How we got the best refinance options for 2021.

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Summary (TL;DR)

There’s no one size fits all for student loan refinance – that’s why it’s important to shop around and see your options. Most of our picks allow you to see rates with a soft credit check, so you can shop around without affecting your credit score.

For those in select cities who meet the requirements, we think First Republic’s Personal Line of Credit may be the best option, and feature the lowest fixed rates we offer starting at 2.25%*. For medical professionals, Laurel Road is currently offering a .25%* rate discount that may make a substantial difference. For everyone else, Earnest and Splash are worth comparing to see who can get you the best rates.

Why you should trust us

Our founders Nikhil and Chris started Juno a few years ago when they were shopping around for loans for Harvard Business School. Since then, they’ve been immersed in the student loan industry, regularly speaking with key players nationwide.

This year, we ran an auction, making all the lenders offer the best rates to our community. In the process, we pored over dozens of rate tables, and stayed up all night crunching spreadsheets to map out which lenders offered the most people the best rates.

Since members of the community never pay us, we charge all lenders a set fee that is agreed before the negotiations begin. That way, we can’t be swayed by a larger financial incentive. The only way to win the auction is to offer our community the best rate.

By the numbers

  • $502,121+

    in cash back earned by our community in 2020

  • 50,000+


  • $390M+

    in loans

How we save you money

Lenders spend lots of money on marketing. For example, SoFi reportedly will spend $400M over 20 years for the naming rights to a stadium. In comparison, 80%+ of our members find out about us from a friend.

Instead, we pitch lenders an alternative: give our members better rates and avoid spending thousands of dollars per customer on marketing. It saves them time and money, and we end up getting our community better rates for free.

Reducing Student Loans 101 Webinar
Hosted by  Nick Talamelli
Get smarter in just 5 minutes about your student loan refinancing options that can help you reduce existing student loans with our 101 webinar. What we’ll cover: What is student loan refinancing and how to reduce your student loans. The benefits/drawbacks of refinancing your student loans. Things to consider when comparing options. Deciding when you should refinance. How Juno can help you with refinancing for free.

Who is refinancing for?

Refinancing is great for people with high interest student loans, especially private. Right now, federally held student loans aren’t incurring any interest until at least October 1, 2021. As a result, borrowers with federally held loans are largely waiting until then before considering refinancing.

For private loan borrowers, there’s little downside associated with refinance, and a large potential upside in terms of savings, and reducing your monthly payment. If you have both federal and private, know that you may consider only refinancing private loans at this time, which is an option that many Juno members opt for. You're free to refinance whichever assortment of loans you choose without being forced to refinance all at once.

Note that you may lose benefits associated with your underlying federal and/or private loans if you refinance such as federal Income-driven Repayment Plans, Economic Hardship Deferment, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or other determent and forbearance options common with federal loans. If you file for bankruptcy, you may still be required to pay back this loan.

That said, you should always consult a financial advisor before taking any action. This article is not intended to be financial advice, and we urge you to do your own research independently.

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Best For Most - Earnest

Earnest is owned by Navient, one of the largest student loan servicers in America. While they operate as a separate unit, they have the backing and security of an established servicer. Out of all our options, they also offer loans to the most people (along with Splash).

You may want to compare Earnest and Splash to see who offers you the best rates and cash back combination, especially since both let you view custom rates without a hard credit check.

We like Earnest because it’s possible to get the most cash back by refinancing with them – up to $1,000 total6. They also have low rates, and a product that analyzes your risk based off a variety of factors (called merit-based lending).

Rates: Fixed starting at 2.50%2,3 APR, Variable starting at 1.88%2,3 APR including autopay discount
Cashback: Up to $1,000 via Juno and Earnest6
Check: Soft Credit Check to get rates; Hard Credit Check to refinance
Cosigner: You cannot refinance with a cosigner with Earnest at the moment

Alternative Best for Most - Splash

Splash is not a lender, but a marketplace for lenders. By trying their service, you’ll be able to get quotes from a few different lenders, further helping you identify the best rates available.

In comparison to Earnest, their starting variable rates are a bit lower, but the potential cash back is also lower. If you’re shopping around these are both factors to consider depending on loan amount and your preferences.

