career protection period available today.
  • LendKey services all of its own loans, making it your sole personal point of contact from start to finish. Enjoy reliable customer service and privacy.
  • A cosigner release option is available after 12 on-time payments. If your cosigner helps you secure a better rate, you get to keep it when he or she leaves.
  • Unique process offers better benefits for personalized consolidation and refinancing options.

Cons

  • Unavailable in ME, ND, NV, RI and WV.
  • Cannot qualify if you did not graduate.
  • Cannot qualify if you did not attend a Title IV-accredited school.
  • Most applicants need a cosigner with a credit score of 660 or higher.
  • The soft credit pull that comes with checking rates on conditional offers does not impact your credit score. If you choose to move forward on an offer, a hard credit pull will affect your credit score.
SoFi physician student loan refinancing

Loan Terms 5, 10, 15 year options

Maximum Loan Amount $300,000

Available in all 50 states

About Pros & Cons SoFi burst onto the scene in 2011, quickly becoming one of the leaders in student loan refinancing and consolidation. The San Francisco-based company offers among the most the competitive interest rates in the industry and is known for their around-the-clock customer service.

SoFi operates within fairly strict credit criteria.The company’s non-traditional underwriting process evaluates merit, employment and financial history, and monthly debt-to-income ratios. SoFi also heavily considers the applicant’s estimated cashflow, career path and level of education. The company’s ideal borrower boasts strong job stability, substantial income and a proven history of managing their budget and credit.

SoFi champions transparency and a strong sense of community in everything it does. What you see is what you get, and it makes sure you’re well aware of all the member benefits that entails. And what sets SoFi apart from others in the crowded student loan space is its commitment to the personal growth and career development of its 500,000 members and counting. On average, members who refinance to a shorter term with SoFi enjoy a lifetime savings of $15,767.

Pros

  • Very competitive rates.
  • Free consultations.
  • No hidden fees or prepayment penalties.
  • Live customer service available nights and weekends.
  • Checking rates does not affect your credit score.
  • Refinancing is available in 49 states, plus the District of Columbia.
  • A swift application process allows for pre-approval in just 15 minutes.
  • Capitalize on networking events, career services and complimentary financial advising.
  • If you lose your job for no fault of your own, SoFi will suspend your monthly payments for up to 12 months. Not only will this provide financial relief while searching for a new job, but SoFi will also connect you with job placement services. Still, the interest that accrues during this period of unemployment would be added to the loan.
  • Get additional rate discounts on other products like personal and mortgage loans.
  • SoFi offers wealth management services and SoFi Money, a new personal banking app that simplifies checkings and savings.

Cons

  • Very strict underwriting criteria. The average SoFi borrower has a credit score over 700 and an income upwards of $100,000.
  • Residents of Nevada are not eligible for refinancing. Variable rate loans are not available in Ohio or Tennessee.
  • The soft credit pull that comes with checking rates on conditional offers does not impact your credit score. If you choose to move forward on an offer, a hard credit inquiry will affect your credit score.
Earnest physician student loan refinancing

Loan Terms 5, 10, 15, 20 year options

Maximum Loan Amount No Maximum

Available in 36 states

About Pros & Cons Founded in 2013, Earnest seeks to bring trust back to lending for financially responsible people. Through a data-intensive background check, Earnest paints a complete financial picture of its applicants. This allows it to refinance high-interest credit card and student loan debt, including Parent PLUS loans. Earnest provides low-interest personal loans based on merit instead of credit history, as well as 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages. Its user-friendly online dashboard gives customers the power to customize their loan payments with ease.

Earnest offers unemployment protection that allows deferred payments up to three months at once, and for a total of 12 months over the life of your loan. It also allows you to switch between fixed and variable rates during the life of your loan. However, you can only switch once every 6 months. After making on-time payments for six months, Earnest lets borrowers skip one payment every 12 month. This will still raise your monthly payment to adjust for the what you skipped.

