Dental Health

Greatest Dental Faculty Mortgage Refinance Lenders Of 2024 – Forbes Advisor

Best Dental School Loan Refinance Lenders

Rhode Island Student Loan Authority

Why We Picked It

Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, or RISLA, is a Rhode Island-based nonprofit that refinances loans for customers across the country. It stands apart for its income-based repayment program, which limits payments to 15% of income for a 25-year period if borrowers can’t afford their payments. That’s an extremely rare perk in the student loan refinance market, as is its 24-month forbearance period. RISLA did not receive a perfect score because it doesn’t provide a co-signer release policy and it charges late fees.

RISLA only offers fixed interest rates.

Pros & Cons

  • Low interest rates
  • Income-based repayment plan available
  • Nurses pay 0% interest for 48 months following graduation
  • No options for international students


Loan terms: 5, 10 and 15 years

Loan amounts available: $1,500 to $45,000 per year ($150,000 aggregate per borrower).

Eligibility: Applicants must show a minimum income of $40,000 per year and a minimum credit score of 680. Most undergraduate students will need a co-signer to qualify.

Forbearance options: Forbearance available for up to 24 months.

Co-signer release policy: Available after 24 months of payments. Periods during which borrowers use income-based repayment do not qualify.


Variable APR

6.24% to 9.99%*

with autopay

Fixed APR

5.24% to 9.99%*

with autopay

6.24% to 9.99%*

with autopay

5.24% to 9.99%*

with autopay

Why We Picked It

SoFi allows borrowers with an associate’s degree to refinance, which opens up eligibility to a wider range of applicants. (We believe the ability to refinance without a bachelor’s degree is an important feature of a refinance loan; seven of the 10 lenders on our list offer it.) Also, it’s one of four lenders on our list that does not place a limit on the amount you can refinance. It’s possible to refinance up to the total balance of your loans, which is helpful for those with a lot of debt from professional degrees.

SoFi’s rates aren’t as low as some other lenders’, and it doesn’t offer co-signer release, which is unusual among our top picks. But as a SoFi customer, you’ll get access to benefits like a 0.125% interest rate discount on certain additional SoFi products, such as personal loans.

Pros & Cons

  • Interest rate estimate available without undergoing a hard credit check.
  • Borrowers can refinance with an associate’s degree.
  • Access to SoFi member benefits.
  • No co-signer release available.
  • Charges late fees.
  • Maximum loan term is longer than 15 years.


Loan terms: 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years.

Loan amounts available: $5,000 up to total balance of eligible loans.

Eligibility: Associate’s or bachelor’s degree required. Minimum credit score of 650. Does not disclose income requirements.

Forbearance options: A forbearance program is available for borrowers experiencing other types of economic hardship, such as medical expenses. Borrowers can take up to 12 months total forbearance.

Co-signer release policy: Available after 24 payments.

*Fixed rates range from 5.24% APR to 9.99% APR with 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates range from 6.24% APR to 9.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 13.95% APR; 15- and 20- year terms are capped at 13.95% APR. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 02/06/24 and are subject to change at any time. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. You may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term.


Why We Picked It

The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, known as MEFA, is a nonprofit, state-based agency that offers student loan refinancing to customers across the country. It does not require borrowers to have a degree, so those who did not graduate can refinance. It also doesn’t charge fees, including late fees.

While MEFA does not advertise a specific forbearance limit, the agency says it will work with borrowers to modify their payment plans if necessary due to financial hardship. Since the fixed and variable rates offered are currently the same, your best bet is to pick a fixed-rate loan so you know it won’t increase in the future.

Pros & Cons

  • Interest rate estimate available without undergoing a hard credit check
  • No late fees
  • Borrowers can refinance without a degree
  • Shortest loan term is 7 years
  • No co-signer release available


Loan terms: 7, 10 and 15 years

Loan amounts available: $1,500 up to school’s certified cost of attendance less aid.

