Make Your Student Loans More Manageable

Frequently Asked Questions



What are the SELF Refi interest rates?

SELF Refi Current Rates
5-year 10-year 15-year
Fixed Interest Rate 4.25% 5.50% 6.75%
Variable Interest Rate * 4.20% 4.85% 5.55%

*As of 1/1/2020. Subject to change quarterly.

View a chart of historic SELF Refi Loan variable interest rates.

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How is the SELF Refi variable interest rate determined for my loan?

You have the option of selecting either a fixed or variable rate with repayment terms of 5, 10, or 15 years. Depending on your debt-to-income ratio, all options may not be available to you.

Your variable rate can change quarterly and is calculated every January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1. The interest rate is the sum of the margin for that repayment term added to the index, which is based on the 1-Month LIBOR rate (London Interbank Offered Rates). The margin is a percentage rate determined by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to cover the cost of operating the program and may change every quarter. Current margins are 2.40%, 3.05%, 3.75% respectively for 5-, 10- and 15-year repayment periods.

The maximum interest rate for the variable loan is 18%.

All students are charged the same interest rate depending upon whether they select a fixed or variable rate and what repayment term they choose. Your eligibility for the loan is based on your credit score (and your co-signer's credit score, if you are required to have a co-signer). However, your credit score does not determine your interest rate.

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What are the repayment terms?

  • You will have the option of selecting your desired repayment term: 5, 10 or 15 years. Depending on your debt-to-income ratio, all options may not be available to you.
  • You must start repaying your SELF Refi Loan immediately after disbursement.
  • There is no penalty for early repayment.
  • There are no grace periods or deferment options.

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How much can I borrow?

The maximum amount for your SELF Refi Loan is based on the highest postsecondary credential you earned. The minimum loan amount is $10,000.

Loan Limits
Earned Degree Maximum Loan Amount
Bachelor or graduate degree $70,000
Certificate, diploma or associate degree $25,000

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What types of student loans can I refinance?

  • Federal loans you took out as a student borrower.
  • Private loans you took out as a student borrower that meet the definition of a qualified student loan.

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Can I refinance parent PLUS loans?

No, parent PLUS loans are not eligible to be refinanced. Only loans where the borrower was the student can be included.

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What is a qualified student loan?

A qualified student loan is a loan used to pay qualified education expenses to attend an eligible educational institution, including graduate school.

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What are qualified education expenses?

Qualified education expenses are the total costs of attending an eligible educational institution, including graduate school. Expenses include amounts paid for the following items:

  • tuition and fees;
  • room and board ***;
  • books, supplies, and equipment;
  • other necessary expenses (such as transportation).

***The cost of room and board qualifies only to the extent that it is not more than the greater of:

  • the allowance for room and board, as determined by the eligible educational institution, that was included in the cost of attendance (for federal financial aid purposes) for a particular academic period and living arrangement of the student; or
  • the actual amount charged if the student is residing in housing owned or operated by the eligible educational institution.

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Can I refinance only part of an existing student loan?

Yes, it is your choice whether to refinance only part of a loan. However, you will need to continue with your payments on the loan if you choose not to refinance the full amount.

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Will I be able to maintain any federal loan benefits if I refinance my federal loans?

No, if you refinance any federal loans into the SELF Refi Loan, you forfeit your federal benefits on those loans. Click on the document below for more information on benefits you may be losing by refinancing federal loans.

By refinancing your federal student loans into a private student loan, you are converting them from federal loans to a privately owned loan and need to take into consideration the risk involved as all federal student loan benefits listed here will be forfeited.

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What are the eligibility criteria for borrowers?

A borrower must:

  • be a Minnesota resident.
  • have earned a certificate, diploma, associate, bachelor or graduate degree.
  • be employed with the same employer for at least 60 days or their spouse is the co-signer and qualification is based on household income and expenses.
  • have no delinquencies on his or her credit report.
  • have no unpaid charge offs, liens or judgments totaling $300 or more.
  • Criteria to qualify without a cosigner: Minimum FICO* score of 700 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45%
  • Criteria to qualify with a cosigner:
    FICO* score greater than or equal to 700, and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 60%
    FICO* score greater than or equal to 650 but less than 700, and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 50%
  • Criteria to qualify with a spouse as the cosigner and use family/household income and expenses
    • Borrower minimum FICO* score of 650
    • Cosigner minimum FICO* score of 700
    • Maximum combined debt-to-income ratio of 60%

* TransUnion's FICO® Classic 04

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Can I be a student when I apply?

Yes, as long as you have already earned at least one degree and meet the debt-to-income ratio requirements. However, there are no deferment options if you are enrolled in a postsecondary institution.

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How is the debt-to-income ratio calculated?

