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Laurel Road graduate student loans review

Pursuing a medical, business or law degree? This online lender may be able to help.

  • Best for graduate students looking for rates lower than federal PLUS loans.
  • Pick something else if you want a grace period longer than six months.
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4.15% to 7.98%



Product NameLaurel Road In-School Loan
Minimum Loan Amount$5,000
APR4.15% to 7.98%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term20 years
RequirementsEnrolled at least half time in an eligible graduate program at an eligible school, borrow $5,000+, US citizen or permanent resident with a permanent 1-551 card

Review by

Kellye Guinan was a financer writer for Finder, covering everything from loans from auto to personal to business finance.

Expert review

Laurel Road is a great option for graduate students looking for competitive rates. Its maximum rate is only a tad higher than what you’d pay for federal PLUS loans. And it also offers a 0.25% rate discount once you find a job after graduating.

However, its loans only come with a six-month grace period — significantly less than what other private lenders offer. And you’ll need to attend an eligible school and program to qualify.

Still on the fence? Check out our list of other student loan providers that might be a better fit.

First, am I eligible?

To qualify for a graduate student loan from Laurel Road, you must:

  • Be enrolled at least half time in an eligible program at an eligible school
  • Borrow at least $5,000
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident with a permanent I-551 card

You may also have to meet certain income and credit score requirements or apply with a cosigner who does.

How do Laurel Road graduate student loans work?

Laurel Road is an online bank and direct provider that offers In-School Loans to graduate students in specific programs at certain schools. You can borrow as little as $5,000 or as much as the full cost of attendance for your program. And you can take anywhere from 5 to 20 years to pay off the loan.

The online application is easy to fill out. Simply visit Laurel Road’s website and select your graduate program, the school you’re attending and the number of years you have left to get started. If approved, your loan is fully disbursed to your school once your program’s been confirmed.

What programs qualify for an In-School Loan?

In order to qualify, you’ll need to attend one of the following programs:

  • Nursing (MA)
  • Nursing (DNP)
  • Physician’s assistant (PA)
  • Medicine (MD)

Eligible schools vary by program. Check Laurel Road’s drop-down list on its In-School Loans page to confirm you qualify.

How much does a Laurel Road graduate student loan cost?

You can choose between fixed or variable rates when you borrow for grad school from Laurel Road. Fixed rates range from 4.15% to 7.98%, while variable rates are slightly lower from 4.12% to 8.28%. The exact APR you receive depends on your creditworthiness, loan term and repayment type.

Laurel Road charges zero application, origination or disbursement fees when you borrow. And if you decide to repay your loan early or make extra payments, you’ll have no prepayment penalty, either.

Does Laurel Road offer discounts?

Yes, you can knock 0.25% off your interest rate by signing up for automatic payments.

What are my repayment options?

Laurel Road has four repayment options available:

  • Full repayments. Make full monthly repayments immediately on both the principal and interest while you’re still in school.
  • Interest-only repayments. Make interest-only repayments while you’re in school and during your six-month grace period. Then full repayments begin.
  • Flat $50 payments. Make $50 monthly repayments while you’re in school and during your six-month grace period. Any unpaid interest that accrues is added to your loan balance at the end of those six months and you’ll start making full repayments.
  • Full deferment. Defer all repayments until six months after you leave school or graduate. All of the interest that accrues during this time is added to your loan balance, making this the most expensive option.

Once you start repaying your loan, you can also make extra payments at any time. These are applied in a specific order: first against applicable late fees, then to accrued interest and finally toward the principal.

Does Laurel Road offer any deferment or forbearance options?

Yes. Beyond its full deferral option, you can also apply for forbearance in the case of economic hardship. And if you’re a full-time intern, medical resident, fellow or in another postgraduate training position, you could refinance with Laurel Road to become eligible for $100 repayments during your training period.

Top reasons to consider a Laurel Road graduate student loan

From its flexible repayment plans to its forbearance option, here are some perks of taking out a graduate student loan from Laurel Road:

  • Multiple repayment options. From deferment to flat $50 monthly repayments, Laurel Road offers several choices to fit your individual needs. And borrowers planning on doing post-graduate training could refinance with Laurel Road to become eligible for even more repayment options.
  • Forbearance available. If you fall on hard times, you may be able to pause or make reduced payments until your financial situation picks up again.
  • Cosigners accepted. If you don’t meet Laurel Road’s income or credit requirement on your own, you can add a cosigner to your loan to strengthen your application.

Drawbacks to borrowing from Laurel Road

Consider these potential pitfalls before taking out a Laurel Road graduate student loan:

  • Limited availability. Only borrowers attending certain programs and schools are eligible, which dramatically limits your chances of qualifying.
  • Interest accrues during grace period. If you choose to defer repayments or only make $50 repayments while you’re still in school and during your grace period, your loan will continue to accrue interest. This will increase the cost of your loan while you’re still settling into post-graduate life.
  • Only comes with a six-month grace period. Some student loan providers offer a nine-month grace period before your full repayments begin. Laurel Road only offers six-months.

Compare other student loan providers

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Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
College Ave undergraduate student loans
0.94% to 12.99%
Not stated
Starting at $1,000
5 to 15 years
Rates start at 2.84% for residents of all 50 states.
Sallie Mae® Smart Option Student Loan for Undergraduates
1.87% to 11.97%
Not stated
Starting at $1,000
5 to 15 years
Choose from over 8 different options for undergraduates, law students and more.
SoFi Student Loans
1.89% to 11.98% with autopay
Starting at $5,000
5 to 15 years
Undergraduate financing with no late fees to US citizens with good credit.

Compare up to 4 providers

What to expect when signing up

Laurel Road doesn’t require an extensive application. To begin, you’ll just need to visit the In-School Loans page on its website. From there, select your field of study, university and the number of years you have left to complete your degree.

Next, either sign in to your Laurel Road account or make a new one to finish the application and enter information about your cosigner, if applicable. Laurel Road will then provide estimated rates. If you decide to go through with the application, you’ll send in any supporting documentation and authorize a hard credit inquiry.

Laurel Road will then notify you of a decision. If approved, you’ll select the type of loan you want and its term, then sign the loan disclosures and promissory note. From there, your funds will be sent directly to your school.

More about Laurel Road

Laurel Road is more than just an online lender. It also offer common banking products like checking and savings accounts, as well as CDs. And if you have other student loans, you can refinance with Laurel Road to potentially get a lower rate. It also offers lots of online financial resources including videos and how-to guides to help customers plan for the future.

Read our guide to graduate student loans to find a different lender that may work for you.

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