Eligibility: No degree required. Minimum FICO score of 670 and minimum income of $24,000 for each loan applicant.

Forbearance options: No specific policy except in the case of natural disasters or other extenuating circumstances. Loan modification program available on a case-by-case basis to borrowers who need long-term help.

Co-signer release policy: None

Citizens Bank

Why We Picked It

Citizens Bank is one of a few lenders that doesn’t require borrowers to have graduated in order to refinance. It also offers co-signer release after 36 loan payments.

The high end of Citizens Bank student loan refinancing rates is quite high compared with other lenders on our list. But borrowers can qualify for an interest rate discount of up to 0.50% if they have an existing account with the bank. (Refinancing is available nationwide, but checking and savings accounts are only available in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.)

Pros & Cons

  • Interest rate estimate available without undergoing a hard credit check
  • No degree required
  • Up to 0.50% interest rate discount available for existing Citizens Bank customer
  • No forbearance limit disclosed
  • Maximum loan term is longer than 15 years


Loan terms: 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years

Loan amounts available: $10,000 to $300,000 (for those with a bachelor’s degrees or less) or $500,000 (for those with a graduate degree)

Eligibility: No degree required. Borrowers with no degree or an associate’s degree must show that they have made 12 on-time payments after leaving school in order to refinance. Minimum income $24,000 for borrower and co-signer combined.

Forbearance options: Three months of forbearance available at a time up to an undisclosed limit. Borrowers experiencing a long-term financial hardship can participate in a loan modification program for up to 12 months.

Co-signer release policy: Available after 36 on-time payments

Laurel Road

Laurel Road
Laurel Road

Why We Picked It

Laurel Road, an online-only lender acquired by KeyBank in 2019, offers some perks specific to borrowers who work in health care.

Graduate students and those pursuing bachelor’s degrees in health professions (and, if pursuing an associate’s degree, those in certain health care specialties) can refinance as early as their final semester of school if they have an employment offer. Undergraduates in other fields can refinance after 12 months of employment.

Borrowers also can release their co-signers after 36 monthly payments, and graduates can refinance federal PLUS loans in their own names that their parents took out.

Pros & Cons

  • Borrowers in certain fields can refinance with an associate’s degree
  • Some borrowers can refinance during their final semester of school
  • Interest rate estimate available without undergoing a hard credit check
  • Charges late fees
  • No deferment option if borrowers go back to school
  • Maximum loan term is longer than 15 years


Loan terms: 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years

Loan amounts available: $5,000 minimum; no maximum, except for associate’s degree graduates, who can refinance up to $50,000.

Eligibility: Must have a degree from an eligible institution. Associate’s degree graduates can refinance if they work in certain health care fields. Laurel Road does not disclose credit score or income requirements.

Forbearance options: Up to 12 months of forbearance available, in three-month increments

Co-signer release policy: After 36 consecutive, on-time payments


Variable APR

5.99% to 9.74%²

including 0.25% autopay discount³

Fixed APR

5.19% to 9.74%²

including 0.25% autopay discount³

5.99% to 9.74%²

including 0.25% autopay discount³

5.19% to 9.74%²

including 0.25% autopay discount³

Why We Picked It

Earnest offers several unique features, including the option to make automatic payments twice a month to accelerate repayment and the choice of any repayment term between five and 20 years⁴. It also offers a solid range of hardship repayment options beyond the standard 12 months of forbearance, such as the ability to skip⁵ one monthly bill every year.

Borrowers cannot apply with a co-signer, so you must be able to meet the credit requirements on your own. Earnest did not disclose the amount of time before unpaid loans go into default.

Pros & Cons

  • Borrowers with an associate’s degree can refinance
  • Wide variety of repayment terms and allows the ability to customize loan terms
  • No late fees
  • Requires minimum credit score of 680 without a co-signer. Co-signers require a credit score of 650.
  • Undergrad borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time
  • Not available in Nevada


Loan terms: Choose any term between five and 20 years³. Your options may depend on your financial profile.

