Advantage Student Loan Refinance Review

Our Rating: A- (Compare)

Advantage is unique among refinance lenders in that it offers a Graduated Repayment Plan (GRP) and loan rehabilitation services. Advantage is a nonprofit direct lender with refinance loans serviced by the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC).

Loan Limits $7,500 – $200,000+
Fixed Rates 2.94%* – 6.49%
Variable Rates NA
Terms 10, 15, or 20 years
Min. Credit Score Undisclosed
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*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

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 Education Loans offers fixed rates are between 2.94% and 6.49%. Note that the lowest rates include a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrollment in automatic payments.

In 2022, Advantage’s lowest fixed rate available for new loans has declined 21.4% (from 3.74% APR) while its highest fixed rate has declined 16.6% (from 7.78% APR).

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate
10 Year 2.94% – 5.61%
15 Year 3.54% – 6.19%
20 Year 4.44% – 6.49%

Additional information about Advantage refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with Advantage may affect your credit score. Advantage does not offer a prequalification process, so they will presumably conduct a hard, not a soft, 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 (2) 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: undisclosed.
  • Credit Score Requirement: undisclosed.
  • Graduation Requirement: none specified.
  • Location Requirement: undisclosed.

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 discretionary forbearance for financial hardship; 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 Forbearance
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.).


“DO NOT RECOMMEND. If it wasn’t for me calling I wouldn’t have heard anything back, over a months time of calling them at least weekly, everyone I talked to HAD NO knowledge of my loan application. And there was always a new issue that I wasn’t informed about or had already previously fixed…… and it had been confirmed that the issues was fixed by an employer. This company is a waste of time and I do not recommend. It took me way over a month to receive the information that I needed and that was with my loan being “rushed” due to the issues they had made.”Elizabeth Weaver on Facebook, 9/20/2021


“Hey everyone, I owe about $80k in several private student loans and was able to refinance an average of 7% interest to 5.12% with a co-signer through Advantage Education Loans. I’m kinda weirded out because there aren’t too many reviews about this lender but I found it through credible.

My grace period is ending, I have a $900 payment due with my previous lender in 5 days but the new lender won’t be disbursing funds until 12/14. What happens if I make the payment? Would I get the $900 back either from the first or current lender? Should I call to see if I can postpone my payment and how difficult would it be to delay it for a few days?”disnalio on reddit, 12/1/2018


“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 Consumer 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 November 15, 2013, consumers have filed 125 complaints about Advantage Education Loans’ parent company Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) to the CFPB; that’s equivalent to one (1) complaint every 25 days and 11 hours, which is 119.5% higher than the average daily complaint rate among reviewed lenders.

In 2022, KHEAA complaints are up 79.2% compared to an average year. In 2021, KHEAA received 74.2% more complaints than it does in an average year.

In 2019, KHEAA received 13 complaints, which is equivalent to one (1) complaint for every $2.058 million that year’s corporate revenue. Consumers filed (1) complaint for every three (3) employees.

Overall, 52 (41.6% of) complaints include narratives. Among these 52 complaints, two (2) or 3.85% specifically address refinancing. Those complaints are listed below along with the most recent KHEAA complaint (as of this writing) in which the consumer 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, from 2013 (3), 2014 (1), 2015 (6), 2016 (10), 2017 (7), 2018 (17), 2019 (13), 2020 (28), and 2021 (25)


Complaint 5545558
5/5/2022
New Jersey

“No information given regarding account. Violates federal 15 USC 1692gf and 15 USC Section 1681 ( i ). The bureaus have it reporting different pricing and multiple inaccuracies. I never authorized or given permission for this to be reporting. its been 2 months and no information given. No medical release to collect on this debt either No information given regarding account. Violates federal 15 USC 1692gf and 15 USC Section 1681 ( i ). The bureaus have it reporting different pricing and multiple inaccuracies. I never authorized or given permission for this to be reporting. its been 2 months and no information given. No medical release to collect on this debt either”


Complaint 5383294
3/29/2022
New Jersey

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, during the relief program that started on XX/XX/XXXX until XX/XX/XXXX, repayment and deferment policies were put in place, and loans were no longer being put into default during this time. I have a student loan that was placed in default XX/XX/XXXX, and can not access it or pay it off due to the servicer no longer having access to it because it is property of the Dept of Education, but the Dept of Education doesn’t have access to the loan either. This defaulted loan is preventing me from receiving financial aid for continuing my education. Please advise me on how to get my loan out of default when it was not supposed to have happened during this time and the Covid relief program.”


Complaint 5098316
1/14/2022
Kentucky

“My debt is almost XXXX I contacted kyhigher education to try to get my monthly amount lowered because I can’t get deferred they won’t let me. My monthly amount right now is XXXX $ I can’t afford that on what I make and I’ve tried several times to address this issue with them and they tell me they can’t help me lower my payments.”


For a full list of 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) was recently named in a suit that was resolved in the company’s favor (a judgement that was affirmed after one appeal).

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

U.S. Ex Rel. Jon H. Oberg v. Nelnet, Inc. et al, Case No. 1:07-cv-00960-CMH-JFA

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]

The initial complaint was resolved in favor of the defendants in December 2017. Dr. Oberg subsequently filed an appeal, which affirmed the 2017 judgement.[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.
  • Does Advantage have a minimum credit score requirement?
    Advantage does not disclose a minimum allowable credit score.
  • 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?
    Advantage does not have a prequalification process and 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.”
  • Does Advantage partner with any marketplace lenders?
    Yes, Advantage partners with Credible as part of its multilender marketplace.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

Lender Rating
RISLA A+
Brazos A
CommonBond A
Credible A
Advantage A-
ELFI A-
Laurel Road A-
Mpower Financing A-
Splash Financial A-
Purefy B+
UW Credit Union B+
LendKey B+
College Ave B
PenFed B
SoFi B
Earnest B-
EDvestinU B-
INvestEd B-
MEFA B-
Sparrow B-
Yrefy B-
Citizens Bank C+
ISL C+
Lend-Grow C+
SELF Refi C+
SuperMoney C+
First Tech Federal C
BECU C-
Navy Federal C-
First Republic Bank D+
iHelp D+
Discover D
Nelnet Bank D
PNC Bank D-
NaviRefi F

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: Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority
  9. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities