Brazos Student Loan Refinance Review

Last Updated: October 4, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Our Rating: A (Compare)

 

Loan Limits $10,000 – $400,000
Fixed Rates 2.15% – 4.00%*
Variable Rates 1.87% – 5.04% (9.90% Cap)
Terms 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
Min. Credit Score 720 (690 with co-signer)
Apply Link

*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

The Brazos Higher Education Service Corporation, Inc. (Brazos) has been a nonprofit direct lender for Texas residents since 1980. Brazos refinance loans are serviced by Firstmark Services.

Loan Refinancing Options
Private student loans
Private parent loans (in parent’s name only)
Federal student loans
Federal Parent PLUS loans (in parent’s name only)

Brazos Refinance Rates & Fees

Brazos’ fixed rates for student loan refinancing are between 2.15% and 4.00%; variable rates are between 1.87% and 5.04%.

Student Refinance Loan Median‡ Rates
Term Median Fixed Median Variable
5 Year 2.15% – 3.40% 1.87% – 4.19%
7 Year 3.11% – 3.43% 3.98% – 4.35%
10 Year 3.17% – 3.46% 3.69% – 4.15%
15 Year 3.17% – 3.46% 3.99% – 4.46%
20 Year 3.69% – 4.00% 4.49% – 5.04%

Additional information about Brazos refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with Brazos will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • Brazos does offer a discount for setting up auto-pay: 0.25% interest rate reduction.
  • Variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR rate (0.08% as of this writing). This means that as the LIBOR changes, increasing or decreasing, your variable rate will change, increasing or decreasing correspondingly.
  • Variable rates are capped at 9.90%.

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 Brazos.

Additional Fees

Beyond interest rates, there are a number of fees a refinance lender may charge up-front or during the loan servicing period. Below is a list of these fees that Brazos does or does not charge.

Fee Type Amount Charged
Application Fee None
Loan Origination Fee None
Disbursement Fee Undisclosed
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Payment Fee Undisclosed
Returned Payment Fee Undisclosed
Collection Fee Undisclosed
  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

Brazos offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you enroll in autopay. Brazos also has a referral program that assigns you a unique link to give to out to potential borrowers. Any referrals that result in a new loan origination earn the referrer $200. Some restrictions apply.

Brazos Refinance Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence; work or student visas are accepted with a qualified co-signer.
  • Income Requirement: minimum $60,000 (or $30,000 with a qualified co-signer).
  • Credit Score Requirement: minimum of 720 (or 690 with a co-signer).
  • Graduation Requirement: bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Location Requirement: only residents of the State of Texas are eligible.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • Borrowers who have received bachelor’s degrees may be eligible to refinance up to $150,000.
  • Graduate and postgraduate degree holders may be eligible to refinance up to $400,000.
  • If applicants are not currently employed, they must have “accepted a firm offer of employment with a start date within sixty (60) days”.

Brazos Student Loan Repayment Options

Lenders vary significantly 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. Brazos offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

Under certain conditions, Brazos accepts applications for refinance loan forbearance. In addition, Brazos’ servicer, Firstmark Services, may also allow Brazos borrowers to apply for temporary deferment of payment.

See Brazos’ conditions for deferment and forbearance below.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school None
Disability rehabilitation Undisclosed
Active military duty Forbearance, up to 36 months
Involuntary unemployment Forbearance, up to 12 months
Natural Disaster Forbearance, up to 3 months

Additional Options

Brazos may offer other opportunities for relief or contract modification.

  • General economic hardship forbearance is available in 3-month terms up to 12 months total over the life of the loan.
  • Co-signer release is not possible with Brazos.
  • Death discharge may be available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away under the condition that there is no co-signer.

Brazos Reviews, Complaints & Lawsuits

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

Brazos Online Reviews

Very few Brazos customer reviews are available on public forums. Those available are included here for their value as unedited, uncensored, and unsolicited user experiences. Note that these reviews are unverified, may include inaccuracies, and may provide outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.).


“On March 24, 2020 I received a letter from Alltran Education Services, who stated that Brazos Higher Education Services, noted that I had bill due of $12885.31. I called and spoke with a representative at Alltran Education and reported that this was not my bill, and wanted to know how my personal information was obtained. While talking to this representative, she stated that a dispute would be put on this account. This is not my bill, not familiar with Brazos Higher Education or the collection company Alltran Education. Prior to March 24, 2020, never heard from either of these companies. I am concerned about how my personal information was obtained by both companies.”User to the Better Business Bureau, 04/26/2020


“… My real problem is with Brazos loan servicing. My undergrad loan was transferred from ACS to Brazos and brazos just seems so unprofessional. The website looks like it was made yesterday and the info is not very clear. I actually miss ACS. I can’t wait to be debt free and not deal with third party companies.”Dear Debt on The College Investor, 8/21/2013

Brazos 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 its mission, the CFPB allows consumers to log official complaints. These complaints are publicly available on the CFPB official website.

Since 2013, consumers have submitted 19 complaints about both Brazos Higher Education Authority, Inc. and Brazos Loan Servicing to the CFPB.

Among these complaints, zero (0) reference refinancing; most have to do with declarations of bankruptcy and flexibility of payment options.

The allegations made in these complaints are unverified, are not necessarily representative of all consumers’ experiences with Brazos, 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: Brazos Consumer Complaints, Public Complaints Filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about Brazos Higher Education Authority, Inc. and Brazos Loan Servicing, not necessarily student loan refinancing, from 2013 (6), 2014 (5), 2015 (4), 2016 (1), 2017 (2), 2018 (1), 2019 (0), and 2020 (0)

Below we’ve included the 3 most recent complaints (as of this writing) in which the consumer consented to share their details.


