Rhode Island Student Loan Authority Review [All You Need To Know]

Rhode Island Student Loan Authority prides itself not just for providing student loans and refinancing options at competitive rates but also for educating parents and borrowers to make sounds decisions while borrowing for education. Does RISLA provide loan forgiveness? Lets find out.

Updated by Jason Joy Manoj on 3rd December 2019

Rhode Island State Loan Authority (RISLA) prides itself on taking an initiative to help the students and families in Rhode Island. RISLA doesn’t just provide loans but also educates the families of the student loan borrowers on how to obtain and take advantage of the financial aid available to them. It does so by providing information on the college planning process, provides a number of tools that help the families stay well informed so that they can make responsible borrowing choices. 

RISLA takes pride in taking the initiative to jump-start their careers. They do so by providing student loans and refinancing options. With automation taking over most of the customer queries and services are catered to using phone lines and online chat systems, but RISLA differentiates itself by providing an in-person customer service experience.

Here is an in-depth review of the services and benefits one can expect with RISLA.

Table of Contents

RISLA Refinancing Review

Here is a table that provides an overall idea of what a student loan borrower can expect when refinancing with RISLA.

Reviewed loan Student loan refinancing
Interest rates Fixed: 3.49% - 8.14%

Includes autopay discount of 0.25%
Loan terms 5, 10 or 15 years
Loan amounts
$7,500 to $250,000, depending on the highest degree earned
Co-signer release No
Transfer of parent loan to the child No

If a student loan borrower does not have a satisfactory credit history then he or she should consider getting a cosigner on board. The Co-signer should have a good credit history to help strengthen the profile of the student loan borrower to increase his/her chances of getting approved. 

Unfortunately RISLA does not allow a cosigner release option so the co-signer will be stuck till the entire loan repayment is done.

Pros and Cons of RISLA Refinancing

The pros of refinancing your student loans with RISLA are - 

  • You will be eligible for an income-based repayment plan which will allow the remaining balance of your student loans to be forgiven after 25 years.

  • Pay zero upfront fees

  • Receive a 0.25% reduction for making monthly payments with auto-debit 

  • You can get a credit decision in just a few minutes

  • No prepayment penalties

It should be noted that although there is no RISLA student loan forgiveness program, with the income based repayment program you can get your loans forgiven with RISLA.

The cons of refinancing your student loans with RISLA are - 

  • A student cannot refinance a Parent Loan in his/her name

  • There is no cosigner release option available

  • A hard credit check is done when borrowers check for the rates they qualify for

Areas RISLA can improve on for refinancing

Here are a few areas RISLA can focus on to help the borrowers refinancing with them - 

  • Personalized interest rates - RISLA should start offering personalized interest rates along with a soft credit check

  • Forbearance -  provide the student loan borrowers with a forbearance option beyond 12 months

  • Cosigner release option - Most student loan borrowers don’t have a good credit history, so to strengthen their profile they get a cosigner on board. Once they graduate and start making payments towards they wish to release their cosigner as the repayments made also affect their cosigner credit history.

Details on RISLA Refinancing

1) Refinancing terms - The refinanced loan terms vary from 5,10 or 15 years

2) Refinancing loan amounts - The refinanced loan terms vary based on the highest degree earned by the student loan borrower. It varies from $7,500 to $250,000.

3) Fees - There is a late fees, which is 6% of the late payment amount. There is no application or origination fee.

Refinancing Requirements with RISLA 

In order to refinance your loans with RISLA you must meet the following eligibility requirements- 

  • The eligible loans have to be used at a college in any state

  • The borrower needs to reside in any state in the U.S

  • The eligible loans were used for educational purposes

  • The eligible loans can include Stafford loans, parent PLUS loans, private education loans, subsidized and unsubsidized direct student loans

  • It is mandatory that the refinancing borrower must be an obligatory party on the loan being refinanced.

  • The borrower must pass a credit check

  • In order to qualify for a RISLA refinanced loan, borrowers living in the same address must make a minimum of $40,000 a year. If they reside in different addresses at least one of them must make $40,000 a year individually. 

You can refinance both federal and private student loans with RISLA. This includes the PLUS loans as well, but the PLUS loans cannot be transferred from the parent names to the students name. 

