3 Best Parent PLUS Loan Refinance Options

Updated January 10, 2018
Are you a parent who is still repaying student loans taken out to help your children finance their education? While rising student loan debt totals are concerning for graduates, Parent PLUS loans can be troubling for those in their 40s and 50s trying to plan for retirement.
If you’re in this situation, you should consider refinancing your PLUS loans to lower your interest rate and make the loan more affordable. Direct PLUS loans have had interest rates ranging from 6 – 8% over the last few years, and many refinance programs have rates as low as 2% – 4%. Refinancing can save you hundreds of dollars per month.
Below are the best Parent PLUS refinance programs currently available. We encourage you to check each one out to see which suit your needs the most. You should shop around with each lender with whom you think you can qualify. All credit inquiries made within a 30-day period count as one inquiry in the eyes of the credit bureaus.
A Word of Warning on Refinancing
Thankfully, most student loan refinance programs and Parent PLUS refinance programs don’t have fees associated with the loan, so you don’t need to worry about paying origination or application fees. However, you should do the math to make sure refinancing is worth the paperwork.
If you extend your repayment term, you’ll have a lower monthly payment, but you’ll pay more over the life of the loan due to the amount of interest that will accrue. Additionally, if you’re trying to retire sooner rather than later, extending your term might not be in your best interest.
Ideally, you should find a lender willing to refinance your loan on similar terms with a lower interest rate. If your current loan balance is $10,000 and you have an 8% APR with 5 years remaining, and you refinance to a 5.99% APR with 5 years, you’ll save $568.95 on interest.
Beyond interest rates, you should also be aware that refinancing your Federal Direct PLUS loan means giving up several benefits specific to Federal student loans. Private lenders don’t offer the same repayment assistance, though some lenders are more flexible than others.
For example, you’ll no longer have access to different repayment plans, such as the Graduated, Extended Repayment Plan or Income-Contingent Repayment. Your loans won’t be eligible for forgiveness under the various Federal student loan forgiveness programs. You’ll also lose out on the benefit of forbearance and deferment, which temporarily allows you to pause payments in the event you experience financial hardship.
If you haven’t been struggling with paying back your PLUS loans, then losing these benefits might not concern you, but it’s a factor you should consider. Otherwise, if you experience difficulty making payments, you should reach out to your lender to see if any other payment arrangements can be made.
SoFi Parent PLUS Refinance Program
SoFi is one of the leaders in the student loan refinance industry, and it offers refinancing specifically for Parent PLUS loans.

You can refinance a minimum of $5,000 up to the cost of attendance
[SoFiPPLAPR]Fixed APRs range from 3.25% – 6.78% (with autopay)
Variable APRs range from 2.58% – 6.82% (with autopay)[/SoFiPPLAPR]
No application or origination fees, and no prepayment penalties
Soft credit inquiry with pre-approval; hard inquiry once you apply for the loan
Should have good credit, but it also takes your employment and credit history into account


Laurel Road (formerly known as DRB) Parent PLUS Refinance Program
Laurel Road also offers a Parent PLUS refinance program with low interest rates.

A minimum of $5,000 is required to refinance and there’s no maximum amount
Fixed rates: 3.50% – 6.99% (with autopay)
Variable rates: 2.99% – 6.42% (with autopay)
Terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years are available, though you can request a specific term under 20 years
Also offers a hybrid loan (mix of fixed and variable rates), but you must inquire about it
Child needs to have graduated college and be professionally employed
No origination fee or prepayment penalty
Available in all 50 states
Soft credit check first and then hard inquiry when you apply for the loan

CommonBond Parent PLUS Refinance Program
CommonBond is dedicated to making the refinance process as simple as possible for students, and has recently introduced a refinance program specifically for Parent PLUS loans.

The maximum amount you can refinance is $500,000
Fixed APRs range from 3.18% to 7.25% (with autopay)
Variable APRs from 2.57% to 7.07% (with autopay)
Hybrid APRs (5 years at fixed, then 5 years at variable) are offered
No application or origination fees, and no prepayment penalties
5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 year terms available (hybrid loans offered on a 10 year term)
Temporary loan forbearance is available if certain requirements are met
Soft credit inquiry first, then hard credit inquiry if you apply for the loan

Keep in mind some lenders, such as SoFi, CommonBond, and Laurel Road, offer the option to transfer your PLUS loans to your child. The Direct PLUS loan doesn’t offer this choice. It’s a great option to have if your child can handle making the payments.
There are many Parent PLUS loan refinance programs being created in wake of the success private lenders have had with refinancing regular student loans. Keep an eye out for them in case you’re not eligible for these. You can also check with your local credit union to see if they have any options available, but be sure the math works out in your favor, as some aren’t offering the best rates. Don’t forget – it’s worth shopping around for the most savings!
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