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Refinancing Student Loans Just Got Easier

4/24/2019


 

News Release
April 24, 2019

Contact: Sandy Connolly (651) 259-3902

 

St. Paul, MN - Student loan borrowers locked into high-interest educational loans have a new opportunity to refinance with lower rates, thanks to changes recently made to the SELF Refi program.

SELF Refi was created in January 2016 to help qualifying borrowers both lower their monthly payments and their overall debt. Initial parameters presented challenges for some borrowers, but as the program has become more sustainable, the requirements have been eased to make refinancing loans more accessible.

“Student debt is one of the most pressing economic challenges of our time, limiting a generation’s ability to buy a home or start a family, even influencing their career options,” said Senator Greg Clausen, an early advocate for the creation of the SELF Refi program. “I’m pleased to see this program succeed and encourage Minnesotans with student loans to contact the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to see if they qualify.”   

Changes to the SELF Refi program include:

  • Reduced minimum FICO score for the cosigner
  • Increased maximum permitted debt-to-income ratio for the cosigner
  • Increased maximum permitted debt-to-income ratio for the borrower if they apply with a cosigner
  • Allows married couples to qualify with household income and expenses, expanding SELF Refi to some borrowers who may not be working

“Consumers are able to refinance home loans, auto loans, even lower credit card interest rates, but low-interest student loan refinancing options aren’t always readily available,” said Commissioner Dennis Olson, Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE). “Even a small change in the monthly payment can make a significant difference in the lives of Minnesotans who find themselves constrained by student debt.”

Since the program began, OHE has disbursed nearly $40 million in new loans to over 1,150 borrowers. 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 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. 

More information on the SELF Refi program is available at: www.selfrefi.state.mn.us


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