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RISLA Student Loans: 2023 Review

Updated on Jan. 1, 2023
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At a glance

Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Repayment Options
Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
Customer Experience
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

About Bankrate Score

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a private student loan company operating in all 50 states. RISLA sets itself apart from most other lenders in the private student loan space by offering income-based repayment and partial loan forgiveness options. It’s a particularly good option for borrowers who live or go to school in Rhode Island, as they could qualify for additional rate discounts.

Loan amount $1,000 to $250,000
APR from 2.69%
Clock Wait
Term lengths 5 to 15 years

This lender is best for students who are looking for unique student loan benefits should consider RISLA. It’s one of the only private lenders to offer income-based repayment, which is typically only available with federal loans. RISLA is also a good choice for borrowers who want to refinance their student loans but who have not earned a degree.

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RISLA pros and cons


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    Income-based repayment : Borrowers have access to income-based repayment, which will reduce payments to 15 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income. This is a rarity among private lenders; typically this option is only available through the federal government.

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    Multiyear loan option: With RISLA, you can submit one application and be approved for multiple years of school. Each year you need funds, you’ll simply provide the amount you’re requesting without a full application.

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    Partial loan forgiveness: Borrowers can have up to $2,000 in student loans forgiven when they complete an internship.


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    High income requirements: For any of RISLA’s loans, you or your co-signer must earn at least $40,000 annually to qualify.

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    Few repayment options: RISLA’s private student loans have only two repayment terms, and your repayment period is determined by whether you choose immediate or deferred repayment. Its refinancing loans also limit your choice to five, 10 or 15 years.

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    No variable-rate loans: Some borrowers may prefer a variable interest rate on student loans, especially in a low-rate environment. However, all of RISLA’s loans come with fixed interest rates.

Do you qualify?

RISLA doesn’t disclose its minimum credit score or debt-to-income ratio requirements. That said, borrowers are required the have the following in order to be approved for a loan:

  • Be enrolled or planning to attend a Title IV degree-granting program at an eligible public or nonprofit school.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have a minimum income of at least $40,000 a year.
  • Meet RISLA’s credit, liquidity and debt-to-income ratio requirements.
These rules apply to both private and refinancing loans.

RISLA: In the details

How to contact RISLA

Borrowers can contact RISLA’s customer service department by calling 800-758-7562 for private student loans or 866-268-9419 for student loan refinancing. You can also email RISLA’s customer support team operates Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET.

Loan rates

For RISLA’s deferred loans, interest accrues while the borrower is in school. This interest is capitalized, meaning it will be added to the principal balance once the repayment period begins. Borrowers can also choose to make interest-only payments to decrease the amount that is capitalized.

RISLA provides a 0.25 percent interest rate discount when you set up automatic payments directly from the RISLA portal. Automatic bill pay from your bank will not count as autopay. The rates listed below include this discount.

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Undergraduate student loans N/A 4.99% to 6.94% APR
Graduate student loans N/A 4.99% to 6.94% APR
Certificate loans N/A 4.99% to 6.94% APR
Parent loans N/A 6.34% APR
Student loan refinancing N/A 5.29% to 7.74% APR

Repayment terms and options

Only RISLA student loans with deferred repayment have a grace period. The first bill for all immediate repayment loans will be issued 15 days after the loan is disbursed, while the deferred repayment plan gives borrowers six months after leaving school to begin making payments. All RISLA parent student loans have immediate repayment.

Deferred student loans have a 180-month term, while the term for immediate repayment loans is 120 months. Student loans taken out by parents also have a 120-month term. Borrowers refinancing loans can choose a five-, 10- or 15-year term.

RISLA offers in-school deferment for borrowers who go back to grad school and forbearance for borrowers experiencing financial hardship, for a total of 24 months over the life of the loan. 

How to apply for a loan with RISLA

To apply for a student loan through RISLA, you’ll need to provide the following:

  • A copy of your ID.
  • Your address and other contact details.
  • Your social security number.
  • Proof of employment (if applicable).
  • Bank account details and asset information.

The application process can take between five to 10 minutes to complete and can be done 100 percent online. If you’re applying with a co-signer, they will also need to provide all of the information listed above.

Once you submit this information, RISLA will conduct a credit check to determine if you qualify. The credit check will reveal your credit score, previous loan history and debt-to-income ratio. RISLA may also request a pay stub or tax return to verify that your annual income is at least $40,000. 

If you meet RISLA’s requirements, you’ll get a confirmation letter over email, which will include all of your loan’s details.


How Bankrate rates RISLA

Overall Score 4.1
Repayment Options 3.8 RISLA has several types of loans but offers few repayment term options for each.
Affordability 4.4 RISLA’s APRs are low, especially for borrowers in Rhode Island, though it does charge a few fees.
Customer Experience 4.0 RISLA has an online portal and an automatic payment option but undisclosed customer service hours.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by 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.