- Refinancing federal loans with a safety net (income-based repayment if you lose your job)
- Workers who are thinking about going back to grad school
The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) stands out from the crowd by offering a safety net to borrowers who refinance their student loans in the form of income-based repayment. Although based in Rhode Island, RISLA offers student loan refinancing to borrowers in all 50 states.
In this post:
- RISLA interest rates and loan details
- RISLA student loan refinancing review
- How RISLA compares to other lenders
- How to refinance student loans with RISLA
RISLA interest rates and loan details
As a nonprofit state student loan authority, RISLA offers student loan refinancing rates that can be very competitive. You’ll need a credit score of at least 680 and a minimum of $40,000 in annual income. While you have a choice of a five, 10, or 15-year repayment term, RISLA only offers fixed-rate loans — there’s no option to refinance into a variable-rate loan.
|Rates from (APR)||Fixed rate: 3.49%+
|Loan amounts||$7,500 up to $250,000 (depending on highest degree earned)|
|Loan terms||5, 10, 15 years
|Loan types||Private and federal student loans, including parent PLUS loans|
|Ability to transfer parent loan to child||No|
|Minimum credit score||680|
|Cosigner release||Not offered|
|Death discharge available||Yes|
|Education||Degree not required|
|Citizenship/Residency||Resident of any U.S. state
RISLA student loan refinancing review
If you’ve been thinking about refinancing your federal student loans but were reluctant to give up certain borrower benefits, RISLA is an interesting option.
RISLA offers three special borrower benefits:
- Income-based repayment (IBR): If you refinance private or federal student loans and later run into financial hardship, RISLA offers IBR. As with some federal income-driven repayment programs, your monthly payments are capped at 15% of your discretionary income (or yours and your cosigner’s). Your repayment term will automatically be stretched out to as long as 25 years if you qualify. If you still haven’t paid off your loan in that time, the balance is forgiven.
- Defer payments if you return to grad school: You can apply to defer your payments for up to 36 months if you decide you want to go back to graduate school after refinancing. However, interest will still rack up on your loans while your payments are on hold.
- Death or disability discharge: RISLA will also forgive the balance of your loan if you die or become totally and permanently disabled, using the same standards that the U.S. Department of Education applies to federal loans.
How to qualify
RISLA will refinance private and federal student loans, including PLUS loans, for borrowers nationwide. But to qualify to refinance student loans with RISLA, you’ll need to be the one responsible for the loan(s) — you can’t transfer PLUS loans taken out by your parents into your own name, for example.
If you don’t meet RISLA’s minimum 680 credit score and $40,000 income requirements, you can apply with a cosigner. The rate you’ll be offered will be based on factors that include the repayment term of the loan, whether you’re applying with a cosigner, and your credit score and financial history.
When refinancing your student loans with RISLA, you can choose a repayment term of five, 10, or 15 years. The shorter the repayment term, the lower the interest rate you’ll qualify for. But shorter loan terms also mean larger monthly payments.
If you agree to have payments automatically withdrawn from your bank account each month, you’ll qualify for a 0.25% rate reduction. You can also use a website provided by University Accounting Service to make payments, view statements, and manage your RISLA account.
Learn More: Student Loan Repayment Calculator
How RISLA compares to other lenders
Learn More: How to Pay Off Student Loans
How to refinance student loans with RISLA
As a nonprofit state student loan authority, RISLA offers competitive rates and a good lineup of. But because many lenders compete to refinance student loans, it’s a good idea to compare the rates, terms, and features offered by several lenders. Credible lets you request personalized rates in minutes from some of the best companies to refinance your student loans.
How RISLA can improve
RISLA offers several borrower benefits that some private lenders can’t match. But it could improve by:
- Providing variable-rate loans
- Being willing to approve higher loan limits
- Offering cosigner release once borrowers are able to qualify on their own
The company above is one of Credible’s approved partner lenders. Because they compete for your business through Credible, you can request rates from them by filling out a single form. Then, you can compare your available options side-by-side. Requesting rates is free, doesn’t affect your credit score, and your personal information is not shared with our partner lenders unless you see an option you like. Credible receives compensation if you close a loan with one of our partner lenders. The rates you receive and the fees you pay (if any) are not impacted by this compensation.