Best Dental School Loan Refinance Lenders
Rhode Island Student Loan Authority
6.24% to 9.99%
with autopay discount
5.24% to 9.99%
with autopay discount
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Best Student Loan Refinance Lenders Of 2023
Find the best Student Loan Refinance Lenders for your needs.
Next Up In Student Loans
Our Guides To Student Loans
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.