Refinance Your Student Loans Without A Degree

Refinancing is a great way to help ,manage your debt, but what if you don't have your degree? You still can avail the benefits of refinancing your student loans. Learn more about refinancing for private and federal student loans. Discover the alternatives to refinancing.

Updated by Akshata Patil on 28th February 2020

You enrolled in a college with aspirations such as getting a better life, a better job, good salary and so on. But do all the students that join the college end up graduating? Out of 10 students, less than 5 of them do not graduate. Unfortunately, you too might be one of the 5 students who do not graduate.

There may be many reasons for your dreams to get shattered. Such as high education cost, illness, low-income family, or the major that you have chosen does not interest you anymore.

Even though you left college before graduating you still have the student loans to take care of. To the loan providers, it does not matter whether you graduate or don’t. It is still your responsibility to repay the loans as per the agreement.

Table of contents

Refinancing for Private Student loan

Is refinancing possible for non-degree holders? Yes, it is possible. But it is not easy to find a lender who will refinance your loan as per your convenience. Here is a list of the banks that offer to refinance to the non-degree holders along with rates and the minimum credit score and loan balance requirements - 

Citizens bank

Fixed APR- 3.45-9.49%

Variable APR- 2.34-9.33%

Minimum credit score- Not disclosed

Minimum Loan Balance- $10,000 


Fixed APR- 5.74-8.49%

Variable APR- 4.62-7.62%

Minimum credit score- Not disclosed

Minimum Loan Balance- $150,000


Fixed APR- 4.39-6.59%

Variable APR- 4.39-6.56%

Minimum credit score- 660

Minimum Loan Balance- $10,000 to $75,000

Wells Fargo

Fixed APR- 3.50%  to 9.49%

Variable APR- 3.99% to 9.99%

Minimum credit score- Not disclosed

Minimum Loan Balance- Not disclosed


Fixed APR- 3.49-8.14%

Variable APR- Not disclosed

Minimum credit score- 680

Minimum Loan Balance- $7,500 to $250,000

There are other private banks that provide refinancing. Before you consider a bank for refinancing, get the details of the banks compare them and choose the best suitable for you. 

Do you qualify for refinancing?

There are some criteria that one has to fulfill to be eligible for refinancing. 

Although you don't have a degree, you must meet some eligibility to qualify. Such as- 

  • You must have a credit score of 600 and above

  • You must have a steady financial history 

  • You should be having a good income.

If you have a good credit score and a high income it will help you get easily accepted for refinancing along with the best interest rate.

For borrowers who don’t qualify they might need a co-signer. The co-signer must meet the above qualifications. However, while choosing a bank with co-signer prefer the ones that offer co-signer release. This will make your cosigner release from your debt after a certain period and on-time payments.

Learn more about student loan refinancing

Refinancing for Federal Student Loan

If you do not qualify for consolidating federal student loan and under related alternatives, the next best option available is refinancing.

Refinancing federal student loans is nothing but converting direct loans into a private student loan. This will result in you losing all the considerations that come along federal loans. You will lose the advantage of repayment plans, forbearance, deferment, forgiveness and also eligibility to different Public Service Loan Repayment Programs.

Is refinancing Federal student loan a good idea?

It is advisable you must consider refinancing federal loans as the last option when you feel you are out of the alternative of consolidating direct loans. Because refinancing federal loans will make you lose certain benefits that you will not be offered under private student loan. Hence you must think wisely before you decide to refinance direct loan. You may treat it as the last possible option to avail of easy repayment.

Federal Student Loan Consolidation Without a Degree? 

Federal Student Loan Consolidation means combining several federal student loans as one federal loan under one interest rate and a single monthly payment.

Although you don't have a degree you can still consolidate your federal student loans. 

You can enroll for a Direct Consolidation Loan by submitting an application through the link If you have loans in grace period you can ask for consolidation to begin at the end of the period. Once the Direct Consolidation Loan is disbursed you need to begin repayment within 60 days. 

Eligibility for consolidation

Having no degree does not stop you from qualifying for Direct Consolidation Loan. 

But there are certain criteria that you need to meet to be eligible. For Federal student loan, there is only one criterion and that is you should have attended a school that offers federal student aid known as Title  IV school. Federal student loans are a great option for student loan borrowers as they have a number of benefits associated with them. Given the unfortunate situations like not getting your degree, federal loan benefits can help you out and aid you to ease your burden.

Pros and Cons of Federal Student Loan Consolidation Without a Degree

Before you consolidate, it is always good to consider the pros and cons that come along the consolidation.

Pros of consolidation

  • Instead of making numerous loan payments you can make one single payment

  • You will make payment for only one interest rate

  • You will be offered a lower interest rate

  • You may be granted a longer period for repayment

  • By extending the repayment period, you will make less monthly payments

Cons of consolidation- 

By extending the repayment period, you are more likely to pay more interest over time

If you have been enrolled under an income-driven repayment plan or Public Service Loan Forgiveness you will have to start over the payments as now you will be holding a new loan. It means that you will lose your credit over the payments made earlier

Consolidation does not qualify you for income-driven repayment plans or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Alternatives for consolidation of Federal Student Loans

In case you don’t qualify for refinancing, you still have other options such as income-driven repayments, forbearance, and deferment.

1 - Enroll for an Income-driven plan

Usually, under federal loan, after you complete school you are granted a standard 10-year repayment - whether you graduate or don’t. If you are having trouble making the repayments you can opt for an income-driven repayment plan. These plans deduct a percentage of your income and lengthen the repayment period.

To register for an income-driven plan, you must first consolidate your federal loans into a new federal loan. Consolidation does not offer you a low rate but grants you to make lower payments by extending your repayment duration.

2 - Use your available deferment options

In case you are facing financial hardship such as low income, unemployment or any other economic hardship you may go for deferment. Under deferment, you are permitted to not make any payments up to three years. Besides, depending on the type of loans you have the government may pay your interest. 

This option will give you a break from payments during your economic hardships.

3 - Use your available forbearance options

When you don't qualify for the above two options forbearance can be your last best option for repaying federal loans. Under forbearance, your payments are postponed for twelve months. But the interest continues to accumulate during this time. 

To qualify for forbearance you should be facing financial hardship. You must make payments more than 20 percent of your gross income. 

 Having an in-depth understanding of student loan repayment is important as it can help the borrower in the long run. Use your options like deferment, forbearance and income-driven plans wisely.

Alternatives for refinancing Private student loans

The borrowers who do not qualify for refinancing can contact the lender and seek other options to make the repayment easy and affordable. You may do so by renegotiating the terms, repayment amount, interest rate and other such options.

Some lenders in case of financial hardship may offer forbearance which delays the payments but the interest continues to accumulate. However, if you are still looking to refinance your student loans, then you can check out the best companies that refinance your student loans.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.Can a student loan be refinanced without a degree? 

     Ideally, all private loans lenders eligibility criteria are to be enrolled in the college full time or half time to get student loans. Sallie Mae offers loans for a student taking career training.  

  • 2.How to pay off student loans if he/she didn't graduate?

    Going to work to earn money to repay student loans is one option. And if you select for a job in public service, you can avail of the option of Public Service Loan Forgiveness which would forgive your loans after 10 years. You can refinance your private loans when lower interest rates are offered.    

  • 3.How many credit hours are needed to not pay student loans? 

    Generally, 6 credits are needed for a full-time student to keep their financial aid. It may go up to 12 credits for some financial aids. So it's better to keep in touch with your financial aid office to make it sure.