What you need to know:
- Laurel Road is a great option for medical professionals and parents
- Parents can refinance Parent PLUS loans in their child’s name
- Laurel Road offers fellowship and residency refinancing loans
If you’re looking to refinance undergraduate, graduate, or parent student loans, one of the top online lenders out there is Laurel Road. Formerly known as Darien Rowayton Bank, Laurel Road refinances student loans and is a good fit for medical professionals, high-income and high-debt borrowers, as well as Parent PLUS borrowers. Read on for our full Laurel Road student loan refinance review.
Laurel Road student loan refinancing review
Laurel Road is a student loan refinancing option for everyone but is geared toward those in medical professions and Parent PLUS borrowers. For example, a unique perk that Laurel Road offers is residency and fellowship refinancing loans, which could help a lot of medical students who’ve recently graduated.
Unlike other student loan refinancing companies, Laurel Road is a bank. As a bank, Laurel Road has the capital necessary to offer lower interest rates compared to some of its competitors. On the other hand, its underwriting requirements (e.g. 700+ credit score) may be tougher, making it more difficult to get approved without a cosigner.
Laurel Road review: Pros and cons
In this Laurel Road student loans refinance review, consider these pros and cons and compare them to other student loan refinancing rates and terms to find the best fit for you.
- Flexible repayment terms. You can choose from various loan terms including any term below 20 years.
- Refinancing available for those in fellowship or residency. Medical residents can score a better APRs while in residency.
- Check interest rates without a hard credit check. Your credit won’t be impacted by getting your preliminary rate since it’s a soft credit check.
- Up to 12 months in forbearance available. If you face economic hardship, you can put your payments on pause for up to 12 months.
- Cosigner release available after 36 months. In order to get your cosigner released, you’ll need to qualify by meeting underwriting criteria and making consecutive, on-time payments for three years.
- Can refinance Parent PLUS loan in child’s name. If you’re a parent with Parent PLUS loans, you can refinance the loan into your child’s name.
- Ability to earn a referral bonus. You can earn the better of a cash bonus up to $1050 OR an interest rate discount of 0.25% if you are a member of certain professional organizations.
- No application or origination fees. Laurel Road doesn’t charge prepayment penalties either.
- Autopay discount available. Receive a 0.25% discount for making automatic payments from a bank account.
- No maximum loan size. You can refinance loans of any amount.
- Fixed and variable rates. Choose the option that works best for you.
- Not great for borrowers with less than $50,000. Based on our data, we found Laurel Road offers the best rates for people who need to refinance a loan amount that is more than $50,000.
- Available to high-income earners mostly. Refinancing with Laurel Road is best if your debt-to-income ratio is low and you have a higher income.
- Late fees. If you make a late payment, there’s a late fee of $28 or 5% of the late payment which is charged within 15 days of the due date.
- Two loans. If you refinance a loan amount that is more than $300,000, it’ll be refinanced with two or more loans.
In order to qualify for a refinancing loan with Laurel Road, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (refinancing available in all 50 states) with a four-year or graduate degree. Eligible borrowers must also have a minimum credit score of 700 and demonstrate proof of income.
Laurel Road can also serve those who want to refinance up to $50,000 for Associate Degree loans. You’ll need to be in an eligible healthcare field to qualify, and must meet other eligibility requirements.
If you decide that Laurel Road is a good fit for your refinancing needs, you can apply on its website. Our most recent student loan refinancing survey found that borrowers ranked Laurel Road’s application experience #4 out of eight total lenders. This makes sense given the application’s straightforward form.
First, after creating a Laurel Road account, fill out a quick refinancing application online. You’ll need to provide your personal information, in addition to your employment and income status, educational history, and the amount of student loans you’d like to refinance.
While filling out the application, you’ll have the option to add a cosigner if you don’t meet Laurel Road’s credit score and income requirements (although a cosigner isn’t required to get a refinancing loan). The cosigner will receive an email from Laurel Road to upload any necessary documentation.
Then, you must accept Laurel Road’s loan terms and conditions, and consent to a soft credit pull to see the rate you qualify for. If you want to move forward with your application, you must provide additional documentation:
- Photo identification
- Two recent pay stubs
- Payoff statements for your current student loans
After reviewing your information, Laurel Road will provide its final interest rate offer. To accept the loan, you must select a loan type and repayment term, and then electronically sign the promissory note.
Should you refinance with Laurel Road?
Laurel Road is one of the top refinancing lenders for student loans. According to our survey, Laurel Road was ranked #3 as the top student loan refinancing lender next to CommonBond and Earnest.
We’ve seen Laurel Road dominate the 15- and 20-year fixed-rate offerings for refinancing loans. Although it’s a long repayment loan term that we don’t necessarily recommend, it could offer lower monthly payments. Additionally, you can use the refinancing ladder approach and refinance your student loans again down the line.
Laurel Road has decent variable interest rates, but with so much interest rate action at the Federal Reserve, you’ll likely be better off with fixed rates unless you’re paying the loan off in less than three years.
Laurel Road, doesn’t offer the best 5-year terms, but they’re quite competitive for a 10-year loan term. If you want a shorter repayment term, consider CommonBond, Earnest or LendKey for refinancing your loans.
As with all student loan refinancing lenders, we recommend you strongly consider the impact of refinancing federal student loans and the loss of forgiveness and other benefits.
Medical professionals with high debt
If you’re a medical professional such as a physician, dentist, or physician assistant with a five-figure income and have loan amounts of more than $50,000 to refinance, Laurel Road is a must to consider.
Laurel Road stands out with its option to refinance during fellowship and residency. Keep in mind that you should probably not refinance as a fellow or a resident, because of REPAYE program interest subsidies. However, it can occasionally make sense.
For example, if you make too much money to get subsidies on your interest, have private student loans with a high-interest rate, or your spouse earns a lot and you’d like to keep the student loans in your name, then refinancing while still in training can be a smart thing to do.
If you do a medical student loan refinance as a resident with Laurel Road, they’ll let you pay $100 a month until you’re done with your residency or fellowship program. It’s not quite a full deferment of payments, but it’s almost certainly less than what your full payment would be. You’ll then be expected to make normal monthly payments. Keep in mind that if you pull the trigger and refinance, you won’t be eligible for PSLF or any other income-driven repayment program.
If you refinance with Laurel Road through Student Loan Planner®, you’ll receive a cash bonus based on how much you refinance. Get $300 to $1,050 while refinancing toward a lower rate (if you refinance at least $50,000) and better loans terms with this lender. Note that if you are eligible for an interest rate discount due to your membership in a professional association, you would not be able to get a cash bonus unless if you refinanced more than $250,000, in which case you’d get the $500 bonus from Student Loan Planner® and that’s it.
More importantly, save thousands of dollars on your student loan interest over the life of the loan.
Caitlin See contributed to this article.