×
TAGS
Student Loan Refinancing

9 Questions to Ask During the Student Loan Refinancing Process

August 18, 2016
Updated December 20, 2019
  1. Research student loan refinancing and loan consolidation. Check.
  2. Pay off credit card debt and increase credit score. Check.
  3. Reduce debt-to-income ratio. Check.
  4. Compile financial paperwork. Check.

 

Every student loan holder has a checklist — whether it is a mental or a paper list — that is intended to help them successfully obtain a newly refinanced loan and save money. This checklist is usually comprised of items and actions required to apply for student loan refinancing and obtain the best interest rates and terms. During this process, borrowers tend to become more aware of their financial landscape, which can be highly beneficial, but applicants can sometimes forget to ask some very pertinent questions regarding their new, soon-to-be refinanced student loan package. That is why we believe it is time for borrowers to start asking the right questions, to become more informed, and obtain the best deal in their refinanced student loan offer.

 

Ensure Your Needs Are Met by Asking Lenders the Following Questions:

 

What will my new term be?

Lenders typically offer repayment terms anywhere from five to twenty years. It is imperative that borrowers understand that while longer terms may mean smaller monthly payments, the additional interest spread over a longer loan-life creates a higher overall cost of the loan. Borrowers should, therefore, carefully weigh how much they can really afford to pay each month and then assess what a feasible loan term would be.

 

Is the interest rate variable or fixed?

Fixed interest rates eliminate the risk of loan interest rates rising during the life of a loan, but they also eliminate the possibility of them dropping (as they can with a variable rate). There are benefits and downfalls to each type of interest rate, so borrowers will have to decide and ask for guidance on which type of rate is best for them.

 

What are the other terms of repayment?

Remove all the surprises of repayment by asking specific details about the time and way in which payment is due. These questions could include:

  • What will monthly payments be?
  • When does repayment start?
  • Are there fees for late or missed payments? What are those fees?
  • What processes exist for payments (online, in person, over-the-phone)?

With Education Loan Finance, borrowers never pay application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.*

 

Is there an origination fee?

A student loan origination fee is the amount that a lender will tack onto a loan for paying off a loan from another banking resource. For example, in order to pay off a $20,000 loan in the borrower’s name, a lender may add up to two percent to the refinance loan, making the new loan $20,400. If there is an origination fee, calculate how much the fee adds to the life of the loan. With Education Loan Finance, borrowers never pay application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.

 

What are the loan requirements?

In general, most lenders typically look for borrowers with a credit score that is above 680 and a debt-to-income ratio of less than forty-five percent. For the best options, borrowers should attempt to align themselves with these figures before applying for student loan refinancing and/or consolidation. However, we recommend contacting your preferred institution — including us — for specific details.

 

What is the minimum or maximum amount that can be refinanced?

With Education Loan Finance, borrowers must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt to be eligible for refinancing. Maximum refinancing amounts are at the lender’s discretion and are typically determined by the borrower’s education level and schooling, debt-to-income ratio, and credit score. Keep in mind that each lender will be different with their minimum and maximum allowances.

 

What happens to my federal student loans? What will change?

Student loans that are refinanced with Education Loan Finance are consolidated into one loan, with one monthly payment. This means that if federal student loans are included in this package, the loan may lose special protections and benefits. Federal loans are not required to be included in a refinancing package, but if they are included for the ease of one monthly payment, borrowers must make sure they understand what will change and what benefits may be lost.

 

Is my degree or school eligible?

Some banks and financial institutions have restrictions on which type of degrees and what schools are eligible for educational loans. In Education Loan Finance’s case, applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from one of these approved post-secondary institutions.

 

Are there any special benefits associated with the lender?

Along with unique rates and terms, some lenders offer special incentives, like referral programs. These referral programs offer cash for referring new clients to the lender. Check out Education Loan Finance’s referral program here.

