My spouse has been doing a lot of work on their student loans over the last year and, as of next week, they'll have paid off about half of the principal on their private loans. The remaining loan has a relatively high variable rate (7.12% currently) and they'd like to refi for a lower flat rate and probably a longer term before their federal loans finish rehab so they can focus their paydown money on those when they're back in repayment. I've done a little looking online at their options among private SL lenders, but I don't really have any knowledge of or experience with any of them (other than Nelnet, which--gross). Does anyone here have any recommendations for good lenders to look at, or have any advice about private SL refi in general? Also, does anyone have any experience with student loans through PenFed? We looked at their page and did the SP pre-qual since I know them at least by reputation for other products from these forums, but I haven't seen anything about doing SLs through them. The page says their loans are "powered by Purefy" so I assume the actual lender is Purefy w/ PendFed providing the customer service.
My aversion to Nelnet comes from my experience w/ them having my loans, esp my experience since the pandemic started. W/ regards to my spouse looking for refi, what I think of Nelnet may be a moot point, since it looks like their options may be pretty limited. The school they attended was a regular, 4-year private liberal arts college (title iv, accredited, etc.), but it closed more than ten years ago. A lot of the lenders we've looked into seem to have a limited list of lending partners for refi (e.g. PenFed, CommonBond), and that school ofc isn't one of them. As far as student loans go, my spouse's credit is also pretty blemished, w/ almost all payments from the oldest reported to Oct 2018 being late, inc. many 90D & 120D. All payments since Oct 2018 have been current. The last issue, which we haven't gotten far enough in an app yet to see whether or how big of a problem it would be, is that what proof of graduation my spouse can provide may not meet a lender's standards. After their school closed, the only records that were retained were transcripts and course catalogues that were transferred to the registrar's office at one of the big state schools. The "conferred" field on my spouse's transcript is blank, and, from what I have read, the date that should be in this field is what lets a transcript serve as proof of graduation. My spouse did graduate and their degree was conferred, but there doesn't seem to any longer be anyone we can contact about the error. (We've tried the state dept. of ed and the registrar's office of the state school that houses the records.)
With that last issue in mind, my spouse applied w/ Discover, since they don't require proof of graduation, even though you can't see your rate w/o an HP. They were denied, and we're waiting for the denial letter in the mail to see how illuminating it might be before spending HP's at any other lenders. Credible only returned prequal offers from SoFi, and we've also looked at Earnest. Both have rates and terms that look attractive for what we want to do, and Earnest actually has my spouse's college as an option in their dropdown (as opposed to "other" like we had to do w/ Disco & SoFi). However, I know next to nothing about either of them, other than that Earnest is now owned by Navient. Does anyone have long-term experience with either SoFi or Earnest, especially with regards to their customer service, which is important to my spouse? And does anyone have any other advice they could offer, based on what I've said here? TYIA!
ETA: My spouse also has seven defaulted federal loans that are currently in rehab. They've all fallen off of their reports except for one closed DoE tradeline on TU that shows 120D from May 2016 to March 2018. Other than that reporting line, I don't know if these are visible to refi lenders or how they would affect their decision.
I did a refi with Earnest and really like them. I haven't needed to talk to customer service, so I have no reviews on that aspect.
I really liked that they take into account your savings and retirement amounts besides just income. They were the only company willing to offer me a refi because my salary is kind of low, but I have savings and retirement accounts. You can refi with them again after 6 months. I went from 10% interest with Navient to 5.7% with Earnest. I did another refi after 12 months and am now at 4.3%
I refinanced from the federal educational system (Great Lakes) to Earnest last July, 2020 and got a variable 2.35 % rate that dropped to 1.99% with autopay for 5 years almost $200,000 of loans (grad school). I wanted to pay them aggressively so I needed the lowest rate possible. They have been fantastic. Everytime I have called they have been friendly and helpful. I was also in the process of trying to get approved Laurel Road and SoFi at the same time as Earnest and while every company was helpful, Earnest got approved the fastest and with the best rate. I highly recommend them. I had my college loans through navient and that company was horrible. I have a hard time understanding how Earnest can be owned by navient but run so differently.
I had the choice of doing a refi through Sofi or Earnest. I opted for Earnest which reduced the loan on two loans from about 10% to 5%, and later down to 3% with another refi'd it again. Their process was easy (though the second refi was a little rough due to a payment being processed around the same time as the refi, and it takes them 30 days to set up the new loan). As was mentioned earlier, I am surpise by how great their customer service is given they are now part of Navient.