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Whether you have federal student loans (such as Stafford, PLUS, or Federal Perkins loans) or private student loans, there are a number of student loan consolidation services that can help you consolidate your loans into one single debt. This can result in lower interest rates, and, in some cases, dramatically reduced monthly loan payments.
Many consolidation services offer fixed interest rates for the life of the loan, which can lock in your savings for years to come. This is good since consolidation loans typically have longer terms than other loans - usually anywhere from 10 to 30 years.
Thursday, May 19th
National Debt Relief is an established leader in consumer debt relief, and recently they've added student loan consolidation plans to their list of services. Now students can partner with National Debt Relief to reduce their burden of student loan debt, the way so many others have with personal debt struggles.
National Debt Relief is one of the most reputable debt relief organizations in the country. They have an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau, are members of the American Fair Credit Council, and all of their Debt Arbitrators are accredited through the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators. There is no concern about legitimacy when it comes to National Debt Relief - they are well known and widely respected.
To get started with National Debt Relief you simply complete their short online form to have a friendly consultant call with assistance, or call their toll-free customer service number when the time is right for you. Their consultants are well trained to perform a free student debt analysis and help determine which debt relief program is best geared for your personal situation.
The website is easy to navigate and tremendously informative. The main Student Loan Consolidation page has a detailed description of what kinds of student loans exist, the pitfalls and dangers associated with student loan debt, and a list of all the available debt relief options available. Their toll-free customer service number is clearly posted, and they provide easy access to information sources such as:
There is a ton of useful information here, more than we saw on most of the other student loan consolidation sites we have reviewed.
NDR offers a lot of options for both private and federal student loan relief. For example, there are standard consolidation options in which several student loans can be rolled into one, and then paid off either in equal monthly payments, graduated payments that are low at first and increase over the life of the loan, or extended payments that can lower the monthly amount even further by stretching the loan out to as long as 25 years. There are also several repayment options that are based on your income, where the amount of your monthly payment is based on a certain percentage of what you earn. There are other plans too, such as to make payment deferments, claim forbearance for medical or financial hardship, and even public service loan forgiveness.
One of the things we liked best about National Debt Relief is that they don't charge any upfront fees and don't collect payment until your student debt consolidation plan is implemented. They offer a 100% money back guarantee so you can keep your funds until your loan is fully restructured. They also don't charge any ongoing monthly maintenance fees, unlike many other companies out there.
National Debt Relief brings an excellent reputation and a strong range of options to deal with student loan debt. Their website is informative and easy to use, and their consultants are friendly and knowledgeable. If you're looking for an effective student loan consolidation plan, National Debt Relief should be your first choice. They earn our highest rating.
SoFi, which gets its name from the term "Social Finance", does everything possible to make student loan consolidation as straightforward as possible. And they've definitely made a name for themselves among online lenders. SoFi offers many kinds of loans, including personal loans, mortgage loans and refinancing, student loan refinancing, and others.
Be sure to read the information provided by clicking a small link at the bottom of the page, "Eligibility Criteria". There are several factors that may impact your eligibility for student loan refinancing, including your age, your citizenship status, and the state you live in.
SoFi's application process is uncomplicated: enter basic personal information, such as your name and address, current loan amounts, and employment status, and you'll quickly find out if you qualify before filling out the complete application. If you are preapproved and complete the full application, you'll be provided with a list of plans available to you, with details of their payment schedules, terms, and rates. Once you've chosen the consolidation loan that meets your needs, you can easily upload documents from your smartphone or use screenshots on your computer, then sign your paperwork electronically.
We really appreciate that SoFi has absolute transparency with their student loan consolidation rates and that they do not charge origination fees or prepayment penalties. At the time of our review, their interest rates on student consolidation loans were extremely competitive.
Loan terms range from 5 years to 20 years and the minimum loan is $5,000. The maximum amount is the full balance of all of the borrower's qualified education loans.
One feature of SoFi that is particularly helpful in today's economy is their unemployment protection program. If you meet certain criteria, such as not having lost your job through any fault of your own, you may have your payments suspended for up to a total of 12 months while you look for new employment. And, not only does SoFi match you with a Career Specialist to help you find that new job, but they also provide wealth advisors and career support to all members (not just the unemployed).
With an average member savings of more than $17,000, SoFi should be on your short list of possible lenders when it comes to your student loan consolidation. We give them excellent marks for their transparent rates, supportive extra services for borrowers, and lack of fees during the application process.
Although Earnest has only been around for a little less than 10 years, they've already helped more than 160,000 clients - including over $14.5 billion in refinanced student loans. Instead of passing you off to a third-party lender like many of their rivals, Earnest services your consolidation loan themselves. As they put it, "real people are never more than a call or email away" .
