Refinance FAQ


Refinancing allows you to combine one or more existing student loans into a single new loan with one monthly payment which can help you navigate successful student loan repayment much more conveniently. Benefits of refinancing may include:

  • Lower monthly payments*
  • Get a lower interest rate**
  • One bill, one lender
  • No pre-payment penalties
  • Fixed interest rate
  • Different repayment terms to fit your personal situation***

*Your payment could increase depending on the selected repayment term.

**Interest rate depends on credit score and other factors.

***You could pay more interest over the life of the loan with a longer loan term.

Am I eligible for a PA Forward Refinance Loan?

The PA Forward Refinance Loan is a loan designed specifically for those who are in repayment and want assistance with managing their student debt. To qualify, you must:

  • Be a PA resident or resident of an approved state (DE, MD, NJ, NY, OH, and WV) who is the borrower or co-signer for the student loans
  • Be a borrower who is currently in repayment
  • Be a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States
  • Be a borrower or co-signer who meets the minimum credit requirements
How much can I borrow?

No, there is no pre-payment penalty and no application or origination fees. There is a late fee of 4% of the amount past due or $5.00, whichever is less.

Do I need a co-signer?
The PA Forward Refinance Loan does not require you to have a


A co-signer is a person who accepts equal responsibility for the repayment of the loan.

; however, you may benefit from a


Having a satisfactory credit rating

co-signer if you do not meet the minimum credit requirements. Having a co-signer may increase your chances that the loan will be approved and, perhaps, may get you a better interest rate. If you have not reached the
age of majority

Age of Majority

The age a person is considered an adult.

based on the law of your state of residence, you will be required to obtain a co-signer.

NOTE: Approval for private education loans is based on your credit score, credit history, and debt-to-income ratio.
What is Co-signer Release?

The PA Forward Student Loan Program allows for co-signers to be released from their responsibilities after meeting certain requirements.

Co-signer release requirements include:

  • Making 48 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest while in repayment, excluding deferment and forbearance time
    • Payments are considered on-time if they are received no later than 15 days after the due date
    • A
      lump sum

      Lump Sum

      An amount paid all at once, that is equal to two or more monthly installment payments.

      payment counts as one qualifying payment

      NOTE: Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all payments due between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2020 count as a qualifying payment for the purposes of co-signer release, regardless of if the payment was made.
  • Upon completion of making 48 consecutive on-time payments, the borrower must provide proof of income, as well as pass a debt-to-income calculation and credit check
  • Must be in repayment making your full billed monthly payment amount
  • The use of any deferment or forbearance will not count toward the co-signer release payment counter. The payment counter will resume once the deferment or forbearance ends

If you would like to apply for this benefit or have questions, please contact the servicer of the loan, American Education Services (AES) at 1-800-233-0557 Monday to Friday, 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM (ET).

NOTE: Both the borrower and any co-signer remain responsible for the student loan account until the co-signer release request is approved, if applicable.

Once the co-signer is released, they will no longer be held responsible for the repayment of loan. This responsibility will remain solely with the original borrower of the loan.

What is the interest rate on the PA Forward Refinance Loan?

We offer competitive, fixed interest rates, which means you never need to worry about your interest rate going up! Check out the rate range today.


Yes, PA Forward has an interest rate reward when you enroll in our free, automatic electronic payment service (Direct Debit) where you could save a total of 0.25% off your fixed interest rate upon Direct Debit approval! Additionally, if you’re an existing PA Forward borrower, you can reduce your final interest rate by 0.35% when you choose to consolidate at least one undergrad, graduate, parent, or refinance PA Forward loan into a new PA Forward Refinance Loan.


You can be granted a full refund within 90 days of disbursement.

What is Direct Debit?

Direct Debit is a free, automated payment service. It's not only convenient—you don't have to write a check or pay for a stamp—you will also qualify for a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you are approved for Direct Debit.


The minimum monthly payment for a PA Forward Refinance Loan is $50.00 a month. You have the option to choose between five loan terms based on your balance to make repayment fit your needs.

Loan Term and Minimum Loan Amount

Loan graph

NOTE: The longer your term the more interest you could pay over the life of the loan.


