Pursuing a bachelor’s degree requires some students to take out several thousand dollars in student loans yearly. And even if they don’t graduate, this debt must be repaid.
With student loan refinancing, which combines student loans into a new loan with a new lender, borrowers can alleviate some of their financial stress. Although a degree is a requirement for refinancing with most lenders, a few have made an exception.
6 lenders that will refinance student loans for borrowers with no degree
If you’re exploring refinancing opportunities, compare a few different lenders to evaluate where you qualify and what interest rates and terms are available. The lenders below do not require a degree to refinance your private or federal school loans, so they’re good places to start your search.
As long as you’ve made at least 12 consecutive payments on your student loans and you have at least $10,000 in eligible loans to refinance, you might qualify for a Citizens Bank refinance loan.
Citizens Bank has relatively low rates and five available term options. However, there are some downsides. You can’t release a co-signer until you’ve made 36 payments on your new loan, and the $10,000 minimum loan is fairly high.
While you might not need a degree to refinance your student loans with PNC, you’ll need to have at least $10,000 in student loans and 24 months of consecutive payments before you can qualify for refinancing. A history of steady employment and income are also required.
PNC has a generous 0.5 percent discount for setting up autopay. However, borrowers without a degree are subject to high interest rates and a loan maximum of $25,000.
Discover will refinance as little as $5,000 and up to $150,000, which makes it one of the more flexible refinance lenders on the market. There are also no fees, not even late fees, and the rate caps are relatively low.
Discover has only two repayment options — 10 or 20 years — which can be limiting. Additionally, postgraduate loans and loans taken out while you were enrolled less than half time are not eligible to be refinanced.
Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA)
MEFA refinance loans require you to have made at least six on-time consecutive payments on the loans you want to refinance, but it doesn’t require a degree. This means that you might qualify for refinancing sooner than with other lenders. Rates are low, and you can find out if you prequalify without a hard credit check.
With that said, MEFA does not offer variable interest rates, so it’s not the right choice if you want the lowest interest rates on the market. You’ll also need at least $10,000 in eligible loans to qualify for refinancing with MEFA.
Earnest doesn’t require a certain number of payments on student loans before borrowers apply for refinancing, but their student loans must total at least $5,000 and the account must be in good standing. Earnest also considers the borrower’s last date of school attendance, which can be no less than six years ago.
Loans are customizable, so approved borrowers have the freedom to choose their repayment term, payment amount and payment schedule. Fixed and variable-rate refinancing starts at less than 5%, but borrowers can save even more by signing up for auto pay, which qualifies them for a rate reduction of 0.25%.
Borrowers with $5,000 to $250,000 in student loans qualify for refinancing with INvested. Terms range from five to 20 years, and borrowers can opt for a variable-rate or fixed-rate loan. Borrowers can earn a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments, and a few different deferment options are offered that allow borrowers to temporarily pause payments.
Additionally, if borrowers apply with a co-signer, they can apply for co-signer release once 48 consecutive, on-time payments have been made.
Other ways to repay your student loans
Refinancing is one way to pay back your student loans, but it’s not always the best option for everyone. Consider other repayment options, including:
Income-driven repayment plans: Available for federal student loans, income-driven repayment plans base your monthly payments on your income and household size — so if you aren’t working right now, your payments can be as low as $0 a month. The remaining balance on your loans is forgiven after 20 or 25 years, depending on the plan you choose.
Debt avalanche method: If you have a lot of student loans, the debt avalanche method can help you organize your debt. With this method, you’ll make regular payments on all your loans but put any extra money toward the loan with the highest interest rate. Do this until the loan is paid off, then move on to the loan with the next-highest interest rate until all of your loans are paid in full. This strategy will reduce the amount you end up paying in interest on your loans.
Federal loan consolidation: If you have only federal loans, consider getting a Direct Consolidation Loan. Like refinancing, this combines all of your loans into one manageable payment, but it won’t cause you to lose access to federal benefits. You won’t save money through this method, but it could be worth it if you don’t want to risk switching to a private lender.
The bottom line
A lack of a degree may impact your earning potential, but you don’t have to let it affect your ability to pay off your student loans. If you refinance, you can better manage your student loan debt because you’ll have one payment.