How to Get or Refinance Arkansas Student Loans

How to Get or Refinance Arkansas Student Loans

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The average student loan debt among Arkansas graduates of the Class of 2018 was $26,579, according to The Institute for College Access & Success. While this figure came in below the national average of $29,200, it’s still a significant amount of money to pay back. If you’re considering Arkansas student loans, it’s crucial to find an affordable loan with low costs of borrowing.

This guide will help you to get the Arkansas student loans you need, or if you’ve already borrowed, there are tips about refinancing your debt to save money:

How to get Arkansas student loans
How to refinance Arkansas student loans
Final tips on student loans in Arkansas

Arkansas student loan debt: At a glance
Average debt at graduation $26,579
Percent of students who graduate with debt 53%
National ranking for amount of debt 37
National average debt at graduation (Class of 2019) $29,900
Source: The Institute for College Access & Success

How to get Arkansas student loans

When you apply for student loans to attend school in Arkansas, it’s best to exhaust options for loans from the government before obtaining private student loans.

Federal loans often have lower interest rates than their private equivalents, as well as access to federal loan forgiveness options and income-driven repayment (IDR) plans that cap your monthly payments at a percentage of your disposable income.

Federal student loans

Most Arkansas students borrow from the Department of Education through its direct loan program.

Direct loans, also known as Stafford loans, include both subsidized and unsubsidized loans from the federal government. Subsidized loans will cover your interest during undergraduate study, but you must demonstrate financial need to qualify.

Unsubsidized loans don’t cover in-school interest costs, but they’re available to graduate and professional students — as well as undergrads — and they’re awarded regardless of financial need.

For both subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans, the government charges a low fixed interest rate and set origination fee, so there’s no need to shop around. There’s also no credit check required for these government loans, and students are automatically eligible once they submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA.

The state of Arkansas also provides resources to help students, although the state doesn’t offer loans itself. Students can visit the Arkansas Student Loan Authority website to find out about their federal loan options and get free help with college planning.

Graduate students and parents of undergrads may be eligible for PLUS loans, which are also federal student loans. But PLUS loans are not available if you have adverse credit. Unlike direct loans, PLUS loans aren’t always a better deal than private student loans, so it’s important to compare all your options.

Private student loans

There are limits on the amount that students are eligible to take out in direct loans, both on an annual basis and throughout their time in school. Since direct loans alone are often insufficient to fully fund college, many students also take out private student loans.

Private student loans don’t offer the same kind of borrower protections that federal loans do. There’s no IDR option and no loan forgiveness for public service work. There’s also more variation in rates and terms among private lenders, which is why it’s so important to compare options to find your best deals.

To qualify for private student loans, you’ll need to have good credit and proof of income. Many students will likely have to have a cosigner to get approved. A cosigner shares legal responsibility for loan repayment, so it is a big responsibility for someone.

Students looking for private student loans in Arkansas have many options, including:

Centennial Bank

Carries the Smart Option Student Loan from Sallie Mae
APRs run from 25%-12.35%, as of July 20, 2020

College Ave Student Loans

Variable APRs: 1.24% – 11.98%
Fixed APRs: 3.99% – 12.99%
Also offers parent loans

Ascent Student Loans

Has a 1% cashback graduation reward
Variable APRs: 2.72% – 13.00%
Fixed APRs: 3.53% – 14.50%

LendKey

Variable APRs: 1.25% – 11.76%
Fixed APRs: 4.25% – 12.35%
Offers cosigner release with certain lenders

How to refinance Arkansas student loans

After graduation, Arkansas student loan borrowers also have ways to make their monthly payments more affordable. One of these options is to refinance the student loans.

Refinancing is generally done with private lenders, including local and national banks, credit unions or online lenders. The federal government doesn’t offer loan refinancing, although it is possible to consolidate certain federal loans through the Department of Education if you’d prefer to have one big loan to pay instead of many, or want to change your length of repayment.

Unlike consolidation, refinancing can significantly lower your interest rate, depending on how high your rates are now and how strong a credit profile you (or your cosigner) has. As a result, student loan refinancing can reduce both your monthly payments and the total cost of your loan.

But the downside to refinancing is that you lose access to federal borrower protections, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness and IDR programs, since your loan will now be private.

You should carefully weigh whether it makes sense for you to give up these federal loan benefits to achieve the savings that refinancing Arkansas student loans could provide. If you want to refinance, some financial institutions offering this option include:

SoFi

Has fixed refinancing APRs of 2.99% – 6.24% and variable APRs at 1.99% – 6.24%
Unemployment protection program will pause your payments and help you find work

Earnest

Fixed refinancing APRs at 2.98% – 5.79% and variable APRs at 1.99% – 5.64%
Protections also available if you’re having trouble making payments

Education Loan Finance

Has a wide variety of repayment terms, from five to 20 years
Offers fixed refinancing APRs at 3.21% – 5.79% and variable APRs at 2.39% – 6.01%

As with private student loans, you’ll want to do some student loan refinance comparison shopping since terms can vary widely from one lender to another with these loan types.

Final tips on student loans in Arkansas

Whether you’re going to school in Arkansas now or have graduated and want to take control over your Arkansas student loans, understanding different financing options is key to making school affordable. Remember to max out scholarships and grants first, then take federal loans, and finally turn to private loans to make up the difference.