 

Ask Us – We Are Here to Help

Now that you are armed with these questions, you can confidently find the best student refinancing loan — along with the best student loan refinancing lender — for your financial situation. Our team of Personal Loan Advisors would love to answer your questions about student loan refinancing. We want you to feel comfortable and confident with your financial and refinancing decisions.

9 Signs It’s Time to Refinance

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2020-02-26
A Veterinarian’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

If you are a veterinarian or are in school to become one, you’re part of a growing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for veterinarians is expected to grow by 18% by 2028, far higher than the average for all occupations.    Becoming a veterinarian can be an expensive process. The American Veterinary Medical Association reported that the average amount of student loan debt for graduates was $143,000.    However, you also have high earning potential. The median wage for veterinarians is $93,830, which is far higher than most Americans make. With a higher-than-typical income, you’re an excellent candidate for student loan refinancing, which can help you manage your debt and save money.  

Why student loan refinancing is helpful for veterinarians

When you decided to go to veterinary school, you likely had to take out graduate and professional degree loans to pay for your education. Unfortunately, student loans for graduate degrees tend to have higher interest rates than other forms of debt.    Even Grad PLUS Loans — a form of federal loan for graduate and professional degree students — have an interest rate of 7.08%. With such a high rate, your loan balance can quickly grow, causing you to owe far more than you originally borrowed.    By refinancing your student loan debt, you can qualify for a lower interest rate, allowing you to save a significant amount of money.    For example, if you had $143,000 in student loan debt at 7% APR and a 10-year repayment term, your monthly payment would be $1,660 per month. By the end of your repayment term — including interest charges — you would have repaid a total of $199,242.   If you refinanced your debt and qualified for a 10-year loan at just 5% APR, your monthly payment would drop to just $1,517, reducing your monthly payment by $144 per month. Over the course of your repayment, you’d repay $182,008. By refinancing your debt, you’d save over $17,000.   

Original Loans

APR: 7% Loan Term: 10 Years Minimum Monthly Payment: $1,660 Total Interest Paid: $56,242 Total Repaid: $199,242  

Refinancing Loans

APR: 5% Loan Term: 10 Years Minimum Monthly Payment: $1,517 Total Interest Paid: $39,008 Total Repaid: $182,008      

How to refinance veterinary school loans

You can refinance your veterinary school loans in four simple steps:  

1. Review eligibility requirements

Make sure you meet the lender’s eligibility requirements. At ELFI, borrower’s must meet the following criteria: 
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident 
  • You have at least $15,000 in student loan debt
  • You make at least $35,000 per year
  • Your credit score is 680 or higher
  • Your credit history is at least 36 months old
  • Your degree was issued by an approved post-secondary institution and program of study
You can find the list of participating schools on ELFI’s eligibility requirements page.* 

2. Consider adding a cosigner

If you don’t meet the minimum eligibility requirements, or you want to improve your chances of qualifying for a lower interest rate, consider adding a cosigner to your loan application. Typically, you’d ask a parent, relative, or close friend to cosign the loan application with you. If you can’t afford the payments, the cosigner is liable for making them, instead.    By having a cosigner, you boost the likelihood of getting approved for a loan and securing a competitive interest rate.   

3. Get a rate quote

Before submitting your loan application, get a rate quote so you have an idea of what kind of loan terms you can qualify for with a consolidation loan. With ELFI’s Find My Rate tool, you can get an estimated rate in just a few minutes without any impact on your credit score.*    Once you find a loan term and interest rate type that works for your needs, you can move forward with the loan application.   

4. Submit your loan application

You can complete your loan application online. You’ll be prompted to enter basic personal information, such as your name, address, employer, and income. To speed up the process, make sure you have the following documents on hand: 
  • Paystubs
  • W-2 for the previous year
  • Government-issued ID
You’ll also need to know who your current loan servicer is, your account number, and your current loan balance.    The entire application takes about 15 minutes to complete. Once you submit the application, ELFI’s underwriting team will review your information and will contact you with a decision and next steps.    Until you receive a loan approval and notification and loan disbursement, make sure you keep making payments on your current student loans to avoid missed payments and late fees. 

