Refinance Student Loans: Save Big and Get a Cash Bonus

Here are some of the best deals anywhere to refinance student loans. I’ve negotiated large cash bonuses for Student Loan Planner readers and clients. These are referral links, so this site gets a bonus if you decide to go through with refinancing after checking out your rate. However, in many cases I’ve attempted to reduce that referral bonus so we can put more into the cash bonus for the reader. That’s why you’ll have a hard time finding anything as good as the links below.

Who should refinance student loans? We’ll cover that don’t worry. In short, if you’re in a private sector job and owe less than double your income, you should refinance. That’s a general rule of thumb, but I’ve found works pretty well.

The Best, Exclusive Student Loan Refinancing Bonuses Available to Student Loan Planner Readers

If I was looking for a great student loan refinancing deal, I’d click on all of the links below and check my rate at each company. It doesn’t take very much time. Additionally, getting a prequalified offer doesn’t affect your credit score as it’s a “soft inquiry.” If you go through with the refinancing then they’ll need to do a hard inquiry which will have a small impact on your credit score kind of like applying for a credit card.

  • CommonBond $500 bonus: Has unemployment protection. Also funds a child’s education in a foreign country every time they do a refinancing.
  • Credible $250 bonus: Shops a bunch of places at once. Great option especially for folks with <$100,000 in income. No unemployment protection.
  • Laurel Road $300 bonus: Specializes in refinancing for medical professionals. Offers unique refinancing options for residents and fellows. No unemployment protection.
  • LendKey $500 bonus: Searches a network of small banks and credit unions. Has unemployment protection. Their max is $300k for medical professionals.
  • Earnest $300 bonus: Allows for flexible repayment terms instead of the typical 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 year terms offered elsewhere.
  • Sofi $300 bonus: Has unemployment protection and entrepreneur program. Number 1 lender by volume
  • Elfi $100 bonus: Offers surprisingly low rates when they’re able to lend. Relatively new player in the market.

Who Should Refinance Student Loans?

I actually built an awesome free student loan calculator that you can get for free to see how much refinancing might save you. In general, refinancing student loans is a great idea for folks in the private sector that owe less than two times their salary.

Why is that the case? Most people’s salaries go up over time. If you already owe less than double your income, then that ratio will probably continue to get better. When you make a significant amount of money, the income driven repayment plans like IBR and REPAYE are less attractive.

For someone who owes three times their salary or more, the income driven repayment plans can be super helpful. Options like REPAYE can even cover part of your interest. However, once you make a lot of money, that interest subsidy goes away. In my experience, the breakeven point tends to be around a debt to income ratio of 2.

What Do You Lose from Doing a Student Loan Refinance?

The biggest and most important thing you’ll lose is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). That program allows you to pay a fraction of what you owe for 10 years. After that, the government forgives the rest tax free.

If you could potentially qualify for PSLF, I’d highly suggest hiring me to get student loan help. I’ll look at all your options to make sure you don’t make a mistake. With a $100,000+ balance, a mistake can be very costly. For anyone working at a not for profit or government employer, you have to run the analysis first before refinancing because you can’t take it back.

You’ll also lose the ability to use deferment or forbearance. However, some of the lenders I mentioned above have unemployment protection. That allows you to put your payments on hold for up to 3 months if you lose your job.

Additionally, you will no longer have access to income driven repayment programs like IBR, REPAYE, and PAYE. That means you won’t be able to pay based on your income.

What Could You Gain if You Refinance Student Loans?

Remember that the only real reason to refinance student loans is to pay them off and save lots of money in interest. The government sets federal student loans at very high levels. For individuals with high incomes, those rates don’t reflect the credit risk of borrowing. That means millions of people out there are giving Uncle Sam free money.

Why would anyone want to do that? One reason would be that they aren’t aware of the possibility. Another could be that they aren’t ready to start making big payments.

I can tell you that for my fiancee and I, we refinanced to five year private student loan because we want to be out of debt. We’re making extra payments, and we’re on track to be debt free in two years.

An Added Student Loan Refinancing Bonus: Dump Your Horrible Student Loan Servicer

We had an awful experience with FedLoan Servicing when we were debating between PSLF and refinancing student loans. One of the best experiences from refinancing so far has been getting to deal with MOHELA instead of FedLoans.

My fiancee and I have experienced none of the problems with our private student loan servicer that we have with the terrible servicers picked by the Department of Education. Many of my clients tell me dealing with a competent company that correctly applies their payments is a nice breath of fresh air.

An Extra Bonus: Cash in Your Pocket that You Wouldn’t Get if you Refinance Student Loans Somewhere Else

I get paid when clients hire me to make a student loan plan for them. I also get paid when a reader refinances their student loans through Student Loan Planner. Wherever possible, I try to get you the best cash bonuses to refinance student loans. I do that even when it means taking money out of my own pocket. Frequently, I ask my refinancing partners to get me better deals for readers rather than increasing my payment terms.

In contrast, many personal finance blogs and competing student loan companies don’t disclose very much how they get compensated. That’s because they give readers $0 for a bonus, or they give very little. They then keep the rest. Another strategy to try to make as much money as possible is to only mention one company for student loan refinancing. That’s often done because that company pays the best commissions to the website.

I want anyone visiting Student Loan Planner to get the best interest rate and cash bonus the can possibly find. That means being transparent and always working for clients and readers. If you find better bonuses or refinancing deals out there, please contact me at and let me know.

student loan calculator

So Here Are Those Student Loan Refinancing Bonuses Again, Let Me Know If You Save Money!

If you use these links and save money, I’d love to know about it. Drop me a note at Thanks for supporting Student Loan Planner. 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 to their principal and get out of debt even sooner!

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