Since 2013, Laurel Road has been a leading private student loan lender. With employment discounts and repayment terms as long as 20 years, healthcare professionals often turn to Laurel Road to cover financial aid gaps as they pursue graduate or doctoral degrees. Depending on when you took out your loans and your credit score at the time, your loans may have higher interest rates than you can find today. If that’s the case with your loans from Laurel Road, student loan refinancing can make a lot of sense, helping you save thousands or repay your loans faster. If you want to learn how to refinance Laurel Road student loans, here’s everything you need to know. Who Is Laurel Road? Laurel Road is a digital banking platform. As a lender, Laurel Road offers student loan refinancing and private graduate school loans. In 2019, Laurel Road became part of KeyBank, a major financial services company. While other lenders offer loans to people in multiple fields, Laurel Road specifically designed its private student loan program for healthcare professionals. With the needs of doctors and nurses in mind, Laurel Road created loans with repayment terms and perks that benefit healthcare workers. Who Has Laurel Road Student Loans? If you are a healthcare professional that took out private student loans to pay for your graduate or doctoral program, you may have utilized Laurel Road. Not everyone is eligible for a Laurel Road student loan. As of January 2022, it only offers graduate school loans for certain healthcare professionals. Only borrowers that pursue a degree in the following fields qualify for a loan: Dentistry (DDS/DMD) Nursing (MA) Nursing (DNP) Physician Assistant (PA) Medicine (MD/DO) Laurel Road Student Loan Terms Laurel Road’s graduate loans have repayment terms ranging from five to 20 years. Loans can have variable or fixed interest rates, and borrowers can qualify for a 0.25% automatic payment discount. If you graduated and are employed full-time in an eligible role, you can also qualify for a 0.25% employment discount. When you took out your loans, you chose a repayment plan. Laurel Road has multiple options: Full Deferment: If you opted for a full deferment plan, you didn’t have to make payments while you were in school or during your grace period. Flat Repayment: While you were in school and during your grace period, you only had to pay $50 per month if you chose the flat repayment option. Interest Only Repayment: With the interest only plan, you paid only the monthly interest that accrued while you were in school and throughout your grace period. Immediate Repayment: The plan with the lowest overall cost, you started making payments against the principal and interest right after the loan was disbursed. Refinancing Your Existing Loans Depending on when you took out the loans and your credit, interest rates on Laurel Road student loans could be as high as 10%. If you have loans with high interest rates, interest can rapidly accrue on your loans, and you could end up owing far more than you initially borrowed. If you’ve been making payments on your loans but feel like you aren’t making any progress against the principal, student loan refinancing could be a solution. To refinance your student loans, you apply for a loan from another lender for the amount of your existing debt. If you have graduated and are working in the healthcare industry, you may have a solid source of income and improved credit. If that’s the case — or you have a parent, family member, or friend willing to co-sign the loan — you could qualify for a lower rate than you have now. At time of publishing, student loan refinancing interest rates are quite low. Variable-rate loans start as low as 1.74%, while fixed-rate loans start at just 2.44%. You could refinance your loans and save money, reduce your monthly payments or even pay off your debt ahead of schedule. 5 Benefits of Refinancing Laurel Road Student Loans If you took out Laurel Road student loans to pay for school, there are five main benefits to refinancing your debt: 1. You Don’t Have to Worry About Losing Federal Benefits Typically, the major drawback to student loan refinancing is that federal loan borrowers lose their eligibility for federal benefits like income-driven repayment plans, forbearance, and loan forgiveness. But if you have Laurel Road loans, your loans aren’t federal — they’re private. Currently, you aren’t eligible for those federal loan benefits, so you won’t lose any perks by refinancing your debt with another lender. 2. You Can Qualify for a Lower Rate When you were in graduate school, you may not have had a reliable source of income, and your credit score may have been relatively low. If you qualified for a loan, you may have gotten stuck with a high interest rate. By refinancing your loans, you could qualify for a lower rate and save a significant amount of money. For example, a borrower with $30,000 in loans at 7.5% interest and a 10-year repayment term would pay over $12,000 in interest charges, repaying a total of $42,733. If that borrower refinanced their loans and qualified for a 10-year loan at 5% interest, they’d pay $38,184 — a total savings of over $4,500. 