If you are applying on your own or without a spouse as a co-signer your debt-to-income ratio is your monthly payment obligations divided by your monthly income. Monthly payment obligations include the minimum payment amount on open lines of credit with a zero balance. The full payment amount of any jointly signed mortgage will be included in your debt-to-income calculation. If you have identified your co-signer as your spouse on your Refi Loan, the joint mortgage will only be counted once.

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Does my credit score determine my interest rate?

No, we use your credit score to determine whether you qualify for a SELF Refi Loan or if you need a co-signer.

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Do I need a co-signer?

You can qualify on your own if you

  • are a US citizen or permanent resident,
  • have a minimum FICO* score of 700, and
  • have a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45%.

* TransUnion's FICO® Classic 04

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What are the eligibility requirements for co-signers?

A co-signer must:

  • be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • have a minimum FICO* score of 700.
  • be employed at least 60 days by his or her current employer if utilizing employment income.
  • have a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 55%.
  • have no delinquencies on his or her credit report.
  • have no unpaid charge offs, liens or judgments totaling $300 or more.

* TransUnion's FICO® Classic 04

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Is a co-signer release available?

Yes, your co-signer may be eligible for release after 48 consecutive on-time payments if you meet the eligibility requirements in effect at that time.

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Are there deferments available?

No, the loans enter immediate repayment after disbursement. Even if you re-enroll in a postsecondary institution, there are no deferment options.

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Can my SELF Refi Loan be deferred if I re-enroll in a postsecondary institution?

No, there are no deferments on SELF Refi Loans. The loans enter immediate repayment after disbursement.

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Are there forbearances available?

Yes, two four-month forbearances are available over the life of the loan. This will stop your consecutive on-time payments and will restart at zero when the approved forbearance time has ended.

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Will I be able to refinance the SELF Refi Loan?

Yes, provided you still meet the eligibility criteria.

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Where do I apply for the SELF Refi Loan?

Apply for the SELF Refi Loan here.

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Why would I want to refinance?

Reasons you might want to refinance:

  • pay less in interest
  • reduce your monthly payment
  • switch between a fixed and variable interest rate
  • release your co-signer

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How much can I save by refinancing?

Our repayment calculator can show you how much each refinancing option will cost.

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How long does it take to process a loan?

Processing time is primarily dependent upon how quickly you (and your co-signer, if necessary) complete the application and provide the required documents. The loans you are refinancing will be paid off approximately two weeks after approval, in accordance with federally mandated cancellation periods. You will need to continue to make payments to your loan holders/servicers until you confirm the loans have been paid in full.

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What information will I be asked to enter during the application process?

Information on the loans you wish to refinance:

  • type of student loan (i.e. direct subsidized, Perkins, private)
  • lender/servicer name
  • interest rate

Borrower and co-signer information needed:

  • driver's license number and issuance date
  • name, address and phone number for one personal reference (address cannot be the same address as the borrower/co-signer)
  • current annual income
  • current employer name and phone number
  • current employment length (in years and months)

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What documents do I need to provide when applying?

You will need to upload the following documents for verification during the application process:

  • copy of photo ID (required for borrower and co-signer);
  • copy of diploma, certificate, degree or transcript with your graduation date (borrower only);
  • current statement from loan(s) being refinancing showing:
    • your name,
    • name of lender/servicer,
    • address for lender/servicer payments,
    • account number
    • current balance, and
    • interest rate;
  • your two most recent paystubs** (unless not employed and applying with household income)—one of which must be within 30 days of the application date; paystubs must
    • include your name,
    • include your employer name, and
    • have pay frequency or pay period and pay date.
  • if utilizing household income provide your current joint tax return or recent copy of your marriage certificate.

** Self-employed must provide federal tax return and all schedules

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If there is an overpayment on the loans I am refinancing, what happens to it?

Because the interest is being projected on the loans you are refinancing and you are continuing to make your normal payments, there may be overpayments. Lenders and servicers handle refunds differently. Overpayments may be sent by your lender/servicer directly to you or returned to Firstmark Services. Any overpayment received by Firstmark Services will be treated as a refund and will reduce your SELF Refi Loan amount.

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Can I deduct the interest that I pay on my SELF Refi Loan on my income taxes?

As part of the application process, borrowers are required to certify that student loans being refinanced meet the definition of a qualified student loan. Refer to IRS Publication 970 for further information on student loan interest deductions, or consult with your tax advisor.

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Who do I contact if I have a question or problem with my SELF Refi Loan?

Firstmark Services is the loan servicer for the SELF Refi program.

Firstmark Services Borrower Customer Service: 855.324.4908
Representatives are available: Monday - Friday 7:00 am to 8:00 pm Central Time
Firstmark Services E-mail: selfrefi@firstmarkservices.com

Loan information is also available at www.firstmarkservices.com.

If, after calling Firstmark Services, you still have concerns about your SELF Refi Loan, you are encouraged to send a letter or email to the Office of Higher Education explaining your concerns.

MN Office of Higher Education

1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350
St Paul, MN 55164
selfloan.ohe@state.mn.us

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