Repayment options with RISLA Refinanced Loans 

Student loan repayment is an important and crucial journey for borrowers. They can use this repayment to their advantage and build up their credit score. In order to do they must be provided with certain flexible opportunities to try and help borrowers with their repayment journey.

Here is a list of repayment options offered when you refinance your student loans with RISLA -

1) Academic Deferment - If you are attending graduate school at least half time then you can postpone payments. This option is not available for those borrowers who return back to school to finish their undergraduate degrees.

2) Income-Based Repayment - If you are finding it hard to meet the monthly payments then you can choose this repayment option where you will be made to pay about 15% of your income per month. Although there is no such RISLA student loan forgiveness program, with the help of this repayment option you can get your loans forgiven after 25 years. It should be noted that the forgiven amount will be taxed.

3) Military Deferment - You can avail the option to postpone your loan payments while on active duty.

4) Forbearance - If you are facing economic hardship you can postpone your payments for upto 12 months.

5) Death or disability discharge - Given the unfortunate scenario where the student loan borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled, RISLA will forgive the balance of your loan.

The standards followed here are similar to that which the US Department of Education applies on federal student loans.

How to Refinance with RISLA

Refinancing your student loans is a great way to go about managing your debt. It can help you change the terms of your loans into more favorable terms that are best suited to your financial condition. 

If you decide that refinancing is the right choice for you and RISLA is the right refinancing lender based on the factors we have previously discussed, here are 3 simple steps with which you can refinance your student loans - 

Step1. Complete the online application - You will be required to fill in certain details as instructed in the online application form.

Step2. Upload Your Documents - You will be required to upload certain supporting documents upon your pre-approval. The uploading will be done on their secured website.

Step3. E-sign your loan - You will be sent an email with instructions to accept the loan, self certify and e-sign your application.

In order to apply online you will have to go to the official website of RISLA and login. Your information is safe with RISLA as their website is secure.

RISLA Student Loans Review

Are you looking for help to cover your college tuition, fees, living expenses? Student loans are a great option to help you cover these expenses. It is important to have an in-depth understanding of this financial product so you can make the most of what student loans have to offer.

RISLA offers student loans with no upfront fees at competitive interest rates. These loans are best suited for Rhode Island students. 

Here is a table indicating what you can expect with RISLA student loans 

Type of loan Private student loan
Loan terms
10 years for an immediate repayment plan
15 years for a deferred repayment plan
Loan amounts $1,500 to $45,000
Grace period 6 months for undergraduates
Co-signer release available Yes, after 24 on-time payments
Related products Graduate student loans, parent loans

Unlike the refinanced loan offered by RISLA, the student loans have a cosigner release option after 24 on-time payments.

Pros and cons of RISLA Student Loans

The pros of a RISLA student loan is 

  • You get access to an income based repayment program with forgiveness of the remainder of your loans after 25 years of forgiveness

  • You can check for the rate you qualify with a soft credit check which won’t affect your credit score

  • You can take advantage of partial loan forgiveness through eligible internships

The cons of a RISLA student loan is 

  • The loans offered are only for Rhode Island residents or students who go to school there

Areas of improvement for RISLA Student Loans

RISLA could improve their student loans by -

  • Extending their 12 months of forbearance

  • Letting student borrowers with a VISA also be eligible for their student loans

Student Loan options with RISLA

Here are the Loan options provided by RISLA (apart from the refinanced loan offered as discussed earlier) 

1) Undergraduate Student  Loans - RISLA offers undergraduate loans for its undergraduate student loans with no upfront fees and competitive interest rates to help cover your tuition. They aim to make it student loan borrowing for undergraduates more affordable.

2) Graduate Student loans - RISLA offers graduate student loans with no upfront fees and competitive interest rates to help cover your tuition. They aim to make student loan borrowing for graduate students more affordable.

3) Parent Loans - RISLA offers parent loans with no upfront fees and at competitive interest rates. The Parent Loan is offered with a fixed interest rate of 4.64% with autopay.

They offer fixed interest rates being 3.64% for Immediate Repay and 5.64% for Deferred Repay. These rates are for the graduate and undergraduate student loans.