3 other options for managing your loans

While student loan refinancing can be an effective way to manage your debt, it’s not a good idea for everyone. If that’s the case for you, there are some other options you can use to manage your loans: 

1. Income-driven repayment plans

If you have federal student loans, you may be eligible for at least one of the four income-driven repayment (IDR) plans:
  • Income-Based Repayment
  • Income-Contingent Repayment
  • Pay As You Earn
  • Revised Pay As You Earn
With IDR plans, your loan servicer extends your repayment term, increasing it from 10 years to 20 or 25 years. Your monthly payment is generally capped at a percentage of your discretionary income. Depending on your family size and income, you could dramatically reduce your monthly payments.    After 20 to 25 years of making payments — depending on which plan you’re on — the remaining loan balance is discharged, but the forgiven amount is taxable as income.    You can apply for IDR plans online  

2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness

As a veterinarian, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) if you have federal student loans and work for a non-profit organization or government agency for at least 10 years while making 120 monthly qualifying payments on your debt. Payments made under an IDR plan qualify for PSLF, no matter how low they may be.    After 10 years of making payments, your remaining loan balance is forgiven. The forgiven balance isn’t taxable as income.    Use the PSLF help tool to see if your employment and loans are eligible for loan forgiveness.   

3. State student loan repayment assistance programs

Veterinarians are in hot demand, and many states are experiencing shortages of trained professionals. To recruit and retain veterinarians in high-need areas, some states offer student loan repayment assistance programs, where they offer help repaying your student loans. In return, you must agree to commit to work for a set period of time in a designated service area.    For example, Minnesota operates the Rural Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program. Eligible veterinarians who agree to work for five years in a qualifying position can receive $15,000 per year in loan repayment assistance, up to a maximum of $75,000.    Visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website to see if your state offers a similar program.   

Managing your student loans

If you need help tackling your debt, student loan refinancing can make a lot of sense. And ELFI can help you achieve your goals. In fact, NerdWallet ranked ELFI as the top lender for veterinary school loan refinancing, giving it a five-star rating.    Use ELFI’s student loan refinancing calculator to see how much you can save by refinancing your student loans.*  
  *Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To see eligibility requirements, visit https://www.elfi.com/eligibility-requirements-to-refinance-student-loans/.   Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
2020-02-14
We’re In Love with These 7 ELFI Customer Reviews

Whether you're spending time with the girls for 'Galentine's Day' or spending the holiday with that special someone, today is a day to share some love with those you care about!   At ELFI, we show our love to our customers through top-notch customer service paired with low rates and flexible terms for refinancing their student loans – and sometimes they show us love back through great TrustPilot reviews. In light of Valentine's Day, we're sharing 7 ELFI customer reviews that we're simply in love with!  

All reviews below were given by real Education Loan Finance customers on TrustPilot. Results may vary.

 

Review #1:

“Loved the personal loan advisor experience … When she called me and left me a voicemail, she sounded like a friend, not a scary loan robot, and it really put me at ease through the process.”
No one likes a scary loan robot! It's great to see that our personal loan advisors help put our customers at ease through the refinancing process by giving them guidance, answering questions, and keeping them informed of updates along the way!    

Review #2:

"I wish I'd done this sooner! The refinance process was fairly straightforward and easy to manage, and having the added benefit of a loan advisor was super helpful. The rates are competitive and they have plenty of options for every person."
We hear "I wish I'd done this sooner" pretty often from customers, but it's always nice to see how happy they are once they've made the decision to refinance. If you still have a significant amount of student loan debt, it's probably not too late to refinance!  

Review #3:

"Promote this woman!! Candace was so knowledgeable, prompt, and helpful during every step of the process- made the experience seamless."
So much enthusiasm from this customer! They don't need to worry – we take great pride in the service given by our personal loan advisors and we love
showing people how great they are. They truly do make the refinancing process as seamless as possible.  

