Advantage Student Loan Refinance Review

Last Updated: July 10, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Our Rating: B+

Loan Limits $7,500 – $200,000+
Fixed Rates 3.74% – 7.78%†
Variable Rates NA
Terms 10, 15, or 20 years
Min. Credit Score 670

*Borrowers need special approval to refinance more than $200,000 in student loans up to a maximum limit of $500,000.

Lowest rates always include the 0.25% interest reduction for enrolling in auto-pay.

Skip to: Rates & Fees | Eligibility Requirements | Repayment Options | Consumer Reviews & Complaints | FAQ

Founded in 1966, Advantage Education Loans is a state-run, nonprofit direct lender. Advantage’s refinance loans are serviced by the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC). Graduated repayment options, loan rehabilitation services, and total lack of fees set Advantage apart from most other refinance lenders.

Loan Refinancing Options
Private student loans
Private parent loans (in either name‡)
Federal student loans
Federal Parent PLUS loans (in either name)

Parents may refinance in their own names or tranfer debt to their child.

Advantage Refinance Rates & Fees

Advantage’s fixed rates are between 3.74% and 7.78%.

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate
10 Year 3.74% – 6.90%
15 Year 4.34% – 7.48%
20 Year 5.03% – 7.78%

Additional information about Advantage refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with Advantage will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • Advantage does offer a discount for setting up auto-pay: 0.25% interest rate reduction.
  • In lieu of a variable rate, Advantage offers a Graduated Repayment Plan. Initial reduced payments increase 10% every two years for the remainder of the loan term.

Student Loan Refinancing Calculator

Based on advertised rates, use the calculator below to determine what your new monthly payment and potential savings may be if you refinance with Advantage.

Additional Fees

Beyond interest rates, there are a number of fees a refinance lender may charge up-front or during the loan servicing period. Advantage is one of very few lenders that does not appear to charge fees of any kind.

Fee Type Amount Charged
Application Fee None
Loan Origination Fee None
Disbursement Fee None
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Payment Fee None
Returned Payment Fee None
Collection Fee None
  1. Application fee – fee to apply for rates & approval.
  2. Loan origination fee – fee to create the new loan.
  3. Disbursement fee – fee for distributing funds to lenders to pay off loans that have been refinanced.
  4. Prepayment penalty – fee for making extra payments to reduce a refinance loan balance or pay it off early.
  5. Late payment fee – fee for making a late payment.
  6. Returned payment fee – fee for failed payments due to insufficient funds, also known as a “bounced check”.
  7. Collection fee – fee for collection activity on a defaulted debt.

Current Promotions & Offers

Advantage does not offer any special promotions or referral programs. This is typical of nonprofit lenders.

Advantage Refinance Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for refinancing with Advantage, all borrowers must meet the criteria below.

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Income Requirement: $18,000 minimum -OR- an approved co-signer.
  • Credit Score Requirement: 670 minimum.
  • Graduation Requirement: varies by state.
  • Location Requirement: unavailable to the 8.88 million borrowers who are residents of Alaska, Delaware, D.C., Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • Borrowers must have no evidence of past fraud.
  • Parent borrowers must be the parent or stepparent of the benefiting student.
  • All education loans must be in good standing.
  • Loans must have entered grace or repayment period.
  • Borrowers must have no previous loans that were discharged due to disability.

Advantage Student Loan Repayment Options

Lenders vary greatly on the benefits and options provided to borrowers during the loan servicing period. Additionally, benefits may only be available on a case-by-case basis. Advantage offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

Advantage offers up to 24 months of financial hardship deferment over the term of a loan; it is unclear if this deferment may be applied in cases of military duty, disability, natural disaster, or a return to school.

See Advantage’s conditions for deferment and forbearance below.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school Undisclosed
Disability rehabilitation Undisclosed
Active military duty Undisclosed
Involuntary unemployment Deferment, up to 24 months
Natural Disaster Undisclosed

Additional Options

Advantage may offer other opportunities for relief or contract modification.

  • Co-signer release may be available after 36 consecutive qualifying payments.
  • Death / disability discharge is available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.

Advantage Reviews, Complaints & Lawsuits

Beyond our own findings, our team also collected the most genuinely insightful customer experiences we could find, including any instances of legal action against the company in which the details became public.

Advantage Online Reviews

Few Advantage customer reviews are readily available on public forums. We included the material we found here for its value as unedited, uncensored, and unsolicited user experience. Note that reviews are unverified, may include inaccuracies, and may provide outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.).


“Just today I got accepted through Advantage Education Loans. But based on the loan terms, I’ll be paying significantly more over the life of the loan.

I was approved for 15 year repayment @ 7.5% (fixed) interest. This would cut my monthly bill in half (from $680 down to $340). But according to my calculations – I’d be paying about $7,000 more over the life of the loan because of the increased repayment term.

I’ve looked at the pros & cons – I don’t like the thought of paying $7,000 more, but it would obviously make my monthly obligation much more manageable. I would be able to put some money into savings, and/or pay extra on my loans.

