Refinancing your student loans can be a smart way to secure a lower interest rate, reduce your monthly payments or even pay off your loan faster.
The only problem? Most lenders won’t let you refinance until after graduation. This can be frustrating for non-graduates (or those still enrolled in school) — especially if interest rates drop or you have a sudden change in finances.
Fortunately, some lenders offer student loan refinancing even if you don’t have a degree. If you’re looking to refinance student loans without a degree, here’s what you need to know.
Credible lets you compare student loan refinance rates from various lenders in minutes.
- 5 lenders that will refinance student loans for non-graduates
- How to qualify for refinancing without a degree
- What to do if you don’t qualify for refinancing
- Can you consolidate loans as a non-graduate?
If you want to refinance your student loans without a degree, consider the following four Credible partner lenders:
Citizens Bank will refinance your private or federal student loans even if you don't finish your degree. If you’re an existing Citizens banking customer, you may qualify for reduced interest rates.
- Loan amounts: $10,000 to $750,000
- Minimum credit score: Does not disclose
- Eligibility: Must have at least $10,000 in student loans to refinance; must have made at least 12 payments on previous student loans
- Fees: No application, origination or disbursement fees
- Other features: Cosigners can be released after 36 on-time payments; 0.25% interest rate discount for existing Citizens Bank customers; 0.25% autopay discount
INvestED offers refinancing of both private and federal student loans, even to borrowers still in school. INvestEd loans come with competitive interest rates and high loan limits.
- Loan amounts: $5,000 to $250,000
- Minimum credit score: 670
- Eligibility: Minimum income of $36,000 per year, and no more than 50% of your gross monthly income can be spent on debts
- Fees: Late payment fee; returned payment fee of $10
- Other features: Cosigners can be released after 48 consecutive on-time payments; 0.25% autopay discount; up to 24 months of forbearance during the life of the loan
The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) will also refinance your student loans before you’ve finished your degree. You don’t have to be enrolled in a Massachusetts college, either.
- Loan amounts: $10,000 up to the total amount
- Minimum credit score: 670
- Eligibility: Minimum income of $24,000; must have made on-time student loan payments for the past 12 months
- Fees: No application, origination, disbursement or prepayment penalty fees
- Other features: Ability to apply for a modified payment plan that allows you to make interest-only or reduced monthly payments for up to 48 months
The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) offers student loan refinancing to in-school borrowers nationwide — even those not enrolled in a Rhode Island university.
- Loan amounts: $7,500 to $250,000
- Minimum credit score: 680
- Eligibility: Minimum $40,000 household income
- Fees: Late payment fee equal to 6% of late payment amount
- Other features: Income-based repayment options; 0.25% autopay discount; ability to defer payments for 36 months if you go back to graduate school
The following lender is not a Credible partner but is still worth considering if you’re looking to refinance your student loans without a degree.
You can also refinance your student loans through PNC Bank, a national bank and student, mortgage and auto loan lender.
- Loan amounts: $10,000 to $75,000
- Minimum credit score: Does not disclose
- Eligibility: At least 24 months of payment history on your previous loans; two years of continuous income or employment
- Fees: Contact lender
- Other features: 0.50% autopay discount; cosigner release after 48 on-time payments
Want to know how much refinancing your student loans could save you? A student loan refinancing calculator can help you crunch the numbers.
You can also use Credible to check student loan refinance rates in minutes without affecting your credit score.
Though it can be more challenging to secure a student loan refinance if you haven’t graduated, there are ways to improve your chances, including:
- Increasing your credit score
- Adding a cosigner who has good credit
- Making on-time student loan payments (and any other bills and debts you may have)
- Maintaining steady employment
- Increasing your income (asking for a raise or taking on a side gig can help, too)
You should also shop around for your refinance loan, as eligibility requirements, rates and repayment terms vary widely from one lender to the next.
If you’re ready to refinance your student loans, use Credible to easily compare student loan refinance rates.
If you’re unable to refinance your student loans without a degree, you do have other options for achieving lower payments or making your student loan debt more manageable. Here are some options to consider:
Forbearance lets you stop making payments temporarily or, in some cases, make a smaller payment for a limited amount of time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S Department of Education paused federal student loan payments and stopped collection on defaulted loans through Jan. 31, 2022.
When that expires — or if you have private student loans — you can talk to your loan servicer about applying for forbearance. To be eligible, you’ll typically need to prove some sort of financial hardship, like a loss of employment or excessive medical bills.
Deferment is another type of temporary relief if you’re having a hard time making your student loan payments. This is available on federal loans and allows you to postpone payments — many times without accruing any additional interest.
You can typically defer payments for up to a few years. You might need to prove a financial hardship has happened or, sometimes, just being enrolled in school qualifies you for deferment.
Income-driven repayment plans
Income-driven repayment plans are available on federal student loans. You can choose from several different repayment plans, but each plan allows you to pay a comfortable amount based on what you earn each month.
In many cases, your payment can be reduced to just 10% of your discretionary income. Once you’ve finished your repayment plan, which can run from between 20 and 25 years, your balance can be forgiven — meaning you won’t need to repay the remaining balance.
If you have several federal loans, a federal Direct Consolidation Loan is another alternative to explore. Student loan consolidation lets you combine several federal loans into one. Your new interest rate will be a weighted average of your existing loans, so it might not be lower. But consolidating can allow you to simplify your loan payments because you’ll be paying on a single loan instead of multiple loans with multiple due dates.
You can also refinance multiple private student loans, federal student loans or a combination of both with a private lender. You’ll take out a single new loan that you use to pay off your existing loans. You’ll have one, easy-to-manage payment, and you might receive a lower interest rate. But think carefully before refinancing your federal loans into a private loan — if you do this, you’ll lose federal benefits and protections, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-driven repayment plans.