All posts by Gary

6 Best Banks to Refinance and Consolidate Student Loans in 2017

While consolidating or refinancing your student loans may be a wise idea financially, knowing which bank or lender to go through for carrying out the actual transaction can be confusing. This is because there are a number of different variables to consider when refinancing or consolidating your student loans in 2017.

Interest rates and loan terms are two of the key criteria that you should keep top of mind. However, the actual financial institution that you go through can also make a difference. With that in mind, it is important to compare several lenders prior to finalizing the transaction.

Below is a comparison of the best banks and lenders to help you refinance and consolidate both private and federal student loans. For a holistic review, we discuss student loan consolidation and refinance rates, terms, loan types, eligible degrees and everything you’ll need to make a decision on the best company to work with.

Consolidate and Refinance Student Loans

SoFi Review

At SoFi, both federal and private student loan debt can be either consolidated or refinanced. As a borrower, you are offered a wide range of variable and fixed interest rates to choose from. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties, so additional borrowing costs are kept to a minimum.

SoFiSoFi also offers additional benefits to its borrowers. For example, with unemployment protection, if you lose your job while you still have a student loan balance, SoFi will temporarily pause your payments and even assist you in finding a new job by reviewing your resume, as well as offering you interview coaching and various tactics for negotiating, which can help you to get back on your “financial feet” more quickly.

If you opt to refinance your student loan, the entire process can take place online and it can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. All it takes is a quick pre-approval in order to ensure that you qualify. Once that is complete, you can choose a loan that fits your specific requirements and then just sign and upload the documents.

Earnest Review

Earnest is known for its flexibility in student loan refinancing and consolidation. With this lender’s Precision Pricing, you are able to choose the monthly payment that works the best for you and your personal budget. Earnest also looks forward when determining your overall financial picture – not just backward.

EarnestThis means that rather than just evaluating your past financial and credit history, they also look forward and take into consideration your future financial potential and responsibility. This makes their loan underwriting that much more personal.

Furthermore, unlike most other lenders that transfer your loan to a third party servicer soon after receiving your paperwork, Earnest stays with you throughout the life of the loan. With that in mind, you can expect personal service – now and in the future.

CommonBond Review

CommonBond offers you the option to choose from fixed, variable, or hybrid interest rates. Hybrid rates allow you to pay a fixed rate on your loan for the first five years, and then pay variable rates for the last five years.

CommonBondThere are no hidden fees to contend with such as application fees, origination fees, or even prepayment penalties if you pay your loan off early. You are also protected from various financial “emergencies” such as job loss. For example, if you lose your job, CommonBond will pause your student loan payments – and will even assist you in finding new employment.

The process of consolidation or refinance is easy – and in most cases can be completed entirely online in just four steps. Just simply fill out the application, obtain your interest rate, upload the necessary documents, and wait for an approval.

Citizens Bank Review

Citizens Bank provides the opportunity to refinance high student loan debt or to consolidate multiple loans. This lender offers ways to get a lower interest rate, regardless of whether you are consolidating or refinancing student loans through them.

Citizens BankThese can include automatic payments, which is when you authorize the Citizens Bank loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly loan payments, you can save 0.25% off your student loan’s interest rate. Or a loyalty discount, which applies if you (or a cosigner) already has a qualifying account with Citizens Bank at the time that you apply, you may also be able to save 0.25% on a new Education Refinance Loan.

If you have poor (or no) credit, then applying for a loan consolidation or a refinance in conjunction with a cosigner may help your chances of approval. It can also help you to obtain a lower interest rate – which, in turn, can help to lower your monthly payment amount. At Citizens Bank, even if you apply along with a cosigner, once you have made 36 consecutive on-time payments on your loan, you can apply to release your cosigner from your loan.

LendKey Review

LendKey offers a way for borrowers and more than 13,000 credit unions and community financial institutions to essentially “match up” and find the best solution for all. This can help you to discover the option that works for your specific budget and payment schedule – all from the convenience of your computer.

LendKeyBecause of the transparent, low-interest lending structure of these types of financial institutions, you can make smart borrowing decisions when it comes to consolidating or refinancing your student loans through LendKey – which can essentially help you in lowering your interest rate, your monthly payment amount, and in turn, your overall lifetime payment that is due.

With LendKey, you will not be subject to paying any loan origination fees, or early loan payoff penalties, either. This can end up saving you thousands of extra dollars throughout the life of your student loan.

DRB Review

DRB offers borrowers both fixed and variable interest rates, with payment terms that range from between 5 and 20 years. If you happen to lose your job, DRB will allow you to cease making payments on your student loan during the time of your hardship – and they will even provide you with assistance in finding new employment.

DRBThrough this lender, you may be able to refinance up to 100% of your outstanding federal and private student loans. There are no origination fees, and no prepayment penalties if you pay off your loan early.

The Bottom Line

When considering a lender for a student loan consolidation or refinance, it is typically best to compare several prior to making your ultimate decision. It is important to note that the actual interest rate that you will receive on your loan will be based upon several factors that are specific to you and your unique background, including your income, credit score, and savings. Whether or not you apply with a cosigner can also be a factor.

How To Get Approved For Student Loans With Bad Credit

Most parents will do anything to help their children get a good education and succeed in life, and that may eventually mean getting approved for private student loans with bad credit.

Any parent with a child in college is likely aware of the exorbitant price tag of a college education nowadays. Over the past three decades, the cost of college tuition has increased more than four times that of the average rise in family incomes.

Because of this, families have had to turn to loans and other financing to help students with obtaining their college degrees. But unfortunately, not everyone has good credit. While some may feel that this could hinder them from finding the aid they need, there are still actually many student loan options available to you if you have a bad credit history. Below, we will discuss how to get a student loan with bad credit.

How to Get Approved For Student Loans With Bad Credit

How Credit Can Affect Your Student Financing

When it comes to any type of borrowing, your credit can play a key role – and lenders in the private student loan arena are no different. This is because the lender wants to be assured that they aren’t taking on too much risk in terms of being paid back for the funds that they are loaning you.

There are three credit bureaus that creditors report to. These are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Some creditors will report to all three, while others may only report to one or two. Although each calculates scores just a bit differently, overall, credit scores can range from a high of 850 down to a low of 300.

In terms of what is viewed as “good” or “bad” credit, most lenders will break the scores down as follows:

  • Excellent – 850 to 721
  • Good – 720 to 681
  • Average – 680 to 621
  • Low – 620 to 581
  • Poor – 580 to 501
  • Bad – 500 to 350

A private lender will typically evaluate a student (or a student and parents) based on their credit score, and will not generally loan funds to anyone who has a score that is lower than 620. The good news is that your credit score can – and often does – change regularly. So, if it is in a lower range currently, you can usually bring it up by making payments on time and / or removing any negative information that may be inaccurate on your credit report.

Student Financing Options with Bad Credit

If your credit falls into the poor or bad credit category, it doesn’t mean that getting a student loan won’t be possible. You may just need to narrow down your options. The best place to start in this case is with federal financial aid.

One of the primary reasons that federal student loans are a good option is because the federal government doesn’t check the credit history of applicants for student loans. This can make the process of approval much easier on a federal loan than going the route of financing through a private lender.

Although there are numerous options available via the government in terms of student funding, there are some that are more likely to be better than others if you have bad credit. These include the following:

Stafford Loan

There are actually two forms of the Stafford Loan. One is a need-based version that is based on income. The government pays the interest on this loan while the student is still going to school, and during the loan’s “grace period” before the repayment begins. This is referred to as a “subsidized” Stafford loan. These loans are only available to undergraduate students.

There is also an “unsubsidized” Stafford loan. This version of the Stafford loan is not based on income. The school determines the amount that can be borrowed, based on the cost to attend the institution, as well as any other financial aid that the student is receiving. With an unsubsidized Stafford loan, interest must be paid during all periods. These Stafford loans are available to undergraduates, as well as to graduate and professional degree students.

In order to be eligible for either type of Stafford loan, it is necessary to be enrolled at least half-time in a program that leads to either a degree or a certificate that is awarded by the school.

Perkins Loan

Perkins loans are low-interest federal student loans that are available to both undergraduate and graduate students who have what is considered to be exceptional financial need. As long as you are attending school at least half-time, you do not need to begin making repayments on a Perkins loan until nine months after you either graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time status as a student.

With a Perkins loan, the school actually acts as the lender, so repayments are made to the college or university. However, it is important to note that not all colleges and universities participate in the Perkins Loan program. Therefore, it will be necessary to check with your school in order to ensure that it is a part of this program if this is an area of financial aid that you want to pursue.


Students or parents may also obtain a PLUS loan. These federal loans are available directly to graduate or professional students, as well as to parents of dependent undergraduate students through the United States Department of Education.

Although a credit check will be performed during the application process, you may still be able to qualify for a PLUS loan if you are able to obtain a cosigner who has a good credit standing and / or you are able to document that your adverse credit history is due to extenuating circumstances.