Rates: Fixed starting at 2.49%2,3,* APR, Variable starting at 1.88%2,3,* APR. May include autopay discount.
Cashback: Up to $600 via Juno with loans above $50,0007,*
Check: Soft Credit Check to get rates; Hard Credit Check to refinance
Cosigner: You may be able to refinance with a cosigner with Splash

Best for Medical Professionals - Laurel Road

Laurel Road has some perks for medical professionals that make it our choice for physicians, dentists, nurses, optometrists, and physician assistants.

As a Juno member, Laurel Road will offer you a rate reduction of 0.25%*. In addition, you may be able to pay back your medical school loans at only $100 per month while in residency or fellowship.*

Rates: Fixed starting at 2.75%* APR, Variable starting at 1.74%* APR
Benefit: Rate reduction of .25%*
Check: Soft Credit Check to get rates; Hard Credit Check to refinance
Cosigner: You may be able to refinance with a cosigner with Laurel Road

Best Fixed Rates for those in Select Areas - First Republic

First Republic is interesting – they don’t do student loan refinancing specifically, but their offering does allow you to pay off your student debt with a personal line of credit. Beginning at 2.25%*, they have the most conditions for getting the best rate.

In order to get the best rates, you’ll need to maintain a minimum of 20%* of your approved loan amount in a First Republic ATM Rebate Checking account. You’re still free to hold less, and get good rates, and our site will walk you through the various options.

Also note that a personal line of credit is not a student loan and you may be permanently giving up the benefits of a student loan such as certain deferment, forbearance, and forgiveness options.

That said, a Personal Line of Credit also allows you the flexibility to refinance additional debt – such as auto loans – and can provide access to credit for future expenses.

Rates: Fixed rates starting at 2.25%*
Cashback: Up to $400*

What happens when you refinance?

Usually after people refinance a loan, we hear “why was that so easy?” The truth is that the process is fairly straightforward.

On a basic level, you’re taking out a new loan to pay off your old loan.

Since you’re employed and are perceived as ‘less risky’, your new loan ideally has a lower interest rate, saving you money in the long run.

What are the typical questions?

If you can answer these ten questions, you can probably go get customized rates within 5 minutes:

  1. Name
  2. Email Address
  3. Citizenship status
  4. Degree
  5. Graduation date
  6. School name
  7. Student loan balance
  8. Income
  9. Rent/mortgage payment
  10. Address

Then you can use a calculator to decide if the amount you'd save is worth proceeding.

Is now a good time to refinance private student loans?

Refinance Rates Through Time

What about Parent PLUS loans?

All of our partners allow you to refinance Parent PLUS loans. Depending on the partner, it may be possible to refinance the loan into your child’s name.

× With Earnest, you can only refinance loans already in your name as the primary borrower. If your parent is the primary borrower, the original lender may be able to transfer the loan from the parent to you, and then Earnest can refinance in your name.

With Splash, you can apply to refinance a Parent PLUS loan into the student’s name, as long as they have a credit score of 700+, a debt to income ratio below 40%, a bachelor's degree, and a job making at least 25k a year (co-signer) and 42k a year (solo).

Laurel Road does allow you to refinance a Parent PLUS directly into your name.

First Republic can accomplish this goal through their Personal Line of Credit option as well.

Hear from a member!

“I was with Sallie Mae and my interest rate was 10.75%, but i refinanced with Earnest through [Juno] and not only got my rate down to almost 4%, but I also got $1000 cash.

I got paid. To save money.

So make sure as soon as you graduate and get your first paystub to refi. It's super easy and literally takes under 10 minutes, the hardest part is typing in how much you have saved in all our accounts to prove assets as well as entering your social.

Their system literally automates all the hard parts out of it. Not everyone will save as much as me because I'm kind of an extreme case.

I refinanced 170k at 10.75%V to 4.04%F, cutting my monthly payment from $2800 to $1250. This is totally free and you can still write off payments on your taxes. Hope this helps someone...

Of course, make sure you do plenty of research and ask tons of questions to the lender before you refinance any debt.

I applied for refi literally everywhere and this was the best deal by like 1.2% and was much easier to fill out the app than at other places.”

- Josh C.

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