Are you excellent at money management but lack the credit score to prove it? With Earnest student loans, it may still be feasible to refinance to a lower interest rate. Earnest offers qualified consumers cheap interest rates and a personalized student loan package. Earnest is the innovator leader in the private student loan business. This is why Earnest earned a spot on our yearly list of the best places to refinance student loans. Here is all you need to know about refinancing your student loans with Earnest.
Earnest Student Loans
Best for: No fees
Variable Rates: 0.94% – 11.44% APR
Fixed Rates: 3.24% – 12.78% APR
Loan Amounts: $1,000 – 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance
Earnest Student Loans' Overview
Earnest is a California-based online lender headquartered in San Francisco. The lender was formed to make higher education cheap and accessible to everyone.
One of the primary advantages of obtaining a loan with Earnest is that there are no costs involved. Numerous lenders advertise their student loans as having no application costs. However, this only applies to origination and application fees. Earnest does not charge any application fees nor impose any penalties for early loan repayment or late payments. In addition to having no fees, Earnest provides a longer-than-average grace period and the option to miss a payment once each year.
Why We Selected It
Earnest provides private and refinanced student loans with affordable interest rates, no fees, and a grace period longer than typical. In addition, borrowers have access to flexible repayment alternatives, such as the opportunity to skip a payment, pick their due date, establish their customized payback schedule, or move down to the precise number of months.
With more explicit eligibility standards than most lenders and a pre qualification tool, it is simple to determine if you qualify for its loans and what conditions you may be eligible for.
Details of Earnest Student Loans
- The interest rates for Earnest student loans are competitive. As of 10 November 2022, fixed rates vary from 3.99% to 12.78%4 (with autopay discount), and variable rates range from 3.58% to 12.28%4. (with an autopay discount). The lowest rates are only offered to borrowers with the best credit and include a 0.25% auto-pay reduction when paying using a checking or savings account. Significantly, Earnest student loans are also notable for their fee-free approach. No late fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties will be assessed to borrowers.
Earnest has four repayment options, even though not all borrowers will qualify for each one.
- Full payment: Start making full payments immediately once the loan is disbursed while you are still in school. With this choice, you will pay the least amount of interest throughout the life of your loan. This arrangement is exclusive to cosigned loans.
- Interest-only: During school, during your grace period, you will make monthly payments to settle the accruing interest. Following the expiration of the grace period, you will begin making full monthly payments. This option is exclusive to loans with co-signers.
- Fixed: Make payments of $25 each month while in school and throughout the grace period. You will then begin paying monthly payments following the conditions of your loan.
- Deferred: You will not make any payments throughout your time in school and during the nine-month grace period following graduation. After then, make equal monthly payments for the remainder of the loan’s duration. This option is the most costly and will result in the highest interest payments throughout the life of the loan.
Undergraduates may borrow a minimum of $1,000 up to the whole cost of attendance. When you apply for and get approved for a loan, you may optionally specify a payback period between five and fifteen years3. Nevada residents are ineligible for Earnest’s private student loan program.
In addition, Earnest student loans are distinctive in that it does not compel you to pick between predetermined payback terms. Most private lenders stipulate five, ten, or fifteen years to repay a loan. Significantly, Earnest provides precise pricing, which enables you to choose the exact number of months to repay your loan depending on your preferred monthly payment. Instead of choosing between 10 and 15 years, you might choose anything in the center, such as 11 years and seven months.
- Adjustable payment date: You can delay the recurring payment date by up to seven days or bring it forward as much as you would like. This can improve your cash flow if you choose to time your loan installments with your normal paychecks.
- Interest rate discount: Autopay will reduce your interest rate by 0.25 percent. The 0.25 percent discount for automatic payments is unavailable while loan payments are postponed.
- Skip a payment: You can miss a payment once each year if required. However, this functionality should not be abused. Due to the missed payment, interest will continue accumulating, and the ultimate payout date will be delayed.
- Longer grace period: You will have a nine-month grace period after graduation before you must begin making payments. This is three months longer than the standard offered by lenders.
Refinance Loan Details of Earnest Student Loans
As of 12 October 2022, Earnest provided variable APRs of 3.24 percent to 7.99 percent and fixed APRs of 3.99 percent to 8.89 percent, including the autopay discount. The lowest rates are only offered to borrowers with the best credit and include a 0.25% auto-pay reduction when paying using a checking or savings account. Similar to its private student loans, Earnest does not assess origination fees, late fees, or prepayment penalties on its refinanced loans.