First step: rate estimate
Click on the green "Get Started" or "2 Min: Get My Rate" button to see what your new interest rate could be if you refinance with Earnest. You'll provide your name, email address and citizenship status, as well as the details of your current student loans. To finalize your rate quote, you'll need to choose a password for your account and enter your Social Security Number. Completing this process will give you a rate estimate.
Second step: full application
If Earnest isn't able to match your information with your credit history to do a soft pull, you'll be taken to a screen asking you to start a full application. That will include more specifics about your major and graduation date, current employment and salary, as well as a request to connect the account where your paycheck is deposited. The clearer the financial picture you give Earnest, the more likely you are to be offered the lowest possible rates on your student loan consolidation refinancing. And, if you add a cosigner to your loan, you may also qualify for a lower interest rate.
No hidden fees
There are some big advantages to using Earnest for a student loan consolidation. Not only do they consider your credit score, but they also take into account your financial responsibility: if you've been paying your current loans on time, Earnest gives you credit for making good choices already. There are no extra fees, either: not origination, prepayment, or anything else.
Super-flexible repayment options
Plus, Earnest offers a great deal of flexibility you won't find elsewhere. You can customize the payment amount you prefer or the specific number of months you want to have as your repayment term: no one-size-fits-all expectations here. You may also be eligible for a deferment if you start attending graduate school. Finally, once you've made on-time payments for six months, you can skip a payment once every 12 months (though the principal and interest from that skipped payment will be spread out over the ones you have remaining, and that will make your monthly payments higher).
Positive reputation makes Earnest worth considering
As a student loan consolidation provider, Earnest enjoys a very positive reputation. Starting with an "A+" and accreditation from the BBB, and in conjunction with over 3000 five-star reviews elsewhere, it's easy to see that this is a resource you can trust. Clients repeatedly praise Earnest for a smooth process and almost unbelievably low interest rates compared with previous loans and other lenders. While we found a few complaints about issues with loan servicing and recording of payments, the vast majority of Earnest users are completely satisfied with the experience. It's definitely worth considering if you need to consolidate multiple student loans or even just refinance a single account to a lower rate.
Since 2012, Credible has served as a resource connecting borrowers with lenders, across a wide variety of needs (mortgage refinancing, personal loans, and so on). With a single online application that only takes a few minutes, this service can help you consolidate your student loans with up to 10 different lending partners.
At the time of our most recent evaluation, Credible's student loan refinancing lenders included:
One of the great things about using Credible to check your eligibility with these multiple lenders, besides saving time, is that all of them are guaranteed to have zero origination fees or prepayment penalties. Plus, Credible doesn't charge any service fees for using them to consolidate your student loans.
The application process is simple and just takes a few minutes to complete. You'll start by entering some basic information about your education, loan amount that you're trying to refinance, and so on. At that point, your information isn't shared with any of their partner lenders. You'll get a results list of prequalified loan options, and once you select an option you like, you'll be able to see actual rates based on your individual credit profile (not estimated rates).
Credible has a handy import tool that lets you bring in your actual loans, so that you can specify which loans you want to refinance. That's an important detail - because as you may know, refinancing any federal loans through a private lender would mean that you'll lose the benefits that come with federal lending (like forgiveness programs, deferment/forbearance, and income-driven repayment plans). In other words, you may decide that you want to consolidate only your private loans and leave your federal loans as-is - and Credible's tools allow you to do that easily.
Across several types of loans, Credible offers a $200 Best Rate Guarantee - and lucky for you, Student Loan Refinancing is one of them. You'll want to read the fine print to see if you're eligible; you actually have to close on a refinancing offer with another lender before submitting your $200 request, within 10 days of requesting rates from Credible and then make your request within a week after closing your student loan consolidation with that other lender. Sounds confusing, but worth looking into if it puts an extra $200 in your pocket (at no risk to you).
This service enjoys a very positive reputation, as demonstrated by both accreditation and an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. We also found thousands of 4- and 5-star reviews from satisfied clients, most of whom say that using Credible saved them a lot of time and also got them the loans they needed when other lending resources turned them down.
The only reason Credible doesn't earn our highest ranking is because you'll still have to do your research to make sure the lender you select is right for you. Given that our first-place choice for student consolidation loans isn't included in their list of 10 lenders, we wonder if Credible might be missing a few strong options too. However, if you like the idea of saving a lot of time by filling out a single application and getting results for multiple lenders, Credible definitely delivers.
