There’s been big news in the student loan-isphere this week, ladies and gents. According to Forbes.com, there are a lot of changes happening with student loan lenders. The number of lenders has been skyrocketing due to the introduction of student loan refinancing a few years back, and the increase in lenders has lead to an increase in options. Borrowers now have more options when it comes to repayment, eligibility for loans, forbearance, and deferment than ever before.
With all these new lenders out there, it’s more important than ever that borrowers really look at all their options before making a decision on where to borrow to make sure they don’t miss out on important opportunities.
So who are these new lenders, and what are they offering?
Citizens Bank and U-Fi
Shaking things up by offering student loan refinancing to non-residents in the USA are Citizens Bank and U-Fi, which is a brand of the lender NelNet. As long as there is a U.S. citizen cosigner, and some qualifications are met, international residents can refinance their loans and ease some of the burdens of their loans.
U-Fi is also offering cash back bonuses to their borrowers. If there is a solid year of on-time monthly payments, then they receive 1.5% of their loan back as a cash reward, with a maximum of $500! Talk about incentive to pay your loans on time!
Almost all borrowers wind up with a 10-25 year repayment plan for their loans, but CordiaGrad is starting to change that by offering 5, 8 and 12-year plans. Many borrowers find these numbers a refreshing middle ground. That extra two years offers time to figure out their plan and pay off their loans without their interest shooting up as the years pass.
CommonBond and SoFi
Many lenders offer forbearance and deferment as options for their borrowers having trouble making ends meet to pay their monthly student loan bills. CommonBond and SoFi have taken it one step further.
CommonBond lets unemployed borrowers who have been deemed to be undergoing financial difficulty, opt for forbearance under their CommonBridge program. CommonBridge finds opportunities at CommonBond for their borrowers to work, which allows them to both earn some money and get some experience in the work force. It’s a productive way to buy some extra time to pay back your loans.
In addition to that, CommonBond also offers a “Hybrid Loan”, hybrid referring to the combination of fixed and variable interest. Borrowers with the Hybrid Loan will have a fixed rate for the first 5 years of repayment, and a variable one for the last 5.
SoFi, on the other hand, lets their borrowers who have lost their job without fault (laid off, not fired), and who have applied for unemployment put off their payments for 3 months at a time. The loans can be suspended for a total of 12 months throughout the life of the loan, but only in 3-month increments. The borrower will also work with SoFi Career Services during their payment suspension.
Another lender, Ernest, likes to give its borrowers a breather every now and then. Earnest borrowers are allowed to skip a monthly payment once a year, as long as they’ve paid faithfully for 6 consecutive months prior. A month without worrying about a student loan payment to regroup surely gives their borrowers a sense of relief!
LendKey and iHelp
These two lenders offer a very unique repayment plan indeed: interest only. Borrowers don’t have to make monthly payments of x amount; instead they only pay the interest that the loan builds.
LendKey allows this for up to 4 years, iHelp for 2. Paying only the interest means a drastically lower payment for a lot of borrowers, and for those struggling a bit financially, this might be just the ticket.
Seeing lenders come up with new and innovative ideas and options for their borrowers is very exciting, and they will surely continue to rock the student loan world with their unique methods!
Check out our Refinance Loan Finder for links to lenders than can help get your student loan refinance started today.
About the author
Trinya’s passion for helping others understand student loans started when she began learning all she could to fill in what she didn’t know about her own loans. She enjoys speaking at local schools about the cost of college and assisting friends with their finances. In her free time, Trinya also enjoys reading, writing, and playing music.