Best Student Loan Refinance Bonuses (Up to $1,275)

Hand holding out 3 hundred dollar bills

Want the best student loan refinance bonus deals? Student Loan Planner has the biggest cash student loan refinancing bonuses on the internet. Use the table below to compare top lenders or keep reading to learn more.

SoFi Splash Earnest Laurel Road Education Loan Finance Credible

sofi

splash logo

earnest

laurel road

education loan finance

credible logo

$500
Cashback1
$1,000
Cashback2
$1,000
Cashback3
$1,050
Cashback4
$1,275
Cashback5
$1,250
Cashback6
Variable
6.24 – 9.99% APR*1
Variable
5.28 – 10.24% APR2
Variable
5.89 – 9.74% APR3
Variable
5.49 – 9.95% APR4
Variable
5.28 – 8.99% APR5
Variable
5.28 – 12.43% APR6
Fixed
5.24 – 9.99% APR*1
Fixed
5.19 – 10.24% APPR2
Fixed
4.99 – 9.74% APR3
Fixed
5.44 – 9.75% APR4
Fixed
5.48 – 8.69% APR5
Fixed
5.24 – 10.99% APR6
*Includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. For 100k or more. 1
For 100k or more. $300 for 50k to $99,9992
For 100k or more. $200 for 50k to $99,9993
For 100k+, $300 for 50k to 99k.4
For 150k+, $300 to $575 for 50k to 149k.5
For 100k+, $350 for 50k to 100k. $100 for 5k to 50k6
Visit Sofi Visit Splash Visit Earnest Visit Laurel Road Visit ELFI Visit Credible
SoFi

sofi

$500
Cashback1
Fixed
5.24 – 9.99% APR*
*Includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. For 100k or more.
Visit Sofi
Splash

splash logo

$1,000
Cashback2
Fixed
5.19 – 10.24% APPR
For 100k or more. $300 for 50k to $99,999
Visit Splash
Earnest

earnest

$1,000
Cashback3
Fixed
4.99 – 9.74% APR
For 100k or more. $200 for 50k to $99,999
Visit Earnest
Laurel Road

laurel road

$1,050
Cashback4
Fixed
5.44 – 9.75% APR
For 100k+, $300 for 50k to 99k.
Visit Laurel Road
Education Loan Finance

education loan finance

$1,275
Cashback5
Fixed
5.48 – 8.69% APR
For 150k+, $300 to $575 for 50k to 149k.
Visit ELFI
Credible

credible logo

$1,250
Cashback6
Fixed
5.24 – 10.99% APR
For 100k+, $350 for 50k to 100k. $100 for 5k to 50k
Visit Credible

The six lenders in the table above offer the lowest interest rates more than 95% of the time. If you want to make sure that you've found the best rate, you'll see the full list of eight refinancing companies further down the page.

Here's how we determine what student loan refinance companies to feature and where:

Should I refinance student loans in 2024?

You can refinance your private student loans as many times as you want, as long as you find a lower interest rate. Anyone with private student loans should apply to refinance every one or two years to see if there's a better rate out there.

Of course, if you refinanced in the past couple years, it's unlikely you'll find a lower rate in the current rate environment unless your credit dramatically improved.

You could refinance federal student loans if you receive little to no interest subsidy and if you're positive you won't pursue any forgiveness plans.

How the income driven repayment recertification extension impacts refinancing

While the student loan pause has long been over, the Department of Ed announced recently that no borrower will be asked to recertify their IDR payment until September 2024 at the earliest.

What that means is that many borrowers will have low income driven payments possibly even into mid-2025.

If you're using the SAVE repayment plan, that could mean huge interest subsidies if your payment does not fully cover the interest.

Any borrower with a very small payment on the SAVE might currently might consider waiting to refinance until they lose most or all of their interest subsidy.

This happens when your required payment almost or fully covers your calculated interest.

What Impact Does the New SAVE Plan Have on Refinancing?

If you decide to refinance your federal student loans, you'll need to justify giving up the SAVE income-driven repayment plan.

