Brazos student loan refinancing review November 2018 | finder.com

Brazos student loan refinancing review

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Touting transparency, this nonprofit offers rates from 4.19% to 7.00% (With autopay discount) — but only if you live in the Lone Star State.

The nonprofit Brazos Higher Education offers student loan refinancing for borrowers who are steadily repaying their existing loans. To qualify on your own, you need excellent credit — or good credit to qualify with a cosigner. You’ll also need to prove steady employment.

A key benefit is that Brazos doesn’t turn away noncitizens on a work or student visa as long as you apply with a cosigner. But all applicants must live in Texas to qualify.

Product NameBrazos Student Loan Refinance
Min Loan Amount$10,000
Max. Loan Amount$250,000
APR4.19% to 7.00% (With autopay discount)
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term20 years
RequirementsUS citizen or permanent resident, Texas resident, graduated from an eligible school, at least 18, employed or about to start work in 60 days, make at least $60,000 or $30,000 with a cosigner making $60,000, 720+ credit score or 690+ credit score with a cosigner, strong credit history.
  • Resident of Texas.
  • At least 18 years old.
  • US citizen or permanent resident to apply on your own or student or work visa to apply with a cosigner.
  • Personal credit score of at least 720 to apply on your own or 690 with a cosigner.
  • Income of at least $60,000 annually to apply on your own or $30,000 annually with a cosigner.
  • Employed, self-employed or about to start a job within 60 days.
  • Graduate of an eligible Title IV school.

First, am I eligible?

To qualify for Brazos student loan refinancing, you must meet eligibility requirements that include:

  • Resident of Texas.
  • At least 18 years old.
  • US citizen or permanent resident to apply on your own or student or work visa to apply with a cosigner.
  • Personal credit score of at least 720 to apply on your own or 690 with a cosigner.
  • Income of at least $60,000 annually to apply on your own or $30,000 annually with a cosigner.
  • Employed, self-employed or about to start a job within 60 days.
  • Graduate of an eligible Title IV school.

How does refinancing with Brazos work?

Brazos Education Lending Corporation is a Waco-based nonprofit that directly funds student loans and student loan refinancing. Its refinancing loan works by replacing your existing student loans with a new one or to combine multiple student loans into one, ideally at more favorable rates and terms that your existing loans.

The application is entirely online through Firstmark Services, a company that processes loan applications and handles student loan repayments. Your repayments are also through Firstmark Services.

What happens if I refinance my federal loans with Brazos?

Brazos allows borrowers to refinance federal loans, but it warns that you’ll lose several benefits by doing so. Among those benefits are flexible repayment plans that include graduated, extended and income-driven repayments. You’ll also lose eligibility for forgiveness programs like the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness, which wipes out your debt after 10 years of income-based repayments.

Think carefully about what you stand to lose before refinancing a federal loan, especially teachers, public servants and nonprofit employees, who could have their loans forgiven.

How much will I pay to refinance?

Because Brazos doesn’t charge fees, it won’t cost you anything to apply for refinancing. In fact, you could end up saving money over the long term. But it doesn’t mean your student loans are free — you’ll still pay interest on what you borrow.

Brazos offers two types of interest rates: fixed and variable. Fixed rates don’t change while you’re paying back your loan, making it easy to predict both your interest and principal repayments. If you qualify, your fixed rate will be in the range of 4.19% to 7.00% (With autopay discount).

As of August 2018 Brazos’s range of variable rates is 2.83% to 6.28% — or 2.58% to 6.03% with an autopay discount.

Does Brazos offer any discounts?

Yes. Brazos offers a 0.25% rate discount to borrowers who sign up for automatic repayments.

What are my repayment options?

Brazos offers one standard repayment option: Fixed monthly repayments based on your loan term, interest and how much you borrow. You can control how much you pay each month, however, based on your loan term.

Through Brazos, your loan term choices are from 4.19% to 7.00% (With autopay discount) to 20 year(s). If you have a small debt amount or income high enough to afford larger repayments, consider choosing the five- or seven-year terms. Borrowers with higher debt loads or low income might want to go for a longer loan term, resulting in lower repayments.

Longer terms might sound attractive, but they come with a catch. Most long-term borrowers get higher APRs and end up paying significantly more in interest over the life of the loan. To make sure you don’t pay more than necessary, try for the shortest loan term you can afford.

