Compare 4 Top Student Loan Refinancing Companies

Ben Luthi

If you’re considering refinancing your student loans, shopping around for your best offer is a crucial step to get the best terms possible on your new loan.

With so many different student loan refinancing lenders out there, though, it can be challenging to know where to look and how to compare various features such as rates, terms, and other benefits.

To help, we’ve summarized all the main features from four of the top student loan refinance companies on the market today. While these options may not be the best choice for you and your situation, they can give an idea of what to look for in a reputable student loan refinance lender and how to pick the best one for your needs.

Why it’s important to compare student loan refinance options

The first question you may ask is why refinance student loans at all? The benefits of refinancing are fairly straightforward, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you.

Reasons to refinance student loans include:

  • Depending on your credit and financial situation, you may be able to get better terms than what you have with your existing loans, including a lower interest rate and monthly payment. Ultimately, student loan refinancing gives you the chance to save money.
  • Refinancing can also give you the flexibility to choose your lender and your repayment term — you can extend your term with federal loans, but you can’t shorten it; refinance lenders allow you to do both. By lengthening your term, you can substantially drop your monthly payment to have more room in your budget. Or be decreasing your term, you can pay off your student loans much faster while saving significantly on accrued interest.

By comparing the top student loan refinance companies, you’ll get a better understanding of which features are most important to you and what kind of rates you might qualify for with each one.

Keep in mind, though, that if you refinance federal loans, you’ll no longer be eligible for loan forgiveness programs and income-driven repayment plans. Also, private lenders tend to have less generous forbearance options than the U.S. Department of Education.

That said, if you’re not concerned about losing those perks, student loan refinancing can open up the door to a better financial future as you pay off student loans.

Compare 4 top student loan refinance companies

As you research your student loan refinancing options, here are some of the top refinancing companies to consider, along with some of their important features.

PenFed Credit Union

  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $300,000
  • Interest rates: Check Your Rate Now
  • Repayment terms: 5, 8, 12 and 15 years
  • Minimum credit score: 700 (670 with a cosigner)
  • Minimum annual income: $42,000 for solo applications; $25,000 with a cosigner
  • Cosigner release: You can apply to have your cosigner released from the loan after you’ve made 12 consecutive on-time payments, and you meet the lender’s credit and income requirements.
  • Special features: PenFed allows spouses to combine their student loans into one new refinance loan
  • What to consider: PenFed requires you to be a member of the credit union before you can apply. However, anyone is eligible to join.


  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000
  • Interest rates: Check Your Rate Now
  • Repayment terms: 5, 10, 15 and 20 years
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Minimum annual income: You must be employed and have consistent income
  • Cosigner release: Not available
  • Special features: You can opt to skip one payment every 12 months
  • What to consider: Cosigners are not allowed; loans aren’t available in all states

College Ave

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $300,000
  • Interest rates: Check Your Rate Now
  • Repayment terms: 5 to 20 years
  • Minimum credit score: Not disclosed
  • Minimum annual income: Not disclosed
  • Cosigner release: You can apply after you’ve completed more than half of your scheduled repayment term and you meet other payment and eligibility requirements
  • Special features: College Ave offers 16 different repayment plans, giving you more flexibility than most of the top student loan refinance companies.
  • What to consider: The lender’s interest rates are higher than some of the other options on our list.

ISL Education Lending

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $300,000
  • Interest rates: 7, 10, 15 and 20 years
  • Repayment terms: Check Your Rate Now
  • Minimum credit score: 670
  • Minimum annual income: Not disclosed, but your debt-to-income ratio must be below 40%
  • Cosigner release: You can apply after you’ve made your first 24 consecutive payments on time and meet income and credit requirements.
  • Special features: No late fees
  • What to consider: You’ll be denied if you have any previous bankruptcies, charge-offs, repossessions, collection accounts, foreclosures and similar negative items on your credit report

How to compare student loan refinance rates

One of the most important features of a student loan refinance to consider is the interest rate.

As you compare top student loan refinance companies, take the time to get prequalified so you can view your rate offers. Lenders run a soft inquiry on your credit report, which won’t impact your credit score. While the rate offer isn’t final until you submit an official application, it’ll give you a good idea of what you qualify for.

Going through the pre-qualification process with each individual lender can be time-consuming, however. To speed up the process, use Purefy’s rate comparison tool to get rate offers from several lenders in one place — again, based on a soft credit check that won’t hurt your credit score.

The more lenders you can compare, the better your chances will be of scoring the lowest available rate that you qualify for.

Keep in mind, though, that some lenders offer both fixed and variable interest rates. Variable rates typically start lower, but they can fluctuate with market rates, which means you could end up paying more over time. Keep that in mind as you shop around, so you know you’re comparing apples to apples.

Also, note that interest rates will change over time. So while a lender is currently offering low rates, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay that way. Keep up with current rates to make sure you get the right offer.

Currently, student loan refinancing rates are at a historic low — making it an excellent time to compare your options.

How to choose the best student loan refinance option

While the interest rate is incredibly important, it’s not the only essential factor to consider. In addition to the rate, also look at the special features each lender offers. If you’re applying with a cosigner, ask about cosigner release options and how long that will take.

Also, look at the repayment terms. Depending on your needs, you may want a lender with more flexible options.

Finally, it’s crucial that you have an idea of what each lender expects for creditworthiness criteria. If you don’t meet the minimum requirements, it may not even be worth it to apply.

If you’re ready to compare top student loan refinance companies, use Purefy’s Compare Rates tool to see your best options quickly and easily.

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