Complaint 1530808
8/21/2015
New York

“I build up a staggering debt both on private and federal loans pursing a XXXX at an XXXX University school XXXX. Unfortunately many things happened in my life and I could not pursue XXXX resulting in the default of the loans with XXXX and XXXXl loan companies. I can not afford to pay on any of the loans with my part time XXXX as an XXXX. The loans are in default and they are suing me in both civil and supreme court in XXXX New York.”


Complaint 1502174
8/4/2015
Massachusetts

“I had a loan through Brazos Higher Education that went into deferment and was being sent to my old address. I was then contacted by XXXX XXXX in XXXX, MA XXXX and reached out to them to make payments and the gentlemen XXXX XXXX at first did not agree to how much I could afford to pay him, so I then contacted to Brazos who agreed to the {$300.00} a month. I ended up out of work for a month due to surgery and received a letter that XXXX XXXX XXXX has put a lien on my mother ‘s house and trying to garnish our wages. I reached to the law firm asking him I could lower payments because I ca n’t afford the {$300.00} a month at this time and he said no so I contacted XXXX when then I started receiving emails for the Law Firm saying he will only deal with me through court and is not coming to an agreement with me and when I have reached out to him again he wants nothing to with me, will not give me account number or tell me the 3rd party involved. XXXX also says there is nothing they can help with me since they turned it over to the law firm and I all have them emails to show that this has happened and the woman from XXXX ‘s her name is XXXX she is the only one in the office with that name, said she was reaching out to a woman named XXXX who was reaching out to the Law Firm. This is not right as I have a another loan with XXXX paying {$50.00} per month and have never had an issue with them. I believe I am being mistreated severely. I am dealing with a hostile law firm who wo n’t agree to let me pay what I can afford.“


Complaint 1315958
4/4/2015
Ohio

“In XX/XX/XXXX, I filed bankruptcy which included all of my private loans, credit cards, and past due bills. From that point in time, I have been financially responsible and have maintained a positive credit profile. Recently ( within the past XXXX months ), a company XXXX XXXX XXXX has contacted me multiple times a day, contacted my wife, and family members that I have not seen in years. They have claimed that my debt is now due and that after XXXX years, it is still valid. I initially attempted to explain to them that my debts were addressed during the BK and those that were n’t are current ; however they did not accept that and in XX/XX/XXXX, reopened a collection account without my knowledge, approval or written notice. I found this out today, when I pulled a credit report after seeing a denial of credit from a lender. I received no written notice of a revival of a debt that no one has contacted me about in a decade and as of yesterday ( XXXX calls alone in a XXXX hour window ) they have increased their call XXXX.”


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

Brazos Lawsuits

Brazos has been subject to few legal issues though it has been named in a suit that is currently under appeal.

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 Brazos Group.

Dr. Oberg alleges 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 Brazos.

  • Is Brazos good for refinancing student loans?
    Brazos may be a good refinance lender for Texas residents and visa holders with more than $10,000 of outstanding student loan debt.
  • Are Brazos loans federal?
    Brazos loans are not federal. Brazos has no affiliation with the federal government or the U.S. Department of education.
  • Does Brazos charge a prepayment penalty?
    Brazos 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 Brazos hurt your credit score?
    For their prequalification process, Brazos performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, Brazos will perform a hard credit check which may affect your credit score.
  • Is Brazos a bank?
    Brazos is not a bank and is not affiliated with any bank.
  • Is Brazos a Credible lender?
    Brazos partners with Credible and is part of the Credible lender marketplace.
  • Can I refinance a Brazos student loan?
    You can refinance a Brazos student loan or a student loan from another private lender. There is no limit to the number of times a borrower may refinance with Brazos. 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 Brazos?
    Yes, you can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with Brazos. 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 Brazos. 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 Brazos?
    Brazos only refinances loans that are already in the borrower’s name. Spouses may co-sign a refinance loan.
  • How long does it take to refinance with Brazos?
    From prequalification to the first payment due date, refinancing with Brazos takes a minimum of 6 weeks.
  • Who services Brazos refinance loans?
    Brazos refinance loans are serviced by Firstmark Services, a division of Nelnet.
  • Who finances Brazos refinance loans?
    Brazos Education Lending Corporation originates and finances all Brazos refinance loans.
  • Does Brazos offer a grace period?
    There is no grace period for Brazos refinance loans.
  • How often do variable rates change?
    Brazos updates variable rates on the first of the month according to the 1-month LIBOR.
  • Does Brazos have a referral program?
    Refinance loan borrowers are eligible for a $200 reward for each referral that results in a new loan origination.
  • What happens if I file bankruptcy?
    Brazos does not accelerate the debt, place debt in default, or deem the debt immediately due when a borrower files bankruptcy.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

Lender Rating
Advantage B+
BECU C-
Brazos A
Citizens Bank B-
CommonBond A+
Discover D+
Earnest B+
EDvestinU B
ELFI A-
First Republic Bank B
First Tech Federal C-
iHelp D
Laurel Road A-
MEFA B-
NaviRefi D-
Navy Federal C+
Nelnet Bank D-
PenFed B+
PNC Bank C
RISLA A
SELF Refi C+
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. CaseText, United States ex rel. Oberg v. Nelnet, Inc.
  3. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Annual Report of the CFPB Private Education Loan Ombudsman
  4. StudentLoans.com by Brazos Higher Education, Brazos Refinance Loan Eligibility
  5. StudentLoans.com, Student Loan Refinance Rates
  6. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Brazos Higher Education Authority, Inc.
  7. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Announces Action Against Citizens Bank, N.A.
  8. CFPB, Consumer Complaint Database
  9. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory
  10. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities