If you’ve borrowed from the government or a big bank to finance your education and are looking to bring your dollars back to your local community, iHelp student loans refinancing may be the answer. Read on for more information on iHelp eligibility and an iHelp student loan review.
iHelp partners with thousands of community banks nationwide. So, when you refinance your loans, the community banks are providing the funds, but iHelp is the organization who will service your loan — and the party you’ll interface with should any questions or concerns arise.
With this unique model, borrowers can take out loans from local banks, but benefit from loan servicing by a national organization known for personalized service.
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Pros of iHelp refinancing
iHelp offers cosigner release after two years
In addition to keeping your dollars local, iHelp offers a number of other benefits to borrowers.
As with some other lenders, iHelp offers the option of cosigner release at any time after two years of consistent payments. The borrower will need to meet certain credit requirements before cosigner release will be granted, including a minimum income and credit score, and a maximum debt-to-income ratio.
iHelp offers borrowers multiple repayment options
When it comes to repayment, iHelp borrowers can request interest-only payments for up to 24 months. Alternately, borrowers may select ‘graduated’ repayment, which starts with interest-only payments for a set time period, then slowly increases until the borrower is making his or her full payment amount.
Unlike many lenders, iHelp services the student loans they extend, meaning that borrowers receive personalized service when needed. Many lenders use a third-party servicer, which can be frustrating for borrowers wanting answers straight from the source.
Cons of iHelp refinancing
iHelp may not be the best option for borrowers with excellent credit, as their rates are not the most competitive in the market. While rates from other lenders start at close to two percent, iHelp’s rates start at closer to four percent.
iHelp may not be the best option for borrowers looking for a range of student loan terms
Similarly, iHelp offers only three different terms for student loan refinancing; 10-year fixed, 15-year fixed, and 20-year variable. As longer loan terms typically come with higher interest rates, borrowers planning to pay off their loans over a shorter period of time may be better off looking elsewhere (most lenders offer five-year loan terms).
In addition, borrowers willing to take the gamble of a variable interest rate, but who aren’t willing to commit to a full 20-years of uncertainty, may be able to find shorter-term variable rate loans with other lenders. Be sure to evaluate all your options and find the lowest rate with Credible, where you can get prequalified for rates in just two minutes.
If refinancing your student loans with iHelp sounds like the right fit for you, make sure you fulfill the eligibility requirements before applying. iHelp’s refinancing requirements include the following:
- You or your cosigner must be a citizen of permanent resident of the U.S.
- Students who have attended any institution are eligible
- Both you and your cosigner (if applicable) must be of legal age in your state of residence.
- You or your cosigner must meet iHelp’s “creditworthy” requirements, including having an annual income of at least $24,000 for the past two years and a debt-to-income ratio of less than 45 percent.
- You may refinance a minimum of $10,000 and a maximum of $150,000 for undergraduate and $250,000 for graduate education.
The iHelp Consolidation Loan program connects a network of community banks with borrowers interested in refinancing their student loans. Sponsored by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the iHelp network currently consists of over 5,000 community banks with 23,000 locations throughout the United States.
iHelp also works with the Student Loan Finance Corporation (SLFC), a student loan originator and servicer that has been in the student lending industry for the past 30 years.
The minimum loan amount for an iHelp Consolidation Loan is $25,000. The maximum loan amount is $100,000 for undergraduate degrees and $150,000 for graduate degrees. Interest rates on the iHelp Consolidation Loan are fixed rates throughout the life of the loan.
There is a supplemental fee of 2% that is added to the loan at the time of disbursement. Students must have graduated from one of the eligible schools to be a possible candidate for the iHelp Consolidation Loan.
Some of the biggest benefits of the iHelp Consolidation Loan are the several repayment and forbearance options that they offer.
Borrowers can request interest-only payments for 24 months or a graduated payment program if they cannot make full principal and interest payments initially.
iHelp offers 3 different types of forbearance: up to 24 months for hardship, partial payments for up to 24 months, and forbearance for administrative reasons, such as military service for those that qualify.
iHelp also offers co-signer release after payments have been made on time for 24 months and the borrower is deemed to be creditworthy.
The partnership between the Student Loan Finance Corporation and the Independent Community Bankers of America is aimed at providing competitive student loan programs at affordable rates with personable customer service. The iHelp loan process begins with a referral to a participating bank in the iHelp network.
Once the application has been approved, the originating lender will fund the loan and then the loan will be serviced by the SLFC. The SLFC is then the ongoing point of contact for borrowers. Ultimately, iHelp’s mission is to make community lending widely accessible.
Who should explore iHelp Consolidation Loans?
Borrowers who have a combination of private and federal loans that are looking to consolidate into one monthly payment should explore iHelp Consolidation Loan. Borrowers who have a limited credit profile or limited work history may also have better luck at being approved through iHelp.
Borrowers who have private student loans and are interested in the various repayment and forbearance options may also wish to explore the iHelp Consolidation Loan.
iHelp Student Loan Reviews
Many public reviews praise iHelp and its parent company, SLFC, for its long-term standing in the lending industry and general transparency although iHelp does not offer the option of interest rate reduction with automatic payments, borrowers praise iHelp’s repayment options.
Overall, iHelp is highly regarded as a seasoned company in the student lending space and can provide excellent service and be a valuable resource for student loan borrowers.
The average user saves $18,668 with Credible
iHelp’s community model may appeal to borrowers, especially those whose credit scores need a little help. but regardless of your credit profile, it’s a good idea to shop around and compare rates from the best refinancing lenders will offer you.
To learn more, read Credible’s reviews of other top student loan refinancing lenders:
Get the best student loan refinancing rates
With Credible, it’s easy to compare the best available rates from iHelp and other top student loan refinancing lenders with just one application. You can even check your prequalified rates without a hard credit pull, so it won’t affect your credit.
Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure:
Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of November 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.29%. Variable interest rates range from 2.79%-8.39% (2.79%-8.39% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower's loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.