If you’re applying for a new loan, you’ll often need good credit to get approved. This is also true if you’re looking to refinance your student loans.

However, minimum credit score requirements for refinancing can differ from one lender to the next.

Here’s what you should know about the minimum credit score needed to refinance student loans:

Eligibility requirements to refinance student loansCredit score needed to refinance student loansHow to qualify for student loan refinancingWhat you can do if you don’t meet qualifying requirementsAlternatives to refinancing a student loan

Eligibility requirements to refinance student loans

While eligibility criteria — including minimum credit score requirements — can vary by lender, here are a few common conditions for student loan refinancing that you’ll likely come across:

Eligibility criteriaMin. requirementsCredit scoreTypically need good to excellent credit (credit score of 700 or above)Some lenders also accept lower credit scores (but these loans usually come with higher interest rates)If you have bad credit, applying with a cosigner could help you get approvedVerifiable income
Proof of income that shows your ability to repay the loanSome lenders have a minimum income requirement (usually about $30,000)
Debt-to-income ratio
(amount you owe in monthly debt payments compared to your income)
50% maximum DTI ratio (a lower ratio than this will likely make it easier to get approved)

Learn More: 11 Strategies for Paying Off Your Student Loans Faster

Credit score needed to refinance student loans

The exact credit score you’ll need to refinance your student loans will depend on the lender. Most lenders require borrowers to have good to excellent credit. A good credit score is usually considered to be 700 or higher. Your credit score will help determine your interest rate, too — in general, the higher your credit score, the better your interest rate.

There are also several lenders that offer refinancing for bad credit, but these loans typically come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.

Tip: While you can refinance both federal and private loans (and will need to meet the same refinancing credit requirements for both), refinancing federal student loans will cost you access to federal protections — such as income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.

If you don’t want to lose access to these federal benefits, another option to consider is consolidating your federal loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. This won’t change your interest rate, but it will allow you to extend your repayment up to 30 years. Just keep in mind that by extending your term, you’ll pay more in interest over time.

If you decide to refinance your student loans, it’s important to compare as many lenders as possible. Consider not only their interest rates, but also eligibility criteria (such as minimum credit score requirements), repayment terms, and any fees charged by the lender.

Here are Credible’s refinancing partner lenders and their minimum credit score requirements:

LenderFixed rates from (APR)Variable rates from (APR)Loan terms (years)Loan amountsOffer Cosigner Release?

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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4.54%+N/A10, 15, 20$7,500 up to $200,000
(larger balances require special approval)Yes, after 36 monthsFixed APR:
4.54%+Variable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$7,500 up to $500,000Loan terms (years):
10, 15, 20Max. undergraduate loan balance:
$250,000 – $500,000Time to fund:
4 monthsRepayment options:
Immediate repayment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Must be a resident of KentuckyCustomer service:
PhoneSoft credit check:
NoCosigner release:
After 36 monthsLoan servicer:
Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan CorporationMax. graduate loan balance:
$250,000 – $500,000Credible Review:
Advantage Education Loan reviewOffers Parent PLUS Refinancing :
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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2.15%+
1.87%+5, 7, 10, 15, 20$10,000 up to $250,000
(depending on degree)NoFixed APR:
2.15%+Variable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$10,000 to $400,000Loan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Military deferment, forbearanceFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Must have a credit score of at least 720, a minimum income of $60,000, and must be a resident of TexasCustomer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
Does not discloseCosigner release:
NoLoan servicer:
Firstmark ServicesMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$100,000 – $149,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
$200,000 – $400,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Does not disclose

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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2.44%+1
2.24%+15, 7, 10, 15, 20$10,000 to $500,000
(depending on degree and loan type)Yes, after 36 monthsFixed APR:
2.44%+1Variable APR:
2.24%+1Min. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$10,000 to $750,000Loan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Immediate repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
Autopay, loyaltyEligibility:
Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loansCustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
After 24 to 36 monthsLoan servicer:
Firstmark ServicesMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$100,000 to $149,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
Less than $150,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


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2.99%+2
2.94%+25, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20$5,000 to $300,000
(depending on degree type)Yes, after 24 monthsFixed APR:
2.99%+2Variable APR:
2.94%+2Min. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$5,000 to $300,000Loan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20Repayment options:
Military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
All states except for MECustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
After 24 to 36 monthsLoan servicer:
College Ave Servicing LLCMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$100,000 to $149,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
Less than $300,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.16%+
2.11%+5, 7, 10, 15, 20$5,000 to $500,000Yes, after 36 monthsFixed rate:
2.44%+1Variable rate:
2.24%+1Min. credit score:
680Loan amount:
$5,000 to $500,000Cosigner release:
YesLoan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all states, except MS and NVCustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesLoan servicer:
FirstMarkMax. undergraduate loan balance:
$500,000Max. graduate loan balance:
$500,000Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
YesMin. income:
$65,000 (for 15- and 20-year products)