How to Improve Your Chances for Financing with a Cosigner

Having a family member who has a strong credit history act as a cosigner can help a great deal in getting your student loan approved. This is especially the case if you are applying for private funding through a lender.

By having a financially responsible party on the application who has a high credit score, it can provide more assurance to the lender that payments on the loan will be carried out as promised. This can also help you to possibly obtain a lower interest rate on the loan, in turn, reducing your monthly payment amount.

Where To Go For Student Financing

Having low (or no) credit does not necessarily mean that a student loan will be impossible to obtain. There are still several avenues that you can take, including government financial aid, and even private loans with a cosigner. Knowing which loans you may be eligible for can help you to narrow down your options and get directly to your best potential options more quickly.
Refinance Loans

Should I Consolidate My Student Loans?

If it seems like every time you make the payment on one of your student loans, another one is arriving in your mailbox, then it might be time to consider consolidating your loans so that you have just one single payment to deal with each month – along with some other nice benefits that you may not be aware of.

Consolidating your federal loans, private loans, or both may sound like a nice idea, but should you do it? Below, we will explore the pros and cons of student loan consolidation to help you make a decision.

Consolidate Student Loans

How Student Loan Consolidation Works

Depending on the type of student loan debt that you’re carrying, there are actually two ways to combine these loans into just one. For example, if you only have federal student loans, then the government can combine all of this student debt into what is known as a “Direct Consolidation Loan.”

A Direct Consolidation Loan gives you new repayment terms of between 10 and 30 years, depending on the balance of the new loan. The interest rate on the newly consolidated loan will be determined based on a weighted average of the previous loans’ interest rates. Your prior financial history will not be factored into this rate.

The other option you have for consolidating is to either combine or refinance all of your student debt into just one single private loan. This alternative is open to those who have both government and private student loans.

In this case, because you will be going through a private lender, the interest rate on the new loan will be based on your past credit history. This means that the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate is likely to be. So, if you have good credit, then a lower interest rate could essentially save you a considerable amount of money on your payment – along with the convenience of only having one monthly payment instead of several.

On the off chance you have bad credit, then explore your options anyway to see what is available on the market.

Advantages To Consolidating Your Student Loans

Even just thinking about consolidating your student loans may cause some people to breathe a sigh of relief. This is because tracking just one loan as versus three or four can be much less stressful on your budget.

There can be other advantages to consolidating your student loans, too. For example, if you are able to obtain a lower rate of interest, you will be keeping more money in your own pocket, rather than paying it out to the lender. This means that you can divert those extra dollars over to paying other bills, or even into a savings or investment account.

If you had to have a cosigner on some or all of your original student loans, moving forward with a consolidation loan may allow you to release him or her from this responsibility. Once that happens, your cosigner will no longer be at risk financially for these loans, in turn, allowing them a better opportunity to qualify for loans of their own such as a home or auto.

Factors To Consider

While it may seem that consolidating your student loans only has its perks, there are still some factors to consider prior to moving forward in order to determine if this is really the best option for you.

First, consolidating your student loans can take some time and effort. That being said, if you are getting close to having all (or most) of your loans paid off, it may make sense to simply leave things the way they are and finish paying off the balances.

This is especially the case if you aren’t having trouble with making the payments. In fact, in some cases, a student loan consolidation may end up costing money if the interest rate is higher than what you are currently paying. You may also be required to pay an origination fee and / or other charges in order to get the new loan in place.

In addition, you could end up paying more in total if the repayment schedule goes for many years into the future. For example, if you were originally set to pay off your multiple loans within just a few years, but the new repayment schedule goes out for 15 or 20 years, then the total lifetime amount of repayment could be considerably more with the new consolidation loan. So, it is important to check all the figures.

Also, if you currently hold a Perkins loan, you could lose access to this particular loan’s cancellation program for teachers and other public service employees if you consolidate it into another loan. For this reason, even if you consolidate your other student loans, you might want to consider keeping this one separate.

Is It “Too Good to Be True?”

When shopping for potential loan consolidation alternatives, be sure that you read all of the “fine print” before you move forward on any deal. This is because not all lenders are created equal – and unfortunately, there are some that will take advantage of those who are down on their luck financially.

For example, if you are offered a loan with terms that appear to be substantially better than all of the other lenders, then it could be a sign that it is a scam. Typically, if the terms sound too good to be true, they probably are.