Earnest goes above and beyond to help customers experiencing financial hardship. This means making its products as flexible as possible with restructuring and temporary forbearance. If you need to lower your monthly payment, you can apply to refinance again. Earnest will take another look at your terms to determine if a better quote is possible. On average, Earnest members save $30,939.

Pros

  • Lower rates based on savings patterns, career potential and investments.
  • Precision Pricing customizes your rate and term based on your budget.
  • Enjoy personalized customer service.
  • Switch between fixed and variable rates if you experience a change in your financial situation.
  • Reliable unemployment protection in the event of a job loss.

Cons

  • Unavailable in AL, DE, KY, MS, NV and RI.
  • Cannot qualify if you did not attend a Title IV-accredited school.
  • Cannot refinance loans from Sallie Mae due to a non-compete agreement by its parent company, Navient.
  • The soft credit pull that comes with checking rates on conditional offers does not impact your credit score. If you choose to move forward on an offer, a hard credit pull will affect your credit score.
CommonBond physician student loan refinancing

Loan Terms 5, 10, 15, 20 year options

Maximum Loan Amount $500,000

Available in all 50 states

About Pros & Cons CommonBond began by servicing students from just one school. Today, its student loan lending services are available to over 2,000 universities nationwide. Founded in 2011 by Wharton MBA Students, the NYC-based company offers low fixed and variable rate student loans and refinancing services. This includes MBA, graduate and undergraduate student loans. What makes this lender unique is that it refinances private, federal and recently refinanced loan types under a grad refinance loan.

This allows CommonBond to offer some of the lowest rates on the market. Ideal candidates are borrowers seeking to refinance a large amount of student loan debt. On average, CommonBond members save $24,046.

The CommonBond network features alumni and professionals of various backgrounds. This sets it apart from traditional banks by offering extended community-based services such as member events. CommonBond services its loans through Firstmark Services.

Pros

  • CommonBond offers a hybrid loan option, with APRs ranging from 4.22%-5.64% (including the 0.25% auto pay discount). The hybrid loan is only offered on a 10 year term - the first 5 years will have a fixed rate, and the 5 years after that will have a variable rate.
  • No application fees or prepayment penalties.
  • Only a $10 late fee after 10 days overdue.
  • Having a cosigner with a credit score of 670 or higher will lower your interest rate.
  • Cosigners may be released after 24 months of consecutive payments.
  • Borrowers have access to CommonBridge, a program designed to help borrowers who have lost their jobs find new employment opportunities.
  • Unique private, federal and consolidation loan refinancing options.

Cons

  • Your origination fee is 2% of the amount you borrow.
  • Unavailable in Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota or Vermont.
  • CommonBond is only available to 2,000 Title IV accredited universities and graduate programs. Find out if you’re school is eligible before applying.
  • While access its CommonBridge program assists career development, the company does not offer the same benefits as other lenders when it comes to unemployment protection.
College Ave physician student loan refinancing

Loan Terms 5, 10, 15 year options

Maximum Loan Amount $450,000

Available in 4 states

About Pros & Cons Founded in 2014, College Ave offers flexible student loan refinancing options specifically for physicians, dentists and other medical professionals. The Wilmington, Delaware-based company services its loans through Nationwide Bank, which allows it to offer competitive rates.

College Ave features various repayment options, including full principal and interest, interest-only, flat and deferred payment plans. Full principal and interest payments allow you to make full payments while still in school. Interest-only payments allow you to pay monthly interest while still in school, then make full payments following your grace period. Flat payments allow you pay $25 a month while in school, then make full payments once you graduate. Deferred payments allow you to wait until your post-graduation grace period is over to make any payments. But this means the interest you accrue while waiting is added to your total loan balance on top of the interest you must already pay throughout your term.