Loan amounts available: $5,000 ($10,000 for California residents) to $500,000.

Eligibility: Borrowers must have completed a degree at an eligible nonprofit school and have a minimum credit score of 650. They must also meet other criteria, including having savings of at least two months’ worth of expenses, on-time payment history and no bankruptcies.

Forbearance options: Up to 12 months of forbearance available (after making three consecutive, timely payments toward the loan). Counted towards the forbearance limit, borrowers can also skip one payment every 12 months⁵ (after making six consecutive, timely payments) and get an interest rate and/or term modification in the event of long-term financial hardship.

Co-signer release policy: None

¹Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for this Earnest Bonus offer: 1) you must not currently be an Earnest client, or have received the bonus in the past, 2) you must submit a completed student loan refinancing application through the designated Forbes Advisor link; 3) you must provide a valid email address and a valid checking account number during the application process; and 4) your loan must be fully disbursed.

²Student Loan Refinance Interest Rate Disclosure:Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 5.44% APR to 9.99% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 6.24% APR to 9.99% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account.

³Auto Pay Disclosure: You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment from a checking or savings account. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay.

⁴Student Loan Refinance Loan Cost Examples: These examples provide estimates based on payments beginning immediately upon loan disbursement. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 5.89% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,042.39. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 6.04% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,249.77. Your actual repayment terms may vary.

⁵Skip A Payment Disclosure: Earnest clients may skip one payment every 12 months. Your first request to skip a payment can be made once you’ve made at least 6 months of consecutive on-time payments, and your loan is in good standing. The interest accrued during the skipped month will result in an increase in your remaining minimum payment. The final payoff date on your loan will be extended by the length of the skipped payment periods. Please be aware that a skipped payment does count toward the forbearance limits. Please note that skipping a payment is not guaranteed and is at Earnest’s discretion. Your monthly payment and total loan cost may increase as a result of postponing your payment and extending your term.

Loan Eligibility Criteria: Your debt is from paying for education at a Title IV accredited school. The debt is from your education or your child’s. The debt you’re refinancing is for a completed degree or one that will be completed at the end of this semester. You are currently the primary borrower on the student loans you would like to refinance, and you will remain the primary borrower after refinancing. You must reside in the District of Columbia or one of the 47 states Earnest Operations LLC is authorized to lend in (all but Delaware, Kentucky, and Nevada). This is strictly a student loan refinance product. There is no opportunity to borrow more than your outstanding qualifying student loan amount. You must be the age of majority in your state or older at the time you apply, as well as be a United States citizen or Permanent Resident Alien without conditions. Refinancing is subject to credit qualifications. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX.

You may lose benefits associated with your underlying federal and/or private loans if you refinance such as federal Income-driven Repayment Plans, Economic Hardship Deferment, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or other deferment and forbearance options. If you file for bankruptcy, you may still be required to pay back this loan.

Lender Identification: Earnest Loans are made by Earnest Operations LLC or One American Bank, Member FDIC. or FinWise Bank, Member FDIC. Earnest Operations LLC, NMLS #1204917. 535 Mission St., Suite 1663, San Francisco, CA 94105. California Financing Law License 6054788. Visit for a full list of licensed states. For California residents: Loans will be arranged or made pursuant to a California Financing Law License. One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. FinWise Bank, 756 East Winchester, Suite 100, Murray, UT 84107.

Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC with support from Navient Solutions LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank, FinWise Bank, and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by agencies of the United States of America.

PNC Bank

Why We Picked It

PNC Bank offers a particularly generous interest rate discount of 0.50% to borrowers who make monthly payments automatically from a bank account. It also doesn’t require refinance borrowers to have a degree, but you must have made at least 24 months’ worth of payments toward existing student loans to qualify. You must also show two years of income history.

PNC Bank allows co-signers to come off the loan after 48 months of payments, which is longer than what other lenders that provide co-signer release offer.

