Laurel Road Bonus: $300

Biglaw Investor readers can get a $300 Laurel Road bonus if you refinance using the links on this page. How do we do it? Each company has an advertising budget. We asked Laurel Road to pay you instead of us. But don’t worry, the site gets a little as well. If you refinance your student loans with Laurel Road through the links on this page, Laurel Road will pay you a cashback bonus after you refinance and you’ll help support the site.

Get $300 Bonus

Laurel Road Review: Student Loan Refinancing

A long time favorite of the student loan refinancing world, Laurel Road (formerly DRB) was one of the first companies to offer student loan refinancing. While they rose to popularity because of their medical student loan refinancing options, they’re working with a variety of industries today. Even if you’re a lawyer you can enjoy some of the best benefits on the market: (1) low fixed rates; (2) co-signers allowed; (3) economic hardship support, and (4) excellent borrower protection.

Low fixed rates. Laurel Road is backed by a bank. They are owned by KeyBank and, as a financial institution, they have better access to capital. Consequently, they can offer some of the lowest fixed student loan refinancing rates on the market. The general consensus is that Laurel Road is going to give you the best rates if you are looking for longer repayment terms (e.g. 10 to 20 years). Additionally, Laurel Road allows you to refinance all of your student debt with one loan of up to $300,000, which makes it a great option for law school costs.

Co-signers allowed. Unlike other refi companies, Laurel Road makes your life a lot easier by allowing you to bring on a co-signer. If your credit isn't the best, you can ask your family members or a spouse to co-sign the loan with you to achieve a lower rate (however, proceed with caution as now this family member or spouse is directly liable for your loans). You’ll need to make regular payments for at least 36 months before the co-signer can be released.

Economic hardship support. If you’re refinancing your student loan with Laurel Road and you become unemployed, you can delay repayments in three-month increments. If you become disabled, Laurel Road could forgive your loans – especially if your disability stops you from working.

Excellent borrower protection. Finally, Laurel Road honors Federal grace period programs for lenders who are still in school (or have just graduated) but have accepted a job offer. All of this makes them a great institution to help you clear your credit of debt, and focus on investing into your career!


  • Soft credit check to get rates.
  • No prepayment penalty if you want to pay off your loans at any time during the life of the loan.
  • No origination fee or application fee.
  • Autopay discount of 0.25% off your interest rate.
  • Laurel Road offers additional financial products like mortgages, auto loans and personal loans (for projects like home improvement or debt consolidation).
  • If you refinance using our links, you’ll get a $300 cashback bonus from Laurel Road, thanks to the referral bonus we’ve been able to negotiate with them for readers of the Biglaw Investor.


  • Exists in a competitive marketplace, so may not always be able to offer the lowest rate discount.
  • To qualify for the best rates, you will need excellent credit.

How Laurel Road student loan refinancing works

Laurel Road is a student loan refinancing lender owned by KeyBank. If you refinance your loans with Laurel Road, they'll be responsible for dictating the loan terms, monthly payments, etc. and you'll work with them as your servicer to repay your student loan balance.

Here’s the steps you'll go through to refinance with Laurel Road:

  1. Get Your Personalized Rate Estimate
  2. Fill out a short form on Laurel Road's website and answer personal information questions related to your education history, financial situation and the total loan amount that you want to refinance to start the online application process. Laurel Road will refinance both private student loans and federal student loans. You need to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident with a valid I-551 form (permanent green card). Nothing in this process results in a hard credit check, so you don’t have to worry about negatively affecting your credit score. Initially Laurel Road will verify your identity and credit history to determine the loan products they can offer you, as well as if they're able to offer you a lower interest rate. As with most nine lenders, Laurel Road is looking for low credit card debt (or a low debt-to-income ratio generally), consistent income, full-time employment and a general good standing in order to provide you competitive rates.

  3. Review Rate and Decide on Next Steps
  4. Next, you’ll be shown a dashboard with the variable interest rates and fixed interest rates available to you based on the soft credit check, along with the loan terms. You'll see that the variable rate loans are generally a better deal than the fixed rate loans and that the longer loan terms (i.e. the repayment period), the higher the interest rate. You'll almost always get the best interest rate if you're willing to accept a five-year repayment term with a variable rate.

  5. Complete Full Application
  6. Now that Laurel Road has provided loan options, loan payments and any eligibility requirements, you can compare the proposal from Laurel Road to your existing student loans. Since Laurel Road does not charge an origination fee or a prepayment penalty, so long as the student loan refinance rate is lower than your current rate, it's likely going to save you money to refinance. After you’ve compared the loan rates to your existing student loans, if you decide to proceed with Laurel Road you'll need to fill out a complete application which will result in a hard credit check and a credit report to confirm your rate. As long as you've entered the information correctly when doing the rate check, you should expect to receive the same rate once the hard credit check is complete.

Bottom line: What we look for when evaluating a student loan refinancing company

Refinancing your student loan debt is a significant investment of time and energy. You have to spend time filling out forms, waiting for an offer, evaluating repayment terms and monthly payments and then ultimately picking a lender. A solid student loan refinancing company can make your life better, not more difficult. Here's what we look at to arrive at our decision.

  • Low interest rates. Nobody wants to waste their time completing an application only to find that you can refinance your loans for 0.05% savings on your interest rate. The number one priority of a student loan refinancing company should be offering you the lowest rate possible, thus saving you thousands of dollars. If a student loan refinancing company can't offer you a low rate, the rest doesn't matter. In particular, we look at how they handle graduate students (primarily law students, mba students and medical students) and whether they can offer you a better deal for your graduate student loans, since most of the readers of this site have a bachelor's degree and some type of graduate education and are primarily looking to find a lower interest rate on their graduate student loans after paying large sums to their graduate school (both in terms of tuition and cost of attendance numbers).
  • Ease of use. For many people, refinancing student loans is a necessary evil. You know you're paying too much interest. You know you'll save thousands once you get it done. But you'd rather be outside playing than stuck inside entering your home addresses for the 10th time. If you're going to put in the effort to refinance your student loans, a pleasant and easy-to-use interface can make the chore more enjoyable.
  • Borrower protections. You're giving up the federal loan protections by refinancing your loans, so you want to be sure that the lender you're using has similar protections in place (e.g. economic hardship, deferment, cosigner release, grace periods, etc.). Thankfully most lenders offer decent protections for things like unemployment or financial hardship, but it's important criteria that we review.
  • Flexible repayment options. Depending on where you are in your career, you may want to double down and pay everything off with a five-year variable rate or you might prefer to apply with a co-signer and get the lowest payment possible over a 25-year term while you figure out your next career move. Regardless, after your disbursement and before your due date, flexibility in repayment options (whether it's term length or the ability to switch between variable and fixed interest rates) is an important factor to consider when evaluating a student loan refinancing company.

Who are Laurel Road's competitors?

Laurel Road is a solid student loan refinancing company with a legitimate chance of giving you a great deal but to get a full sense of the interest rates available to you it's a good idea to check out the competition. The list below includes the other student loan refinancing companies that you may want to consider when searching for the lowest interest rate.

  • Earnest. Flexible repayment plans allows you to pick your own term. Financially backed by Navient, giving them some of the lowest interest rates available in the current market.
  • First Republic Bank. This is a traditional bank looking to build a long-term customer relationship with you and is willing to refinance your student loans at below-market rates to build the relationship. You'll be required to open up a checking account, initiate direct deposit of your paycheck, and jump through other hoops, but if you're willing to do so they offer the lowest rates available.
  • CommonBond. With their Pencils for Promise program, CommonBond offers a social mission to student loan refinancing. They have a dedicated law firm group located in NYC, which means a team is available to specifically help you through the refinancing process.
  • SoFi. SoFi is by far the largest lender in the student loan refinancing market. They may not be able to offer you the best rate as they can rely on their brand name to bring in borrowers but there are lots of other perks when you refinance with SoFi and they are actively expanding their products if you're interested in keeping your financial life with one company.
  • Credible. Known as the "Kayak of student loan refinancing", Credible offers you access to a marketplace of lenders. Fill out a form once and Credible will pre-qualify you with a bunch of lenders to get rates (soft credit check). To confirm the actual rates, you'll have to continue the application with the individual lender.
  • LendKey. If you're looking to borrow from a local credit union, LendKey is the lender for you. They partner with local banks and credit unions to offer you student loan refinancing in your neighborhood.
  • ELFI. A relatively new player, ELFI is backed by SouthEast Bank, a retail bank that recognized the value of getting into the student loan refinancing market. More competition is always better and if you end up with multiple offers, you can use them to play off the various student loan refinancing companies to get the best deal for you.
  • Splash Financial. Splash Financial is based in Cleveland and one of the newest players in the refinancing space. Originally they only offered loans to medical residents and fellows but have recently been expanding thanks to a partnership with Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed).

Have Questions?

Laurel Road is an established player in the student loan refinancing market and is a legitimate way for student loan borrowers to save thousands of dollars in interest payments. Laurel Road has established itself as a solid choice for student loan borrowers looking to refinance into lower rates.

No. Laurel Road will perform a soft credit check using just your name, address and date of birth. Soft credit checks do not negatively affect your credit score, no matter how often they take place. If you proceed with a full application after getting pre-qualified, all lenders will perform a hard credit check which will have a minimum impact on your credit score.

KeyBank purchased Laurel Road in April 2019. The parties did not disclose the purchase price. Prior to the acquisition, Darien Rowayton Bank owned Laurel Road.

Yes. Laurel Road student loans have no prepayment fees, so you can refinance your existing Laurel Road student loans with Laurel Road or with another student loan lender.

Laurel Road provides a private student loan refinancing product that is still considered a student loan for tax purposes.

Laurel Road will refinance any student loans for working professionals with four-year undergraduate and/or graduate degrees from Title IV accredited institutions.

Yes, Laurel Road charges late fees but the amounts were not disclosed on their website.

Yes, the Laurel Road credit score requirement is 660 or higher. Laurel Road doesn't have a minimum income requirement but will only work with borrowers that have a debt-to-income ratio of 43% of less. That means you monthly debt payments from all sources can't be more than 43% of your before-tax income.

Yes, Laurel Road refinances Parent Plus Loans. Also, if your child wants to assume your debt and meets the lending requirements, you can refinance a Parent Plus loan into the name of the child.

  • Interest Rates: 1.99%+
  • Bonus Cashback: $300
  • Loan Types:
    • Fixed
    • Variable
  • Loan Terms:
    • 5
    • 7
    • 10
    • 15
    • 20
  • Rating: 7/10
    3.5 rating
  • Visit Laurel Road

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