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  • Writer's pictureNathan Zarcaro

A Review of Brazos Student Loan Refinancing

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Brazos Higher Education is a nonprofit, private student loan lender and refinancing company that does business with the residents of Texas. With a goal of offering low-cost refinancing, student loan borrowers in Texas could find their lowest rates with Brazos.

A young woman studying

What is Brazos?

Brazos was founded in 1975 in Waco, Texas and is set up as a nonprofit lender servicing the state of Texas. It consists of numerous managed companies that you may have heard of, including:

  • Acapita Education Finance Corp

  • Angelina Higher Education Authority

  • Bosque Higher Education Authority, Inc.

  • And more!

Brazos has also established The Brazos Education Foundation, Inc to help promote and provide "affordable access to high to higher education through resources, scholarships, and information."

Their loans are commonly serviced by Nelnet.

What is student loan refinancing?

Student loan refinancing is the process of taking out a new loan, presumably at a lower interest rate, in order to consolidate your existing student loans and save money off your repayment.

You can typically achieve lower payments one of two ways:

  1. First, by securing a lower interest rate

  2. Second, by extending the term on the loan, though this may cause you to pay more in interest over the long term.

But usually, you'll also be able to shorten the term on your loan if you're looking to do so.

Refinancing to Brazos student loans

If you're considering refinancing your loans with Brazos, you'll want to be aware of their terms and eligibility requirements ahead of time.

Like we mentioned, Brazos is only an option for you if you are both a United States citizen and a resident of Texas. Beyond these base requirements, though, you're also going to need to meet the following:

  1. A minimum credit score of 690 - 720 (learn how to build credit as a college student)

  2. A completed degree from a Title IV institution (minimum of Bachelor's)

  3. An outstanding balance between $10,000 and $400,000

  4. A minimum income of $60,000 (or $30,000 with an approved co-signer)

  5. Be employed, or accepted a job offer that will begin within 60 days

Loan terms and limits

Brazos offers repayment terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years, which is fairly standard in the student loan space. You can consolidate all of your federal and private loans into one new loan with just one monthly payment. Additionally, you can opt to refinance in either a fixed or variable rate capacity.

The amount of money that you'll be able to refinance is directly dependent on your education level.

For example:

  • Those that earn Bachelor's degrees can refinance a maximum of $150,000

  • Those with graduate (or more advanced) degrees may be eligible to refinance up $400,000, which is also the maximum that Brazos will touch.

Perks to using Brazos

Beyond its lower than average interest rates, there are other perks to working with Brazos. They are as follows:

  • Autopay interest rate reduction - Those that automate their payments will receive an interest rate reduction of 0.25%. You can also schedule payments that are greater than your monthly payment.

  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties - Though this has largely become standard in this space, it is still nice to not see Brazos make up for their lower interest rates here.

  • Deferment and forbearance options available - You'll have a maximum deferment length of 36 months and forbearance period of 12 months.

While no private lenders offer as much deferment or forbearance flexibility as federal loans do, Brazos are among the most generous we've seen from a private company.

And as far as fees go, they only assess penalties for late payments, which seems pretty fair to us. The maximum late fee is $35, and will be calculated by taking the lower of $7.50 and 5% of your overdue balance.

Limitations of refinancing with Brazos

Brazos customers are happy overall with the process and attention that they receive overall, but seem to have identified a few opportunities for improvement. Common trends include:

  • No student loan co-signer release is offered - Many lenders have been slow to catch on to this trend, so if you're planning to use a co-signer, they'll have to remain on your loan until the completion of the term.

  • Web limitations - This admittedly feels like nitpicking, but some customers have commented on the difficulty in using their website. But for some borrowers, lower interest rates will be worth it.

  • High credit/income requirements - Brazos has more strict credit limit and income requirements than some other lenders do. And while you'll be rewarded with low rates if you qualify, some borrowers will have to look to other lenders.