This plan subsidizes all your interest that your required payment does not cover.

That said, if your income is at least $50,000, you work in the private sector, and you earn more than what you owe, student loan refinancing is probably the smartest decision.

Make sure you get at least a 1% lower rate or better on your refinancing offer compared with your federal loan.

What is a student loan refinance bonus?

Most websites do not offer any student loan refinance at all.

That's because it's more profitable to retain 100% of the advertising commission a site earns when you shop rates through them.

Sites like Student Loan Planner take a reduced advertising commission to provide a bonus on our end as well as giving lenders enough economics to offer a bonus in many cases on their end as well.

Refer a friend bonuses are not the same as a student loan refinance bonus

You can also get bonuses for referring friends from lenders once you're a customer.

This is not the same thing as getting a student loan refinance bonus though.

A referral bonus depends on what you do after a refinancing.

A student loan refinance bonus depends on where you refinanced your own loans.

How to get the best student loan refinancing deal

Here's why you will get the best refinancing deal when comparing lenders on Student Loan Planner®.

  1. We encourage you to shop around, since it's tough to predict who will offer you the lowest student loan refinance rates.
  2. Our partner lenders account for the vast majority of the student loan refinancing market.
  3. We take lower advertising fees, in order to offer you a bonus that you can't get elsewhere.

If you find a better student loan refinancing deal somewhere else, please let us know, because that should be pretty close to impossible.

Get the best student loan refinance bonus along with a lower interest rate

If you've already started an application with any of the companies above, you can still get the bonus if you apply with a new email that you haven't used before.

The paid referral relationship we have with our partners does not affect the rate you're offered, which means that you get a better offer than if you applied directly.

Some websites that show up at the top of the Google search results try to hide that they offer no student loan refinance bonus to their readers at all. They highlight refer-a-friend bonuses that you'll still qualify for after going through our site.

Don't fall for promotional gimmicks when looking for a bonus

Many websites try to make a bonus look larger than it actually is or obfuscate that they're not giving you cash.

For example, a site might promise a bonus of thousands of dollars but only cover a fraction of the refinancing market and not offer good rates.

Other sites might assign an arbitrary value to a free course or service in order to make their bonus numbers appear large because they don't want to have to pay cash to you.

Companies like this choose to keep the higher profit margin for themselves. We'd prefer to take a lower commission so that you get the best overall deal.

Notice that for some of these companies, you need to refinance a minimum amount with that lender to get that bonus.

If you're refinancing a six figure loan amount that's large enough to receive a $1,000 or higher student loan refinance bonus, reach out to us as soon as you are done applying, so that we can track your bonus.

Send an email to sierra@studentloanplanner.com to verify that your loan shows up as being credited to Student Loan Planner® prior to signing the refinancing documents.

If you're not sure which company to start with, take our quiz below to get a personalized recommendation.

Not sure what to do with your student loans?

Take our 11 question quiz for a personalized recommendation on whether refinancing is right for you.

refinance student loans without a degree

When to refinance federal loans and private student loans

After advising over $3.4 billion dollars in student debt, here's what I tell borrowers when they ask if they should refinance federal and private student loans.

At this time,

  1. Refinance federal student loans if you:
    • Work in the private sector
    • Have a solid emergency fund
    • Expect to owe federal debt less than your income
    • Are ready to give up forbearance/deferment, forgivenessincome-driven repayment plans, and potential eligibility for the PSLF program
    • Are willing to give up the potential promise of any new student loan programs that a future administration might try to enact
  2. Refinance private student loans if you:
    • Can find a lower rate than your current loans
    • Want a lower or higher monthly loan payment
    • Have not checked current offers in the last six months
    • Have had an increase in your credit score or income

Remember, you can refinance private loans two, three, four or more times. The only thing that matters is that you find a better rate.

Choosing the best student loan refinance company

We've done surveys of thousands of professionals with six figure student debt. Only 10% of these borrowers check more than three lenders. That means higher profits for student loan refinance companies. Since it only takes two to five minutes to get a rate estimate from a company, you should at least check a few different options.

