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Student Loan Refinancing

A Pharmacist’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

August 6, 2020

Becoming a pharmacist can be a lucrative career decision. However, it requires a significant amount of education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical entry-level education requirement for pharmacists is a doctoral or professional degree. To get the necessary degrees, you likely borrowed a significant amount of money. In fact,  the Pharmacy Times reported that the average student loan debt for pharmacists is over $163,000. 

 

By Kat Tretina

 

Despite the hefty student loan burden, your career path comes with high earning potential. As of 2018, the median salary was $126,120 per year. With such a large income, student loan refinancing is a smart strategy, especially if you work in the private sector. 

 

Why you should refinance pharmacy school loans

If you work in the private sector as a pharmacist — meaning you work for a pharmacy like Walgreens or CVS rather than a non-profit hospital or health organization — you’re ineligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, even if you have federal student loans. If you have high-interest student loan debt, that means you’re a prime candidate for student loan refinancing. 

 

Student loans for graduate and doctoral degrees tend to have the highest interest rates of any education loan. Even Grad PLUS Loans, a form of federal loan, have sky-high interest rates. For loans disbursed after July 1, 2019, and before July 1, 2020, the interest rate is a whopping 7.08%. With such a high rate, your loan balance can quickly balloon out of control. 

 

With student loan refinancing, you take out a loan from a lender like ELFI* for the amount of your combined existing debt. The new loan has completely different repayment terms, such as length of repayment and interest rate. Your old loans are consolidated together, so now you’ll have just one loan and one easy monthly payment. 

 

Benefits of refinancing pharmacy school loans

There are two main benefits to student loan refinancing

 

1. You can save money

With a pharmacist’s salary and good credit, you could qualify for a lower interest rate when you refinance your debt, allowing you to save a significant amount of money. 

 

For example, let’s say you had $163,000 in student loan debt at 7.08% interest and a 10-year repayment term. Over the course of your repayment, you’d pay back a total of $227,915; interest charges would add $64,915 to your loan cost. 

 

But let’s say you refinanced your debt and qualified for a 10-year loan at just 5% interest. You’d pay back a total of just $207,464. Refinancing your loans would allow you to save $20,451. 

 

Use the student loan refinance calculator to find out how much money you can save.* 

 

2. You can reduce your monthly payment

If you have a large amount of student loan debt, your monthly payments may be more than you can afford. If that’s the case, student loan refinancing can help make your payments more affordable. 

 

When you refinance your debt, you can opt for a longer repayment term. With a longer term, you may pay more in interest, but the tradeoff may be worth it to give yourself more breathing room with your cash flow. 

 

Let’s say you had $163,000 in student loan debt with a 10-year repayment term. At 7.08% interest, your minimum monthly payment would be a whopping $1,899 per month. If you didn’t qualify for a lower interest rate, but extended your repayment term to 15 years, you’d reduce your monthly payment to just $1,472 per month, freeing up $427 from your budget.

 

How to refinance pharmacy school loans

To refinance your loans, follow these four simple steps: 

 

1. Find out if you meet the eligibility requirements

Each refinancing lender has its own eligibility criteria. At Education Loan Finance, borrowers need to meet the following requirements: 

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must have at least $15,000 in student loans
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Must have a minimum income of $35,000
  • Must have a credit score of at least 680
  • Must have a minimum credit history of 36 months
  • Must have received a degree from an approved post-secondary institution

 

2. Ask a friend or relative to cosign the loan

If you don’t meet the minimum credit or income requirements, consider asking a friend or relative with good credit and reliable income to cosign the loan application with you. A cosigner shares responsibility for the loan with you, lessening the lender’s risk. Having a cosigner on the application increases your chances of getting approved and qualifying for a lower interest rate than if you applied on your own. 

 

3. Request a loan estimate

Before submitting a loan application, get an estimate so you know what interest rate and loan term to expect. With ELFI, you can get a rate quote without affecting your credit score so you can select the right loan that works for you.* 

 

4. Submit your loan application

Once you find a loan that matches your needs, you can complete the loan application. You’ll be asked to enter information about yourself, including your name, address, Social Security number, employer, income, and current loans. 

