Updated: May 19
This year, tens of thousands of student loan borrowers will refinance their student loans with one of the many private lenders nationwide. Refinancing comes with a number of potential perks, including:
Altering the term of your loan repayment
Securing a lower interest rate
Saving money on your repayment
This article will review refinancing your student debt with Laurel Road.
$5,000 - $300,000
Starting at 2.50%
Starting at 3.99%
Term of Loan
5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Student Debt Destroyer Rating
What is Laurel Road?
Laurel Road is one of the United States' most notable private student loan lenders. They started originating loans in 2013, and are a division of KeyBank NA. As such, KeyBank's student loan services are offered through Laurel Road.
Offering both private loans and refinancing loans, they are best known for offering the following types of refinanced loans:
They are also known as a great option for both medical and dental residents nationwide.
Laurel Road: Refinancing at a glance
Laurel Road offers student loan refinancing services for those with minimum remaining balances of $5,000, all the way up to your complete outstanding balance. This flexibility is great, and it is made better by the ability to check your eligibility and check your rate offer without having to agree to a hard credit inquiry.
Unfortunately, the lender does not offer any flexibility in terms of academic deferment, though they do offer up to 12 months of forbearance if needed.
A really nice perk of Laurel Road is that they offer the ability to refinance Parent PLUS loans into the borrower's name.
Interest rates and terms
At this time, Laurel Road offers refinanced loans with terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years. And while rates are subject to change as economic conditions change, below were Laurel Road's rates as of the end of August 2022.
Do note that these rates are based on the assumption that you fund a Laurel Road linked checking account with $2,500. If you do not, you can generally expect these quoted ranges to increase by about 0.25%.
However, certain health professionals, including physicians, dentists, physician assistants, and nurses may qualify for specialized pricing below the rates advertised online.
Fees and penalties
Laurel Road does not assess any application or loan origination fees, as is typical for most private lenders in the student loan space. Additionally, they will not levy any prepayment penalties, meaning that you are free to pay down extra principal whenever you'd like in an attempt to pay off your loans early.
The only fees that you could face are late fees for payments made 15 days or more after the due date. In this event, you will be charged the lesser of 5% of the missed payment amount, or $28.
Laurel Road credit card
Laurel Road now offers the industry's first credit card that allows you to earn cashback on your everyday purchases to use towards your student loan debt. Offering 2% cashback, you can make a dent on your loans.
Plus, you'll also have the option to redeem 1% cashback to use towards whatever you want.
Laurel Road refinancing eligibility
To refinance with Laurel Road, you'll need to meet the following requirements:
Be a United States citizen or legal and permanent resident with an I-551 card
Be located in one of the 50 U.S. States, Washington DC, or Puerto Rico
Have a credit score of at least 660
Depending on your profession, major, and type of loans, you also may need to have graduated to be eligible. At this time:
You'll need at least an Associate's Degree for many professions
Borrowers pursuing a Bachelor's Degree may be eligible to refinance during their last year of undergraduate study
Parent PLUS loans can be refinanced without graduating
Laurel also offers the opportunity to apply with a cosigner, if you feel that your financial record and credit score isn't where it should be. Other common metrics oftentimes reported by competing lenders, such as maximum debt-to-income ratios, are not publicly disclosed.
Pros and cons to Laurel Road
Over the past decade or so, Laurel Road has built quite the reputation as an industry leader in the student loan space. There are a lot of positives to consider, as well as a couple of things that we'd like to see them improve on. Here are the pros.
1. The ability to refinance Parent PLUS loans in the borrower's name
There are currently only a select few venders that offer the ability to transition ownership of Parent PLUS loans from a parent to the borrower, and this is one of them. It can be immensely helpful for parents that took on student debt to help their kids finance college with the understanding that their children would someday assume responsibility for them.
2. Autopay discount
It is fairly standard in the industry for student loan lenders to offer autopay discounts to those that automate their payments. Nevertheless, it is nice to see Laurel Road offer it as well.
Those that put their payments on autopay will receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction.
3. Flexibility for medical school grads
We've mentioned that Laurel Road is a great option for medical professionals. But did you know that those that are completing a residency or fellowship may qualify to pay as little as $100 per month?
Given that residents and fellows earn far less than practicing physicians, this can be a great benefit.
Now, let's pivot and talk about a couple things we'd like to see Laurel Road improve upon.
1. No deferment options
If you refinance your loans and return to school, you will not be able to defer your payments until you graduate or complete your program. This is common with private lenders, since they do not typically carry as much flexibility as federal loan programs do.
2. Do not service their own loans
Federal student loans are managed by one of a handful of federal loan servicers, MOHELA among them. But if you refinance to get away from MOHELA, just be aware that this won't happen, since Laurel Road actually outsources the servicing of their loans to them.
Applying to refinance
If you're ready to proceed with submitting an application, you'll find that it is a really easy process overall. You'll want to start by navigating to Laurel Road's website and navigate to the "Check Your Rate" button.
From here, you'll just want to complete the form that populates, and agree to the legal confirmations. Remember - preliminarily checking your rates will not impact your credit score. Then, once you see your rate estimate, you can decide to formally apply for refinancing.
At this point, a hard credit inquiry will be conducted, which may impact your credit score. Many borrowers will rate check with multiple lenders to compare rates before proceeding with a formal application.
Is refinancing with Laurel Road right for you?
It can be hard to know if refinancing with a specific lender is the right choice for you or not. To help you decide if the Laurel Road experience is right for you, we've made a mini checklist of sorts:
Did you receive a low rate? Of course customer service is important, but in our opinion, the refinancing rate that Laurel Road provides you is more important. So make sure that the rate you're about to lock into is among the lowest rate you've received from any lender, or else you are just costing yourself more money each month.
Are you okay without a deferment option? If you are planning on returning to school, this may not be the lender for you, since Laurel Road does not offer any deferment options for those going back to school. You'll likely be better off keeping your federal loans until you've completed your education once and for all.
Get our student loan refinancing calculator
It it possible, perhaps even likely, that you still have questions or doubts about whether student loan refinancing is for you, and that's okay. We built a refinancing calculator to help you decide whether it may be the best next step for you.
Our calculator will help you to:
Decide whether refinancing is right for you
Pick a term and a rate that works best for you
See exactly when you'll be debt-free and how much money you may save
What are you waiting for? Grab your copy now!
The bottom line
Laurel Road is an industry leader that offers competitive rates and some definite perks. And while it may be nice to have expanded deferment options, refinancing with them can be a great way to save some serious money, particularly for medical professionals.
Other refinancing lender guides
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