SELF Refi Student Loan Refinance Review

Last Updated: September 21, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Our Rating: C+ (Compare)

Loan Limits $10,000 – $70,000
Fixed Rates 3.80% – 5.30%
Variable Rates 2.50% – 3.85% (18.00% Cap)
Terms 5, 10 or 15 years
Min. Credit Score 700 (650 with co-signer)
Apply Link

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

SELF Refi is the student loan refinance program from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Student loan refinancing with SELF is only available to Minnesota residents. SELF Refi offers the same starting rates and terms to all qualifying borrowers regardless of financial standing.

Loan Refinancing Options
Private student loans
Private parent loans
Federal student loans
Federal Parent PLUS loans

SELF Refinance Rates & Fees

SELF Refi’s fixed rates are between 3.80% and 5.30%. Variable rates are between 2.50% and 3.85%.

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 3.80% 2.50%
10 Year 4.55% 3.15%
15 Year 5.30% 3.85%

Additional information about SELF refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with SELF will affect your credit score. Because SELF offers the same rates to everyone, the only reason to perform a credit check is to determine borrower eligibility. Therefore, upon reciept of your application, SELF Refi performs a hard credit inquiry and not a soft credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • SELF does not offer a discount for setting up auto-pay.
  • Variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR (0.086% as of this writing). SELF recalculates variable rates on January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st.
  • Variable rates are capped at 18.00%.

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 SELF.

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 SELF 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 $25
Returned Payment Fee $15
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; SELF Refi considers a payment late when it is more than two (2) weeks overdue.
  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

Like many state-sponsored lending programs, SELF Refi does not offer special promotions or discounts.

SELF Refinance Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
  • Income Requirement: at least 60 days of steady employment and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45% -OR- have a qualified co-signer*.
  • Credit Score Requirement: a credit score of 700 -OR- 650 with a qualified co-signer (see Additional Restrictions for details).
  • Graduation Requirement: completion of a postsecondary program*.
  • Location Requirement: maintain Minnesota residency.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • No delinquencies, liens, or judgements exceeding $300.
  • Borrowers with certificates, diplomas, or associate’s degrees may refinance up to $25,000.
  • Borrowers with bachelor’s or more advanced degrees may refinance up to $70,000.
  • With a co-signer, borrowers must have a FICO score of 700 (SELF sources credit scores using TransUnion’s FICO® Classic 04) and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 60% -OR- a minimum score of 650 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 50%.
  • With a spouse as co-signer:
  • The borrower must have a minimum credit score of 650.
  • Spouse may have a minimum credit score of 700.
  • The maximum household debt-to-income ratio may be 60%.

SELF 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. SELF offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

SELF Refi does not explicitly offer forbearance under any conditions but does allow borrowers to apply for two (2) 4-month deferment periods over the life of the loan. SELF does not disclose any specific need requirements for these forbearance periods.

Firstmark Services, which services all SELF Refi loans, may have other or additional forbearance requirements.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school Unspecified
Disability rehabilitation Unspecified
Active military duty Unspecified
Involuntary unemployment Unspecified
Economic hardship Unspecified
Natural disaster Unspecified
Temporary hardship Unspecified

Additional Options

SELF may offer other opportunities for relief or contract modification.

  • Co-signer release may be available after 48 consecutive, qualifying payments.
  • Death / disability discharge is available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.
  • From 3/13/2020 through 9/30/2020, SELF set all interest rates to 0% due to COVID-19.

SELF 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.

SELF Online Reviews

Few customer reviews of SELF are available on online public forums. This is not unusual for small regional lenders.

Online customer reviews can be valuable as unedited, uncensored, and unsolicited user experiences. Note that these reviews are typically unverified, may include inaccuracies, and may provide outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.).

SELF CFPB Complaints

As consumer finance companies, student loan refinancing lenders fall under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Finance 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 2014, consumers have submitted seven (7) complaints about the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (SELF) student loan product to the CFPB.

The allegations made in these complaints are unverified, are not necessarily representative of all consumers’ experiences with SELF, 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: Minnesota Office of Higher Education Consumer Complaints, Public Complaints Filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, from 2014 (1 complaint), 2015 (1), 2016 (1), 2017 (3), 2018 (0), 2019 (0), and 2020 (0)

Below we’ve included the only complaint (as of this writing) for which the consumer consented to sharing their details.


Complaint 4217675
3/16/2021
Minnesota

“In XX/XX/XXXX I found out that I had a student loan in collections. I tried to make reparation with them at this time, but could not afford it because I just Graduated college and did not have a job. I tried explaining to them that the letters and phone calls were not going to me, but my parents house whom i have no contact with. I have recently tried to make reparation with them ( on XX/XX/XXXX ) now that I have a job. They were harassing me that after all my bills are paid I only have {$400.00} left and I offered to pay {$170.00} and they were accusing me of being able to afford {$200.00} and that he couldnt help me unless we settled on this amount. It was then I had to tell him I just had a kid and have over {$6000.00} in medical bills as well in order for him to agree on possibly {$170.00}. Still has not been confirmed. He said he will be calling to negotiate a higher amount if it is not accepted. I also have good standing on two of my other loans. My XXXX loan if XXXX and my private Loan of XXXX. I already pay {$940.00} of student loans a month. This affects my husband and my two children. This affects my credit. This affects my ability to go back to school. Im asked for them to let me refinance this collection loan with my other student loans after 9-12 consecutive payments and they wont do it.”


For a full list of the 7 complaints made against SELF’s parent company, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, click here.

SELF Lawsuits

Neither SELF nor the Minnesota Office of Higher Education have been involved in any recent major litigation.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Is SELF good for refinancing student loans?
    SELF may be a good option for a Minnesota borrower with an average debt balance.
  • Are SELF loans federal?
    SELF loans are not federal. SELF has no affiliation with the federal government or the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Does SELF charge a prepayment penalty?
    There are no penalties for early payments or repaying a loan in full before its term is over.
  • Does checking your rates with SELF hurt your credit score?
    For their prequalification process, SELF performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, SELF will perform a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Is SELF a bank?
    SELF is not a bank nor is it affiliated with any bank. SELF Refi is the student loan refinancing program offered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
  • Can I refinance a SELF loan?
    You can refinance SELF student loans, student loans from another private lender, and federal loans. There is no limit to the number of times a borrower may refinance with SELF. 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 SELF?
    Yes, you can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with SELF. You can also refinance just part of a loan. 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 SELF. 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 SELF?
    SELF does not allow spouses to combine debt.
  • How long does it take to refinance with SELF?
    SELF does not specify a timeline for the entire refinance process but estimates a 2-week period between loan approval and disbursement.
  • Who services SELF refinance loans?
    Firstmark Services, a subsidiary of Nelnet, Inc., services all SELF Refi loans.
  • Does SELF offer a grace period?
    No, SELF does not offer a grace period.
  • How often do variable rates change?
    SELF recalculates variable rates on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 according to the 1-Month LIBOR.
  • Can I get any special rates or discounts with SELF Refi?
    Like many state-sponsored lending programs, SELF Refi does not offer special promotions or discounts.
  • What happens if I file for bankruptcy?
    Borrowers who file for bankruptcy may still be obligated to repay their SELF Refi loans.
  • Is SELF a Credible lender?
    SELF Refi does not partner with Credible as part of its lender 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
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. SELF Refi, Application Disclosures
  2. SELF Refi, Frequently Asked Questions
  3. CFPB, Consumer Complaint Database
  4. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory
  5. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities