Laurel Road Student Loan Review: Who Is It Good For?

  • on Laurel Road's secure website
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Laurel Road Student Loan Review: Who Is It Good For?

Laurel Road is best for medical residents with at least $5,000 in school debt looking to defer full student loan payments. The company also offers refinancing Parent PLUS loans to student borrowers and has relatively flexible loan terms.

Good for

  • Health professionals in residency programs.
  • Refinancing Parent PLUS student loans in your child's name.

Bad for

  • Borrowers that have less than a four-year degree or are unemployed.
  • Co-signers: No co-signer release (case-by-case basis).

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

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Laurel Road stands out from other private lenders by allowing parents to transfer Parent PLUS loans to their children and offering a useful refinancing program for medical residents. If you can't take advantage of either of these features, we recommend checking out other student lenders, such as SoFi. Laurel Road offers similar rates to that of its competitors and doesn't refinance loans for borrowers without at least a four-year degree from a Title IV-accredited school.

Review: Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing

  • on Laurel Road's secure website
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Laurel Road refinancing is a great option for medical and dental students accepted into residency programs, as it allows you to defer full repayments until six months after the program ends. This refinancing program is not offered by many lenders but can be a huge help for future doctors and dentists, as paying off student loans right after medical school can be a substantial financial burden.

Another benefit to using Laurel Road is that parents can transfer their federal Parent PLUS loans over to their children through refinancing, which allows student borrowers to take the debt off their parents’ accounts and hopefully pay a lower interest rate. Parent PLUS loans tend to have higher interest rates than other federal loans and several private lenders, so refinancing can have a significant impact on savings.

Unless you can take advantage of the special residency programs or the Parent PLUS refinancing, Laurel Road doesn't stand out otherwise. The main drawback of Laurel Road is that while many other lenders, such as SoFi and Earnest, refinance loans for borrowers with an associate's degree, Laurel Road requires borrowers to have a bachelor's degree or higher. On top of this, SoFi offers employment programs for unemployed borrowers and more options for those facing financial hardships, while still offering similar rates to Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Student Loans Rates, Terms and Fees

Graduates and parent borrowers can qualify for Laurel Road's refinance loan with at least $5,000 in student loan debt. The lender provides relatively low rates and flexible loan terms, allowing you to choose any repayment length between five and 20 years, subject to its underwriting criteria. Similar to most lenders, Laurel Road provides a 0.25% rate discount if you sign up for automatic payments. In addition, borrowers can use the lender's referral program and get up to $400 when the referred borrower refinances their loan.

Refinance Loan Features

Loan typeRefinance
Loan amount range$5,000 up to 100% school-certified expenses
APR range*
  • 3.20% - 7.02% Fixed rate
  • 1.99% - 6.65% Variable rate
Fees
  • Late fee: 5% of payment amount or $28
  • Prepayment penalty: none
  • Application fee: none
Loan terms
  • 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years
Discounts$400 cash referral bonus

*Rates include 0.25% rate discount with auto-pay

Medical and dental students that have been accepted for a residency program or fellowship can put off full loan payments until six months after completing their programs by opting to pay $100 every month while in the programs. Rates tend to be a bit higher than regular refinancing, but this program can help borrowers that are worried about having to pay off loans right after medical school. It is important to note that interest still accrues during your residency, but it doesn't capitalize until after the reduced payment period.

Medical Resident Refinance Loan Features

Loan typeRefinance
Loan amount range$5,000 up to 100% school-certified expenses
APR range*
  • 3.76% - 7.44% Fixed rate
  • 2.86% - 7.10% Variable rate
Fees
  • Late fee: 5% of payment amount or $28
  • Prepayment penalty: none
  • Application fee: none
Loan terms
  • 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years
Discounts$400 cash referral bonus

*Rates include 0.25% rate discount with auto-pay and assumes three months left in residency

Loan Repayment

If you have a job offer and plan to begin working after graduation, you can apply for student loan refinancing from Laurel Road as early as your final semester in school. Laurel Road will continue any existing grace or in-school deferment periods from your previous lender. Otherwise, the first payment will be due one month from the date of disbursement. Laurel Road does not allow changes in payment date but gives borrowers a grace period of up to 15 days after the due date before the loan is considered late.

Deferment and Forbearance

As stated above, Laurel Road gives all borrowers a grace period of 15 days for each monthly payment but only allows existing deferments from the previous lender. For those who have been matched to a medical or dental residency program, you can refinance your student loans with Laurel Road by choosing to pay $100 each month and defer full payments for up to six months after the residency or fellowship.

Permitted DefermentsLimit
Payment grace period15 days
Medical or dental residency6 months after training

Borrowers can apply for forbearance if they experience any qualifying economic hardships, including involuntary job loss and unpaid maternity leave. Laurel Road reviews each request and grants full or partial forbearance for borrowers that meet the requirements. You may qualify for one or more three-month periods, up to 12 months during the term of your loan.

ForbearanceLimit
Permitted PeriodUp to 12 months
Conditions
  • Student must be experiencing financial hardship, unemployment, excessive debt burden or medical disability.
  • Cannot exceed a total of 12 months during the term of the loan.

Who Can Qualify for Laurel Road Refinancing?

Laurel Road student loans are available to borrowers who have graduated from a four-year Title IV-accredited school and are currently or soon-to-be employed. The lender requires a monthly debt-to-income ratio less than 43% and a payment-to-income ratio below 30% with no bankruptcy, collections or late payments that exceed 60 days within the last two years. If you are unable to qualify, you can apply with a co-signer, but co-signer release is only considered on a case-by-case basis.

Credit score660 or higher
Co-signerYes, release considered on a case-by-case basis
Accepted citizenship status
  • U.S. citizen
  • Permanent resident (must have a valid I-551 card)
DegreeBachelor's or higher
EmployedYes or signed job offer
Eligible schoolsAll four-year, Title IV public and private institutions

How Does Laurel Road Compare to Other Student Lenders?

Graduates who have less than a bachelor's degree won't even qualify for a loan with Laurel Road, making SoFi and Earnest the best options for those borrowers. Even if you have a bachelor's degree, SoFi may still be a better option as it offers more programs and a lenient forbearance policy compared to Laurel Road. Still, either of the lenders are great options to consider, and we recommend checking your rates from each as it won't affect your credit score.

Laurel RoadSoFiEarnest
Loan types offered
  • Student loan refinance
  • Medical residency refinance
  • Student loan refinance
  • Medical residency refinance
  • Student loan refinance
APR range*
  • 3.20% - 7.02% Fixed
  • 1.99% - 6.65% Variable
  • 4.25% - 8.774% Fixed
  • 3.5% - 8.70% Variable
  • 4.25% - 8.77% Fixed
  • 3.5% - 8.72% Variable
Loan amount$5,000 up to 100% school-certified expenses$5,000 up to 100% school-certified expenses$5,000 - $500,000
SchoolHold a four-year or graduate degree from any Title IV institutionHold a two-year or higher degree from any Title IV institutionHold a degree from any Title IV institution
EmployedYes or signed job offerYes or signed job offerYes or signed job offer
Co-signerYes, release considered on a case-by-case basisYes, release not permittedNot permitted
Discounts
  • $400 cash referral bonus
  • $300 referral bonus

*Rates include 0.25% rate discount with auto-pay

Laurel Road vs SoFi

  • on SoFi's secure website
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SoFi is one of the best student loan refinancing options, and we recommend it to most borrowers over Laurel Road. Unless you are a medical or dental school resident, you should go with SoFi because of what they have to offer. SoFi stands out from Laurel Road and other lenders by offering a job placement service with career coaches, panel sessions and networking opportunities to help unemployed borrowers get back on their feet. Also, unlike Laurel Road, SoFi refinances loans for borrowers with an associate's degree, while Laurel Road student loans are not available to borrowers with less than a bachelor's degree. Laurel Road and Sofi have similar terms and rates but, with the extra features that SoFi offers, SoFi is a better option for most borrowers.

Laurel Road vs Earnest

  • on Earnest's secure website
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If you can qualify, Earnest is a more affordable option compared to Laurel Road for creditworthy borrowers. While Earnest offers lower rates for its student loan refinancing program, many borrowers may not meet its requirements. The lender is not available in Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada or Rhode Island and does not allow borrowers to use co-signers on its loans. Unlike most lenders, Earnest looks at your earning potential and financial data other than credit history to determine approval for its loans, creating a more personalized experience. Once approved, you are able to customize your monthly payments and adjust your payments when needed to fit your financial situation.

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