Laurel Road Student Loans: 2020 Review

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Laurel Road began originating loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of students refinance their loans and fund their graduate schooling. It offers a broad selection of online graduate student loan products that cater specifically to students in the health care field.

With low rates, few fees and multiple repayment options, Laurel Road is worth considering if you’re a medical or dental student or if you’re looking to refinance your student loans.

Laurel Road features

Laurel Road is an online lender that offers student loan refinancing and graduate school loans for approved programs. It offers unique features for people in health care fields; for example, students in the health care industry can refinance their loans as soon as their final semester of school, while students with other degrees must wait to refinance until they’ve been employed for 12 months following graduation. Its graduate school loans are also only available to people in select medical and dental programs.

Laurel Road student loan snapshot

Loan types
Graduate, refinancing
Loan amounts
Graduate loans: $5,000 to 100% of the total cost of attendance
Refinancing loans: Starting at $5,000 (maximum $50,000 for Associate Degree loans)
Interest rates
Graduate loans: Starting at 4.39% variable and fixed APR (with autopay)
Refinancing loans: Starting at 1.89% variable APR and 2.80% fixed APR (with autopay)
Repayment terms
Graduate loans: 5 to 20 years
Refinancing loans: Up to 20 years
Grace period
6 months
Co-signer required?
No

Pros and cons of Laurel Road student loans

Here are few pros and cons to consider before refinancing with Laurel Road.

Pros

  • Special rates: If you are a physician, dentist, nurse, optometrist or physician assistant, you may be eligible for temporarily reduced refinancing rates.
  • Low fees: Laurel Road doesn’t charge any application, origination or disbursement fees.
  • No hard credit check: You can check to see if you qualify with a soft credit check, which won’t impact your credit score.
  • Term variety: Many lenders lock you into a limited selection of term lengths. With Laurel Road refinancing, you can choose any term under 20 years, giving you more flexibility in your payments.

Cons

  • Strict qualification: Laurel Road’s private loans are designed for people pursuing degrees in health care, and not all graduate programs will qualify. Check to see if your school and program qualifies before applying.
  • Relatively short grace period: Laurel Road’s six-month grace period pales in comparison to that of some other lenders; Ascent‘s grace period, for instance, stretches from nine to 36 months for some programs.

Laurel Road student loan requirements

Eligibility requirements vary by loan type, but there are some common characteristics to be aware of.

In order to qualify for a graduate school loan through Laurel Road, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Enrolled or planning to enroll at least half time at an eligible program/school.

In order to refinance a student loan, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Currently employed.
  • A graduate with a four-year undergraduate and/or graduate degrees from a Title IV accredited institution.

If you’re currently pursuing an associate degree, you may also be eligible to refinance if you’re either enrolled in the final term of the program with an offer of employment or if you’ve graduated with an associate degree in an eligible program and are employed.

Who is this loan good for?

Laurel Road is a good option for borrowers in the health care field who are looking for an online lender with competitive rates, low fees and plentiful repayment plans.

Interest rates and terms

Laurel Road offers two discounts: a 0.25 percent discount for setting up automatic payments and a 0.25 percent discount for accepting employment after graduation. The rates below include the autopay discount.

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Student loan refinancing Starting at 1.89% APR Starting at 2.80% APR
Parent PLUS loan refinancing Starting at 1.89% APR Starting at 2.80% APR
Medical school loan refinancing Starting at 2.28% APR Starting at 3.08% APR
Graduate school student loans Starting at 4.39% APR Starting at 4.39% APR

Fees and penalties

Laurel Road charges very few fees. You won’t be charged an application, disbursement, prepayment or origination fee. However, you will be charged a late fee of 5 percent or $28 if you fail to make a payment within 15 days of the due date, plus a $20 returned check fee if you have insufficient funds in your account.

What are repayment terms and grace period for Laurel Road?

Laurel Road offers five- to 20-year repayment plans for all of its graduate school student loans and refinancing options.

Here are its repayment options for graduate school student loans:

  • Full deferment: You don’t make payments during your schooling or your grace period.
  • Flat repayment: You’ll pay a flat rate of $50 a month while you’re in school and during your grace period.
  • Interest-only repayment: You’ll make interest-only payments while in school and during your grace period.
  • Immediate repayment: You start making full payments as soon as you start school.

Laurel Road offers a six-month grace period from the time of graduation.

Customer service

Laurel Road gets an “A-” from the Better Business Bureau. KeyBank, the company that provides Laurel Road’s loans, gets an “A+.” The score is calculated through the company’s complaint history and how it responds to complaints.

Laurel Road’s customer service department is available to take calls at 855-245-0989 from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday and between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. EST on Friday.

You can also email help@laurelroad.com, or you can use the Laurel Road live chat on the website between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST on Friday and Saturday.

How to apply for a loan for Laurel Road

The application process, whether for refinancing your existing loans or taking out a new loan loan, can be done completely online.

If you’re applying for student loan refinancing, here’s what the application process will look like, according to Laurel Road:

  1. Initially answer a few questions and authorize a soft credit pull to determine your estimated rates (which are preliminary and are subject to change under underwriting review).
  2. Upload the necessary documents to the online dashboard and authorize a hard credit pull. This completes the application, and if you’re approved, you’ll receive your final rates and terms.
  3. Select your loan type and e-sign the provided documents on the dashboard.
  4. Begin payments one month from your disbursement date.

If you’re applying for a graduate student loan, the process will look similar. After checking rates with a soft credit pull, you’ll have to authorize a hard credit check and provide the requested documentation, which can include information about you, your co-signer, your education and your cost of attendance.

What to do if your application gets turned down

The first thing you’ll need to do is get in touch with Laurel Road’s customer service department to find out why you didn’t qualify. It could be that a processing error occurred, or there’s a possibility that your credit score or income hindered your approval. Knowing why you didn’t qualify will give you insight into your financial situation and can save you from multiple hard credit inquiries in the future.

If your creditworthiness was the reason you didn’t get approved, there are steps you can take to improve your financial health. Improving your credit score is a great way to become a more creditworthy borrower. You could also enlist the help of a co-signer to increase your chances of approval.

It’s important to shop around for the best deal and compare rates from multiple lenders. Discover, SoFi and Sallie Mae are a few lenders that offer competitive rates and low fees.

How Bankrate rates Laurel Road

Overall Score 4.3
Repayment Options 3.8
Affordability 3.5
Customer Experience 4.0

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.