Laurel Road Review: Refinancing Student Loans
Laurel Road, acquired by KeyBank in 2019, is a digital financial institution which scores well on student loan refinancing reviews. Here’s a look at what refinancing with Laurel Road is like.
Laurel Road review for student loan refinance
Refinancing, if you need a quick refresher course, allows you to consolidate your federal and private student loans with a newer (and maybe more helpful) loan servicer. Perhaps most importantly, you might also be able to lower your interest rate or reduce your monthly payment. Laurel Road says on its website that it’s refinanced more than $9 billion worth of education debt nationwide since it began operations in 2013.
Laurel Road student loans are a good fit for creditworthy borrowers who appreciate repayment protections like forbearance but also have good enough cash flow to score an APR discount.+ The lender provides such discounts for borrowers who enroll in automatic payments and have recurring direct deposits of at least $7,500 per month into a linked checking account.+
|What to like:||What to keep in mind:|
Laurel Road review of student loan refinance: The basics
Laurel Road generally refinances student loans for former students, but also for parent and medical resident borrowers.
|APRs||Fixed: 4.40% - 8.70%+ |
Variable: 4.74% - 8.60%+
|Basics||Prequalify and check rates without affecting your credit |
Refinance any amount from $5,000
Reduce your interest rate by up to 0.80 percentage points if you enroll in autopay and have a linked Laurel Road checking account+
Parent PLUS Loans: You could refinance yourself, or put the loan in your student’s name.
|Eligibility||U.S. citizenship or permanent residency |
Bachelor’s degree or higher (or associate’s degree in 13 healthcare jobs)
Minimum credit score of 660
|Applying||Option to apply with a cosigner |
No application or origination fee (although there’s a late payment fee of 5% of the amount due, up to a maximum penalty of $28)
|Repayment||No prepayment penalties |
Choose a repayment term of five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years
Release your cosigner after 36 months of prompt payments (and meeting other criteria)
|Support||Options to pause repayment if you suffer economic hardship (three months at a time), are impacted by a natural disaster (two months) or serving in the military+ |
Loan forgiveness in the case of the borrower’s death or permanent disability
What to like about Laurel Road refinance for student loans
Interest rate or APR is most often the key factor when evaluating student loan refinance companies, and Laurel Road does its part to award competitive rates. Here’s what else you might like about Laurel Road refinancing.
Possible to refinance before graduation
Though Laurel Road requires you to have a diploma to refinance, you could be eligible if you’re within your final semester of school – and have a signed letter of postgraduate employment.
Also, Laurel Road will honor your current in-school deferment and grace period, so you wouldn’t have to commence repayment until six months after leaving school.
Prequalify to painlessly check your rate
You don’t have to guess whether this lender can offer you the best deal either. Visit Laurel Road’s site, and you can request a customized rate estimate based on your specific student loans and credit background. These rate offers are generated with a soft credit check, so they won’t damage your credit.
Refinance Parent PLUS Loans into your student’s name
Laurel Road is among reputable companies that allow moms and dads to refinance costly federal Parent PLUS Loans. Better yet, you have the option of co-signing your child’s refinancing application, shifting the Parent PLUS Loan debt into their name.
That move could free up your credit profile and allow you to focus on saving for retirement while giving your child the responsibility to repay the debt. (As a cosigner, in the event your son or daughter can’t qualify for refinancing independently, you’d still be legally responsible for repayment if your son or daughter struggles.)
Clear repayment protections
If you’re refinancing federal student loans, know that doing so will convert them into private loans. You’ll lose access to federal borrower protections such as deferment or forbearance and income-driven repayment plans.
Still, some private lenders — including Laurel Road — do offer protections in case hard times hit. For example, in the case of recent graduates who refinance before their student loan grace period is up, Laurel Road commits to honoring that grace period and delaying payments until it’s over.
If you struggle in repayment after leaving school, Laurel Road offers a forbearance feature to postpone your monthly payments for up to three months at a time. However, you can’t exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan.
Laurel Road will also forgive the total amount of your refinanced student loan should you die or become permanently disabled, something that most but not all student lenders offer. These protections offer peace of mind in case the worst happens.
Laurel Road reviews repayment safeguards during the COVID-19 pandemic
The lender expanded its repayment protections for borrowers struggling with payments during the coronavirus pandemic. Borrowers could postpone monthly dues for three months at a time, though interest continued to accrue onto their balances.
What to keep in mind about Laurel Road refinance for student loans
Based on Laurel Road student loan refinancing reviews, here’s what you should consider before deciding whether to complete an application.
Credit, degree requirements exclude some applicants
Laurel Road states that it can offer its low rates because it works with well-qualified borrowers. Simply put, not everyone can or will get approved to refinance student loans with this lender. You’ll likely need good credit and a low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio (or a cosigner who fits that bill) for your Laurel Road application to get approved.
Unfortunately, however, this is true for most student loan refinance companies. In fact, Laurel Road’s credit requirements are not the strictest out there, but rather are in line with many competitors. Both Laurel Road and CommonBond, for example, require a minimum credit score of 660 as of the writing of this report. (If your credit isn’t strong enough to qualify, you will likely need to add a cosigner to have a chance of approval.)
If you hold anything less than a traditional four-year undergraduate degree, you might not be eligible either. Laurel Road reviews applications of associate degree holders who are working (or have received a job offer) in the following roles and fields:
- Cardiovascular technologist
- Dental hygiene
- Diagnostic medical sonography
- EMT or paramedic
- Nuclear technician
- Occupational therapy assistant
- Pharmacy technician
- Physical therapy assistant
- Radiation therapy
- Radiologic/MRI technologist
- Respiratory therapy
- Surgical technologist
If you have an associate degree but don’t have a qualifying career, consider a more accessible lender, such as Earnest.