Yes. Making biweekly payments can help you pay off your student loans faster, while saving you money! By paying half your monthly payment every 2 weeks, you end up making an extra payment every year. Check out the example detailing the time and money you could save by making biweekly payments while being enrolled in Direct Debit.


With the Refinance Loan, you will automatically be placed into Immediate Repayment, and this is the only available repayment option.

What do I need to apply for a PA Forward Refinance Loan?

Below are the items you should have ready when filling out your application:

  • Name, address, and telephone number
  • Date of birth and Social Security number
  • Email address
  • Annual income
  • Co-signer's name and email address (if applicable)
  • Current account and student loan information
  • Mobile phone to receive one-time passcode for electronic signature
How do I save money on simple interest loans?

There are three easy ways to save money on your loan:

  • Pay early: If you make your payment before your due date, more of the payment will be applied toward principal.
  • Pay more frequently: Making payments more frequently, such as making biweekly payments, can help lower your principal balance and interest amount paid. By making payments every 2 weeks you end up making an extra full payment a year.
  • Pay extra: Making a
    lump sum

    Lump Sum

    An amount paid all at once, that is equal to two or more monthly installment payments.

    or paying more than your monthly payment can lower your principal faster, which means you accrue less interest.
Can I get a deferment if I go back to school?

Yes. If you go back to school, at least half-time, you may qualify for 36 months of an In-School deferment.

What should be included on my loan statement?

A loan statement is a recent loan account document provided by your current loan servicer for each loan that you wish to refinance. You will need to provide any loan statement with your application for a PA Forward Refinance Loan.

Your loan statement should include:

  • Your name
  • Full account number
  • Servicer name and address
  • Loan balance
  • Loan interest rate
  • Monthly payment amount
If I have an upcoming payment with my existing servicer, prior to my loans being refinanced, should I make the payment?

Yes. We encourage you to continue to make payments until your loans have been refinanced. If there is an overpayment on your underlying loans, your servicer should return the overpayment to us. Upon receiving the overpayment, we will apply it to the principal balance of your PA Forward Refinance Loan.

Will checking the rates or applying for a refinance loan affect my credit?

Checking the rates and terms you may qualify for will not affect your credit. However, if you select one of our products and apply for a loan, we will request your credit report from one of the consumer reporting agencies, which will be reported as an inquiry on your credit file.

When is the right time to refinance?

You can submit your refinance application at any time as long as your education loans are in a repayment status.

NOTE: You could lose any current or possible future loan benefits if you refinance.

Can my spouse and I refinance our loans together?

Regrettably, no you cannot combine you and your spouse’s loans in to one loan. However, you can both apply for a PA Forward Refinance Loan separately.

Can a student education loan be refinanced with a parent loan?

If your student took out a student education loan, you may not include their student loan with your parent loan through refinance.

When will my existing loans be paid off?

The payoff of your underlying loans will happen approximately 1 week after the Final Disclosure for your PA Forward Refinance Loan is issued.

What happens if there is an overpayment on my underlying loans?

The servicers of your underlying loans will send overpayments directly to our office. Any overpayments will be applied to the principal balance of your refinance loan as of the date of disbursement to prevent interest from accruing on the overpayment.

Will I lose my current loan benefits if I refinance?

When you refinance, you waive any current and potential future benefits of your federal loans (e.g., Income-Driven Repayment, interest rate reductions, loan forgiveness options, etc.) and replace those with the benefits of the PA Forward Refinance Loans.

Your private education loans may also have benefits which you would lose if you refinance (e.g., interest rate reductions, principal balance rebates, progress toward co-signer release, etc.). Options vary based on specific private education loan programs.

We recommend you identify any potential benefits which may impact your current loans, then weigh the costs and benefits carefully before applying for a PA Forward Refinance Loan.

1 Minimum loan amounts are based on your loan term. A term of 5, 7, or 10 years has a $5,000 minimum loan amount. A term of 15 years has a $10,000 minimum loan amount. A term of 20 years has a $20,000 minimum loan amount.

Applicants, including co-signers, are subject to credit qualifications, completion of an application and credit agreement, and verification of application information. PHEAA uses applicant FICO score to determine eligibility and interest rates. Higher credit scores may mean an applicant is offered a lower interest rate.

PHEAA reserves the right to discontinue all programs or benefits without prior notice.

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