Basically, I feel as though my quality of life will significantly improve if I’m able to pay my bills comfortably – which won’t be the case if I have to continue to give Sallie Mae $680 every month.” – dyl20 on reddit, 11/27/2018

Advantage CFPB Complaints

As consumer finance companies, student loan refinancing lenders fall under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency. As part of their mission, the CFPB allows consumers to log official complaints. These complaints are publicly available on the CFPB official website.

Since 2012, consumers have submitted zero (0) complaints specifically about Advantage Education Loans (Advantage) student loan product to the CFPB.

In that same period, consumers filed 94 complaints about the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (also the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation), which owns the Advantage brand. One (1) of these complaints specifically addressed loan refinancing. That complaint is listed below along with two of the most recent KHEAA complaints (as of this writing) in which consumers consented to sharing their details.

The allegations made in these complaints are unverified, are not necessarily representative of all consumers’ experiences with Advantage, and may contain outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.). Note that a lender with a large customer base is likely to also have a higher number of complaints when compared with smaller lenders.

Line Graph: KHEAA (Advantage) Consumer Complaints, Public Complaints Filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 94 since 2012, 88 charted


Complaint 3242483
5/14/2019
Florida

“I have a consolidated student load balance that was refinanced in early XXXX with Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation. I had made monthly automatic fixed amount EFT payments over the first year of the loan. In XX/XX/XXXX and again in XX/XX/XXXX I made extra one time payments through the KHESLC online payment system with the intent of accelerating the payback of the loan balance. In XX/XX/XXXX, I received an alert from my credit monitoring service that my student loan balance had increased. I logged into the KHESLC web portal to determine what caused my balance to increase, and was surprised to learn that now EFT payment had been made in XX/XX/XXXX, XX/XX/XXXX, or XX/XX/XXXX. I contacted KHESLC on XX/XX/XXXX. I was informed by XXXX that when you make a one time payment online, EFT is temporarily suspended and your due date is pushed out equivalent to the number of monthly payments the one time payment would have covered automatically. The only way to prevent that and continue with the scheduled EFT payments and make a one time payment is to either email or call into a servicing specialist first. I was informed I accepted this practice by signing up for EFT payments 14 months ago, and was also denied my request to have the payment I made back in XX/XX/XXXX and XX/XX/XXXX retroactively applied to the monthly statement balances and accrued interest credited. I also requested and was denied an escalation to a manager or supervisor to review. At no time during the online payment process was I made aware the one time payment would pause my monthly scheduled EFT payments, or given the option to choose whether or not I wished to pause or continue those payments. If desired, it would have been very easy for KHESLC to make me aware with a pop up or acknowledgement at the time of payment so I could take appropriate action to ensure my regularly scheduled EFT payments continued. I believe this to be a predatory lending tactic whereby KHESLC is able to increase accrued interest on the loan without the knowledge or intent of the borrower, in an effort to increase their profit. As a result I lost over {$300.00} of what should have been a payment on loan principle to interest. If not outright illegal, this practice is clearly unethical.”


Complaint 4037205
12/29/2020
Alabama

“I first started receiving calls from Kentucky higher education after my dad died in XX/XX/XXXX. I avoided the calls at first but then decided I needed to clean up my credit so I answered the phone. I assumed due to my state of mind after my dad passed, this was the loan I got years and years ago. I even set up payment arrangements with the school so I could pay back hello. Well as I was getting deeper into my credit report trying to get things fixed I noticed other fraudulent activity on my credit report. Like having two other social security numbers linked to my account. Also several other accounts that were not mine and have since been removed as I look over my credit report I noticed the school that I originally got the loan was on there and the account closed. So as I’m looking at this Kentucky higher education it shows I’ve even made payments which I had not prior. It shows I got the loan in XXXX and I did not get a loan from that school in XXXX. I disputed it on my credit report and because I had signed an agreement they said that it was legitimate. I also reached out to the school and when they finally called me back, I had a long discussion with hey lady about my account I asked her to send me the original documents of the loan where I had initially started the loan with the company. I still have not received that documentation via email. She also went on and on about all the processes I would have to go through, which in turn, I told her that was not my loan. I’m not going to pay a loan that is not mine I will be taking action. I called and spoke with a lady with the credit bureau who led me to reach out to you guys. Please help me with this matter as it is going to prevent me from getting my stimulus or anything else that may come from the government like my tax return, ect. I do not owe this loan, and I can attach a copy of 2 of my credit reports. Then you can see that I did not get this loan and also see all the other fraudulent activity that was on my account. Thank you so much for your time and I hope to hear back very soon.”


Complaint 3975561
11/25/2020
Missouri

“I continue to receive letters from The Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation advising my loans are in default which is incorrect and a blatant lie. I believe they are trying extort full payment of my loan to keep the information off my credit record. I am current on my loan payments and have been current for approximately several years.”


