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Earnest Student Loan Refinancing Review

Earnest offers custom repayment terms to borrowers who qualify to refinance up to $500,000 in student loan debt without a cosigner.

Author
By Matt Carter
Matt Carter

Written by

Matt Carter

Writer

Matt Carter is an 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.

Edited by Ashley Harrison

Written by

Ashley Harrison

Writer

Ashley Harrison is a Credible authority on personal finance who enjoys helping people become debt-free.

Updated April 10, 2024

Editorial disclosure: Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances.

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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.

Earnest interest rates and loan details

[lender-logo slug="earnest-slr" id="47095"]
Credible rating
[lender-ed-rating type="4" id="48268" slug="earnest-slr" align="left" ]
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
Discounts
None
Income
• No minimum income requirement • Must be employed, have a written job offer that starts within 6 months, or demonstrate consistent income
Fees
None
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
Loan servicer
Earnest

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

Repayment

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

[lender-logo slug="earnest-slr" id="47095"] [lender-ed-rating type="2" id="47095" slug="earnest-slr"]
[lender-logo slug="citizens-bank-refi" id="7043"] [lender-ed-rating type="2" id="7043" slug="citizens-bank-refi"]
[lender-logo slug="penfed" id="8265"] [lender-ed-rating type="2" id="8265" slug="penfed"]
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.

Compare other refinancing lenders with Credible

See Your Refinancing Options