According to recent student loan refinancing data gathered by Purefy, teachers are successfully refinancing their student debt quite often — and in large numbers.
Throughout 2019, teachers were consistently one of the most popular professions to refinance student loans, even compared to traditionally better paid professions like physicians, attorneys, and engineers.
So how are so many teachers able to qualify for a refinance?
Here’s a tried-and-true method many teachers are using to get a student loan refinance.
First, why are so many teachers refinancing their student loans?
Teachers are particularly well-suited for a refinance for a couple key reasons:
- They have a master’s degree — which means they may have a lot of student loan debt from continuing their education. Plus, with some lenders, people with an advanced degree are more likely to get approved and be offered lower rates.
- They generally don’t work in a high paying field — so they may be looking for more ways to save money and cut costs. And saving on student loans is often a top priority for people stuck with a big balance.
For those who qualify, there’s a lot to like about student loan refinancing — making it a very popular solution to better manage student loan debt. With a refinance, teachers can:
- Consolidate all their student loans into one new loan with just one simple monthly payment. This can include both private and federal student loans — unless the federal loans are already being repaid through another valuable program like Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Forgiveness. (If that’s the case, it would probably only be beneficial to refinance the private loans.)
- Get a lower rate to save money on interest both month-to-month and over the life of the refinanced loan.
- Extend their repayment term — some lenders offer terms up to 20 years — to lower their monthly student loan bills substantially. (Alternatively, terms can always be shortened too to pay off loans much earlier while saving big on interest.)
Here’s how many teachers are refinancing student loans
Based on refinancing data, here are some comsteps teachers are taking to be approved for a student loan refinance.
1. Get teaching experience
A significant number of teachers are refinancing at an average age of 35 to 36, with average job experience totaling six to seven years.
By gaining experience in their careers before pursing a refinance, teachers can increase their income over time. Total income is a major factor in qualifying for a refinance and getting better rates, and lenders tend to be pretty strict when it comes to income requirements.
That’s because lenders want to be sure you have sufficient, steady income to be able to pay back your loan. With low or inconsistent income, lenders will view you as a riskier candidate — and either decline your application or offer higher rates to balance the risk.
In addition to income, gaining more years of experience helps demonstrate the stability of your career — which some lenders may consider when reviewing your application.
2. Improve credit history
While you are getting more work experience, it’s also essential to use that time to improve your credit score. Refinancing data from 2019 shows the average FICO for teachers is 765.
Having a strong credit history is one of the most crucial aspects of being approved for a refinance. It also plays a large role in which rates you’ll qualify for.
By taking the necessary steps to increase your credit score, you can get the best interest rates and the most lenders to choose from. Here are five comcredit factors that you can address to get a better score and lower rates:
- Payment history
- Credit usage
- Length of credit history
- Types of credit
- Recent credit inquiries
3. Pay down debt
Paying down your debt goes hand in hand with improving your credit. Paying all your bills and other obligations — on time — helps your payment history which is often considered the most important credit-scoring factor.
At the same time, paying your debt improves your credit usage and lowers your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). DTI is another aspect of your personal information that lenders use to decide whether to approve your refinance application. For reference, Purefy’s data shows the average DTI is 39% for teachers who refinance.
4. Consider a cosigner or spouse loan consolidation
If you can’t qualify for a refinance on your own, or you’re not happy with the refinancing options you’re offered, you can try applying with a cosigner. A cosigner is someone close to you — typically a spouse, parent, or other loved one — who agrees to sign your loan application with you.
By adding a cosigner, a lender views your application as less risky because there is someone attached to the loan who would take over the payments if you can’t make them.
A creditworthy cosigner can help improve your odds of getting approved with lower rates — especially if your credit, income, or DTI aren’t in the best shape.
If you’re married, another option is a spousal loan consolidation — a unique loan type only offered by PenFed Credit Union. Like adding a cosigner, refinancing with a spouse can greatly help your chances of qualification.
That’s because a spousal loan consolidation looks at your combined household income and debt — rather than just yours alone.
This feature can be especially useful for teachers who may not have the highest income by themselves.
5. Compare rates and refinancing options
Shopping around for the best refinancing offers is essential to get the right option for your needs.
By using Purefy’s Compare Rates tool, you can see which rates and terms you qualify for from multiple well-known lenders — all with one easy form. Plus, checking your rates has no impact on your credit score whatsoever.
If you’re a teacher with significant student loans, refinancing could be an excellent way to pay off your debt more easily, more quickly, or both.
By following the steps above, you can increase your chances of being an ideal refinancing candidate to the most lenders — giving you the best odds of scoring the lowest rates and best offers.