How To Consolidate Your Student Loans

In order to be eligible for consolidating your student loans, there are some criteria that you need to meet. First, you must either have graduated, or only be enrolled less than half-time. Also, you need to consider the type of loan(s) that you presently have. For example, if you currently have private student debt, these loans are not eligible to be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

In all cases, provided that you are eligible to move forward, it is important to ensure that the interest rate and the overall repayment amount make sense for you financially. In addition, be sure that the lender you choose to go with is reputable and in good financial standing. Checking out the lender through the Better Business Bureau is usually a good place to start in terms of finding reviews, as well as information on any complaints that have been filed over the past few years.

Student Loans Without A Credit Check

As the cost of a college education continues to rise, more students and parents are being saddled with taking on financial aid. Unfortunately, given the tough economic times over the past decade, there are many people who may have bad or no credit, which can make it difficult to qualify for certain types of student funding.

For those looking for student loans with bad or no credit, a no credit check loan may be the easy solution. Below, we will discuss how to get a student loan with no credit check as well as some alternatives, such as unsubsidized federal options.

Student Loans With No Credit Check

Student Loans With A Cosigner

One way to help your application through the student loan process is to go in with a cosigner. This way, you have someone else who will share in the responsibility for the debt – even if he or she won’t actually be repaying it. Simply having a cosigner on the application, especially if they have good credit, means that there is another individual who also has an obligation related to the loan, thereby reducing the risk to the lender. This can help to get the financing pushed through with a private lender as well as lower your interest rate.
Refinance Loans

Student Loans Without A Cosigner

In many cases, there may not be the possibility of you getting a cosigner. For one reason or another, you may not have an available family member who is able to cosign. Or, you may simply opt to secure your student funding on your own.

Alternatively, obtaining a federal grant or a scholarship will provide you with money that won’t require repayment. However, these are often not enough to cover everything that you may need. Therefore, you will likely still require some type of loan.

If you have less than perfect credit, then when it comes to educational funding, government-backed financial aid will typically be your best option. One reason for this is because these types of loans are easy to apply for. There are several federal loans that do not require a formal credit check.

Types of Student Loans Available Without a Credit Check

Federal student loans that do not require a credit check include the Stafford Loan and the Perkins Loan. There are subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans. Subsidized Stafford loans are considered need-based. With these types of loans, the government will pay the interest while you are still in school, and also during the grace period prior to the time that you begin repaying the loan.

Stafford Loans – Subsidized and Unsubsidized

With an unsubsidized Stafford loan – which is not considered to be need-based – the government does not pay the interest while you are still in school. Not all students will be eligible for the maximum amount of this type of loan.

Stafford loans can be appealing due to their low, fixed interest rates. Because Stafford loans are guaranteed by the full faith of the United States government, they are offered at lower interest rates than you would be able to obtain through a private lender.

The funds that are received from these loans can be applied towards your tuition, as well as other related expenses such as books and supplies. Certainly, another key factor with these loans is that they are not based on the borrower’s credit.

Perkins Loans

Perkins loans are also a type of federally funded student loan that are available without a credit check. There are three key factors that can determine the amount of your Perkins loan. These include:

  • Your amount of financial need
  • When you apply for the Perkins loan
  • The funding level at your particular school

Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to obtain Perkins loans. As long as you are still in school and you are taking a minimum amount of course load, the repayment on a Perkins loan begins nine months after graduation.

It is important to note that because all schools do not participate in the Perkins loan program, you should check with your college or university’s financial aid office in order to be sure that they do – especially if you plan to apply for this type of loan.

Other Student Loan Funding Alternatives

There are other student loan funding alternatives such as going through a private lender. Typically, though, going this route will require that you have good credit or that you have a cosigner (who has good credit) on the application with you in order to secure the loan.

On the slight chance that you are able to obtain a loan on your own through a private lender without having to go through a credit check, the chances are that you will have to pay a substantially higher rate of interest in order to compensate for the lender taking on what they would consider to be a high risk loan.

If you do go through a private lender in conjunction with a cosigner, you can oftentimes apply to remove the cosigner from the loan after a certain period of time (such as 36 or 48 months of making consecutive, on-time payments).
Refinance Loans

How To Apply For A No-Credit Check Student Loan

Applying for a no credit check student loan means that you will be going for either a Stafford or a Perkins loan – which are both federally funded options. In order to qualify for either of these types of loans, it will be important to follow the application instructions precisely. You must also get your paperwork turned in on time.

The place to begin when applying for any federally funded loan is with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Any student who is interested in financial aid for college will need to get this paperwork filed through the Office of the U.S. Department of Education. In some cases, you may also need to apply for the loan itself.