You'll be asked for basic information, and the company will give you a rate estimate if you could potentially qualify. This is called a “soft credit check,” which does not impact your credit score.

Once you've identified one or two companies that offer excellent rates, you can submit to a “hard credit check,” which has a very small, temporary, one-time impact on your credit score (often 5 to 10 points). This is similar to applying for a credit card, so it's not something to be concerned about unless you're applying for a mortgage in one or two weeks after applying for your student loan refinance.

Some student loan refinance lenders, like EarnestELFISoFi and Laurel Road offer rates directly.

Others, like Credible and LendKey, connect you to a network of lenders on their platforms that you probably wouldn't check on your own.

Note that you can apply to as many companies as you want. If you do so within 30 days, then it's considered “rate shopping” and only counts against your credit score one time.

What are current student loan refinancing interest rates for the best qualified borrowers?

Your interest rate on a refinanced student loan depends on your credit profile, income, debt-to-income ratio, and many other factors.

The table below shows the approximate lowest fixed interest rates available in summer 2024. Variable rates are also available, but most of our readers choose fixed-rate loans with short term rates at such high levels.

You should not necessarily expect to get a rate as low as what's listed below. The table merely shows the current state of the refinancing market for the best-qualified borrowers so that you can gauge if you should apply or not.

If you refinance at current rates, expect to check back in within a few months to see if you can refinance again — particularly due to the economy having higher than typical interest rates right now.

5-Year Fixed7-Year Fixed10-Year Fixed15-Year Fixed20-Year Fixed
5.25%5.5%5.75%5.8%5.9%

All 8 student loan refinancing companies compared

Compare the eight student loan refinance lenders below to get the lowest interest rate. We highlight the top reasons you would consider using each lender, the cash bonus terms available (some are specific to the amount refinanced), lender-specific reviews if you want to learn more, as well as a star rating, reflecting long term feedback we receive from our readers.

SoFi

sofi
4.5 out of 5

SoFi: Best if you're unsure where to apply

  • Positives: Competitive rates, flexible terms and view rates in just two minutes
  • Allows cosigners: Yes, but no cosigner release offered
  • Deferment or forbearance available: Yes, in limited situations
  • Interest rates: Fixed rates 5.24 – 9.99% APR; Variable rates 6.24 – 9.99% APR (rates include optional 0.25% AutoPay discount)
  • Bonus: $500 for refinancing 100k or more.

Splash Financial

splash logo
4.5 out of 5

Splash Financial: Best for easy application

  • Positives: Compares multiple lenders, good customer service available
  • Allows cosigners: No
  • Deferment or forbearance available: Yes, length varies based on lending partner
  • Interest rates: Fixed starting at 5.19% APR; Variable starting at 5.28% APR
  • Bonus: $300 for 50k to 99k or $1,000 when you refinance $100,000 or more

Earnest

earnest
4.5 out of 5

Earnest: Best for flexible repayment

  • Positives: Flexible repayment terms, custom loan payments
  • Allows cosigners: Yes
  • Deferment or forbearance available: Yes, up to 36 months
  • Interest rates: Fixed starting at 4.29% APR; Variable starting at 5.62% APR
  • Bonus: $200 for refinancing 50k to $99,999; $1000 for refinancing 100k or more.

Laurel Road

laurel road
5.0 out of 5

Laurel Road: Best for medical professionals

  • Positives: Flexible repayment terms, profession based discounts
  • Allows cosigners: Yes, cosigner release available after 36 months
  • Deferment or forbearance available: Yes, up to 12 months
  • Interest rates: Fixed starting at 5.44% APR; Variable starting at 5.49% APR
  • Student Loan Planner® bonus: $300 for refinancing 50k to 100k, $1,050 for refinancing over 100k, OR interest rate discount if applicable.

ELFI

elfi logo
4.5 out of 5

ELFI: Best for customer service

  • Positives: Highly competitive fixed rates
  • Allows cosigners: Yes, but no cosigner release
  • Deferment or forbearance available: Yes, up to 12 months
  • Interest rates: Fixed starting at 5.48% APR; Variable starting at 5.28% APR
  • Bonus: $300 for refinancing at least $50,000. $575 for 100k to 149k, and $1,275 for refinancing 150k+.

Credible

credible logo
4.5 out of 5

Credible: Best for comparing multiple lenders

  • Positives: Strong application experience
  • Allows cosigners: Yes
  • Deferment or forbearance available: Yes with some lenders
  • Interest rates: Fixed starting at 5.28% APR (with autopay)*; Variable starting at 5.28% APR (with autopay)*
  • Bonus: $1,250 bonus for loans over $100k, and $350 for loans $50k to $100k

LendKey

Lendkey logo
4.0 out of 5

LendKey: Best for community banks and credit unions

  • Positives: Compares many smaller lenders you might not apply to
  • Allows cosigners: Yes
  • Deferment or forbearance available: Yes
  • Interest rates: Fixed starting at 5.24% APR; Variable starting at 5.53% APR
  • Bonus: $100 for refinancing up to $20k, or $200 for $20k to $100k, or $400 for over $100k, or $1,250 for $150k or more

Citizens

Citizens Bank logo
4.0 out of 5

Citizens: Best traditional bank with refinancing

  • Positives: Can refinance Parent PLUS loans in child’s name, possible to refinance without degree
  • Allows cosigners: Yes, cosigner release available after 36 months
  • Deferment or forbearance available: Yes, with limitations
  • Interest rates: Fixed starting at 6.49% APR; Variable starting at 7.02% APR
  • Bonus: $350 to $1,250 depending on amount refinanced (bonus paid through Credible + Student Loan Planner®).

Best student loan refinance company by profession

In January 2024, we surveyed over 3,900 of our readers, who tend to have higher incomes and higher debt than the typical student loan borrower. We did a similar survey in April 2022, which received over 6,200 responses.

We list the first place lender below for each profession in our 2024 survey compared to our 2022 survey, so you can see how much market share the number one lender in each profession captured over time.

The lower the market share of the number one lender in your profession, the more companies you need to apply with to get the best rate.

Occupation2024 Market Share2022 Market Share
Corporate EmployeesSofi (63%)Common Bond (29%)
DentistsLaurel Road (43%)Laurel Road (58%)
LawyersEarnest (22%)Earnest (31%)
NursesLaurel Road (22%)Citizens (25%)
OptometristsLaurel Road (83%)Laurel Road (64%)
PharmacistsLaurel Road (25%)Earnest (32%)
Physical TherapistsLaurel Road (30%)Earnest (24%)
Physician AssistantsLaurel Road (55%)Laurel Road (40%)
PhysiciansLaurel Road (45%)Laurel Road (49%)
VeterinariansSoFi (36%)SoFi (23%)

Source: Student Loan Planner Audience Surveys, January 2024 and April 2022

Keep in mind, in 2023, Laurel Road maintained aggressive pricing for certain healthcare professions such as dentists, physicians and optometrists, when compared with other lenders.

They're far less aggressively priced in 2024. So even if you're an optometrist, and you notice one lender in the table above captured 83% of your profession's market share, that might not be true currently.

Outside of those three professions, student loan refinancing market share is significantly more diffuse. If your occupation is not on the list above, you should be prepared to apply widely, since for most professions, no one lender dominates.

Note that one company, Commonbond, appeared in previous surveys, but no longer refinances student loans.

3 Companies tend to dominate the student loan refinancing market

We found that one of EarnestSoFi, or Laurel Road captured the plurality of the student loan refinancing volume for each job category we looked at. If you only search three companies, those would be excellent places to start.

Why you should still compare rates at several companies

Even so, notice that no one company captured more than half of a profession's student loan refinancing volume. For most jobs, the most popular company captured less than one third of the market.

That means that it still pays to check at least three to five lenders to see how low of an interest rate they could offer. You can also compare repayment options, possible interest rate reductions and other loan terms.

