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 loan refinancing review
- How Earnest compares to other lenders
- How to refinance student loans with Earnest
Earnest interest rates and loan details
|Loan amounts||Refinance 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 quality||650 FICO score|
|Loan terms||5 to 20 years|
|Loan qualifications||Federal, 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
|Education||Must 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|
|Citizenship/Residency||• U.S. resident, permanent resident, or visa holder
• Not available in Delaware, Kentucky, or Nevada
|Cosigner release||Cosigners not accepted for refinancing|
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
|Loan repayment terms (Years)||5 to 20 (customized plans down to the month)||5, 7, 10, 15, 20||5, 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 refinancing||Yes, applications accepted after 36 months of consecutive payments||Yes, applications accepted after 12 consecutive payments|
|Transfer parent loan to child?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Loan servicer||Earnest (with support from Navient)||Firstmark Services||Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed)|
|Best for||Those who want to customize their repayment term||Those who want to lower their monthly payment||Those 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.
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