LendKey can help students save a significant amount of money by consolidating and refinancing both federal and private student loans into a single loan with a lower interest rate. Based out of Ohio and currently awarded an A+ rating as a Better Business Bureau accredited company, LendKey works with credit unions and community banks, passing on the savings gained by working with smaller lending institutions in the form of lower interest rates. This is in keeping with their goal to place people before profits, also evident in the transparency in receiving multiple offers with clearly-defined borrowing terms after filling out a single, streamlined online application.
Customer reviews from most LendKey users demonstrate that LendKey delivers: many people talk about excellent customer service both online and over the phone, quick response times, and patient attention to any snags that happen along the way. Customers seem pleasantly surprised at how quickly their student loans can be refinanced and consolidated, and how well LendKey informed them of any updates or requirements for further details along the way.
And, for those who like to earn some money for spreading the word, LendKey gives a $50 referral bonus for every friend that is approved for student loan financing, and an additional $200 for every friend that refinances their student loans with them.
Students with loans should be aware that LendKey has a minimum debt amount of $7500 and a maximum of $125,000 (up to $175,000 for graduate degrees). Unfortunately, when we entered our information to get a sample rate, we got an error message and couldn't determine the interest rate that would be offered in our situation. Because of this, we were only able to give LendKey a four-star rating; otherwise, their programs for both federal and private loans and their hundreds of satisfied customers make them a top choice for student loan consolidation.
Lend-Grow can help you consolidate your student loans by connecting you with lenders in their marketplace. This service specializes in partnering with smaller lenders who might not have the budget to get noticed on larger platforms, and who are willing to offer better-than-average rates and terms to earn your business.
Consolidate loans from $25K to $750K
In order to qualify for student loan consolidation through Lend-Grow, you'll need to have total outstanding loans from $25,000 to $750,000. At the time of this evaluation, Lend-Grow was offering refinancing loans with APRs starting at 2.70% for fixed and 0.93% for variable rates. You can select repayment terms of 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 years.
Basic information required
To get started, click on "See My Offers" . Select "Student Loan Refinance" for your consolidation, and then indicate whether or not you're applying as an individual or joint with a cosigner. You'll have to provide your mobile number and email, gross annual income, rent/mortgage amount, address, and other relevant details.
Nice rewards program
One nice perk you'll get with student loan consolidation at Lend-Grow is their Payback Rewards program. They'll pay 0.10% APR of your loan amount for three years to help bring down your outstanding balance, as long as you enroll in the rewards program and make on-time, full payments. There's a maximum benefit of $1500 over those three years. Another part of the rewards program is a $250 donation every year for two years to your school's Alumni Fund, for a total of $500.
Not enough feedback
Lend-Grow winds up towards the bottom of our rankings for student loan consolidation. Why? At the time of this review, there just wasn't enough feedback to give the service a higher rating. Even though they'd been in business for more than two years, Lend-Grow didn't have a listing with the Better Business Bureau, and we found very little commentary from students who had used them to consolidate their loans.
Extremely limited service area
Also, when we went through the application process, we got all the way to the last screen only to be told that Lend-Grow isn't available in our area. Given that we entered a location in a major metropolitan area, we were surprised (and disappointed) to see that we couldn't use the service. Lend-Grow should come right out and say which states are included in their student loan consolidation program, instead of making prospective clients disclose a lot of personal information and then find out that they don't qualify.
Not competitive with other services
We love the idea of including smaller-scale lenders in the student loan refinancing marketplace. Unfortunately, Lend-Grow has a long way to go before we can recommend them over their competitors.
A recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics shows that half of all recent college graduates have an average student loan debt of $10,000. For some students, this amount is much higher. Many students receive loans from a variety of sources.
There are many advantages to consolidating all of these loans into a single debt. With interest rates at record lows, you will most likely receive a better rate by consolidating your loans now than when you first got your loans. The second advantage is reducing the number of creditors you have, which makes it easier to keep track of monthly loan payments. Consolidating your student loans into a single debt also simplifies the repayment process, making it less likely that you will default on your loan payments.
There are a number of services available to help you in this process. Some only offer federal student loan consolidation, while others enable you to consolidate both federal and private student loans. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the student loan consolidation service you choose meets your student loan consolidation needs.
Additionally, while some websites provide instant, online loan quotes, other websites do not. You will want to make sure that the service you select provides you with the information you need to make consolidation decisions.
There are a variety of issues to consider when looking for a student loan consolidation plan. Some of these include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed the best student loan consolidation programs available today. We hope this information helps you select the student loan consolidation program that's right for you!
Select any 2 Student Loan Consolidation Companies to compare them head to head
Meet 2 married couples who are blocked from a student-loan-forgiveness
Congress shuttered the spousal joint consolidation loan program in 2006 after 13 years. When the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program — which forgives student debt for public servants after ...
Sun, 08 May 2022