How To Refinance Your Student Loans Even If You Didn’t Graduate

Note that the student loan situation has changed due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the relief efforts of the government, student loan lenders and others. Check out our Student Loans Hero Coronavirus Information Center for news and additional details.

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People enroll in college with the anticipation that a degree will lead to better job prospects, higher salaries, and more opportunities in the future. But for various reasons, including tuition fees and life circumstances, some students have to leave school early.

After leaving school, you are still required to make payments on your student loan debt. Refinancing can help many people manage their student debt, but refinancing student loans without a degree can be difficult.

To review your student loan refinancing options and develop a repayment strategy if you haven’t graduated, let’s look at the following:

Can you refinance a student loan without a diploma?

For several people, refinancing and consolidation of student loans makes their debt more manageable. They may benefit from a lower interest rate, different repayment terms, or even a lower monthly payment. This can free up money in their budgets for other financial priorities.

If you didn’t graduate, finding a lender who will refinance your loans without a degree can be a challenge. Many lenders require that you be a graduate to be eligible for refinancing offers.

But the lenders who will refinance the loans of non-graduates do exist. Citizens Bank, for example, offers refinance loans to eligible people who have not graduated, but the application requirements are slightly different.

To be eligible, you must have at least $ 10,000 in student loans to refinance and you must have made 12 eligible loan payments after leaving school. You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien with a valid Social Security number.

A few other lenders will refinance student loans for borrowers who have not graduated. PNC, for example, does not require a degree to apply for refinancing, but applicants cannot be educated and must make payments on the loans they wish to refinance.

Some lenders who refinance student loans without a degree
Lender Select requirements (not a complete list)
Citizens Bank Make 12 full monthly installments on time before applying.
PNC You are no longer registered and you are active in reimbursement.
EdVestinU You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and are at least 18 years of age.
Discover You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and are at least 18 years of age.
Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Education Advantage Loan You have entered your grace period or the repayment of the loans you want to refinance.
INVESTED You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and you or your co-signer has been employed continuously for 12 months.
MEFA You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have not experienced any delinquency in the past 12 months.

Other reimbursement options

If you are unable to refinance student loans without a degree, there are always ways to make it easier to manage your federal student loans. You may be eligible for income-based repayment plans, deferral, or forbearance.

Income-based repayment plans

If you have federal student loans, the standard repayment plan is 10 years after you drop out of school, graduate, or drop out. But if your payments under this plan are too large for you, you can sign up for a income based repayment plan.

There are four federal income-based repayment plans: Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Income-Based Repayment (ICR), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE). as you earn (REPAYED).

While the requirements and features of each plan vary, the principle of the four is the same: your monthly loan payment is capped at a percentage of your discretionary income, and your repayment term is extended. This can drastically reduce your payments.


In some situations, you can put payments on hold until you get back on your feet. If you’ve lost your job or face other economic hardships that have forced you to drop out of school, these options can give you a break in payments.

With the deferral, you can pause federal loan payments for up to three years. Also, if you have federally subsidized student loans, the government will cover your interest payments. You may be eligible for a deferral if you are unemployed, unable to find full-time employment, or are experiencing financial hardship.


If you don’t qualify for deferral, you may be eligible for forbearance, in which your federal payments can be suspended for up to twelve months at a time.

Unlike deferral, all loans will earn interest during this period. You may be eligible for forbearance if your payments total more than 20% of your gross income, if you are struggling economically, or if you are battling an illness, among other circumstances. Private student lenders can also offer forbearance; check with your lender about their policies.

To find out if you are eligible for deferral or forbearance, contact your loan officer directly.

Effectively Manage Non-Degree Student Loans

If you’ve dropped out of school and are struggling to manage your loans, do your homework to find out what options are available to you. You may be able to refinance student loans with a more competitive interest rate, benefit from an income-based repayment plan, or defer payments by adjournment or abstention.

Marty Minchin and André Pentis contributed to this report.

About Robert Pierson

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