July 11, 2019

Laurel Road Review

Laurel Road

4.7

Repayment options


4.8/5

Junk Fees


5.0/5

Customer Service


4.5/5

Availability


5.0/5

Forbearance, Deferment, and Forgiveness


4.3/5

Pros

  • Affordable payment options for medical residents
  • Parent Plus refinancing
  • Graduate school "in-school" loans with attractive rates

Cons

  • No in-school academic deferment
  • 12-month cap on forbearance for financial hardship
  • Borrowers not assigned a dedicated representative



If you’re looking to refinance student loans, Laurel Road could be a great choice. They don’t include junk fees, they have competitive interest rates, and they offer a few unique perks for medical residents.

In fact, we like Laurel Road so much that we included them in our Best Lenders to Refinance Student Loans guide. Read our full review to see if Laurel Road could be a good fit for your situation.

What Makes Laurel Road Unique?

As usual, we begin by taking a look at the distinctive features and benefits that set Laurel Road apart from other student loan lenders.

1. Low Payments for Medical Residents

Residency can be a difficult time for aspiring doctors and other medical professionals. They have to begin making payments on their massive student loans, yet their income will be average for several years.

To help medical students get through this tough financial period, Laurel Road only requires them to make $100 payments during residency and fellowship. You can even continue making those $100 payments up to 6 months after you finish your residency.

That’s nice, but it’s important to note that Splash Financial currently offers the most appealing program for medical residents. They only require $1 payments during residency or fellowship.

Related: Read our editorial review of Splash Financial.

Here are the current interest rates for Laurel Road’s medical student loan refinancing program.

Laurel Road Review

I highly recommend that you compare Laurel Road’s rates with other top lenders by using Credible.

  • Credible is like the Kayak of student loans.
  • It gives you the ability to compare several student different student loan refi companies at one time.
  • You should never take out any new student loan or refi until you’ve checked Credible to see what other lenders can offer you.

Related: Read our review of Credible and our guide to using their comparison tool.

2. Parent Plus Loan Refinancing

While it can be difficult to find student loan refinance companies that will refinance Parent Plus loans, Laurel Road is one of the few that will.

Not only will Laurel Road allow parents to refinance these loans themselves, but they can also request to transfer them to their children.

Children will need to be professionally employed in order to have the loans transferred to their names and the interest rate that they are offered will be based on their creditworthiness.

Here are the interest rates that Laurel Road is currently offering on Parent Plus loan refinances.

Laurel Road Review

Apply now for a Laurel Road student loan or refinance.

3. Graduate School Loans

Grad school can be expensive, especially since the federal government interest for grad school loans aren’t nearly as attractive as the rates that they offer on undergrad loans.

For the 2019-2019 school year, Grad PLUS loans come with an interest rate of 7.08%. That means grad students may have a better chance of saving on student loans by choosing a private lender than an undergrad would have.

On the other hand, grad students tend to have higher incomes after graduation, so they are a high-value target for lenders. For this reason, Laurel Road and other private lenders, offer special student loans for graduate students.

Not Every Graduate School Program Qualifies

But to qualify for Laurel Road’s graduate student loan program, you’ll need to be studying specific degree programs at eligible schools. Some of the examples that Laurel Road gives of disciplines that qualify are:

  • Dentistry
  • Law
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Nursing
  • Physician’s Assistant
  • Medicine

You may be able to qualify if you are studying in other disciplines as well, but these are the examples that they give.

If you’re considering going with a private lender for your MBA program, you may also want to check out the MBA loans offered by CommonBond, which include internship programs and a career summer development series.

Related: Read our editorial review of CommonBond.

Here are the current interest rates being offered on Laurel Road’s graduate school loans.

Laurel Road Review

Apply now for a Laurel Road student loan or refinance.

What Else Do You Need to Know About Laurel Road?

There are a few other things that you’ll want to know about Laurel Road before deciding whether or not they’re a good fit.

Junk Fees

Laurel Road fares well in this department.

  • Origination fee: No
  • Prepayment penalty: No
  • Late fees: Yes, 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less, applied after a payment is 15 days late.

Customer service

  • MOHELA is the loan servicer on Laurel Road student loans
  • Laurel Road does have an in-house customer service team
  • If you have a complaint, they do have a process whereby your issue can be escalated to a customer service manager.
  • Borrowers do not get assigned a dedicated representative.

Repayment Periods

All of Laurel Road’s student loans come with the following repayment term options.

  • 5 years
  • 7 years
  • 10 years
  • 15 years
  • 20 years

This is pretty much the industry standard in regards to repayment term periods. If you’re looking for flexibility on your repayment terms, you may want to check out Earnest.

Related: Read our editorial review of Earnest.

Requirements

Here are the key requirements and eligibility criteria that you need to be aware of with Laurel Road.

  • Minimum loan amount: $5,000
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Not disclosed
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Not disclosed
  • State Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Allows co-signers: Yes, and allows co-signer releases as well
  • Must have graduated: Yes, with few exceptions, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Must have attended a Title IV-accredited school: Yes

Payment Flexibility and Forgiveness

  • Academic deferment: Technically no,  although they do offer lower payments during residency for medical students.
  • Forbearance: Laurel road will postpone loan payments for three months at a time, for up to 12 months total. You’ll need to prove that you have a qualified economic hardship, such as unpaid maternity leave or having lost your job through no fault of your own.
  • Death and disability forgiveness: Yes. (this is a big deal as many private lenders do not offer this benefit)

Apply now for a Laurel Road student loan or refinance.

Our Warning to Federal Student Loan Borrowers

As we make clear in our student loan refinance guide, federal student loan borrowers need to think long and hard before refinancing into private loans.

When you move a federal loan to private, you lose all of your federal student loan benefits. While Laurel Road offers quite a few benefits themselves, there are a few that they cannot offer — specifically income-driven repayment plans and eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

You, ultimately, may decide that the lower monthly payments would outweigh the loss of the federal student loan benefits. But that’s a decision that you should make with a full understanding of what you’d be giving up.

Conclusion:

Laurel Road could be a good fit for medical professionals in residency and graduate students. They could also be a good choice if you’re wanting to refinance a Parent Plus loan or transfer it to a student.

If you fit into one those of categories (and if you have a healthy income and good credit score), refinancing your student loans through Laurel Road could save you a lot of money!

Apply now for a Laurel Road student loan or refinance.

About the author 

Clint Proctor

Hi, I'm Clint! I love writing about everything personal finance. In addition to this site, my work has been featured on several major publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Credit Karma, and U.S. News and World Report. My hope is that you'll be able to find plenty of helpful information and inspiration on this site to help you reach your financial goals. Thanks for visiting!

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