Earnest student loans only provide normal repayment for refinances. You will begin making full payments to Earnest after your previous student loan is repaid. If you have a verified hardship, you may be eligible to temporarily suspend your loan payments. You may also suspend your debts if you enroll in graduate school or join the military. During periods of loan suspension, interest continues to accumulate.
Earnest will refinance loans with a minimum balance of $5,000, or $10,000, in California. You can remortgage up to $500,000 maximum. Before finalizing your loan documentation, you will choose a payback period between five and twenty years. Like Earnest’s private student loans, you can choose the exact months for your payback schedule. Importantly, Earnest does not offer refinancing options to borrowers in Kentucky and Nevada.
- Refinanced loans from Earnest offer the same benefits as their private loans. You may skip a payment once per year, receive a 0.25% rate discount when enrolled in autopay, and modify your payment date as needed.
Here are the requirements for an Earnest student loan.
If you do not fulfill the qualifying standards for a private student loan on your own, you can add a creditworthy cosigner to your application. Both you and your cosigner must reside in a state where Earnest provides student loans, excluding Nevada.
While adding a cosigner to private student loans is possible, there is no option to discharge a cosigner. You must refinance your student loans in your name to discharge a cosigner from your loan. Earnest prohibits adding a cosigner to refinance loans. If you are unable to qualify on your own, you will need to find a lender with less stringent standards.
Prequalification allows you to determine if you are qualified for an Earnest student loan. This is a soft credit inquiry based on the information you supply Earnest, such as your address, enrollment status, and credit score. If Earnest deems you eligible, you can continue to submit a full application. To qualify, applicants must do the following:
- Full-time enrollment at an accredited college or university (or half-time for seniors)
- Borrow a minimum of $1,000
- Have a credit rating of at least 650 and pass a credit check
- Earn a minimum of $35,000 yearly
- Have a credit history of at least three years, no accounts in collections, and no bankruptcies
To qualify for the refinancing of a student loan, there are a few distinct prerequisites. as follows:
- Borrow a minimum of $5,000, or $10,000 in California
- Have a credit rating of at least 650 and pass a credit check
- Gain employment and a steady income
- You may qualify without a degree if you dropped out of school at least six years ago and meet additional requirements.
Pros & Cons
- No fees
Earnest does not impose any lending fees, including late payment costs.
- Nine-month grace period
Earnest provides a nine-month grace period on all loan kinds, three months longer than the industry typical.
- Able to skip a payment every 12 months
Every 12 months, borrowers may request a one-month forbearance without submitting a formal application.
- Provide prequalification
Before you submit a complete application, Earnest will conduct a soft credit search with Experian to approximate rates without harming your credit score.
- No cosigner release
Refinancing is the sole option to remove your co-applicant from the loan if you apply with a cosigner.
- You must be a full-time student.
If you are attending less than full-time, Earnest cannot provide you with a student loan. Full-time students often enroll in 12 units, credits, or hours per term at institutions where the regular course load is 16 units, credits, or hours.
- You must achieve the minimum age requirements.
To be eligible for a private student loan via Earnest, you must fulfill the state-mandated minimum age of majority. In most states, the minimum age is 18. Alabama and Nebraska have a minimum age of 19, whereas Mississippi’s is 21.
- Earnest is not offered in all fifty states.
Nevada and Kentucky citizens are ineligible for earnest private education loans. The states of Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas do not provide variable rates.
As of 2022, 14 of the 2.5 million complaints the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received regarding private student loan providers pertained to Earnest. Earnest’s customer support is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time at 888-601-2801 or by email.
Is Earnest A Worth Private Student Loan to Apply?
Earnest’s interest rates are not the lowest on the market. However, it is the only lender that offers cheap interest rates to those with average credit ratings. It might be a wise decision if you can save money by refinancing your mortgage with Earnest. Conversely, you may obtain better rates if your credit score is above 700. Consider comparing Earnest’s rates to those of other private lenders before selecting them.
Earnest offers the most flexible repayment choices of any student loan refinancing firm by utilizing cutting-edge technology. It currently offers flexible repayment choices for its student loans. However, there are substantial opportunities for improvement. Additionally, Earnest offers the most flexibility to assist borrowers in safeguarding their credit scores in the event of unforeseen financial difficulties by reducing payments and interest rates and providing forbearance options. Nonetheless, its application and approval procedure is lengthy, and loans are not accessible in all states. Before making a choice, students authorized for an Earnest private student loan should check rates from different lenders.