Likewise, if you’re looking into refinancing previous loans, also check out some of the forgiveness options available.

By borrowing as little as you can and choosing the right loan products, your path to freedom from debt should be shorter, quicker and smoother. You might even pay off your student loans ahead of schedule.

Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.

Need a student loan?
Here are our top student loan lenders of 2020!

LenderVariable APREligibility 
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.

Important Disclosures for College Ave.
CollegeAve Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
 
This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a first year graduate student borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.10% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $141.66 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $16,699.21. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 7/1/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.

2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
.br-none brdisplay:none3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
Discover Disclosures
Aggregate loan limits apply.
Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
Lowest APRs shown are available for the most creditworthy applicants and include an interest-only repayment discount and Auto Debit Reward. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including undergraduate and graduate loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.375% as of July 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.
Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for the Discover Private Consolidation Loan and include an Auto Debit Reward. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.375% as of July 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.

Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.
Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Earnest Disclosures
Rates include 0.25% Auto Pay Discount
 
Explanation of Rates “With Autopay” (APD)
Rates shown include 0.25% APR discount when client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.

Available Terms
For Cosigned loans – 5, 7, 10, 12, 15 years. 
Primary Only – 10, 12, 15 years

In school deferred payment is not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NY, PA, and WA).

Important Disclosures for SoFi.
sofiDisclosures

UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.76% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.90% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.83% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.80% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.11% to 11.81% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.78% to 11.72% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.26% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.90% to 11.16% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 07/10/2020. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).

Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Ascent Disclosures

Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.

Competitive variable rates calculated monthly at the time of loan approval based on a margin plus the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. The current LIBOR is 0.176%, which may adjust monthly. Your interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes. Rates are effective as of 08/01/2020 and reflect an Automatic Payment Discount. Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. (See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)

Undergraduate Loans: Variable rate loans have an Annual Percentage (APR) range between 2.72% – 13.00%. Fixed rate loans have an APR range between 3.53% and 14.50% based on your credit worthiness and your selected program. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25% (for Credit-Based Loans) on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% (for Undergraduate Future Income-Based Loans ) discount on the highest offered rate. (See Undergraduate Loan repayment examples.)
Graduate Loans: Variable rate loans have an APR range between 5.33% and 11.42%. Fixed rate loans have an APR range between 6.14% and 11.92% based on your credit worthiness and your selected program. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25%. (See Graduate Loan repayment examples.)

Payments may be deferred. Subject to lender discretion, forbearance and/or deferment options may be available for borrowers who are encountering financial distress.
Making interest only or partial interest payments while in school will not reduce the principal balance of the loan. There are three (3) flexible in-school repayment options that include fully deferred, interest only and $25 minimum repayment. (See Undergraduate Loan repayment examples.)
Flexible repayment plans may be offered up to a fifteen (15) year repayment term for a variable rate loan and ten (10) year repayment term for a fixed rate loan. Students must be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. Minimum loan amount is $2,000.
Interest rate reduction of either 0.25% (for Credit-Based Loans) or 2.00% (for Undergraduate Future Income-Based Loans) applies only when the borrower and/or cosigner sign up for automatic payments and the payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month. The amount of the discount is dependent upon the loan product and credit history of the borrower at the time of application. Interest rate reduction(s) will not apply during periods when no payment is due, including periods of in-school, deferment, grace or forbearance, unless a regular payment amount has been arranged with the servicer. If you have two (2) consecutive returned payments for Nonsufficient Funds, we may cancel your automatic debit enrollment and you will lose the interest rate reduction. You will then need to re-qualify and re-enroll in automatic debit payments to receive the interest rate reduction.(See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
All applicants (individual and cosigner) are required to complete a brief online financial literacy course as part of the application process to be eligible for funding.
Eligibility, loan amount and other loan terms are dependent on several factors, which may include: loan product, other financial aid, creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors. Aggregate loan limits may apply. The cost of attendance is determined and certified by the educational institution.
The legal age for entering into contracts is eighteen (18) years of age in every state except Alabama where it is nineteen (19) years old, Nebraska where it is nineteen (19) years old (only for wards of the state), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico where it is twenty-one (21) years old.
1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. In order to be eligible for the 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward, borrower must meet the following criteria after graduation:

The student borrower has graduated from the degree program that the loan was used to fund.
The student borrower may change majors and/or transfer to a different school, but must obtain the same level of degree (e.g. – undergraduate or graduate)
The graduation date is more than 90 days and less than five (5) years after the date of the loan’s first disbursement.
Any loan that the student has borrowed under the Ascent loan is not more than 30-days delinquent or in a default status as of the graduation date and until any Graduation Reward is paid.

Students can apply to release their cosigner and continue with the loan in only their name after making the first 24 consecutive regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time and meeting the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the loan without a cosigner.

* Application times vary depending on the applicant’s ability to supply the necessary information for submission.

Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restrictions. Loans are offered through CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS #1175900).

 Rates are as of July 1, 2019 and include auto-pay discount. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

1.24% – 11.98%1 Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

1.25% – 9.44%*,2 Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

1.24% – 12.49%3 Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

1.24% – 11.44%4 Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit Earnest

1.90% – 11.66%5 Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.72% – 13.00%6 Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Ascent

3.52% – 9.50%7 Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit CommonBond

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

The post How to Get or Refinance Arkansas Student Loans appeared first on Student Loan Hero.

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