The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, or RISLA, is a non-profit state organization that offers not only student loans and student loan refinancing, but also resources such as college planning services, an internship finder, and a scholarship search. Read on for more information about RISLA, and for RISLA student loan refinancing reviews.
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Pros of RISLA refinancing
Unlike most of RISLA’s offerings, which are intended for Rhode Island residents, students from all 50 states can apply to refinance their loans with RISLA.
For borrowers who definitely want a fixed rate loan, RISLA offers among the most competitive rates on Credible’s platform, starting at 3.49 percent (with a 0.25 percent autopay discount). Most other lenders with rates this low are private banks, so if you’d rather borrow from a non-profit, RISLA may be your answer.
RISLA offers borrowers an income-based repayment plan
RISLA also offers the option of income-based repayment (IBR) to borrowers who demonstrate financial hardship, which is unique among refinancing lenders.
This benefit offering is modeled after the federal government’s IBR plan. Qualifying borrowers must pay no more than 15 percent of their monthly discretionary income towards loan payments, and any loan balance remaining after 25 years of repayment will be forgiven.
Keep in mind that switching to IBR will increase the amount of interest you pay, so it’s a great safety net in case of unexpected financial burdens, — but not ideal in the long-term.
Borrowers can benefit from loan forgiveness, forbearance, and co-signer release options
In addition to IBR, RISLA offers loan forgiveness in the case of death or permanent disability, cosigner release for eligible borrowers after 24 months of on-time payments, and forbearance for up to 12 months for borrowers who go back to school.
Lastly, RISLA will refinance loans from any U.S. college, even for borrowers without a degree. While many other lenders require a completed degree from a Title IV accredited school, borrowers who do not complete these requirements may still be able to refinance into lower rates or more desireable terms with RISLA.
Cons of RISLA refinancing
RISLA does not offer variable-rate loans or loan terms over 15 years
Borrowers with an appetite for risk looking for the lowest possible interest rate may not be a good fit for RISLA, as they do not offer variable rate loans.
Those on the other side of the spectrum, who care more about lowering their monthly payments and less about the total interest paid, may also want to look elsewhere, as RISLA offers a maximum loan term of 15 years.
Borrowers must have a minimum income of $40,000 per year
Another limitation is that RISLA does not offer refinancing for Perkins loans, whereas many other lenders do. In addition, RISLA requires a minimum income of $40,000 per year, so some borrowers may need to look elsewhere (Credible’s prequalification tool is a good start), or wait until their income increases above this threshold.
Make sure you meet all of RISLA’s eligibility requirements before applying to avoid an unnecessary ding on your credit.
- Apply to refinance private education loans, parent PLUS loans, Stafford loans, and subsidized and unsubsidized direct student loans (but not Perkins loans);
- be the primary borrower or cosigner on the loan;
- apply to refinance a minimum of $7,500;
- meet savings and debt-to-income requirements; and
- pass a credit check and make at least $40,000 per year (combined if the primary borrower and co-signer live together, $40,000 each if they live separately).
Get the best student loan refinancing rates
RISLA may offer some of the most competitive rates around, and its IBR plan can be very useful to borrowers, but every borrower will receive a different offer depending on his or her credit profile, so it’s always worth comparing offers between lenders.
To learn more, read Credible’s reviews of other top student loan refinancing lenders:
Compare the best options and save with Credible
With Credible, it’s easy to compare the best available rates from RISLA 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.