For example, companies will sometimes offer temporary interest rate discounts that are far superior to the top three student loan refinance companies. You never know when that will happen, so it pays to shop around.

Student loan refinancing guides for professionals

Dentists have very different student loan refinancing considerations than lawyers do. Check out some of our most popular profession-specific student loan refinance guides below.

Use a Refinance Calculator, See Potential Savings

To refinance student loans, you need to choose a repayment term (usually 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years).

It's common to start with a 10, 15 or 20 year term, make a bunch of extra payments above what you owe, then refinance again in a couple years to a 5 or 7 year. This is the student loan refinancing ladder strategy of paying down debt, which Student Loan Planner® popularized.

The 20 year fixed-rate option has been significantly more popular as of late, given many borrowers seek the longest repayment term possible with short term rate offers not being very good with the current rate environment.

Regardless of which strategy or loan term you choose, these student loan refinancing calculators can show you how much money you could save:

Common Refinancing FAQs

Here's a list of some of the most common questions we get from readers who are thinking
about refinancing.

Simply apply through Student Loan Planner® using the links present in this article. If you have a large enough loan size, you'll get a cash bonus shortly after your loan funds. In some cases, Student Loan Planner® offers an additional $500 student loan refinance bonus on top of what a lender offers, to combine for the maximum student loan refinance bonuses you see above.

Many borrowers will not be able to secure a rate lower than what they currently have on their federal loans. However, highly qualified borrowers with rates in the 7% to 8% range could expect to lower their rates by 1% to 2% in the current rate environment depending on what term you choose (10 year, 20 year, etc.)

Yes, you can combine federal and/or private student loans into one new loan with a private lender. We would not recommend including federal student loans until you're certain you won't benefit from PSLF or an IDR repayment strategy.

Your credit score might decline by approximately five to ten points or less when you refinance. This is a temporary impact. If you are ever denied for a mortgage or business loan because of your student loans, it will be because your monthly payment is too high, not because of a hit to your credit score from refinancing.

For federal student loans, aim for at least a 1% lower rate than what you have now to justify giving up income-driven repayment plans and forbearance options. For private loans, a rate at least 0.25% below what you have justifies refinancing.

Yes, you can transfer a Parent PLUS or private cosigned loan to your name alone. Laurel Road is one lender that will do this.

Variable interest rates are not a good idea in the current interest rate environment given that they're based on short term rates set by the Fed. Only consider variable rates if you could afford to pay off your student loan rapidly and you get a rate offer at least 1% below the fixed rate offer. Most borrowers opt for the fixed rate and should continue to do so until the interest rate environment changes.

Yes. You should refinance your loans as many times as you can find a lower interest rate. You should check competing lenders at least once a year to see if you can lower your interest costs further. Many borrowers refinance two, three, four, or even five times.

To qualify for a refinance loan, borrowers generally need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have qualifying educational debt from an accredited college or university, a credit score of at least 650, and less than 36% of your income going to debt payments.

Most private lenders allow up to three months of forbearance. Check your promissory note to verify. Forgiveness of private student loan debt due to death or disability could be considered taxable income, so make sure you have good term life and disability coverage.

The borrower whose name is on the loan is on the hook for all of the debt. Cosigning a student loan for a spouse is a risk, in case of divorce. Additional considerations may apply in community property states.

Most student loan refinancing denials happen due to a low credit score, high debt-to-income ratio, or an ineligible institution you attended. If you improve your credit score or debt-to-income ratio, you can reapply as soon as 30 days later so that this positive change shows up in your credit profile.

A good time to refinance is when you've determined student loan forgiveness will not benefit you, your career is stable, and you have an emergency fund.

Student loan consolidation means combining multiple federal loans into a single new Direct Consolidation loan through studentloans.gov. Refinancing means moving your loans to a private lender for a lower interest rate or lower payment, or both.

Generally, any federal or private student loan you took out during school is eligible. Credit card debt, personal loans, residency relocation loans, or other debt you might have incurred during your education is not eligible for student loan refinancing.

As often as you can find a lower interest rate. This is especially true when you receive a student loan refinance bonus each time you refinance with a new lender.