For a full list of the 94 complaints made against KHEAA in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, click here.

Advantage Lawsuits

Advantage Education Loans has been subject to few legal issues. Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC) has been named in a suit that is currently under appeal.

Note that while this information is updated regularly, ongoing legal action is subject to change.

United States ex rel. Oberg v. Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, No. 18-1028 (4th Cir. 2019)

In 2007, former Department of Education (ED) employee Dr. Jon H. Oberg filed a Complaint for Violations of False Act against several public and private student loan financing entities, including KHESLC (U.S. Ex Rel. Jon H. Oberg v. Nelnet, Inc. et al, Case No. 1:07-cv-00960-CMH-JFA).

Dr. Oberg alleged these entities defrauded the ED and submitted falsified claims for special allowances made to student borrowers.[1]

While the initial complaint was resolved in favor of the defendants in December 2017, Dr. Oberg has subsequently filed an appeal, which is ongoing.
[2]


Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions consumers have about student loan refinancing with Advantage.

  • Is Advantage good for refinancing student loans?
    Advantage may be a good option for borrowers who want to refinance with a Graduated Repayment Plan (GRP). Such plans are rarely available with refinance lenders.
  • How does Advantage’s Graduated Repayment Plan work?
    Instead of a variable rate, Advantage offers a graduated repayment option. Monthly payments start at a decreased level and increase by 10% every 2 years, growing as the borrower’s career income grows.
  • Are Advantage loans federal?
    No, Advantage refinance loans are private loans, not federal loans.
  • Is Advantage part of a state government?Advantage Education Loans is a brand owned by the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation, a state-based, non-profit lender. Advantage Refinance Loans are owned, managed, and serviced by KHESLC.
  • Do I have to live in Kentucky to refinance with Advantage?No, borrowers do not have to live in Kentucky to refinance their student loans with Advantage. Refinancing is unavailable in certain states, however, including Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington.
  • Does Advantage charge a prepayment penalty?
    No, Advantage does not charge a fee for early payments or for paying off a loan in full before its term ends.
  • Does checking your rates with Advantage hurt your credit score?
    For their prequalification process, Advantage performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, Advantage will perform a hard credit check which may affect your credit score.
  • Is Advantage a bank?
    Advantage is not a bank and is not affiliated with any bank.
  • Can I refinance an Advantage loan?
    You can refinance an Advantage student loan or a student loan from another private lender. There is no limit to the number of times a borrower may refinance with Advantage. Note, however, that every new line of credit requires a hard credit check that may affect your FICO score.
  • Can I refinance just some of my loans with Advantage?
    Yes, you can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with Advantage. You may choose to refinance your private loans only or refinance private and federal loans together.
  • Can I refinance loans that have already been refinanced?
    Yes, you can refinance loans as many times as you want with Advantage. Note that each time you refinance, you will have to submit a new application; every application requires a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Can my spouse and I refinance our loans together with Advantage?
    No, Advantage does not allow spouses to combine debts.
  • How long does it take to refinance with Advantage?
    Approved loans take 2-3 business days to process. Including a 30-day offering period, disbursement, and the onset of repayment, the entire process of refinancing with Advantage may take between 8 and 18 weeks.
  • Who services Advantage refinance loans?
    Advantage Refinance Loans are all serviced by The Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation. KHESLC also owns and manages all Advantage Refinance Loans.
  • Does Advantage offer a grace period?
    Advantage does not offer a grace period. Monthly payments begin within 60 days after the Advantage Refinance Loan funds have been disbursed.
  • Can I get any special rates or discounts with Advantage ?
    Advantage offers a 0.25% rate reduction for signing up for autopay.
  • What happens if I file for bankruptcy?
    According to Advantage “[i]f you file for bankruptcy, you may still be required to pay back this loan.”
  • Is Advantage a Credible lender?
    Yes, Advantage partners with Credible and is part of its multilender marketplace.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

Lender Rating
Advantage B+
BECU C-
Brazos A
Citizens Bank B-
College Ave A-
CommonBond A+
Discover D+
Earnest B+
EDvestinU B
Education Loan Finance (ELFI) A-
First Tech Federal C-
iHelp D
Laurel Road A-
MEFA B-
NaviRefi D-
Navy Federal C+
PenFed B+
PNC Bank C
RISLA A
SoFi B-
UW Credit Union A

Sources

  1. Buckley Firm, Case 1:07-cv-00960-CMH-JFA UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, EX REL. JON H. OBERG V. NELNET, INC. et.al. COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATIONS OF FALSE CLAIMS ACT 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 ET SEQ.)
  2. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 18-1028 U.S. Ex Rel. Jon H. Oberg v. Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
  3. Advantage Education Loan, Advantage Refinance Loans
  4. Advantage, About Our Loans: FAQ
  5. Advantage, Tools: Disclosures
  6. CFPB, Annual Report of the CFPB Private Education Loan Ombudsman
  7. CFPB, Consumer Complaint Database
  8. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory
  9. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities