search facebook-square linkedin-square twitter envelope android-arrow-forward

Our goal here at Credible is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders, all opinions are our own.

Earnest is best for borrowers who:

  • Have good, but not perfect credit
  • Have earned their degree
  • Want a custom repayment term
  • Can qualify without a cosigner

If you’ve looked into student loan refinancing, you’ve probably heard of Earnest, one of the nation’s largest student loan refinancing companies. Earnest, which was acquired by student loan servicer Navient in 2017, refinanced $2.8 billion in student loans in 2018.

In this post:

Earnest interest rates and loan details

earnest student loans
Loan amountsRefinance a minimum of $5,000 up to $500,000 in qualified education loans
Best if• You have good but not perfect credit
• You completed your degree
• You can qualify without a cosigner
Minimum credit quality650 FICO score
Loan terms5 to 20 years
Loan qualificationsFederal, private and Parent PLUS loans
Income• No minimum income requirement
• Must be employed, have a written job offer that starts within 6 months, or demonstrate consistent income
EducationMust have an associates’ degree or higher from a Title IV-accredited school, or be or be within 6 months of graduating and have a job offer
• U.S. resident, permanent resident, or visa holder
• Not available in Delaware, Kentucky, or Nevada
Cosigner releaseCosigners not accepted for refinancing
Loan servicerEarnest

See: The Best Student Loan Refinancing Companies

Earnest student loan refinancing review

Earnest lets you refinance federal and private loans, federal PLUS loans, and parent PLUS loans — but only if they’re in your own name. You can’t refinance parent PLUS loans that your parents took out on your behalf.

How to qualify

To qualify for Earnest student loan refinancing, you’ll need:

  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Employment: You should be working and have a steady income or have a written job offer for a position that starts within 6 months
  • Finances: Your savings should cover at least two months of expenses
  • Education: You can only refinance loans taken out for a degree you completed
  • Current on bills: You need to be current on your rent or mortgage, and you can’t have a bankruptcy or any accounts in collection on your credit report


One of the most unique features of Earnest is the ability to choose a custom repayment term. There are 180 options ranging from 5 to 20 years, which gives you the flexibility to choose a loan with a monthly payment that’s the best fit for your budget.

The shorter the repayment term, the higher the monthly payment and the lower the interest rate you’ll be offered. If you’d like to repay your loan in 8.5 years instead of 10, for example, that could help you save money in interest.

How Earnest compares to other lenders

 earnestcitizens bank student loanspenfed purefy student loan consolidation
Loan repayment terms (Years)5 to 20 (customized plans down to the month) 5, 7, 10, 15, 205, 8, 12, 15
Loan amount$5,000 up to $500,000$10,000 to $350,000 (depending on level of education)$7,500 to $300,000
Cosigner release?No cosigners accepted for refinancingYes, applications accepted after 36 months of consecutive paymentsYes, applications accepted after 12 consecutive payments
Transfer parent loan to child?NoYesYes
Loan servicerEarnest (with support from Navient)Firstmark ServicesPentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed)
Best forThose who want to customize their repayment termThose who want to lower their monthly paymentThose applying with a cosigner

How to refinance student loans with Earnest

Even if you qualify to refinance with Earnest, it’s wise to compare rates from several lenders. Every lender uses different methods for deciding whether you’ll qualify for student loan refinancing, and what interest rate and terms you’ll be offered.

Although Earnest is not a Credible partner, you can use Credible to fill out a single form in two minutes and request prequalified rates from other top lenders who offer student loan refinancing.

Compare other refinancing lenders with Credible

  • Compare actual rates, not ballpark estimates – Unlock rates from multiple lenders with no impact on your credit score
  • Won’t impact credit score – Checking rates on Credible takes about 2 minutes and won’t impact your credit score
  • Data privacy – We don’t sell your information, so you won’t get calls or emails from multiple lenders

See Your Refinancing Options
Credible is 100% free!

How Earnest can improve

By serving borrowers with less than excellent credit, and offering unique features like customizable repayment terms, Earnest has carved out a niche for itself in the crowded field of lenders who offer student loan refinancing.

Earnest might be a good choice for even more borrowers if it:

  • Offered the option to refinance with a cosigner
  • Let you refinance your Parent PLUS loans in your own name
  • Offered refinancing to residents of Delaware, Kentucky, and Nevada
About the author
Matt Carter
Matt Carter

Matt Carter is a Credible expert on student loans. Analysis pieces he’s contributed to have been featured by CNBC, CNN Money, USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Read More