No in-school deferment available
If you refinance your student loans with Laurel Road, keep in mind that your new debt can’t be deferred once you enter repayment.
Say you decide to return to school to finish up your degree or add a new diploma to your wall. In that case, you’d still be responsible for keeping pace with your monthly payments.
Repayment managed by a veteran federal loan servicer
Many federal loan borrowers elect to refinance with a private lender as a way of ditching a federal loan servicer. If that’s at least partly your motivation, keep in mind that longtime federal loan servicer MOHELA manages the repayment of Laurel Road student loans.
For its part, MOHELA allows borrowers to change their monthly payment due date, which could prove useful in certain situations.
How Laurel Road student loan refinance compares
There are many banks, credit unions and online lenders to choose from for your student loan refinancing needs. Here’s how Laurel Road compares to two top competitors in the industry.
|Laurel Road||ZuntaFi’s iHELP||SoFi|
|Products||● Student loan refinancing|
● Parent PLUS Loan refinancing
● Medical resident refinancing
|● Student loan refinancing|
● Parent PLUS loan refinancing
|● Student loan refinancing |
● Parent PLUS Loan refinancing
● Medical resident refinancing
|Eligibility requirements||● 660 credit score|
● No minimum income requirement
● Citizenship or permanent residency
● Bachelor's or advanced degree
● Associate degree-holders must be working in certain healthcare fields
|● Two years of positive credit history|
● Minimum annual income of $24,000
● U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
● No diploma required
|● Good or excellent credit score |
● No minimum income
● Non-permanent residents without eligible visas can apply with a permanent resident cosigner
|APRs||Variable starting at 4.74%+ and fixed starting at 4.40%+||● Fixed: 4.00% - 8.00%|
● Variable: 3.94% - 9.80%
● Fixed hybrid: 3.34% - 3.93%
|Variable starting at 4.99% and fixed starting at 5.38%|
|Minimum loan amount||$5,000||$35,000||$5,000|
|Repayment terms available||Up to 20 years||20 years||5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years years|
|Apply with a cosigner||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Is refinancing student loans with Laurel Road right for you?
Ultimately, Laurel Road has a lot to offer borrowers. It can be a particularly smart choice for parents and medical students in residency or fellowship. It could also be worth your while if you earn enough income each month to discount your rate by as much as 0.80 percentage points.
On the other hand, Laurel Road’s eligibility criteria could exclude you off the bat. You might also not like the idea of working with its loan servicer, MOHELA, during your repayment.
This Laurel Road student loan refinancing review is a great starting point, but it’s always wise to explore all your options. To find a lender that offers the features and terms most important to you, start by trying out our student loan refinancing marketplace.
How to apply for refinancing with Laurel Road
The application process for Laurel Road refinancing is one of the company’s calling cards: It’s quite simple to undertake. Expect to go through the following steps:
- Prequalify to check rates, eligibility: After providing information about loan needs and educational and employment background, Laurel Road will offer an initial APR quite.
- Verify your information on a full application: If you like your quote and want to proceed with a formal application, you’ll need to upload documents (such as your recent tax records) and submit to a hard credit inquiry.
- Finalize your new student loan debt: If you sign off on your loan agreement, Laurel Road will pay off your original education loans and issue you the new balance; your first payment would be due one month after your loan is disbursed.
How to contact Laurel Road
Except for major holidays, Laurel Road operates its phone lines (1-833-HCP-BANK) Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. You can also email [email protected], or use the company website’s contact form.
You can also reach Laurel Road via its mailing address:
3 Corporate Drive
Shelton, CT 06484
Methodology for ratings
To come up with our shield rating for student loan refinancing lenders and companies/private student loan lenders and companies, LendingTree asks hard questions — 20 of them, in fact. These questions span three categories: Accessibility, Rates & Terms and Repayment Experience. That’s because we want to judge financial institutions on their products and services from start to finish: when our users are shopping around, filing applications and paying down their debt. A top-rated lender, for instance, has inclusive eligibility criteria, allows you to prequalify and check rates without harming your credit score and is supportive as you face monthly payments.
The answers that we get to our 20 questions — either from the lenders themselves or by combing through their fine print — determine their overall rating. We score answers consistently, sometimes awarding partial points, to ensure that you can make equal comparisons between all lenders that we put under the microscope.
LendingTree isn’t paid for conducting these reviews, and lenders don’t have a say in their content. The goal with our reviews and ratings, along with everything else we do, is to give our users the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available to make the best decisions according to their borrowing needs.
LendingTree has independently collected the above information related to Laurel Road student loans, which is current as of Jan. 18, 2022, unless otherwise noted. None of the financial institutions named has either provided or reviewed the information shared in this article.
Frequently asked questions
If you didn’t find your question answered in our Laurel Road review, see the following FAQs:
Yes, Laurel Road is a reputable lender that provides student loan refinance and new student loan options for creditworthy applicants who may apply with or without the backing of a cosigner.
You can refinance between $5,000 and $300,000 worth of education debt with Laurel Road. If you’re looking to borrow for your graduate degree, you can borrow from $5,000 up to 100% of your cost of attendance.
Like with many top-rated lenders, refinancing is free with Laurel Road. The company doesn’t charge application or origination fees or prepayment penalties. It will only ding you in the case of late payments.
Longtime federal loan servicer MOHELA manages the repayment of Laurel Road’s private refinanced and graduate student loans. MOHELA also services loans for other private digital lenders, such as SoFi.
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