Updated: Oct 8, 2022
Thousands of Americans refinance their student debt each year. More of these student loan borrowers than ever are choosing Juno (formerly known as LeverEdge), a company that negotiates interest rates with student loan lenders in order to save you money.
Originally started to negotiate interest rates on private graduate school loans, Juno has expanded its operations and now offers refinancing, undergraduate loans, and graduate loans.
What is Juno?
Juno is a private student loan lender that is able to offer discounted pricing on private student debt, as well as refinancing loans. Through their established relationships with private lenders nationwide, Juno is able to special rates and other perks to those that use the platform.
Started by two Harvard students looking for a way to save thousands of student loan borrowers thousands of dollars each. For borrowers looking to use a certain lender that happens to be in the network, this can be a great way to save some money!
At this time, using Juno is free for users nationwide.
What lenders does Juno partner with?
Juno currently partners with the following lenders in the student loan space:
In terms of discounts, Earnest offers rate reductions between 0.8% and 4% for graduate student loans. To date, they have not provided guidance regarding their undergraduate loans.
The lenders you see listed above also offer student loan refinancing discounts according to the following guidance:
Earnest - up to $1,000 cash back
First Republic - up to $800 cash back
Laurel Road - 0.25% interest rate discount
Splash Financial - up to $600 cash back
Now that you understand who Juno partners with, we will pivot and review both Juno's private student loan experience, as well as their refinancing experience.
A review of Juno's private student loans
At this time, taking out student loans through Juno will involve borrowing from Earnest. Other than the fixed discount you will receive if you qualify, you'll also find an interest rate cap in place to assure that rates are no higher than those on a Federal PLUS loan for graduate students.
Do keep in mind that, generally, you won't want to take out a private loan at all until:
You've exhausted all options for federal debt or
You've found cheaper private options (keeping in mind that they will carry less flexibility than federal loans will)
Shopping for private loans with Juno
After you create or sign in to your account, you'll be brought to a screen like the above. You'll be asked to choose the product you're looking for. From here, if you're looking to browse private student loans, you'll be asked to select from the following loan types:
Once you select what type of loan you're looking for, it is as simple as entering your email and filling out the questionnaire. This process comes complete at no cost to you, no commitments, and no credit check.
After you complete your profile, Juno will effectively run a bidding process with their participating lenders in order to find you the best possible deal. After that process has been completed, you'll be able to see the offers generated for you.
From there, you can proceed to move on with a certain lender or reject the offers presented to you.
Juno student loan refinancing
Refinancing with Juno comes with a wide array of perks, terms, and loans, including:
Terms between 5-20 years
Options for both fixed and variable APRs
Cash-back bonuses or interest rate discounts, depending on the lender
Remember - if you refinance through Juno, you'll end up working with Earnest, Splash Financial, or First Republic (all three offer cash-back), or potentially Laurel Road, which offers a 0.25 percentage point rate discount.
Before you write off Laurel Road for not offering cash-back, do keep in mind that this interest discount occurs after those in certain healthcare careers receive already advantageous pricing.
The refinancing experience is digital and similar to that of applying for private student loans. You'll reach the same screen after you create your account or log in, and
Pros and cons to using Juno
There is no doubt that Juno can be a great option for many Americans to save thousands of dollars off their student debt repayment. But that doesn't mean it is for everyone. To decide if joining Juno may be a good option for you, compare the pros and cons below.
We'll start with the pros.
1. Can save money using the same lender
Using Juno is a no brainer if you're looking for private loans or refinancing through participating lenders such as Earnest, Laurel Road, and Splash Financial. But if you qualify to take out federal loans, the possibility of some cash back should not steer you clear, unless you qualify for lower rates and are okay with the lower levels of flexibility private debt carries.
You'll likely want to start by completing the FAFSA before you consider taking on any private loans.
2. Only submit one application
One of the major draws to Juno is that you'll only submit one application. At that point, the company will match you with the most appealing options for either private or refinanced loans.
Of course, there is a potential downside to this as well. Given that there is only four participating lenders at this time, you could be missing out on a great rate or more favorable term elsewhere. If this worries you, consider working with larger marketplaces like LendKey, Splash Financial, and Credible.
These potential benefits also come with a couple cons as well.
1. Only four participating lenders
Unfortunately, since Juno only has four participating lenders at this time, so it is hard to really narrow down into any perks offered by specific lenders. Those using Juno should probably do so for the intent of saving money, rather than looking for perks such as cosigner release, spousal consolidation, or forbearance options.
2. Lenders have different underwriting criteria
If you are denied a loan or refinancing opportunity, your letter will outline why. And that is good news. The bad news is that it can be really difficult to keep track of each lender's underwriting criteria, minimum credit scores, and other potential requirements.
You may have to do a little digging into each lender's acceptance criteria to see what your chances are.
So is Juno right for you?
Remember - whether or not Juno is right for you depends on a number of variables, including:
Whether federal loans are available to you
What type of product you are looking for
Your career trajectory and income situation
Our verdict - Juno is a good option that can help thousands of Americans save a lot of money. But it is still important to do your homework - consider undertaking the prequalification process with other lenders at the same time, since they likely won't impact your credit score.
Get our student loan calculator
Whether you decide to refinance with Juno or not, our student loan calculator can help you to save thousands of dollars over your repayment and potentially get out of debt years earlier than you would have otherwise.
Just answer our questions on the first tab, proceed to the "Refinancing" tab of the calculator, and input the term and the interest rate you've been quoted. In an instant, you'll be able to see if you are better off refinancing with Juno, a different lender, or not refinancing your loans at all.
And in the event that you have federal loans too, you'll be able to quickly decide between the following forgiveness and alternate repayment strategies:
Pay as You Earn
Revised Pay as You Earn
We'll show you your projected monthly payments, outstanding balances, and projected debt-free year!
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