Review #4:

"Did not expect to be assigned to an actual representative so good on elfi for that.. Further.. I can tell that Ivan knows what he's doing. He's professional, with prompt responses. It's one thing to put a representative in place, but another for that person to actually provide value. Sometimes with companies, you don't even know who to contact to begin with, let alone, the company reaching out to you first, with a representative who's coherent and professional."
This means so much to us! We aimed to reshape the student loan refinancing industry by offering every customer with a single personal loan advisor that can understand their situation and guide them through the process... Receiving reviews like this truly make us blush because it shows that our process works!  

Review #5:

"Andrea was incredibly helpful! It was nice to have someone take the time to answer all of my questions, provide explanations and keep me apprised of next steps. Refinancing was a breeze...thanks ELFI and Andrea!"
Kudos to Andrea for making refinancing a simple process for this customer! Regardless of your lender, there are always going to be several steps involved in the refinancing process – but having someone there to show you the path ahead really makes it a breeze.  

Review #6:

"Great rates and very helpful customer service. Didier walked me through the process and made it very easy to me to get my loans set up quickly and painlessly. I highly recommend ELFI to anyone looking to refinance their student loans. I compared payment options to several other companies, and Education Loan Finance by far had the best options. I was able to reduce my monthly payments and now I will be paying off my loans in 7 years, rather than 10. Five stars!"
This customer cut three years off of their repayment term by refinancing with ELFI, and they sure seemed happy about it!  

Review #7:

"I’ve been afraid to refinance for years. ELFI was rated well on NerdWallet so I decided to apply. They actually made it easy to understand what I needed to refinance, how the process works etc. I also had someone assigned to help me and answer any questions. I’m so happy to have my loan with a company designed for the modern age who is actually transparent and helpful."
Shucks! This customer was putting off refinancing for years, and we couldn't be happier to be their refi match made in heaven. Our transparent process and personalized customer service really made the difference here!     What else can we say? We love our customers, and these reviews show us that the feeling is mutual. Our average TrustPilot rating currently stands at 4.9/5 stars, with over 800 reviews! Don't just take our word for it – check our all of our reviews here.   Interested in finding your student loan refinancing match in ELFI? Our personal loan advisors are just a call, text, or email away. One of our PLAs will be dedicated to you from the moment you apply and will work with you each step of the way to ensure your ELFI refinanced loan is the optimal fit for you. Contact us to get started!*   Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day from ELFI!  
  *Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.   Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
young adult doctor with student loans
2020-02-14
A Doctor’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

As a doctor, you likely racked up a significant amount of student loan debt to finish your education. According to the American Medical Association, 79% of medical school graduates have $100,000 or more in student loans.

 

Blog by Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

However, carrying six figures of education debt isn’t as dire for you as it can be for someone working in another field. As a doctor, you likely have a relatively high salary. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average salary for family and general practitioners is $211,780.

 

With your education and income, you’re a prime candidate for student loan refinancing. And, refinancing your debt can help you save money and pay off your loans early.

 

Why you should refinance student loans after medical school

When you have such a large amount of student loan debt, interest charges can have a significant impact on your balances. Over time, interest charges can add thousands to your loan cost.

 

Unfortunately, the interest rates on medical school loans can be quite high. Even if you qualified for federal Grad PLUS Loans, you can face steep rates. As of 2020, the interest rate on Direct PLUS Loans is a whopping 7.08%.

 

To put that rate in perspective, let’s say you had $100,000 in student loan debt at 7.08% interest and a 10-year repayment term. Your monthly payment would be $1,165 per month, and by the end of your loan term, you will repay a total of $139,825. Interest charges would cost you over $39,000. Pretty scary, right?

 

When you refinance medical school loans, you may qualify for a loan with a lower interest rate. Or, you can extend your repayment term if you want a more affordable monthly payment. Depending on what option you choose, the savings can be significant.

 

If you refinanced your loans and qualified for a 10-year loan at 4.5% interest, your monthly payment would drop to $1,036 per month. However, you’d pay just $124,366 over the length of your loan. By refinancing your debt, you’d save over $15,000.

