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How to refinance student loans without a degree
Didn't graduate? These lenders still could help you get a better deal on your loans.
Even if you never finished school, you still have to pay back your student loans. Refinancing can often help you get a better deal by renegotiating the rates and terms of your loans. Not all lenders are willing to work with borrowers that don’t have a degree, however. And those that do usually have credit score and income requirements you need to meet to qualify.
5 lenders that let you refinance without a degree
- Eligibility: Must have been employed for 2+ years, make at least $24,000 and be 18+ years old.
Purefy is a connection site that simplifies the process of applying for student loan refinancing by allowing you to compare your potential rates and terms from multiple lenders with one quick form. Students who haven’t finished school would only be eligible for a Citizens Bank loan through Purefy, but there are some benefits to applying through this platform rather than directly through the bank itself. Purefy allows you to check your eligibility and rates before you apply by answering five questions instead of completing Citizens Bank’s entire application.
- Eligibility: 700+ credit score, debt-to-income ratio of 43% or less, attended an eligible degree-granting school, make at least $30,000 for debt under $100,000 or $50,000 for debt over $100,000, US citizen or permanent resident, over 18 years old.
EDvestinU is a nonprofit lender that offers no-fee student loan refinancing to borrowers who attended an eligible school — and you don’t need to have a degree. Rates are competitive, though you’ll need strong credit and low personal debts to qualify.
On top of potential savings, EDvestinU allows borrowers to sign up for fixed or graduated repayments, making it a great choice for those at the beginning of their careers and expect to make more in the future. It also offers 12 months of forbearance if you lose your job or otherwise can’t afford your loan repayments.
- Eligibility: US citizen, permanent resident or resident alien; make at least $24,000; at least $10,000 in student debt; made at least 12 full, on-time repayments if you don't have a bachelor's degree or 3 full payments if you do.
Citizens Bank is a regional bank that offers student loan refinancing nationwide. It lets you refinance and consolidate up to $90,000 in private and federal student loans for borrowers with an undergraduate or no degree. It also allows your parents to refinance any student loans they took out in your name. However, federal loans on income-driven repayment plans aren’t eligible.
Rates are higher for borrowers with no degree, though you still could potentially save if you have private student loans. It also lets you refinance your loan to 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-year terms, which can help you adjust your monthly repayments.
- Eligibility: Must be a US citizen or permanent resident with a US address, good credit standing, no more than $150,000 in student debt, verifiable income, and the primary borrower on all loans up for consolidation.
Discover is one of the more flexible student loan refinancing lenders out there. Most borrowers can refinance as much as $150,000, though you might be eligible for even more depending on your area of study. And you don’t need to have a degree to qualify.
Its rates might not be as low as some of the competition, but its multiple repayment assistance options could allow for more wiggle room if you’re still trying to figure out your career. However, it’s not transparent about its credit requirements and refinancing can take as long as 45 days after you submit your application.
- Eligibility: Satisfactory credit score, repaid student loans for at least 24 months, US citizen or permanent resident, lived in the US for the past two years, two years of continuous income or employment.
Don’t have excellent credit? PNC bank is one of the few providers that’s willing to work with borrowers who have satisfactory credit and haven’t finished their degree. You can apply with a cosigner to get a more competitive rate, though you must meet PNC Bank’s eligibility requirements on your own.
You can only choose between a 10- and 15-year loan term, however. The entire process typically takes around four to six weeks from start to finish.
Refinancing your student loans involves taking out another loan to pay off your current student debts — ideally with more favorable rates and terms. You also might want to refinance your student debt if you want to lower your monthly repayments, take a cosigner off of your loan or work with a more flexible lender.
Generally, you can benefit the most from refinancing if you have private student loans. That’s because federal loans already come with some of the most competitive rates, terms and flexible repayment and forgiveness programs out there. Chances are your student loan refinancing company simply won’t beat the low rates you already have.
How much can I save by refinancing?
How much you can save by refinancing your student loans depends on your personal situation. Typically, borrowers who haven’t finished school won’t qualify for the most competitive rates since many lenders take your level of education into consideration.
Other factors like your credit score, income and debt-to-income ratio (DTI) can affect how much you’re able to save. Already have an idea of what you might qualify for? Use our loan comparison calculator to put a number on your savings
Is now a good time to refinance my student loans?
Often you can get more favorable rates if your income and credit score have increased since you took out your student loan. Some refinancing providers require that you’ve made around 12 payments on your loan before considering your application.
Refinancing isn’t right for everyone, however. If you have bad credit, are unemployed or are struggling to pay off other types of debt, you might not qualify for a loan from another lender. It also might be difficult to qualify if you’re self-employed, since some online lenders might have a difficult time verifying your income.
Can I qualify?
Each lender has its own eligibility requirements. Typically you must:
- Make at least $20,000 a year.
- Have good credit.
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident.
- Have attended a Title IV school .
Not a good time? Consider these options instead
Refinancing isn’t the only way to save on your student loans or make your repayments more affordable. If it’s not the right time or you have federal loans, you might want to look into some of your other choices.
Switch to a new repayment plan
Federal loans come with a wide range of repayment plans, including several based on your annual income. With an income-based repayment plan, you can get your loans forgiven after 20 or 25 years of repayments, no matter how much money you made. You’ll have more affordable monthly repayments, though you’ll likely end up paying more in interest.
Some private student loan providers might also be more flexible than you think if your financial situation has significantly changed. Contact your lender if you’re struggling with repayments due to financial hardship to learn about your options.
Apply for deferment or forbearance
Maybe you got injured and can’t work, got laid off or went back to school. When you’re temporarily unable to afford your current student loan repayments, deferment or forbearance could be the answer. It allows you to put your repayments on hold or make interest-only repayments until you’re able to support yourself again.
Like lengthening your loan term, it likely won’t help you save however. That’s because interest typically continues to add up while your loan is in deferment or forbearance. Once you start making full repayments again, that interest gets added to your loan balance.
Go back to school
There are several benefits to going back to school and finishing that degree. Just having a higher level of education can make you eligible for higher salaries as well as more competitive refinancing options. Plus, while you’re in school you can often put your repayments on hold again.
Compare other student loan refinancing options
Refinancing a student loan from a program you never finished isn’t impossible. But your options are limited. There’s also a chance that student loan refinancing just isn’t right for you at the moment.
To learn more about how they work, including repayment options, check out our in-depth guide to student loans.
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