You can still refinance with bad credit, as long as you have a qualifying co-signer. If you want to refinance in your own name, you should apply to a large number of lenders as some have looser underwriting requirements. You should also make efforts to increase your credit score by paying your loans on time and eliminating credit card balances.

You can refinance as soon as you have graduated and can prove your income, usually through a signed offer letter or contract showing your salary. Certain professionals like dentists and physicians may be able to refinance several months ahead of their higher post-training salaries with signed offer letters.

President Biden or a future President could create a new student loan pause if there's a new national emergency (see HEROES Act of 2003). That said, Congress will likely not tolerate an additional pause for several years. If you know you want to be debt-free in that time frame, then refinancing still makes sense if you're saving money on interest.

Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) has been amended to give 100% interest subsidies on all unpaid interest that your required monthly payment does not cover. This change went into effect on July 30, 2023. The lower payments available on SAVE are available now (the lower payments for undergrad only borrowers go into effect in mid-2024). This new payment plan will make refinancing significantly less attractive for borrowers whose payments do not fully cover the interest.

You should not refinance federal loans unless you're ready to give up all potential future cancellation. President Biden is again trying for student loan relief after losing at the Supreme Court. We would expect such relief would mostly be targeted towards the lowest income borrowers. So if your income is higher than your debt, you would be unlikely to benefit from any future cancellation efforts besides the new SAVE IDR plan.

Testimonials from readers who refinanced

These readers refinanced through Student Loan Planner® and picked up a cash-back bonus. We wanted to share some real world examples so you'll feel confident that yes, refinancing and getting paid to do it is a real thing.

Experience getting a lower interest rate through Student Loan Planner®

blonde female outside in lab coat smiling

Marisa, Dentist:

“Student Loan Planner® gave me the best companies to look into and then after I did my research I chose which company worked best for me!! I am so glad that I did it and the cash back was a nice bonus too!”

TJ and Lauren on the water

TJ and Lauren, Physicians:

“TJ and I were able to refinance with Student Loan Planner®. We each received a $500 bonus…an extra $1000 for something we were going to do anyways!”

Start applying and find the lowest rate

Please share these deals with your friends who are thinking about refinancing. Maybe they'll take you out to dinner with part of the bonus. Better yet, maybe they could put it toward their principal and get out of student loan debt even sooner!

Other questions? Send us an email.

Table of Contents

Not sure what to do with your student loans?

Take our 11 question quiz to get a personalized recommendation for 2024 on whether you should pursue PSLF, Biden’s New IDR plan, or refinancing (including the one lender we think could give you the best rate).

Take Our Quiz

Disclosures

  1. SoFi: Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. See disclosuresSoFi disclosuresStudent Loan Planner® disclosures.

  2. Splash: If you refinance over $100,000 through this site, $500 of the cash bonus listed above is provided directly by Student Loan Planner®. Lowest rates displayed may include an autopay discount of 0.25%. Splash disclosures.

  3. Earnest: If you refinance $100,000 or more through this site, $500 of the $1,000 cash bonus is provided directly by Student Loan Planner®. Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO MAKE ANY PAYMENT OR TAKE ANY OTHER ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS OFFER. Full Earnest disclosures.

  4. Laurel Road: If you refinance more than $100,000 and Student Loan Planner® receives credit, we will provide a $500 cash bonus directly to you. If you are a member of a professional association, Laurel Road might offer you the choice of an interest rate discount or the $300, or $550 cash bonus mentioned above. Offers from Laurel Road cannot be combined. Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Rates as of 3/18/24. Rates Subject to Change. Terms and Conditions Apply. All products subject to credit approval. Laurel Road disclosures.

  5. Education Loan Finance: If you refinance over $150,000 through this site, $500 of the cash bonus listed above is provided directly by Student Loan Planner®. Elfi disclosures.

  6. Credible: If you refinance over $100,000 through this site, $500 of the cash bonus listed above is provided directly by Student Loan Planner®. All bonus payments are by e-gift card. See terms. Full Credible disclosures.

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