 

4 other options for managing your loans

While student loan refinancing can be a smart idea for pharmacists, it’s not for everyone, especially if you don’t work in the private sector. If you decide against refinancing your loans, you may be able to get some help with your student loan debt in the form of loan forgiveness, reduced payments, or repayment assistance. 

 

1. Income-driven repayment plans

If you have federal student loans and can’t afford your payments, you may eligible for at least one of the four income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. Under these plans, the federal government extends your loan term to 20 to 25 years and caps your monthly payments at a percentage of your discretionary income. Depending on the repayment plan, your income, and your family size, you could significantly reduce your monthly payment. Some borrowers even qualify for $0 payments. 

 

2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you have federal Direct student loans and work for a government agency or non-profit organization, you may qualify for loan forgiveness through Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). With PSLF, the government will forgive the remaining loan balance after you work for an eligible employer for 10 years and make 120 qualifying payments. 

 

3. Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) operates the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program. Under this program, eligible pharmacists can receive up to $100,000 in student loan repayment assistance. In exchange, you have to make a service commitment to work in a substance use disorder site with a health professional shortage area as designated by the NHSC. For more information, visit the NHSC website

 

4. National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program

Highly qualified pharmacists willing to commit to biomedical or biobehavioral research careers can receive up to $50,000 in student loan repayment assistance. In return, you must commit to working in a research area in an approved subject. Visit the National Institutes of Health website for more information. 

 

Repaying your student loans

If you’re a pharmacist with education debt, you should know that you’re an excellent candidate for student loan refinancing. Whether you want to save money or lower your monthly payments, refinancing your loans can help you achieve your goals.* 

 


 

*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.

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person making pros and cons list for refinancing private student loans
2020-09-25
10 Pros and Cons of Refinancing Private Student Loans

This year we have seen record low refinancing rates for student loans. If you have private student loans and have been thinking about whether you should refinance them, we hope this post will help you make a decision. We will run through the essentials and the pros and cons of refinancing your private student loans.  

6 Benefits of Refinancing Private Student Loans

Private student loans are loans borrowed through banks, credit unions or other private lenders and can consist of original private loans or a loan that you already refinanced. When you refinance, there are many benefits you can experience. Here are the pros of refinancing your private student loans:  

1. Obtain a Lower Interest Rate

When you refinance a private loan, you are paying the loan off with the new loan you borrow.  The new loan can have a lower interest rate than the rate you previously had on your old loan. A lower interest rate can lead to thousands of dollars in savings depending on the amount of the loan, your old interest rate and your new rate. A lower rate can help reduce your monthly payment and save you money in interest cost over the loan term.  

2. Make Your Repayment More Manageable

If your monthly payment is becoming difficult to pay, refinancing is a good way to help make your payment more manageable. This can be done by obtaining a lower interest rate, as previously mentioned, that can help lower your payment. You can also lengthen the loan term when you refinance. When you extend the loan term it makes the monthly payment lower, but will increase the amount of interest charges you will pay.  

3. Pay Debt Off Faster

Ready to pay your loan off faster? This can be achieved through refinancing in multiple ways. If you have 10 years remaining on your loan term and
refinance to a 7 year loan term or shorter , you will have a higher payment but will have the loan paid off 3 years earlier. Another way to pay off your loan faster is if you refinance and obtain a lower interest rate, your payment will be lower monthly. But if you continue to pay your old monthly payment or more towards the new loan you will be able to knock out your debt quicker.  

4. Release a Cosigner

When you refinance your private student loan you can use the opportunity to release a cosigner from your previous loan. As long as you have a strong credit history and credit score, along with stable income, you can qualify for the new loan on your own. To qualify for the best interest rates available most lenders look for a credit score at least in the high 700s. At ELFI a minimum credit score of 680 is needed for refinancing.*  

5. Combine Multiple Loans

If you have multiple student loans, refinancing is a great way to simplify your finances. You are able to pay off all the previous loans and focus on paying off just one loan. It’s also easier to keep track of your due date so you never miss a payment. Having only one loan may also help keep you motivated on your debt paying journey instead of seeing multiple student loan debts you have to pay.  