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>

1.8%+5
1.8%+55, 10, 15, 20$1,000 to $250,000Yes, after 36 monthsFixed APR:
1.8%+5Variable APR:
1.8%+5Min. credit score:
700Loan amount:
$7,500 to $200,000Loan terms (years):
5, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and submit two personal referencesCustomer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
After 36 monthsLoan servicer:
Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R)Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$150,000 to $249,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
$150,000 to $199,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing :
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.47%+3
2.39%+35, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20Minimum of $15,000NoFixed APR:
2.47%+3Variable APR:
2.39%+3Min. credit score:
680Loan amount:
No maximumLoan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20Repayment options:
ForbearanceFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have at least $15,000 in student loan debt, and have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved schoolCustomer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
NoLoan servicer:
MohelaMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
No maximumMax. Graduate Loan Balance:
No maximumOffers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
3.47%+4
2.44%+45, 10, 15, 20$5,000 to $250,000Yes, after 48 months of on-time paymentsFixed APR:
3.47%+4Variable APR:
2.44%+4Min. credit score:
670Loan amount:
$5,000 to $250,000Loan terms (years):
5, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearanceFees:
Late feeDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Must be U.S. citizen or permanent residentCustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
YesMax undergraduate loan balance:
$250,000Max graduate loan balance:
$250,000Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.24%+7N/A5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20Up to $300,000Yes, after 24 monthsFixed APR:
2.24%+7Variable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
670Loan amount:
Up to $300,000Loan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 15, 20Time to fund:
Usually one business dayRepayment options:
Academic deferral, military deferral, forbearance, death/disability dischargeFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
After 24 monthsMax. undergraduate loan balance:
$300,000Max. graduate balance:
$300,000Offers Parent PLUS loans:
YesMin. income:
None

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
3.05%+
3.05%+7, 10, 15$10,000 up to the total amount of qualified education debt NoFixed APR:
3.05%+Variable APR:
3.05%+Min. credit score:
670Loan amount:
$10,000 up to the total amountLoan terms (years):
7, 10, 15Repayment options:
Military deferment, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loansCustomer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
NoLoan servicer:
AESMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
No maximumMax. Gradaute Loan Balance:
No maximumOffers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.89%+N/A5, 8, 12, 15$7,500 to $300,000Yes, after 12 monthsFixed APR:
2.89%+Variable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
670Loan amount:
$7,500 to $300,000Loan terms (years):
5, 8, 12, 15Repayment options:
Does not discloseFees:
NoneDiscounts:
NoneEligibility:
Must be a U.S. citizen and have and at least $7,500 in student loansCustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
After 12 monthsLoan servicer:
PenFedMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$300,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
$300,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.69%+N/A5, 10, 15$7,500 up to $250,000
(depending on highest degree earned) NoFixed APR:
2.69%+Variable APR:
N/AMin. credit score:
680Loan amount:
$7,500 to $250,000Loan terms (years):
5, 10, 15Repayment options:
Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disabilityFees:
NoneDiscounts:
AutopayEligibility:
Available in all 50 states; must also have at least $7,500 in student loans and a minimum income of $40,000Customer service:
Email, phoneSoft credit check:
Does not discloseCosigner release:
NoLoan servicer:
Rhode Island Student Loan AuthorityMax. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
$150,000 – $249,000Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
$200,000 – $249,000Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
Yes

Credible Rating>


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.


View details>
2.49%+6
1.99%+65, 7, 10, 15, 20$5,000 up to the full balance of your qualified education loans NoFixed APR:
2.49%+6Variable APR:
1.99%+6Min. credit score:
Does not discloseLoan amount:
$5,000 up to the full balanceLoan terms (years):
5, 7, 10, 15, 20Repayment options:
Academic deferment, military defermentFees:
NoneDiscounts:
Autopay, loyaltyEligibility:
Available in all 50 statesCustomer service:
Email, phone, chatSoft credit check:
YesCosigner release:
NoMax undergraduate loan balance:
No maximumMax graduate loan balance:
No maximumOffers Parent PLUS refinancing:
YesAll APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2College Ave Disclosures | 5EDvestinU Disclosures | 3 ELFI Disclosures | 4INvestEd Disclosures | 7ISL Education Lending Disclosures | 6SoFi Disclosures

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Check Out: 7 Ways to Lower Your Student Loan Interest Rate Now

How to qualify for student loan refinancing

If you’re ready to refinance your student loans, follow these four steps:

Check your credit score. When you apply for refinancing, the lender will review your credit to determine your creditworthiness — so it’s a good idea to take a look at your credit first to see where you stand. You can use a site like AnnualCreditReport.com to review your credit reports for free. If you find any errors, dispute them with the appropriate credit bureau to potentially boost your credit score.Gather income documents. Lenders typically ask borrowers to submit recent pay stubs or tax documents to verify income as well as calculate DTI. Some lenders have a specific minimum income requirement you’ll need to meet while others don’t — but in either case, they’ll want to see that you can afford to repay the loan. Research and compare lenders. Be sure to shop around and compare as many student loan refinance companies as possible to find the right loan for you. Many lenders provide a prequalification option without a hard credit check so you can see your personalized loan offers before completing a full application. For example, with Credible, you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders after filling out a single form — without affecting your credit.Pick your loan option and complete the application. After you’ve done your lender research, pick the loan option that best suits your needs. You’ll then need to fill out a full application and submit any required documentation. If you’re approved, continue making payments on your old loans while the refinance is processed — this could take one to two billing cycles to complete.

