Borrowing and Refinancing Private Student Loans with Earnest

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By Kristen Kuchar

February 12, 2020

Earnest offers private student loans for undergraduate students, and private student loans for graduate and professional students (such as private student loans for medical school, business school and law school). Earnest also refinances federal and private student loans.

Keep in mind that refinancing federal loans means a loss in many benefits – income-driven repayment, any federal forgiveness programs, generous deferment options, and more.

Key Things to Know about Earnest 

  • Earnest has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • Earnest allows you to skip one payment every year and make it up later.
  • Get a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for auto pay.
  • For refinancing student loans, get your new interest rate in two minutes.
  • There are no fees for origination, disbursement or late payments. 

Private Student Loans

Grace Period: There is a 9-month grace period, which is 3 months more than the typical lender’s grace period. 

In-School Payment Options: Deferred payment, fixed payments of $25 per month, interest-only payments or principal and interest payments

Loan Amount: $1,000 up to the college’s cost of attendance

Loan Terms: 5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years for cosigned loans; 5 or 7 years for solo borrowers

Student Loan Refinancing 

Earnest offers refinancing for student loans (both federal and private), including refinancing Parent PLUS loans. Keep in mind that refinancing federal student loans means a loss in many benefits that only federal loans offer. These include an option for potential loan forgiveness, income-driven repayment plans, generous deferment options if you become unemployed or have an economic hardship, and an option to discharge loans for death or disability.

Payment Flexibility: Earnest offers an option to customize your payment amount to work with your budget. You can also opt for biweekly payments, and adjust your payment due date to whenever you’d like. Make extra or early payments without any prepayment penalties.

Eligibility Requirements: A minimum of a 650-credit score is required. Earnest also evaluates your savings, education and earning potential when offering interest rates.

Loan Amount: $5,000 ($10,000 in California) to $500,000

Loan Terms: 5 years to 20 years

Compare other private student loan lenders and other refinancing student loan options to see what’s best for you. Read our reviews of College Ave, LendKey and SoFi.

Sign up for our free student loan newsletter for expert advice on how to borrow responsibly before and during college and how manage your student loan debt after college.

At, our goal is to help you make smart decisions about saving and paying for education. Some of the products featured in this article are from our partners, but this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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