Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
St. Paul, MN - New changes to the state's SELF Refi program will be welcome news for Minnesotans looking to lower their student loan debt by refinancing their loans.
Launched in January 2016, SELF Refi was created to help qualifying borrowers locked into higher rate private loans both lower their monthly payments and their overall debt. Current credit requirements of the program presented challenges for some borrowers; the new eligibility criteria will make refinancing loans more accessible to Minnesotans.
Beginning June 29th, the minimum FICO score needed to refinance a student loan without a cosigner will be 700, down from the previous required score of 720. The debt-to-income ratio is increased to 50% with a co-signer. Both of these changes are geared toward making refinancing student loans more accessible to Minnesotans.
"Minnesota's student loan refinance program has helped nearly 1,000 Minnesotans reduce their loan payments and save money since January 2016," said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. "We are excited to announce improved eligibility requirements that will allow even more Minnesotans with student loans to participate. I encourage Minnesotans with student loans to contact the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to see if they qualify."
"Our primary goal in structuring SELF Refi was to create a program that offers a cost-savings for borrowers and is sustainable for the long-term," said Commissioner Larry Pogemiller, Minnesota Office of Higher Education. "Eighteen months later, we're happy to be able to expand SELF Refi to include more student loan borrowers."
Since the program was launched, over $33 million has been disbursed, said Pogemiller. Under some scenarios, a borrower could reduce their monthly payment by as much as $200 a month, or their overall debt by as much as $25,000.
The SELF Refi program is managed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) and patterned after the SELF Loan, an OHE loan program that has disbursed over $2 billion in loans since 1984 to help students pay for college. Neither program relies on public dollars, but is instead funded through the sale of bonds.
To be eligible for the SELF Refi program, borrowers must be a Minnesota resident, have completed at least one postsecondary credentialed program and meet certain credit criteria. The majority of all student loans qualify.