Pros

  • Competitive rates, even with much larger companies.
  • Multiple repayment plans to cater your individual financial needs.
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction with auto-pay through Nationwide Bank.
  • No hidden fees for origination, application, processing or prepayment.
  • Up to 100% total coverage of your school-certified cost of attendance ($1,000 minimum).
  • Refinancing is available to all US residents that attended an eligible undergraduate or graduate school. Find out if your school qualifies before applying.
  • Students with little or no credit history can benefit by applying with a creditworthy co-signer.
  • In the event of death or disability, the terms of your credit agreement are nullified so College Ave cannot pursue your estate.

Cons

  • Limited information available.
  • No cosigner release option.
  • 15 year max term to repay your loan - no 20 year term option.
  • After 15 days without payment, College Ave assesses a late fee equal to 5% of the unpaid amount or $25 - whichever is less.
  • No specific forbearance policy for struggling borrowers. College Ave determines payment-postponement periods on a case-by-case basis.
Education Loan Finance physician student loan refinancing

Loan Terms 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 year options

Maximum Loan Amount No Maximum

Available in all 50 states

About Pros & Cons Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Education Loan Finance (ELFi) is relatively new to the student loan refinancing space. It's parent company, SouthEast Bank, is a Tennessee community bank. In 2015, SouthEast Bank decided to start offering student loan refinancing to borrowers on top of its traditional products. Its product line includes checking and savings accounts, mortgage loans and credit cards.

ELFi offers competitive interest rates to borrowers that qualify for student loan refinancing. Borrowers can choose from fixed and variable rate loans available in 5-20 year terms. While ELFi does not have any restrictions on the maximum amount that borrowers can refinance, their minimum loan amount is $15,000. ELFi's works closely with MOHELA, a student loan servicer with a great track record of customer service.

Pros

  • No application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties.
  • Forbearance allows you to postpone loan payments up to 12 months if you experience economic hardship.
  • New ELFi borrowers can get a $200 cash bonus through the Fast Track Bonus program if you get approved and accept your loan terms within 30 days of submitting your application.
  • ELFi borrowers earn $400 cash referral bonus for every person you successfully refer if they apply and are approved within 90 days of registration. The person you refer will also receive a $100 bonus.

Cons

  • Cannot qualify if you have filed for bankruptcy in the past.
  • Cannot qualify if you did not attend and graduate from a Title IV-accredited school.
  • After 11 days without payment, ELFi assesses a late fee equal to 5% of the amount past due or $50 - whichever is less.
  • No cosigner release option like other more established lenders. But borrowers can refinance loans again without a cosigner if they qualify on their own.
Splash Financial physician student loan refinancing

Loan Terms 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 year options

Maximum Loan Amount $346,000

Available in all 50 states

About Pros & Cons Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Splash Financial is a student loan refinancing company built exclusively for the medical market. The Quicken Loans-backed lender was launched in 2017 to provide better student loan repayment options to doctors. Medical residents and fellows who have completed medical school represent a different risk than traditional borrowers. Splash is working to capitalize on those characteristics with a unique student loan offering.

The company’s flagship product allows residents and fellows to pay just $1 per month for up to seven years of training. Additionally, the loans have similar benefits to other private refinancing options and government loans including forgiveness in case of death or permanent disability. Splash also provides comparative features to help customers perform due diligence. Its Loan Assessment tool accurately compares government repayment programs like PAYE, REPAYE and IBR to private refinancing options.

As of March 2018, Splash now refinances loans for all eligible borrowers regardless of occupation. Splash services its loans through University Accounting Service (UAS).

Pros

  • Caters to the unique financial needs of physicians and other medical professionals.
  • Pay $1 per month during residency or fellowship.
  • Offers fellowship and hardship forbearance.

Cons

  • Unavailable in CT, LA, ME, MD, ND, OK, SD, VT or WV.
  • After 15 days without payment, Splash assesses a late fee equal to 5% of the unpaid amount or $10 - whichever is less.
  • No cosigner release option.
The LeverageRx team works diligently to find and recommend products and services that we believe will be beneficial to our readers. Sometimes we will earn a commission or advertising fee for various products and services from the companies listed on our website. LeverageRx is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval process, nor do we make any credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed across our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and consult a licensed professional for any financial decisions.

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