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How To Qualify for Student Loan Refinancing

To qualify for private student loan refinancing, take a look at important criteria used by lenders.

Published December 15, 2021

Student loan refinancing gives you the opportunity to pay off your original student loans by getting a new loan with different repayment terms and a potentially lower interest rate.

Refinancing could also mean saving money over the life of your loans. Each lender has its own criteria for determining eligibility and rates, such as credit history, total monthly debt payments, and income. Those who are in good financial standing, demonstrate a strong career trajectory, have good credit scores, and have shown they are responsible with debts and monthly budgeting are more likely to be approved for low rates. As a borrower, you want to balance lower rates with terms and payments you are comfortable with.

Are You Eligible to Refinance Your Student Loan?

Credit Score

Generally, a strong credit score is needed to obtain a low rate when refinancing. Most lenders look for a credit score in the range of “good” or above (see Experian’s helpful diagram for reference). If your score is below that, refinancing with a cosigner who has a strong credit score could be an option to obtain a low rate. You can learn more about how your credit score is calculated here.

Interest Rate, Loan Term, and Balance on Existing Student Loan(s)

Some private lenders, such as Laurel Road, may be able to provide lower rates to borrowers with excellent credit than they may have on their existing loan. If you are eligible to refinance with Laurel Road, we offer several options for a new loan term, depending upon your individual financial situation. A borrower working with Laurel Road has no limit on the amount of student loan balances they may refinance—for eligible borrowers, we will refinance any loan total up to the full amount of student loan debt you currently hold (subject to credit approval).

Eligible Degrees

To be eligible with Laurel Road, potential borrowers must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to our parent PLUS page for more information.

Occupation, Income, and Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)

While credit score is important, debt-to-income ratio is also very important. To be eligible with Laurel Road, you must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Showing that you have a stable income and have been able to pay down your debt effectively in the past will likely increase your eligibility.


When refinancing with Laurel Road, Borrower (and Co-signer, if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date, or have no expiration date), and must meet minimum borrowing age requirements in their state of residence at the time of application.

Is Your Loan Type Eligible for Refinancing With Laurel Road?

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Loans: Refinancing Eligibility Criteria

Borrowers may refinance any subsidized or unsubsidized Federal or private student loans that were used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited Title IV U.S. undergraduate or graduate school.

Associate’s Degrees: Refinancing Eligibility Criteria

Only associate’s degrees earned in one of the following disciplines are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an associate’s degree, a borrower must also (1) be either currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate’s degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate’s degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate’s degree and (2) have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate’s degree earned.

Parent PLUS Loans: Refinancing Eligibility Criteria

Parents may refinance any subsidized or unsubsidized Federal or private student loans taken out on behalf of a child that were used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited Title IV U.S. undergraduate or graduate school.

What Credit Score Is Needed to Qualify for Student Loan Refinancing?

Lenders will vary on their exact requirements for what credit scores they may accept for refinancing. Keep in mind that the higher your score is, the better rate you may be offered. If you’re struggling with credit, think about some ways to gradually improve to get yourself closer to the benefits of having excellent credit.

If you’re ready to explore the benefits of refinancing, we’re ready to help. Get started today by checking your rate options in five minutes to see if you could save.

If you are refinancing any Federal Student Loans with us, you will no longer be able to take advantage of Federal Student Loan repayment options, including but not limited to Income Based Repayment (IBR), Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) or Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE). Additionally, Federal Student Loans offer deferment, forbearance and loan forgiveness options that may not be available with Laurel Road. For more information about these benefit programs and other Federal student loan programs, please visit studentloans.gov.

In providing this information, neither Laurel Road or KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, financial, accounting, or legal advice.

Any third-party linked content is provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement by Laurel Road or KeyBank of any third-party product or service mentioned. Laurel Road’s Online Privacy Statement does not apply to third-party linked websites and you should consult the privacy disclosures of each site you visit for further information.

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