6. Choose a Different Lender

If you are not happy with your current student loan lender, refinancing allows you to change to a different refinancing lender by refinancing with whichever lender is the best fit for you. So if you have questions about your loan but can never seem to get answers from your lender, refinancing can help you fix that. At ELFI we pride ourselves on providing a simple and easy process for refinancing along with award-winning customer service loan advisors.

However, just like there are benefits to refinancing private student loans, there are also some cons to consider.  

1. Lose Benefits with Your Current Lender

If you refinance your student loan with a different lender, you may lose benefits you have with your current lender. Some benefits that lenders may provide are an interest rate deduction for setting up auto-pay for your payment, forbearance options, or career coaching. Before you look to refinance with a different lender, weigh whether a new interest rate from a different lender outweighs any benefits you may be giving up.

2. Get a Higher Interest Rate

If you are refinancing to extend your loan term to make the payment more manageable, you may end up with a higher interest rate then the previous rate you had. This would make refinancing your loan more costly in the long term because of the additional interest you will end up paying. In order to avoid this, make sure to get personalized rate quotes from multiple lenders so you know your options and how it will affect your monthly payment and the total amount of interest you will pay.

3. Raise Monthly Payments

When you refinance you have the ability to choose a new loan term. Selecting a shorter loan term then the amount of time you had left on your loan can increase your monthly payments. Typically refinancing lenders provide loan terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years. If you had 8 years remaining on the loan you want to refinance and select a loan term of 7 years you may see an increase in your monthly payment unless you are qualifying for a significantly lower interest rate.

4. May Extend Time to Repay

When selecting your loan term when you refinance, if you choose a longer loan term then the amount of time you had remaining on your loan, you will be stuck paying the debt off longer. However, this can be beneficial if you need to lower your payment to fit within your current budget. You can also combat this issue by paying more than the required monthly payment when you can afford it, to help pay the loan off quicker.

The Bottom Line

Every financial situation is unique so it’s best to determine what is right for your circumstances. When you weigh the pros and cons of refinancing private student loans, you will most likely find it is advantageous for you because of all the different potential benefits.  
  *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.
Man refinancing his student loans to a longer term
2020-09-23
Should You Refinance Student Loans to a Longer Term?

If your student loan payments are becoming overwhelming, it could be time to consider refinancing. When you refinance your student loans, you’ll not only have the option of consolidating multiple loans into one monthly payment; you’ll also have the chance to change your student loan repayment term.   When you take out private loans, you have the option of choosing to repay them over a short period of time or a longer period. We’ve compiled the pros and cons of both, as well as some situations in which a longer student loan repayment term might be the right fit for you.  

Is it time to refinance your student loans?

Refinancing your student loans is a great way to lower your interest rate and earn financial freedom more quickly. You can refinance both private and federal loans, and if you’re tracking a multitude of payment dates and timelines, consolidating your loans through refinancing can be a great way to simplify your financial life and work toward becoming debt-free.   You can refinance your loans as many times as you’d like, so even if you’ve already refinanced once, it never hurts to explore new lenders! Now is an especially good time to refinance your student loans, as interest rates have recently dropped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of September 18, 2020, student loan refinancing rates are as low as 2.39% for variable interest rate loans and 2.79% for fixed interest rate loans.   If you think now is the right time to refinance your student loans but you’re not sure, keep reading for more insights. We’re here to support your journey toward financial freedom and applaud your researching smart money moves!  

Signs it might be time to refinance your student loans:

  • You think you could earn a better interest rate. If interest rates recently dropped or your credit score has gone up, research your options to see if refinancing could be the right choice for you.
  • You have mostly private student loans. If your loans are through private lenders, now could be the time to consider refinancing, as you won’t risk losing any federal benefits.
  • You need more financial flexibility. If your student loan payments are keeping you from accomplishing other financial goals, refinancing could help by lowering your interest rate and extending your student loan repayment term. To learn more about the pros and cons of a long student loan repayment term, read on.
 

What happens when you change your student loan term?

