Best Companies to Refinance Medical School Loans
Medical school loans are typically steep and refi can be a great option to pay them off. This article breaks down the best companies to refi through.
Refinancing is about leveling up. It's a way to take advantage of your improved financial circumstances, saving you money on interest or freeing up money in your budget with a lower payment.
That idea is especially relevant for medical school loans because physicians tend to have incomes that increase significantly as they progress through their careers. That's why many medical school loan borrowers refinance multiple times during the course of their repayment.
But the benefits of refinancing can differ depending on which company you choose. We'll walk you through some of the best options, along with a few general tips on how to make the most of your refinance.
Why Refinance Medical School Loans?
Borrowers should refinance medical school loans because they may save tens of thousands in interest, depending on their loan balance and current interest rate.
Because borrowers are limited to taking out $138,500 in federal student loans, many med school students turn to private student loans to cover the rest. Private student loans usually have higher interest rates than federal loans - often in the double digits.
Fortunately, doctors are good student loan refinance candidates because they have high incomes and stable employment. Here's how much you could save by refinancing. Let's say you owe $100,000 in private student loans at 9% interest and a 20-year term. If you refinance to a 4% interest rate and a 20-year term, you'll pay $294 less each month.
But the real kicker? You'll save $70,500 in total interest over the life of the loan. That's the main reason every medical school graduate should consider refinancing as soon as possible.
What to Know Before You Refinance Medical School Student Loans
If you have a mix of federal and private student loans, consider whether you want to refinance both types of loans or just the private loans. If you refinance federal student loans, they'll become private loans, and you'll lose access to loan forgiveness options, income-driven repayment, and longer deferment periods.
You don't have to refinance all your loans together. You can decide to keep your federal loans and only refinance the private student loans. This lets you enjoy the benefits of refinancing while also keeping the perks of federal loans.
If you're not working toward PSLF, then you may consider refinancing your federal loans as well as your private loans. Think closely about the pros and cons, as well as whether you'd rather pay less interest or keep the federal loan benefits.
Best Companies to Refinance Medical School Loans
Juno partners with three different companies that refinance medical school loans. All three lenders allow borrowers to check their rates before filling out an official application without it hurting their credit score.
Because every lender is different, you should view your potential rate with all three lenders before deciding on one. You never know where you'll find the best deal.
Laurel Road through Juno offers medical school student loan refinancing to physicians and optometrists as well as health professionals like nurses, physician assistants, and dentists. As of September 2021, fixed interest rates start at 2.75% APR, and variable interest rates start at 1.74%.
When borrowers refinance with Laurel Road through Juno, they'll get an interest rate that is .25% less than if they went through Laurel Road directly. This is one of the main benefits of refinancing with Juno.
While the starting interest rates for Laurel Road may be higher than other lenders on this list, Laurel Road offers $100 monthly payments for medical school borrowers during residency and fellowship. Since physician salaries are low during those years, it's much easier to afford a $100 monthly payment than the standard monthly payment.
Laurel Road allows borrowers to refinance with a cosigner, which can be necessary if they have a low or no credit history.
Through Juno, Earnest refinances a variety of student loans, including medical school loans. While they don't offer some of the same benefits that Laurel Road does, like $100 monthly payments during residency, they do have the lowest interest rates. As of September 2021, fixed interest rates start at 2.25% APR, and variable interest rates start at 1.63%.
Plus, when you refinance with Earnest through Juno, you'll receive a .25% interest rate discount - a perk you won't get if you refinance through Earnest directly.
Unlike the other lenders on this list, Earnest does not allow cosigners. If you need a cosigner to qualify, you'll have to apply with one of the other lenders.
Splash is a lending network that connects borrowers with potential lenders. When you apply to refinance with Splash, you may receive several refinancing offers. As of September 2021, fixed interest rates start at 2.49% APR, and variable interest rates start at 1.74%.
By refinancing with Splash through Juno, borrowers are eligible for a special cash-back bonus. Borrowers who refinance between $50,000 and $150,000 will be eligible for a $500 bonus, and borrowers who refinance more than $150,000 will receive $1,000. That money can be used for anything, like a vacation, new furniture or a wedding.
Splash allows cosigners, which could be a major benefit for medical school graduates without a credit history.
Juno can help you find the most affordable possible rates on refinancing student loans. Juno negotiates on behalf of borrowers with partner lenders to help each student qualify for the best refinance rates they can given their financial situation.
Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four and everything in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Conscious Coins.
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