 

How to refinance medical school loans

You can refinance your medical school loans in four simple steps:

 

1. Find out if you meet the eligibility requirements

First, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements to refinance student loans. As a baseline, you must:

  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved college or university
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be at the age of majority — 18 years old, in most states — or older
  • Have a good credit history
  • Have a minimum credit score in the upper 600s
 

2. Consider asking a cosigner for help

If you’ve just started practicing, you may not have established your credit history yet, or you may not be making much money. If that’s the case, consider asking a cosigner for help. A cosigner is a friend or relative with good credit and income who agrees to sign the loan application with you. If you don’t make the minimum payments on time, the lender will go to the cosigner for them, instead.

 

While a cosigner isn’t required, adding one to your application can improve your chances of qualifying for a loan and getting a low interest rate.

 

3. Get a rate quote

Next, get a rate quote to see what kind of terms you can qualify for. With ELFI’s Find My Rate tool, you can get an estimated rate in just a few minutes without any impact to your credit score.*

 

4. Submit your loan application

Once you find a loan that works for you and your budget, you can move forward with the application.

 

You’ll need to provide your personal information, as well as information about your loans and employer. You’ll need to have your recent pay stubs or W-2 forms on-hand, and you’ll have to submit a copy of your government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license.

 

Once you complete the application, ELFI will review your information and will contact you with a decision. Until you find out you’re approved and the loan is disbursed, keep making the payments on your existing debt to avoid late payment fees and penalties.

 

5 other options for managing your loans

Refinancing student loan debt can be a great way to improve your finances, but it’s not for everyone. If you decide that student loan refinancing isn’t a good fit for you, there are a few other options for managing your debt:

 

1. Federal income-driven repayment plans

If you have federal student loans — such as Grad PLUS Loans or Direct Unsubsidized Loans — you may be eligible for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. With IDR plans, your loan servicer will extend your repayment term and reduce your monthly payment. Your new payment is dependent on your loan balance, income, and family size. Depending on your situation, you can significantly lower your payment amount.

 

You can apply for an IDR plan online.

 

2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you work for a non-profit hospital, organization, or government agency, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). With PSLF, the government will forgive your remaining loan balance after making 10 years’ worth of qualifying payments while working for an eligible employer.

 

However, not many people will meet the PSLF criteria. In fact, 99% of PSLF applicants were rejected last year.

 

To prevent any issues, use the PSLF Help Tool to find out if you meet all of the qualifications for loan forgiveness.

 

3. State student loan repayment assistance programs

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get some help with your debt through state student loan repayment assistance programs. Some states offer healthcare professionals money to repay their loans in exchange for a service commitment to work in a high-need area.

 

For example, doctors who live and work in Kansas can receive up to $95,000 to repay their student loans. In return, you must agree to work in an approved facility in a health professional shortage area.

 

To find out if your state operates a student loan repayment assistance program, visit the Association of American Medical Colleges’ website.

 

4. Locum tenens work

Another option is to take on locum tenens work. With this approach, you fill in for another physician on a temporary basis. Some terms can be for just a few days, while others can last for months.

 

Why is this a good idea? It can be lucrative. Qualified professionals can earn large bonuses, which you can use to make lump sum payments on your debt.

 

You can find locum tenens work — and sign-on bonuses — on the American Academy of Family Physicians’ website.

 

5. Live like you’re still in your residency

Now that you’re no longer in residency, it may be tempting to spend some of your new income on a larger apartment or a better car. However, it’s a good idea to continue living like you’re still in residency to limit your expenses. By keeping your living costs low, you can free up more money for debt repayment.

 

Managing your student loans

As a healthcare provider, you likely have a substantial amount of debt. If your student loans are causing you stress, refinancing your medical school loans can be a smart way to manage your debt. Use the student loan refinance calculator to find out how much you can save by refinancing your student loans.*

 
 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.