The loan limits are -

  • The minimum loan amount is $1,500/year

  • The maximum loan amount is $45,000/year

Advantage of choosing RISLA to fund your studies - 

  • They have an easy online application

  • You have the freedom to choose when you can start repaying your loan

  • You can borrow in the students or parents name

  • There is no origination, application or upfront fees associated with their loans

  • They have a number of borrower protections, in the form of repayment plans like the income-based repayment which lets you make payments as per your income

  • They have a cosigner release option available

They offer the following rewards with their loans - 

  • 0.25% interest rate reduction for automatic monthly payments

  • If you are a qualifying intern you can get $2,000 in loan forgiveness

  • They have specific rewards for nurses

  • The interest paid on this loan is tax-deductible, so it is advised to consult your tax adviser on how to go about it.

Efforts to borrow responsibly by RISLA

Borrowing responsibly is one of the initiatives that RISLA takes very seriously, they offer financial literacy tools along with an in-person support. These features help it stand out from the other refinancing lender options out there.

These efforts made by them help to make borrowing decisions and stay out of any financial trouble.

RISLA student loan rates and fees

As per the official RISLA website, here are the rates and fees for the year 2019/2020 - 

  RISLA Graduate Student Loan
Immediate Repayment
RISLA Graduate Student Loan
Deferred Repayment
Rate Type Fixed Fixed
Repayment Type Immediate Repayment Deferred Repayment
Borrower(s) Student & Cosigner Student & Cosigner
Interest Rate (with auto-pay) 3.64%
(3.89% without auto-pay)
(5.89% without auto-pay)
APR (with auto-pay) 3.64%
(3.89% without auto-pay)
(5.84% without auto-pay)
Upfront Fees None None
Standard Repayment Term 120 months 180 months
Estimated Monthly Payment per $10k borrowed $101
($102 without auto-pay)
($96 without auto-pay)
Repayment Start 15 days after final disbursement 6 months after student leaves school

RISLA student loan immediate and deferred repayment - Which is right for me?

Having difficulty in deciding which loan is right for you? Here are the advantages and disadvantages to help you make a decision.

1) RISLA Student Loan Immediate Repayment 

Advantages -

  • This kind of loan offers the lowest fixed rate available

  • Since it is a fixed rate we have predictable monthly payments

  • Here the student is the primary borrower and a cosigner release option is available for qualifying students

Disadvantages - 

  • Repayment towards your loan is immediate and not suitable for those who want to delay payments until they finish school.

2) RISLA Student Loan Deferred Repayment 

Advantages - 

  • You won’t have to make any payments towards your loans until you leave school

  • The rates are fixed rates so you will have predictable monthly payments

  • Here the student is the primary borrower and a cosigner release option is available for qualifying students

Disadvantages - 

  • The interest will accrue and is capitalized on to your principal balance

  • The interest rates are higher 

  • Over the entire life of the loan, this option is a more expensive option

Qualifying for RISLA student loans 

In order to qualify for these student loans you will have to be a Rhode Island resident or attend a college or university in Rhode Island.

Those students who have been enrolled for full-time, half-time or less than half time can also qualify for these loans. It should be noted that they should maintain a minimum income of $40,000 per year.

A credit check will be required for all borrowers and co-signers. Other eligibility requirements must also be met like the debt to income requirements and liquidity.

How to get a RISLA Student Loan

You can get a RISLA student loan using these 3 simple steps as shown on their official website. Here they are - 

Step1. Apply online -  You will have to fill up the online application which takes only 5-10 minutes. During this application there will be a pull on your credit report. To fill up the entire application.

Step2. Upload your documents - Once you get approved you can upload any supporting documents. The uploading will be secure and can be done via your computer or mobile device.

Step3. E-sign your loan - Once you get approved you will receive an email with the required instructions. These are the instructions to accept your loan, self-certify and e-sign your application.

In order to apply online, you will have to go to the official website of RISLA and log in. Your information is safe with RISLA as their website is secure.

Contact Information

You can get in touch with RISLA by the following ways - 

For college loans 

Local - 401-468-1700

Toll Free - 800-758-7562

Email - [email protected]

Fax - 401-468-2196

TDD : 401-468-1750

For refinancing details and queries -

Phone - 866-268-9419

Mailing details - 

PO Box 81071

Warwick, RI 02888-0089

All application materials are sent to the above PO Box, here is the street address - 

935 Jefferson Blvd, Suite 3000

Warwick, RI 02886

There are a number of options out there, it is important to evaluate all your options. Check for the option that suits your financial condition best. Apart from the interest rates, it is important to take into consideration the repayment options available and the flexibility offered to borrowers during the repayment journey.