Earnest student loan refinancing review September 2019 | finder.com

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Earnest student loan refinancing review

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Offers personally tailored repayment plans to fit your unique situation.

You’ve graduated and you’re on your way to building a great career for yourself. Or maybe your child has graduated and you’re looking to refinance, now that you’ve paid some debt down. Earnest may be able to help.

2.14% to 6.79%



Max. Loan Amount


Min. Credit Score


Product NameEarnest Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (w/ autopay)
Minimum Loan Amount$5,000
Max. Loan AmountNone
APR2.14% to 6.79%
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term20 years
Requirements650+ credit score, employed or have a job offer within 6 months, not live in DE, KY, NV, enrolled less than half time or plan to graduate at the end of the semester, $5,000+ in student debt from Title IV school, loan account in good standing, current on all mortgage or rent payments, no bankruptcy or recent collection accounts on credit report, US citizen or permanent resident with 10-year green card, ages 18+
Go to Earnest's website

What makes Earnest student loan refinancing unique?

Refinancing student debt with Earnest means refinancing with a lender that tailors your interest rate and repayment plan to you. But to get that plan, you’ll need to be financially fit.

It takes only two minutes to get an estimated rate. You’ll notice that it’s a range, and that’s a result of Earnest’s underwriting process. Earnest analyzes your career, income and credit score to see where you’ve made progress and whether it’d be a good fit for you.

What is Earnest student loan refinancing?

You can refinance private, federal and Parent PLUS loans through Earnest. The loans are unsecured, and Earnest prides itself on a technique called Precision Pricing to make your repayments fit your budget.

Refinancing starts at a variable 2.14% APR or fixed 3.45% APR with autopay, and terms run from 5 years to 20 years. Those terms can be broken down by month as part of Earnest’s Precision Pricing.

The minimum balance you’ll need to refinance is $5,000, with Earnest.

What are the benefits of Earnest student loan refinancing?

  • No fees for taking out a loan or making early payments. With no origination or prepayment fees, the only fee you might run in to is up to $8 for a missed payment.
  • Refinance during your last semester. While you can’t refinance your debt if you dropped out, you can qualify for refinancing if you’re currently enrolled in your last semester.
  • Pricing just for you. You get to take control of your repayments by choosing the minimum monthly payment. From there, Earnest fits the rate and term to that amount.
  • Ability to skip a payment. Earnest gives you the ability to skip a payment and make it up later. You’ll need to be at least six months into your loan to request the first skip. During those six months, you must have paid all your payments on time. Skips are allowed every 12 months, must be requested five business days in advance and count toward forbearance limits.
  • Forbearance. Under qualifying circumstances, Earnest affords forbearance to those refinancing student loans. Deferment may also be available to you if you’re active duty military, serving with the Peace Corps or pursuing a graduate degree.

Compare Earnest to other online student loan providers

Updated September 15th, 2019
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Starting at 3.75%
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Good to excellent credit
Starting at 2.8%
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
3.29% to 6.69%
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
2.14% to 6.79%
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
Full balance of your qualified education loans
2.14% to 7.71%
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
3.01% to 8.61%
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.

Compare up to 4 providers

What to watch out for

Private student loan refinancing in general comes with drawbacks, and a few are specific to Earnest.

  • High standard. Though standards aren’t a bad thing, they can be a disadvantage for some. A near-spotless credit record is needed, and you’ll need to show signs of good financial health. If you’re not quite there, you can work on your credit score and go over the guidelines that Earnest suggests you meet.
  • Loss of federal benefits. You can lose income-based repayment plans, debt forgiveness and other benefits if you refinance your federal loans privately. Repayments may not be an issue for you, but it’s worth reviewing the benefits in full before going the private route.
  • Variable rates not available everywhere. You’re limited to fixed rates if you live in one of the following states: Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee or Texas.
  • Limited access. Earnest doesn’t lend to those who live in Delaware, Kentucky or Nevada.
  • No incomplete degrees. Any debt accumulated for a degree you didn’t complete is ineligible for refinancing with Earnest.

Am I eligible?

You’ve got your finances on lock, and you’re ready to apply. First, you’ll want to make sure you meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum credit score of 650
  • Employed, written job offer for a position that starts within 6 months or consistent income
  • Not a resident of Delaware, Kentucky or Nevada
  • Enrolled less than half time or plan to graduate at the end of the semester
  • At least $5,000 in student loan debt from a Title IV school
  • Student loan account in good standing
  • Primary borrower on student loans you’re refinancing
  • Student loan debt is from your own education or your child’s
  • Current on all mortgage or rent payments
  • No bankruptcy or recent collection accounts on credit report
  • US citizen or permanent resident with 10-year green card
  • At least 18 years old

Earnest provides guidelines on its website. They aren’t hard-and-fast rules but are heavily suggested if you want to improve your chances of application approval.

What do I need to apply?

Getting your rate should take about two minutes. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Visit Earnest’s website.
  • Choose either Student Loan Refinancing or Parent PLUS Refinancing.
  • Complete the required forms with your education, finance, contact and personal information.
  • Get your rate nearly instantly.

To continue with your application after you get your range of potential rates:

  • Connect your financial accounts through Earnest.
  • Submit any extra documentation.

I got the Earnest student debt refinancing loan. Now what?

On agreement, you should have been able to set up autopay to ensure that your payments are on time and get the rate discount. If you didn’t sign up then, you can enroll through your Earnest online account.

Simply log in to your account and click Loan details. Sign up from there, shifting your pay schedule to biweekly at the same time, if you’d like.

If your finances start getting rocky and you think you might not be able to make a payment, call Earnest’s customer support team right away. They’ll may be able to work with you to find an alternative solution.

Bottom line

Having a good grasp on your finances and good financial health could afford you a good rate if you decide to refinance with Earnest. The road to ridding yourself of student debt can be tricky, but refinancing could move you closer to the end of it even faster.

Even if you’re confident that Earnest is the lender for you, take the time to compare your options. You may be able to find a loan that better suits your needs.

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