A student loan repayment term calculates how long you have to pay back your loans in full. ELFI, for example, offers varying repayment terms for student loan refinancing.   When you consolidate and refinance your student loans, you’ll have the opportunity to change your student loan repayment term. This is especially useful if you’ve taken out several loans with different amounts and timelines.  

Choosing a longer term for your student loans

Opting for a longer student loan repayment term means you will pay more in interest over time. Each monthly student loan payment, however, will have a lower balance than if you had opted for a short repayment term.   If you're looking to accomplish several financial goals, like saving for a down payment on a house or purchasing a new car, lengthening your student loan repayment term may give you the flexibility you need to work toward those goals. Be advised, however, that if you do opt for a long student loan repayment term, the total amount you’ll pay in interest will go up. At the end of the day, the right student loan repayment term for you depends primarily on your long-term financial goals.

It might be time to refinance your student loans to a longer term if:

  • You want the financial flexibility of a lower monthly student loan payment
  • You’re expecting a drop in income and need to lower your monthly expenses
  • You’re having difficulties keeping up with your current student loan payments
 

What about shortening my student loan repayment term?

If none of the above scenarios apply to you and your most pressing question is “how can I pay off my student loans faster?” then a short student loan repayment term could be right for you.   Unlike a long student loan repayment term, you’ll make larger monthly payments but will pay less in total interest. Opting for a short student loan repayment term is the right choice for borrowers who have the financial flexibility to make larger monthly payments for a short period of time.   Learn more about short student loan repayment terms in our recent blog, “Choosing the Right Student Loan Repayment Term.”  

Refinancing student loans with ELFI

Ready to explore your student loan refinancing options with ELFI? Great! We’re excited to help. In addition to potentially lowering your interest rate and choosing a new student loan repayment term, when you refinance with ELFI, you’ll also work directly with a Personal Loan Advisor who will help provide a seamless, personalized refinancing experience.   Don’t take our word for it. Check out recent customer reviews on Trustpilot! If you’re ready to explore potential interest rates by refinancing with ELFI, check out our Student Loan Refinance Calculator.*  
  *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.
Medical School Graduate working in a top city
2020-09-15
The 10 Best Cities for Medical School Graduates

Graduating from medical school is just one milestone in the quest to become a physician. Your next step is likely a residency, and for some, the process may also include a fellowship and board certification.   Regardless of where you ultimately end up, though, it’s crucial to take your time when deciding where to start that process. To help you narrow down your list of options, we looked at HospitalCareers.com to get an idea of the best cities for medical school graduates.  

Determining Best Cities for Medical School Graduates

It’s difficult to create a definitive list of the best cities for medical school graduates because the right city for you may depend on your field of expertise, your personal preferences and several other factors.   But in its list, HospitalCareers.com provides a comprehensive view of what’s important to medical graduates. That includes cities with the best hospitals and job markets, places with a relatively low cost of living and more.  

10. Rochester, Minnesota

For many healthcare professionals, the primary pull of Rochester is that it’s home to the No. 1 hospital in the country: the Mayo Clinic. The city also has a relatively small population of just under 120,000, which could make it more manageable for medical graduates who aren’t used to a big city.   The city’s cost of living is 94.1% the national average, making it a solid choice for new graduates who are gaining their financial footing. Plus, according to medical professional networking service Doximity, the nearby Minneapolis metropolitan area has one of the highest average physician salaries in the country at $369,889.  

9. Jacksonville, Florida

While Rochester, Minnesota, is home to the Mayo Clinic headquarters, the medical center has a campus in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville is a much larger city, with a population of more than 900,000. But you won’t have to worry about dealing with the cost of a larger city — Jacksonville’s cost of living is even lower than Rochester’s at 93.5% the national average.   Despite being a low-cost area, medical graduates don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy one of the top 10 physician salaries in the country. According to Doximity, it’s $338,790. What’s more, the city has the fifth-smallest gender wage gap between male and female physicians.  

8. Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina, has one of the lowest average physician salaries in the nation at $266,180. But for graduating medical students, working at one of the best university hospitals in the nation, Duke, can be incredibly appealing. The medical center is ranked nationally for 11 adult specialties and nine children specialties.   Also, like Rochester and Jacksonville, Durham has a relatively low cost of living at 95.2% the national average, which means your salary will go further than most areas in the U.S. The city of Durham is home to roughly 280,000 people.  

7. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston isn’t just known for being the capital of higher education in the U.S. It’s also home to some of the most well-known medical centers in the country, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.   The former is ranked No. 12 overall in the nation, while the latter ranks in the top three hospitals in the nation for psychiatry, diabetes and endocrinology, and rehabilitation.   The only reason to think twice about Boston is its cost of living, which is 162.4% the national average. Also, its average physician salary is relatively low, at $305,634. The city’s population is just under 693,000.  

6. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is one of the most culture-rich cities on our list, especially if you love music. It’s also home to another excellent university hospital, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which ranks nationally in seven adult specialties and 10 child specialties.   The city’s cost of living is 101.4% the national average, which isn’t a deal-breaker but is something to consider. That said, the average annual physician salary is on the high end at $337,914. The Nashville-Davidson area is home to more than 670,000 people.  

5. Austin, Texas

Austin is the fastest-growing big city in America, which means a lot of opportunity. Its population is just short of 1 million people, which also makes it one of the largest cities on our list. And according to U.S. News & World Report, it ranks as the No. 1 place to live in America.   Some of the largest hospitals in the city include St. David’s Medical Center, which was the first health system in the state to be recognized as Employer of the Year by the Texas Workforce Commission, and Cornerstone Hospital of Austin.   The city’s cost of living is 119.3% the national average, which could be a non-starter for some. Also, the average salary for physicians in Austin is relatively low, at $299,297.  

4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City isn’t known for its world-renowned hospitals. Its healthcare industry, however, is among the fastest-growing in the city, with an expected 30% jump over the next 10 years. This means a lot of opportunity for recent medical graduates.   What’s more, the state’s capital has one of the lowest cost of living on our list at 85.4% of the national average. According to Salary.com, the average physician salary in the area is $254,195, which is low compared to the other cities on our list but compared with many cities with high costs of living, your money could go further here.   Oklahoma City is home to 655,000 residents.  

3. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City’s average physician salary of $351,300 ranks No. 11 in the country, making it an ideal destination for many medical graduates. It’s also an excellent choice if you enjoy outdoor adventures.   The state of Utah has one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, which means you won’t have too much trouble finding a job. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s unemployment rate sits at 4.5% for July 2020, compared with 10.2% overall in the U.S. However, the city’s cost of living is 118.9% the national average, which could be a deal-breaker.   Despite being the state’s capital, Salt Lake City has only 200,000 residents.  

2. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is the largest city on our list, with more than 1.5 million residents. Despite its size, the city has a cost of living that’s just 89.4% of the national average. That said, the average annual salary for physicians is also relatively low, at $276,224.   In terms of stability, roughly 18% of San Antonio residents work in healthcare or bioscience, making the city a safe bet for recent medical school graduates. Some of the best medical centers in the city include Methodist Hospital-San Antonio, Baptist Medical Center and University Hospital-San Antonio.  

1. Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland sits atop our list for a few reasons. First, it’s home to the Cleveland Clinic, which has been ranked the second-best hospital in the country behind the Mayo Clinic. Second, the city boasts five large hospitals, which employ more than 100,000 people combined. That’s more than 25% of the city’s population, which sits at about 381,000.   Finally, Cleveland has the lowest cost of living on our list of the best cities for medical school graduates — it’s an impressive 72.6% of the national average. One thing to keep in mind is that the average physician salary in the city is $312,448. But considering the low cost of living, that salary will go further than most of the top salaries in other cities.  

How to choose where to live when you graduate from medical school

Making the decision on where to live after you leave medical school can be challenging. Depending on the residency process and other requirements for your field, your options may be limited based on your specialty. If you have multiple options, though, it’s important to take your time and research all of the factors that are important to you.   For example, consider the quality of the healthcare system, as well as the opportunities that might be available to you. Also, look at average salaries in the area and how they compare with the cost of living. Finally, remember that you not only have to work in one of these cities, but also live. Think about your personal preferences and the quality of life you’ll be able to enjoy in each place to make a decision.  

Additional Sources

 
  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.