Final Word

Having bad or no credit should not prevent you from getting the college education that you desire. While you may need to take some alternate routes in order to obtain the funding that you need, there are options available to you for securing the necessary funds. The first step is getting a good understanding of what is available in terms of funding, as well as what you are eligible for based on your specific financial and credit situation.

Student Loans Without A Cosigner

If you’re a college student, you are probably painfully aware of just how pricey higher education can be. Because of that, student loans – along with student loan debt – have been steadily increasing throughout the years.

Unfortunately, many types of student loans may be difficult for you to obtain without a cosigner. This is because oftentimes students either don’t have strong enough credit and / or just simply don’t have enough income to guarantee the loan’s repayment on their own.

While your parent(s) or other loved ones may want to help out by cosigning on a student loan for you, this can also be a risky financial move for them, as it can make them responsible for tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars in repayment.

The good news is that there are financing options available today that do not require you to have a cosigner. Going with one or more of these alternatives can ease the potential financial burden on your would-be cosigner, while at the same time providing you with the funds that are necessary to move forward on your education.

Student Loans Without a Cosigner

Student Loans With No Cosigner Required

There are a variety of options available – both government and private – that can be explored. These include the following:

Federal Student Loans

The first step you should take in your search for financing without a cosigner is to explore the many benefits offered via federal student aid. The U.S. Department of Education provides financing, as well as grants and scholarships – so not all of the options will require you to repay the funds that are provided to you.

There are numerous funding alternatives available, but the most popular federal student aid options include the:

Stafford Loan

The Stafford Loan is actually available in two different formats. One is need-based on your income, where the U.S. government will pay the interest while you are in school, as well as during the grace period before the repayment period begins. This is referred to as a “subsidized” Stafford Loan.

The other type, an “unsubsidized” Stafford Loan, is not considered to be need-based on your income. With this type of Stafford Loan, any student who submits FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will be eligible to receive the aid. However, you will also be responsible for paying any of the interest that accrues – even while you are still in school.

Perkins Loan

Perkins loans are low-interest federal student loans that are made to both undergraduate and graduate students who exhibit exceptional financial need. With this type of loan, your school actually acts as the lender. Therefore, you will make your repayments to either your school, or to the loan servicer that is working with your school. You can be enrolled either full- or part-time in order to be eligible for a Perkins Loan.


PLUS loans are federal loans that graduate or professional students, or parents of dependent undergraduate students, can use to pay either for college expenses or for career schooling. The lender on a PLUS loan is the United States Department of Education, and the most that you can borrow through this type of loan is the cost of attendance (as determined by your institution), minus any other financial aid that you are receiving.

Typically, a PLUS loan will have a higher rate of interest than other types of student loans. However, the rate is still generally lower than the rates that you will find on private loans – and, these loans can be obtained without having a credit check performed on the borrower, which can be a big advantage.

Private Student Loans

In addition to the government funding options, you could also turn to the many alternatives that are available via private lenders. These sources of financing will generally need to be approved through a lender, and as a borrower, you will usually have to have a credit score of at least 660 or higher.

If you do meet all of the necessary criteria, though, obtaining private funding can allow you to obtain flexible terms on your loan such as deferring your payments, or paying interest-only for the first few years until your income increases and you are able to pay more.

There are numerous private student loan lenders. These include large banks and financial institutions as well as other financial entities such as Sallie Mae.

Factors To Consider When Applying Without A Cosigner

Although obtaining financing without a cosigner can provide the benefit of keeping your parents or other cosigner “off the hook” for the repayment, there are still some potential drawbacks to moving forward in this manner.

One of the biggest disadvantages is that you may not be able to obtain as much money as you need. Just like everything else, the cost of education is continuing to rise – and with the maximum caps on federal student financing, these funds may not provide you with enough to pay the entire tab.

Another factor to consider is the fact that when a lender has more security of a repayment, the interest rate provided on a loan is often lower. That being the case, if you apply for private funding on your own, you may end up with a higher rate of interest on your loan than you would have if you went in with a cosigner – and over time, even a slightly higher rate of interest can make a big difference in the amount of money that you will pay back.

How To Take The Next Step

In order to move forward in your quest for student funding, the best first step is to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is typically required by many colleges and universities – and it is a must in order for you to obtain financial aid, especially if you are planning to obtain funds without a cosigner. The FAFSA application can be easily completed online.

When seeking financial support, keep in mind that in addition to just borrowing the funds you need, you should also consider applying for scholarships and grants. That way, you won’t have as much to repay if approved – which can be an extremely wise financial move.