Pros & Cons

  • Interest rate discount of 0.50% for automatic payments
  • No degree required
  • No interest rate estimate available without hard inquiry
  • Co-signer release available after a longer time period than other lenders provide


Loan terms: 5, 10 and 15 years

Loan amounts available: $10,000 to $75,000

Eligibility: Two years of income and employment history required. PNC Bank does not disclose minimum credit score or income requirements.

Forbearance options: Up to 12 months of forbearance available, in two-month increments. Borrowers must make full payments for at least 12 months between forbearance periods.

Co-signer release policy: Available after 48 months of consecutive, on-time payments

Summary: Best Dental School Loan Refinance Lenders

Tips for Comparing Dental School Loan Refinance Lenders

Shopping around before refinancing is the best way to find loans that match your credit profile with payments that fit your budget. Below are tips for comparing loans:

  • Check interest rates. Lenders usually publish interest rate ranges for refinancing on their websites so you can compare rates against your current loans. Using a refinance calculator can help you map out how much you might save with different loans. 
  • Look for loan fees. Refinance loans often don’t have origination or prepayment fees, so you don’t have to worry about upfront costs or penalties. Yet, it’s still worthwhile to double-check fees with each lender to be aware of all costs before borrowing.
  • Review terms. Repayment terms for student loan refinancing may range from five to 20 years, giving you flexibility to customize your repayment term. Comparing monthly payments and total interest costs for various term options can help you find a loan you can comfortably afford. 
  • Compare loan limits. Some lenders will refinance your entire balance, while others may limit how much you can borrow. For example, Citizens Bank will refinance up to $300,000 for a graduate degree and $750,000 for a professional degree.
  • Check borrower benefits. While private loans may not come with all the bell-and-whistle perks of federal loans, they may have various borrower benefits, like interest rate discounts if you meet certain conditions and forbearance if you experience financial hardship. Review borrower benefits to see which lender has standout features to make your repayment process easier.

How Does Dental School Loan Refinancing Work?

Student loan refinancing is the process of paying off old student loans with a new loan that has better terms. Dental loan refinancing can lower your interest rate and adjust your monthly payments to save you money over time.

Depending on the lender, your dental school loans may be refinanced during or after residency. Some private lenders offer exclusive residency refinance loans that reduce your payment to as low as $100 per month during residency or fellowship. This can make payments manageable until you land a permanent role with a higher six-figure salary. 

Borrowers can refinance private and federal loans to get better rates—but you shouldn’t touch federal loans when you access income-driven repayment (IDR) plans or Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) since refinancing removes these benefits. 

If you see yourself working in the public sector instead of private practice, consolidating federal loans with a direct consolidation loan is a way to restructure debt that makes you eligible for PSLF after 10 years of repayment. 

Eligibility Requirements for Dental School Loan Refinancing

Qualifying for student loan refinancing depends on your credit and income. Good credit (670 or higher on the FICO scale) is often necessary to qualify for student loan refinancing—but having an even higher credit score can help you land the lowest rates available.

Besides your credit, lenders check your school enrollment history and income during the application process to determine eligibility. If you have bad credit, adding a co-signer with good or excellent credit to an application might help you get approved with more competitive rates. If you don’t have access to a co-signer, improving your credit before refinancing could help you get a better deal.

How To Refinance Dental School Loans

If you decide a dental school loan refinance is right for you, below are steps to take next:

  1. Pull your credit. It’s always a good idea to check your credit score and credit reports before applying for any loan. That’s because taking steps to clean up your credit, like disputing incorrect records or reducing credit card balances to lower your credit utilization, could boost your score so you can get better loan offers.
  2. Look for a co-signer. Applying for a loan with a co-signer can help you get better interest rates if you have a limited credit history or have trouble improving your credit enough to qualify for competitive refinancing offers. 
  3. Prequalify to get loan offers. If you can, prequalify with multiple lenders so you can compare personalized rate quotes. The process of prequalifying may only involve a soft credit check that doesn’t affect your credit.
  4. Choose a loan and apply. After you decide on the best loan offer, you’ll need to complete a full loan application, which typically involves a hard credit inquiry. You may also need to provide more documents, such as identifications, pay stubs, tax returns and other documents to confirm the information in your application.
  5. Wait for approval and stay current on old loans. Don’t stop making payments on old loans until your new loan is approved and funds are disbursed to pay off the balance. If you miss payments on old loans before they are paid off with a new loan, the late payments can show up on your credit report and affect your score. 
  6. Start making payments on new loans. The lender will notify you when it’s time to start making payments on your new loan, and you can stop making payments on old loans when advised. 

When To Refinance Dental School Loans

Dental school graduates are in a good position to get low student loan refinancing rates because of their high salary potential, but that doesn’t mean refinancing is always the best option. Here’s when to refinance dental school loans and when it might not be a good idea.

After You Join a Residency Program

If private loan payments become unmanageable during residency, refinancing could make sense since some lenders, like SoFi, Citizens Bank and Laurel Road, offer $100 payments on resident refinancing loans as long as you qualify.  However, interest will accrue and capitalize while payments are low, which can increase your overall balance. 

You might save more if you have federal loans by staying on an IDR plan during residency and refinancing later. That’s because IDR plans set payment amounts based on your income, and the government pays all or part of the interest not covered by your payment, depending on the plan. This can keep your balance from ballooning while payments are low. 

When You Build Strong Credit

Whether you choose to refinance during residency or afterward, candidates with the strongest credit get the best loan interest rates. Working on your credit before applying can give you a better shot at lowering the rates on your loans. It’s also important to have stable enough income to keep up with payments when refinancing federal loans since private loans don’t come with the same payment relief options, like forbearance and IDR loan forgiveness. 

When You Want To Expedite Loan Repayment

When your income is strong and crushing debt is a top priority, refinancing to a short repayment term may lower your rate and raise your payments, helping you pay the principal faster. 

When You Work in Private Practice 

Refinancing for a rate cut can offer long-term savings for borrowers leaning toward opening a private practice or working at a for-profit company. However, workers pursuing employment in the public sector or at dental schools may be better off staying on an IDR plan and working toward loan forgiveness with PSLF. 


We requested data from lenders that dominate the student loan refinance market and scored them across 15 data points in the categories of interest rates, fees, loan terms, hardship options, application process and eligibility. We chose the best to display based on those earning three stars or higher.

The following is the weighting assigned to each category:

  • Hardship options. 30%
  • Eligibility. 18%
  • Loan terms. 18%
  • Application process. 16%
  • Interest rates. 13%
  • Fees. 5%

Specific characteristics taken into consideration within each category included number of months of forbearance available, hardship repayment options beyond traditional forbearance, availability of in-school deferment, accessibility to borrowers without a bachelor’s degree, time to default, disclosure of credit score and income requirements and other factors.

Lenders who offered interest rates below 7% scored the highest, as did those who offered more than the standard 12 months of forbearance, who offered interest rate discounts beyond the standard 0.25% for automatic payments, who charged no late fees and who offered multiple loan terms maxing out at 15 years. We believe that to take full advantage of refinancing, borrowers should choose the shortest loan term available, and a 20-year term has the potential to limit interest savings.

In some cases, lenders were awarded partial points, and a maximum of 3% of the final score was left to editorial discretion based on the quality of consumer-friendly features offered.

To learn more about how Forbes Advisor rates lenders, and our editorial process, check out our Loans Rating & Review Methodology.

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Information provided on Forbes Advisor is for educational purposes only. Your financial situation is unique and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer financial advice, advisory or brokerage services, nor do we recommend or advise individuals or to buy or sell particular stocks or securities. Performance information may have changed since the time of publication. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Forbes Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved, or otherwise endorsed by our partners.

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