Brazos student loan refinancing review
This nonprofit offers competitive rates — but only if you live in the Lone Star State.
finder.com’s rating: 3.9 / 5.0
- Best for Texas residents or international borrowers looking for low rates.
- Pick something else if you don't have good credit or a creditworthy cosigner.
2.97% to 4.8% with autopay
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
|Product Name||Brazos Student Loan Refinance|
|Minimum Loan Amount||$10,000|
|Max. Loan Amount||$250,000|
|APR||2.97% to 4.8% with autopay|
|Interest Rate Type||Fixed|
|Minimum Loan Term||5 years|
|Maximum Loan Term||20 years|
|Requirements||US 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.|
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 950 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
If you’re a resident of Texas and looking to refinance your student loans, you may want to consider Brazos for its competitive rates and acceptance of noncitizens. It doesn’t charge any fees, and you can refinance as much as $250,000 of graduate school debt.
But you’ll need good credit or a creditworthy cosigner with a high income to be considered. And it doesn’t offer cosigner release — meaning you’ll have to refinance again if you want to take your cosigner off your loan.
Can’t qualify with Brazos? Compare your other refinancing options below.
First, am I eligible?
To qualify for Brazos student loan refinancing, you must meet a few eligibility requirements:
- Resident of Texas
- At least 18 years old
- US citizen or permanent resident to apply on your own or have a student or work visa to apply with a cosigner
- 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, ideally at more favorable rates and terms.
The application and repayments are done entirely online through Firstmark Services, a company that processes loan applications and handles student loan repayments.
Can 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 Public Service 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 if you’re a teacher, public servant or nonprofit employee.
How much will I pay to refinance?
Because Brazos doesn’t charge fees, it won’t cost you anything to apply for refinancing. And since Brazos offers both fixed and variable rates, you may even save money on interest.
- Fixed rates. If you qualify, your fixed rate will be in the range of 2.97% to 4.8% with autopay.
- Variable rates. Brazos’s range of variable rates range from 3.09% to 6.54% — but could be lower with the 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. However, you can control how much you pay each month based on your loan term.
Through Brazos, your loan term will range between 5 to 20 years. If you only owe a small amount or are able to afford larger repayments, consider choosing a five- or seven-year term. Borrowers with higher debt loads or low income might want to go for a longer loan term to keep repayments low.
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.
Does Brazos offer forbearance?
Brazos allows you to put your payments on hold in three circumstances:
- Economic hardship. Defer your loan payments for up to three months at a time if you lose your job, are unable to work or face other personal financial problems. You can qualify for a total 12 months of forbearance.
- Military duty. If you’re called to active duty, apply to put your loan payments on hold for up to 36 months.
- Natural disasters. You can ask to pause your student loan repayments for up to three months if you’re affected by a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake.
What student loan servicers does Brazos use?
The nitty gritty of student loan refinancing through Brazos is done by third-party servicer Firstmark. Through this servicer, you can pay off your loan online, over the phone, and via check. However, some borrowers have complained about the Firstmark’s poor customer service and incorrectly processed repayments. Read our review to learn more.
Compare more student loan refinancing options
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 welcome. 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, confirm that you’re eligible first.
Documents you’ll need
Meet the requirements? Gather the following documents and information to complete your application:
- 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.
Steps to apply
Follow these steps to begin your application:
- Go to the Brazos website and click Find My Rate.
- Select your credit score and click Calculate my savings.
- Enter the amount you owe, the interest rate and how many repayments you have left.
- Select your credit score range again and review your potential offers.
- If you see an offer you like, click Apply Now and create an account.
- Create an application name and select Brazos Refinance Loan, then click Start a new Application.
- Follow the steps to complete the application.
If you’re applying with a cosigner, they’ll receive an email with directions for filling out their portion of the application. Once it’s been submitted, 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.
Frequently asked questions
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