Compare more student loan refinancing options

Rates last updated November 14th, 2018
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR Product Description
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
Good to excellent credit
None
2.57%(As low as ) (variable)
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing
620
$300,000
2.79% to 8.39% (variable)
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
650
full balance of your qualified education loans
2.470% to 6.990% (variable)
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (w/ autopay)
650
None
2.47% to 6.23% (variable)
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing
700
$300,000
3.75%–7.03% (fixed)
Straightforward refinancing with competitive rates.
CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing
660
$500,000
2.72%–7.25% (with autopay) (variable)
Trade in your existing school loans for competitive APRs that come with a discount for autopay.
LendingTree Student Loans
Good to excellent credit
Varies by lender
3% (As low as) (fixed)
Compare multiple student loans and student loan refinancing options in one place.

Compare up to 4 providers

Top reasons to consider Brazos

  • Competitive rates. Brazos’s fixed rates are slightly lower than what you’ll find with many other refinancing providers — and its variable rates are on the low end too.
  • No fees to apply. It won’t cost you anything to apply with Brazos.
  • International borrowers OK. As long as you have a valid US visa and a cosigner, you can apply for refinancing.
  • High amounts available. Refinance as much as $250,000 in student debt if you have a graduate or professional degree.

Why you might want to look elsewhere

  • Texas residents only. You’re automatically disqualified if you live in any other state.
  • No cosigner release. If you apply with a cosigner, you’ll have to refinance again to take your cosigner off your loan.
  • No phone support. You can’t pick up the phone to call Brazos for a quick answer to your questions until after you start your application.
  • Good credit required. Even with a cosigner, you must have a credit score of at least 690 to qualify.

What to expect when signing up

Before you start your application, have the following documents and information on hand:

  • Information on your existing student loans. The information you need is likely on your most recent payment statement from your servicer.
  • Proof you’re a Texas resident. Brazos recommends a state ID, like your driver’s license.
  • Your Social Security number. This helps Brazos with a credit check.
  • Your permanent address. Submit the address where your bills are sent.
  • Proof of income. Brazos requires either your two most recent pay stubs, your most recent tax return or your Form 1099.
  • Contact information for a reference. Your reference should be someone other than your cosigner who’s able to verify your identity and contact information.

Once you have these together, you’re ready to start your application.

Steps to apply

  1. Go to the Brazos website and click Find My Rate.
  2. Select your credit score, scroll down and click Calculate my savings.
  3. Enter the amount you owe, the interest rate and how many repayments you have left.
  4. Select your credit score range again, and review your potential offers. To save the most on interest, choose the highest monthly repayment you can comfortably afford.
  5. If you see an offer you like, click Apply Now.
  6. Click Register as a new user to create an account.
  7. Enter your name and email and create a password before clicking Verify Email.
  8. Check your email for verification from Brazos, click the link within to confirm.
  9. Create an application name and select Brazos Refinance Loan, then click Start a new Application.
  10. Review the Application Solicitation disclosure, which outlines what you can expect from this loan. Check the confirmation box and click Save & Continue.
  11. Follow the directions to complete the rest of the application. If you’re applying with a cosigner, they’ll receive an email with directions for filling out their portion of the application.
  12. Wait for a response from Brazos. If you’re approved and are happy with the rates and terms you qualify for, carefully read the promissory note before signing it.

After Brazos disburses your loan funds, you’ll make repayments through Firstmark Services.

More about Brazos

Brazos Education Lending Corporation is a part of Brazos Higher Education Services Corporation, a nonprofit that manages several smaller nonprofits involved in providing higher education financing to Texas residents, including:

  • Acapita Education Finance Corporation
  • Angelina Higher Education Authority
  • Bosque Higher Education Authority
  • Brazos Student Finance Corporation
  • Federated Student Finance Corporation
  • Brazos Education Funding Corporation
  • Brazos Education Loan Authority

Together, these companies have funded more than 2 million student loans.

Interested in parent loans? Brazos offers parent loans for college as well.

Bottom line

Brazos is a company that takes pride in transparency, offering low rates on student refinancing to those who qualify. But loans are limited to those who live in Texas, and you’ll need good credit, even if you plan to apply with a cosigner.

Learn more about consolidating your debt in our comprehensive guide to student loan refinancing.

Frequently asked questions

Anna Serio

Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.

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