If you decide to refinance your student loans, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for you. This is easy with Credible — you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in just two minutes.

Find out if refinancing is right for you

Compare actual rates, not ballpark estimates – Unlock rates from multiple lenders in about 2 minutesWon’t impact credit score – Checking rates on Credible won’t impact your credit scoreData privacy – We don’t sell your information, so you won’t get calls or emails from multiple lendersSee Your Refinancing Options
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Learn More: How to Know if Your Student Loan Interest Rates Are Too High

What you can do if you don’t meet qualifying requirements

If you don’t meet the qualifying requirements for refinancing, here are a few options to consider:

dd a cosigner — and find a lender that offers cosigner release

Having a creditworthy cosigner could help you get approved for refinancing if you have poor or fair credit. A cosigner can be anyone with good credit — such as a parent, other relative, or trusted friend — who is willing to share responsibility for the loan.

Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify for refinancing, having one could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own.

Cosigner release options: Many lenders offer cosigner release — meaning your cosigner could be removed from the loan after you meet certain requirements. To be eligible for cosigner release, you’ll usually need to make consecutive, on-time payments for a specific period of time as well as meet the underwriting criteria on your own.

If your potential cosigner feels unsure about sharing responsibility for the loan, finding a lender that allows for cosigner release might help put their mind at ease. Also be sure to sit down and discuss ground rules for your situation before you apply (such as what to do if you can’t make a payment) to avoid straining your relationship with your cosigner.

If you’re thinking about refinancing with a cosigner, here are some pros and cons to keep in mind:

ProsConsMight help you get approved if you have bad creditCould get you a lower interest rateMight be able to release the cosigner from the loan in the future (depending on the lender)You might not know anyone who has good enough credit to cosign (or who is willing to do so)Your cosigner will be on the hook if you don’t make your payments (this could also damage their credit)If your lender doesn’t offer a cosigner release option, you’ll have to refinance again to remove your cosigner from the loan

Check Out: How Often Can You Refinance Student Loans?

Improve your credit score

If you have poor credit and can wait to refinance, it could be a good idea to spend some time improving your credit score first. This way, you’ll likely have an easier time getting approved — as well as have a better chance of qualifying for a good interest rate.

There are several ways to potentially build your credit, such as:

Making on-time payments: Your payment history is one of the biggest factors that make up your credit score. Paying all of your bills on time could help you build a positive payment history and improve your credit over time.Paying down credit card balances: Another major component of your credit score is your credit utilization ratio — this is the amount you owe on revolving credit lines (such as credit cards and lines of credit) compared to your total credit limits. Paying down your balances can lower your credit utilization, which might boost your score. Becoming an authorized user: One of the easiest ways to build your credit is to become an authorized user on the credit card account of someone you trust. By doing this, you can benefit from the card owner’s good credit habits without even needing to use the card.

Learn More: Cost to Refinance Student Loans: Fees and Discounts Explained

lternatives to refinancing a student loan

Refinancing is a good idea in some cases, but it isn’t right for everyone. Additionally, it can be hard to qualify for refinancing if you don’t have good credit or stable income (or someone willing to cosign your loan).

While the options for private student loans outside of refinancing are limited, here are a few alternatives to consider if you have federal student loans:

Sign up for an income-driven repayment plan

On an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, your payments will be based on your income — typically 10% to 20% of your discretionary income. Additionally, any remaining balance will be forgiven after 20 to 25 years, depending on the plan.

There are four main IDR plans to choose from:

Pay As You Earn (PAYE)Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)Income-Based Repayment (IBR)Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)

Check Out: PAYE vs. REPAYE: Which Repayment Plan Is Right for You?

Pursue student loan forgiveness

There are several student loan forgiveness programs available to federal student loan borrowers. Most of these programs require you to work in a certain field and make qualifying payments for a specific amount of time.

For example, if you work for a nonprofit or government organization and make qualifying payments for 10 years, you might be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Learn More: Private Student Loan Consolidation

Consolidate your loans

If you have multiple federal loans, you can consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan. With a Direct Consolidation Loan, your interest rate will be the average of your old loans, but you might be able to extend your repayment term up to 30 years — this could greatly reduce your monthly payments but also means you’ll pay more in interest over time.

If you decide to refinance your loans, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for your needs. This is easy with Credible: You can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes — without affecting your credit.

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The post Credit Score Needed to Refinance Student Loans and Other Requirements appeared first on Credible.