Applying to refinance with Brazos

Once you reach the homepage and navigate to the application, you'll be prompted to make an account through FirstMark Services. After you create an account, you will be able to complete the application.

Brazos student loan refinancing home page

If you meet minimum income and certain credit requirements, you may be able to see your projected interest rate right away. If you are happy with the rate you are quoted, you may proceed by consenting to a hard credit check.

Hard credit checks are conducted by student debt refinancing lenders to assure that you are creditworthy and we’ll be able to repay your new loan. Do note that if you are applying with other lenders, such as Earnest or CommonBond, that you will want all of your hard credit inquiries to coincide in the same time.

That way, when you complete your rate checking process in a certain time period, you will find just one hard inquiry against your credit report.

Once you have cleared your final credit check, Brazos will ask you to sign a credit agreement at which point your loan will be funded.

We do hear sometimes from Americans that refinancing with Brazos can be a slightly more difficult process than it is with other lenders, but it may be worth it for the below market rate interest rate you may be able to secure.

Just as you would with any other lender, student loan or other, Brazos will ask you to submit documentation of the following:

  • Personal information such as your address and Social Security number

  • Proof that you live in Texas

  • Income verification including tax forms and pay stubs

  • And potentially more information

Student loan refinancing tips

If you're still contemplating whether refinancing with Brazos makes sense for you, we've built a list of tips designed to help you make this decision easier to make. Our tips are as follows:

  • Do you have more debt than you make in a year? We've found this to be a good barometer to evaluate whether refinancing may be right for you or not. If you earn $75,000 in a year, but have $80,000 in student debt, you have an increased likelihood of being able to save money. Also, having less debt than what you make in a year does not necessarily mean that you should not refi.

  • Are you looking to get out of debt more quickly? If you have federal or private loans and don't qualify for forgiveness but still want to get out of debt more quickly, refinancing can be a great option for you. Different lenders have different term options, both for those that want to shorten and those that want to extend their term.

Get our student loan refinancing calculator

Are you unsure whether refinancing your student loans with Brazos (or any private lender) is right for you? We built a student loan refinancing calculator to help you out. This tool will help you to:

  1. Project what a new interest rate and term will do to your monthly payments

  2. Compare proposed refinancing strategies by total expense and debt-free year

  3. Understand how much money you stand to save

Plus, it also provides you with eligibility and payment projections for other repayment strategies too, including:

Get started by downloading here or clicking the button below.

Brazos student loan refinancing calculator

Should you use Brazos to refinance your student loans?

Refinancing with Brazos is generally best for the following types of borrowers:

  1. Those with good (or great) credit scores and histories

  2. Those with high incomes for their age and career

  3. Those considering using a co-signer

  4. Texas residents that can get lower interest rates

Just make sure that refinancing is the best course of action for you before you pull the trigger. Since the private refinancing process is permanent, you're going to need to make sure that you aren't better off using a federal program first.

We recommend you start by checking your potential fit in an income-driven repayment plan or a federal forgiveness program, like PSLF or Perkins Loan Cancellation.

You'll need to weigh the pros and cons to both approaches. Generally, lower paid public sector or government workers may be better off with IDR or pursuing forgiveness, while those that earn a little bit more stand to benefit from reducing their interest rate by refinancing.

You definitely just want to make sure that you aren't forgoing eligibility for federal forgiveness before you refinance.

Student loan refinancing FAQ

Is there a limit to how many times you can refinance student loans?

There is not any limit, per se, but each time you do, you are likely to see your credit score take a temporary hit. Rate shopping and taking out new loans always has this effect, unless your lender is only pulling a "soft credit" inquiry, so it is always recommended that you do your rate shopping within a short period of time, as it may only show up as one inquiry on your credit report.

Brazos does require a hard credit inquiry in order to be issued a loan.

Other student loan refinancing lender reviews

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and has worked for industry leaders in both finance and healthcare.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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