Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles that our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links to products from our affiliate partners.
To help their children finance their college education, many parents take on debt in the form of high interest Parent PLUS loans issued by the federal government.
Parent PLUS loans are a type of student loan taken out on behalf of a parent who assumes full responsibility for the payment of the loan (s).
One way to pay off a Parent PLUS loan faster than the standard 10-year repayment term is to refinance through a private lender. If you qualify, refinancing can help you get a lower interest rate so that you can reduce debt faster while saving money on long-term interest.
Another benefit for parents looking to put the financial responsibility on their adult children: refinancing is the only way to transfer Parent PLUS loans on behalf of your child. While you can refinance Parent PLUS loans in your name, you can also choose to have your child pay off the loan by refinancing it in their name.
There is a big caveat: Parent PLUS loans are a type of federal loan that qualifies for the current federal student loan payment and interest freeze. We do not recommend that you consider refinancing your Parent PLUS loans before the forbearance ends on September 30, 2021.
Unfortunately, not all private lenders allow Parent PLUS loan refinancing, while student loan refinancing does. Borrowers can refinance their Parent PLUS loans and even combine them with their private student loans. For this reason, Select ranked Education Loan Finance (ELFI) on our list of the best student loan refinancing companies.
Read on for more details on ELFI student loan refinancing, including APR, benefits, fees, loan amounts, and length of terms. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best student loan refinancing companies.)
Student Loan Refinancing Review
Financing student loans Refinancing student loans
Information on Education Loan Finance has been independently collected by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by Education Loan Finance prior to posting.
No origination fees to refinance
Federal, Private, Graduate and Undergraduate Loans, Parent PLUS Loans
Types of loans
Variable rates (APR)
From 2.39% (rates include a discount on automatic payment)
Fixed rates (APR)
From 2.79% (rates include a discount on automatic payment)
From 5 to 20 years for the refinancing of student loans; 5, 7 or 10 years for the refinancing of the parent loan
Minimum credit score
Authorize a co-signer
Financing student loans Refinancing student loans APR
ELFI offers variable and fixed APRs. Variable interest rates fluctuate over the life of the loan, while fixed rates stay the same throughout the life of the loan.
ELFI’s variable rates start at 2.39%. Fixed rates start at 2.79%. Variable and fixed APRs automatically include a 0.25% discount on the automatic payment.
Since not all refinance lenders allow borrowers to refinance their Parent PLUS loans, being able to do so through ELFI is a big advantage. In addition, borrowers can combine their Parent PLUS loans with any other private student loans they have co-signed, so that all debt is consolidated into one loan. This simplifies your monthly payments – ideally at a much lower interest rate.
The ELFI website says customers report saving an average of $ 272 per month and could realize an average of $ 13,940 in total savings.
There are also a few bonuses available for borrowers including $ 25 to their PayPal account when they refinance using their PayPal ID and a $ 400 referral bonus program. And borrowers are assigned a personal loan advisor to guide them through the refinance process.
ELFI offers payment protections for borrowers, such as deferment where they align their repayment start date with the expiration of the grace period on federal student loans they refinance, as well as financial hardship or forbearance. medical treatment for up to 12 months.
ELFI does not charge borrowers any set-up fees to take out a refinancing loan, nor any loan application / guarantee fees.
There are no prepayment penalties, but a late charge which is 5% of the overdue amount or $ 50 (whichever is less). Returned check or insufficient funds charge is $ 30.
There is a minimum loan amount of $ 15,000 and no maximum.
Term of office
Borrowers have the flexibility, with loan terms ranging from 5 to 20 years for refinancing student loans and 5, 7 or 10 years for refinancing Parent PLUS loans.
At the end of the line
Student loan refinancing is the best option for those with Parent PLUS loans who could benefit from refinancing, either to get a lower interest rate or to transfer the loan on behalf of their child. If you have co-signed private student loans, you can combine and refinance all of the debt into one new loan.
For those without a Parent PLUS loan looking to refinance their private loans, consider Select’s other top-rated refinance lenders:
At this time, we do not recommend refinancing federal loans while Covid’s forbearance period is in effect until September 30, 2021.
To determine which student loan refinancing companies are best for borrowers, Select analyzed and compared private student loan financing from national banks, credit unions, and online lenders. We reduced our ranking by only considering those that offer low student loan refinance rates and prequalification tools that don’t hurt your credit.
Although the companies we have chosen in this article consistently rank among the most competitive interest rates for refinancing, we also compared each company on the following characteristics:
- Wide availability: All of the companies on our list refinance federal and private student loans, and each offers your choice of variable and fixed interest rates.
- Flexible loan terms: Each company offers a variety of financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and the time you need to pay off your student loan.
- No creation or registration fees: None of the companies on our list charge borrowers an upfront âorigination feeâ for refinancing your loan.
- No prepayment penalty: The companies on our list do not charge borrowers for prepayment of loans.
- Simplified application process: We made sure companies offered a quick online application process.
- Co-signer options: Each company on our list allows a co-signer if the direct borrower is not eligible for refinancing on their own.
- Autopay discounts: All of the companies listed already calculate automatic payment discounts in their advertised rates.
- Protection of private student loans: Although you lose federal student loan benefits when you refinance, every company on our list offers some kind of financial hardship protection for borrowers.
- Loan sizes: The above companies refinance loans in a range of sizes, from $ 5,000 to $ 500,000. Each company advertises their respective loan amounts, and completing a pre-approval process can give you an idea of ââyour interest rate and monthly payment.
- Credit / eligibility conditions: We took into consideration the minimum credit scores and income levels required if this information was available.
- Customer service: Each company on our list provides customer service that is available by phone, email, or secure online messaging. We have also opted for lenders with an online resource center or advice center to help educate you on the student loan refinancing process.
After reviewing the features above, we’ve sorted our recommendations by best for overall refinancing needs, having a co-signer, applying with a fair credit score, refinancing parent loans, and medical school loans.
Note that the rates and fee structures for refinancing private student loans are not guaranteed forever; they are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate with the Fed rate. Choosing a fixed rate APR when refinancing will ensure that your interest rate and monthly payment will remain consistent throughout the life of the loan.
Your refinance rate depends on your credit score, income, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), savings, payment history, and overall financial health. To refinance your student loan (s), lenders will conduct a serious credit check and request a complete application, which may require proof of income, identity verification, proof of address and more. again.
Editorial note: The opinions, analyzes, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.