3. You Can Reduce Your Payments As a healthcare professional, you may have taken out a large amount of student loans. For example, the average balance for dental school graduates is $304,824 as of 2020. While your earning potential is high, it can take some time to build your practice, and your student loan payments can strain your budget. When you refinance your loans, you can qualify for a lower rate, or you can extend your loan term to get a smaller payment. You may pay more over time because interest accrues over the longer term, but it could be a worthwhile choice to get a lower payment while your income is relatively low. As your income increases, you can make extra payments or even pay off your loans early to cut down on interest and save money. For instance, a borrower with $304,834 in student loans at 6% interest and a 10-year loan term would have a monthly payment of $3,384. If that borrower refinanced and qualified for a 15-year loan at the same interest rate, their payment would drop to $2,572 — freeing up over $800 in the monthly budget. 4. You Might Be Able to Remove a Cosigner If you need to take our private student loans for graduate school, you likely added a co-signer to your application. Students usually don’t meet lender income or credit score requirements on their own, so they often have a parent, relative or family member co-sign their loan applications. While a co-signer can improve your odds of getting a loan and a competitive interest rate, it’s a big favor to ask of someone. They’re legally responsible for repaying the loans if you fall behind, and the account can affect their ability to qualify for credit for themselves. If you have a co-signer on your Laurel Road student loans, another benefit to refinancing is that you can apply on your own. If you meet the lender’s eligibility criteria by yourself, you can refinance the debt and remove your co-signer from the loan. Going forward, you’re solely responsible for the loan’s repayment, and the co-signer has no further obligation to that account. 5. You Can Simplify Your Payments For your undergraduate and graduate degrees, you may have taken out several different loans. You may have federal subsidized or unsubsidized loans, Grad PLUS Loans, or multiple private student loans. If you have several loans, juggling your due dates and loan servicers can be overwhelming. By refinancing your student loans, you can combine all of your loans into one. You’ll only have one loan servicer and one monthly payment to remember, making it easier to stay on track and monitor your repayment progress. Drawbacks to Refinancing Laurel Road Student Loans Although refinancing can be a good idea for some borrowers, it may not be a wise choice for others. Before refinancing your debt, consider these drawbacks to refinancing Laurel Road loans. You May Not Be Eligible for a Lower Rate When lenders look at your application, they consider many different factors when deciding whether to approve you for a loan and determining your interest rate. Factors include: Income: Lenders want to see that you can comfortably afford your payments, so they’ll look at your individual income. Borrowers typically need to meet a minimum income threshold. Credit: In general, you’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for student loan refinancing. That means your score should be 670 or higher. Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI): Even if you have a high income, if you have a substantial amount of debt, you may find it challenging to qualify for a loan. Lenders will review your DTI — the amount of your income that goes toward debt payments each month. Lenders typically require a DTI under 50%, but the lower it is the better. Depending on your information, you may not qualify for a loan at all. Or, if approved, you may not qualify for a rate that is lower than you have now. You May Need a Co-signer to Qualify Since you have to meet certain income and credit requirements, you may not qualify for a loan on your own. If that’s the case, you can usually add a co-signer to your application. Adding a co-signer improve your chances of getting a loan, but it can be a big ask for your loved ones. Other Lenders May Not Offer Forbearance When it comes to private student loans and refinancing, terms and conditions vary by lender. Laurel Road offers economic hardship forbearance for borrowers financing financial difficulties, but not all lenders offer similar programs. If you are in a volatile industry, it’s a good idea to carefully review loan terms to ensure you have protection if you lose your job or your employer reduces your hours. Refinancing May End Your Grace Period Laurel Road student loans usually have a grace period, giving you time to get a job and create a budget before repayment begins. If you refinance your loans before the end of your grace period, the new lender may not honor the grace period, and your payments may become due right away. Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing: When Does It Make Sense? After reviewing the pros and cons of refinancing your Laurel Road student loans, you may still be unsure if refinancing is right for you. To help you make an informed decision, here are some scenarios where student loan refinancing can be a good idea: Your Credit Score Improved According to Credit Karma, the average credit score for people between the ages of 18 and 24 is 630. That score is in the “fair” range, so you may not have qualified for a low interest rate on your student loans when you took them out. If you have started working, made all of your payments on time, and have paid down debt, you may have improved your credit. If your credit score is now 670 to 850, you may be eligible for a much lower interest rate. You Want to Save As Much Money As Possible Student loan refinancing is especially useful if you want to save money. By refinancing and qualifying for a lower rate, you can save thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. The average refinancing amount is $63,880. If you had that much debt with a 10-year term and a 6.28% rate — the current rate for federal Grad PLUS Loans for graduate and doctoral students — your total repayment cost would be $86,186 — interest charges would add over $22,000 to your cost. If you refinanced your debt and qualified for a 10-year loan at 4.5% interest, you’d pay a total of $79,445. By refinancing your loans, you’d save over $6,700. Original Loan Refinanced Loan Interest Rate 6.28% 4.5% Repayment Term 10 Years 10 Years Monthly Payment $718 $662 Total Interest $22,306 $15,565 Total Paid $86,186 $79,445 You Want to Pay Off Your Loans Early Depending on what payment plan you’re on, it can take 10 to 20 years to pay off your Laurel Road student loans. Having that debt on your shoulders can be stressful, and it can prevent you from pursuing other goals like buying a home or starting a business. If you want to pay off your loans sooner, student loan refinancing can help you achieve that goal. By refinancing to a shorter term, you can get an even lower rate. And if you make extra payments, more money will go toward your principal rather than interest, helping you pay off your loans even faster. For example, let’s say you had $63,880 in student loans with a 10-year term and a 6.28% interest rate. If you refinanced and opted for an eight-year term, you could qualify for a 4% rate. With a lower rate and shorter term, interest has less time to accrue. You’d repay a total of just $74,750 — a savings of over $11,000 compared to the original loan. But let’s say you want to pay off your loan even more aggressively. You decide to increase your monthly payments by $100, paying $879 per month instead of the required $779. You’d pay off your loans one year earlier, and you’d save an additional $1,474. Original Loan Refinanced Loan With Extra Payments Monthly Payment $718 $779 $879 Total Interest $22,306 $10,870 $9,391 Total Repaid $86,186 $74,750 $73,271 Time to Pay Off Loan 10 years 8 Years 7 Years How to Refinance Laurel Road Student Loans in 5 Steps If you decide to refinance your Laurel Road student loans, you can complete the process in five simple steps: Check Your Credit: Review your credit report and look for any errors or mistakes that may impact your credit score. You can check your credit reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. Gather Documents: When you apply for a loan, you’ll typically need to provide the lender with your paystubs, employer information, loan account numbers, and Social Security number. You can save time by collecting those documents ahead of time. Get Quotes: Terms, rates, and eligibility requirements can vary by lender.Shop around and compare quotes from multiple refinancing lenders to find the best deals. Most lenders offer loan prequalification so you can get a quote without affecting your credit score. Choose a Lender: Once you’ve gotten your best student loan refinance rates, review the offers and see what loan and lender would give you the best interest rate, monthly payment, and overall cost. When you find a match, you can select that lender and move forward with the application. Submit Your Application: To apply for a loan, you need to complete a full application and consent to a hard credit inquiry, which can have a modest impact on your credit score. After you submit the application, the lender will review your information and issue a decision. In some cases, you’ll receive a response right away, but some lenders may take one to three business days. That’s it! If approved, the lender will pay off your existing loans with your new account. Continue making all of your minimum payments until you receive a confirmation that the loans have been paid off to avoid late fees. Refinancing Your Student Loans Now that you know how to refinance Laurel Road student loans, you can research your available options and choose a lender that meets your needs. While you can research student loan refinancing lenders on your own, there is an easier way: use Purefy’s Compare Rates tool to compare rates from the best student loan refinancing lenders at once. By filling out a simple form, you’ll get rate quotes from top lenders in a matter of seconds, simplifying the process for you. Need more help? You can contact Purefy’s student loan advisors to schedule a live, one-on-one consultation. The student loan advisor can answer any questions you may have, learn how to compare rates and loan terms, and get step-by-step guidance through the application process. It’s completely free, and you can schedule an appointment online.