You've put in the work, sent off the paperwork for refinancing your student loans, and....got rejected. What should you do now?

Student loan relief options can be great help when you are having trouble paying down your student loans, but they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

When it comes to student loan refinancing, there is so much to look forward to because you can combine all your student loans into a single loan and obtain a new lender with a potentially lower interest rate.

Refinancing could help you save tons of money over the life of your student loan debt repayment if you are able to secure a lower interest rate and better ideas.

While student loan refinancing sounds nice, it isn’t a for sure thing as your application to refinance could get rejected. Here are a few things to do if your student loan refinance application was denied.

Find out why your application wasn’t accepted

Student loan refinance lenders have criteria you may need to meet in order to refinance your loans. Some important factors include your income, debt-to-income ratio, credit history, and employment status.

If you are having trouble paying off your student loans and considering refinancing, you may feel like you don’t have the income to continue to make timely payments. However, in order to get approved for refinancing, you’ll need to prove that you have a job and earn enough to make payments on your loans—a Catch-22.

If you have a lot of debt, your debt-to-income ratio may be high which will make you appear risky to lenders and student loan refinance companies. However, if it’s typically at or below 40 percent of your income, you might still get approved.

Your credit worthiness is another huge factor, considering you can’t secure a lower interest rate if your credit is terrible. Experian refers to a Vantage Score at or above 700 and a FICO score at or above 670 to be a good credit score. If you don’t have at least good credit, you probably won’t qualify for student loan refinancing.

Determine what you can do to get approved

Now that you’ve identified exactly what factors contributed to your rejected student loan refinancing application, you can start planning out what you need to do to improve your chances of getting approved the next time around.

If you don’t get accepted initially, realize that there are many different student loan refinance lenders and even big companies who specialize in helping you refinance your loans and they all have their own list of criteria.

While you probably shouldn’t apply several times, it might be worth looking into a second or third time if you get denied the first time around. If you are going to apply again, make sure you read through the eligibility requirements thoroughly and make sure everything on your end is up to par.

You’ll want to check your credit and take steps to improve it if needed. You can track your credit with sites like CreditKarma, CreditSesame, and myFICO. If you have credit cards, make sure you are keeping your utilization rate below 20 percent and continue to make payments on your student loans during the refinancing application process. A missed or late payment could negatively impact your credit score.

In terms of income, you may not be able to make any drastic changes, but you could ask your employer for a raise or pick up a second job. You can also see if you can apply for refinancing with a co-signer to improve your chances of getting approved.

Consider other options

If you can’t qualify for student loan refinancing but still need to do something about your debt, you’ll have to consider other options.

First, you might want to talk to your lender and express your concerns if you fear you may not be able to make regular student loan payments. See if they can alter your payment plan in any way. If they see that you have been consistently keeping up with payments, they may be able to consolidate your loans or offer you another solution.

If you have both private and federal loans, you might want to look into federal student loan relief options for a portion of your student loan debt.

You can change the structure of your repayment plan or even apply to put your student loans in deferment or forbearance if you’re undergoing financial hardship.

Another option would be to lower your expenses so you can free up more of your money to pay off debt. You might want to consider moving in with family or getting a roommate to lower your housing costs. The lifestyle changes you make can only be temporary until you get a better handle on your student loans.

Finally, it would be beneficial to focus on earning more if you can. Getting a second job or establishing a side hustle can provide you with more money to pay off some of your student loan debt and other debt.

Earning more could also help you meet common student loan refinancing requirements by increasing your income, having a positive payment history, maintaining a reasonable debt-to-income ratio and having a good credit score (if you can use your extra earnings to pay off other debt like consumer debt it could boost your score).

Summary

Student loan refinancing can be a great option, but it’s not your only option. If you’re considering refinancing your student loans, the first step you take should be confirming if it makes sense financially to do so. Compare quotes and current rates from lenders and see if refinancing your loans would actually save you money in the long run.

Try our student loan refinancing calculator to see how much you could save by refinancing.

If your application to refinance doesn’t get approved, don’t mark off the idea of refinancing completely. Find out why you weren’t approved and see how you can improve your chances of getting approved if you were to apply again.

Then, weigh your other options and strive to continue to make regular payments and communicate with your lender.

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