Laurel Road review: Student loan refinancing

Group of college students sitting together and studyingImage: Group of college students sitting together and studying

In a Nutshell

Laurel Road is a student loan lender that offers refinancing for both private and federal loans. The lender has no maximum loan limit and offers both variable and fixed APRs, starting at 2.24% and 3.45%, respectively. And you can apply for a loan online without paying any fees, but you’ll have to meet certain requirements to qualify, including pursing a four-year undergraduate degree and being enrolled at a Title IV–accredited school.
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Pros Cons
No maximum loan amount for certain degrees Higher rates on longer loans
Loan terms for less than 20 years available $5,000 minimum loan amount
Maximum variable APR is 10% Specific requirements to qualify for refinancing
Refinancing available for doctors or dentists in residency $50,000 maximum loan amount for associate’s degrees in eligible healthcare fields
No additional fees or prepayment penalties Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a green card to apply

What you need to know about refinancing a student loan with Laurel Road

Laurel Road offers refinancing for both private and federal student loans. It doesn’t limit the maximum loan amount offered for bachelor’s and graduate degrees and offers a variety of loan terms and the option of a variable or fixed APR. But heads-up: You need to be a U.S. citizen or have a permanent green card — and meet other specific requirements regarding your degree type and school attended — to be eligible.

Here are some key features of a Laurel Road refinance loan.

  • Loan amounts from $5,000 and up, with no maximum for most loans
  • APRs comparable to some other student loan refinancing companies, though longer loans come with higher rates (with a max of 10% APR)
  • Flexible loan terms up to 20 years
  • Only U.S. citizens and qualified permanent residents are eligible
  • No additional fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Earn money for referrals
  • Easy online application
  • Can apply for preapproval and see your potential rates in minutes
  • Co-signer allowed

No maximum loan amount

Laurel Road offers refinancing on undergraduate or graduate student loan debt of at least $5,000 or higher with no maximum cap — if you meet certain conditions. The only exception is for loans for qualifying associate’s degrees in an eligible healthcare field, which are capped at a maximum of $50,000.

But before you take out a large loan, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have the means to pay it back in full and within the agreed-upon term, which can be as long as up to 20 years with Laurel Road.

Low variable and fixed APRs

Laurel Road offers variable and fixed annual percentage rates, or APRs. Having a loan with a low variable APR can mean lower payments. But a variable APR can change during the life of a loan, which can mean higher payments and more interest if the APR increases. Laurel Road caps its variable APR at 9% if you’re approved for a loan term of five to 10 years, and caps it at 10% if you’re approved for a loan term of more than 10 years.

Laurel Road also offers loans with fixed-rate APRs, which means your monthly payments shouldn’t change over the life of the loan — though fixed APRs start out higher than variable rates. There’s also an option to apply for a loan that is partly fixed and partly variable, which Laurel Road refers to as the “hybrid approach.”

Just keep in mind that there are some lenders out there offering rates similar to what Laurel Road offers. So you may want to consider applying for prequalification with several lenders — if they offer it — to see which lender will offer you the best rates. And your credit scores shouldn’t be affected since prequalification results in a soft credit inquiry.

But remember, prequalification doesn’t mean you’re approved for a loan. It just gives you an idea of what your rates and other terms might be if you are.

No fees

Many loans can come with hidden and hefty fees, like loan-origination fees. But Laurel Road doesn’t charge loan-origination or any other additional fees. And there are no prepayment penalties either, which means you pay the balance of your loan early without being charged a fee to do so.

Flexibility in length of loan

If you need more flexibility in the amount of your payment, you can also spread the amount of your loan over a longer loan term. Laurel Road offers loan terms as long as 20 years.

More details on Laurel Road loans

Laurel Road, which is owned by KeyBank, is primarily a student loan lender, but also offers online personal loans and mortgages.

Here are some important considerations when refinancing a student loan with Laurel Road.

  • You can get a discount of 0.25 percentage points off your interest rate if you pay your loan via electronic funds transfer from your bank.
  • Parents are also eligible to refinance student loans borrowed on behalf of children who have graduated, with the option of the new loan being in their name or their child’s name.
  • Eligible associate’s degree loans, which must be in a qualifying healthcare field, are capped at a maximum of $50,000.
  • Flexible loan terms, up to 20 years, can help you spread out payments for a lower monthly payment.

Who a Laurel Road refinance is good for

If you have student loan debt of at least $5,000 and you can meet the lender’s application requirements, then Laurel Road could be an option for you to refinance your student loans. These requirements include remaining employed while you’re in school and holding U.S. citizenship or permanent U.S. residency. And you must be pursuing a four-year undergraduate or graduate degree from a Title IV–accredited school, or be enrolled in your final term of an associate’s degree program in a qualifying healthcare field at a Title IV–eligible school. Medical and dental students are also eligible to refinance student loans once matched to a residency program.

Since Laurel Road doesn’t charge additional fees or have a limit on the maximum loan amount it offers — with the exception of applicants pursuing associate’s degrees — this lender could also be a good option if you can qualify for a lower APR and a loan term that matches your needs.

And parents who financed a student loan for a child who has graduated may also find Laurel Road is a good match for refinancing, whether you want to keep the debt in your name or your child’s.

How to apply for student loan refinancing with Laurel Road

Laurel Road says it allows you to get access to potential APR rates after you apply for prequalification online, which takes about two minutes — without affecting your credit scores.

The online prequalification process is simple and easy to navigate, with just three sections that ask for your personal information, employment and education information, and acceptance of key disclosures and policies.

After completing these sections, the lender runs a soft credit inquiry — with your approval — in order to provide you with conditional rates and loan terms. If you want to officially apply for a loan, you’ll then need to upload supporting documents, including recent pay stubs, current student loan payoff documents and a photo ID. This usually triggers a hard credit inquiry, which can negatively affect your credit scores.

If you’re approved, Laurel Road will give you final rates and terms, after which you’ll need to electronically sign all required documents via Laurel Road’s online dashboard to get the loan funded.

Laurel Road then directly pays your current student loans, with your first payment on your new loan due one month after your disbursement date.

Here’s the information you’ll need to have on hand to apply for a loan with Laurel Road.

  • Full name and address
  • Length of time at address
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • U.S. citizenship status
  • Total loan balance to refinance
  • Employment status and annual income
  • Education level, school attended and graduation date
  • Social Security number
  • Mortgage payment or total monthly rent

Not sure if a Laurel Road student loan is right for you? Consider this alternative.

  • SoFi: SoFi offers additional benefits that include a discount on other loans with the lender and doesn’t cap the maximum amount for associate’s degree loans.

About the author: Lyn Mettler is an Indianapolis-based writer specializing in finance, food and travel. She is the author of “The Step-by-Step Guide to Flying Free on Southwest Airlines” and enjoys showing people how they can use miles… Read more.