If you’re a college student or the parent of one, then you’re painfully aware of how expensive student loans are. In fact, currently well over half of all students end up having to take out student loans in order to pay for school. Those loans could come from the federal government, or from private corporations and financial institutions, some of whom specialize in refinancing those loans for the long haul.
Brazos Higher Education is just such an organization. A non-profit located in Texas, it offers student loan refinancing and parent loan solutions for borrowers who are also in Texas. Headquartered out of Waco, Brazos has been around for over four decades, seeking to help parents and students alike save money with their education financing through two types of products: student loan refinancing, and parent loans.
Student Loan Refinancing
While they don’t offer direct student loans in or outside of Texas, Brazos does offer student loan refinancing, and according to their website they’ve been part of financing over two million loans in that time.
Rates for Texas borrowers currently start at just 2.81 percent APR for a variable rate loan; the fixed rate loans currently start at 3.05 percent with automatic payments. A chart on their website allows you to check your projected rate based on what your credit score is. It should be noted, however, that Brazos doesn’t seem to approve refinance loans for lower than a 720 credit score, so if you have less than prime credit, Brazos may not be a viable option.
Brazos refinance loans don’t have any origination fees or prepayment penalties. Terms can be 5, 7, 10, 15 or even 20 years, with monthly payments as low as $68.00 for a $10,000 loan.
In order to be eligible for refinance from Brazos, borrowers must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved school; Brazos maintains a list of over 2,000 schools. Borrowers must also have income of at least $60,000, or $30,000 if they bring a cosigner to the loan.
As mentioned, borrower credit scores must be at least 720, or 690 with a cosigner. Other credit requirements may apply as well. Student borrowers who reside outside of Texas can’t get refinanced through Brazos; they can, however, look at some comparable options through the organization’s partners.
The same criteria apply for parent loans as for student borrowers, although obviously the borrower must be applying to finance the education of the student. Though it’s titled a parent loan, it’s not limited to just parents; grandparents, family members, and even friends can apply as long as they can meet the creditworthiness requirements.
Any students benefiting from the loan must be attending a degree-granting school from the approved list, and be able to show that they’re progressing satisfactorily. Parent loans can also be used for medical school, law school, and other professional degrees—unlike the federal Parent PLUS loans, which can’t be used for those advanced programs.
How Can Borrowers Benefit from Brazos?
For borrowers in Texas, Brazos can be an excellent resource for students who want to refinance their loans at a lower rate or longer term to get their payment amount down. The Brazos website offers a quick application that can get a decision in minutes, and all servicing is contracted out to third-party companies such as ACS Xerox, Firstmark, and Nelnet. Borrowers are encouraged to do their own research on the servicing companies before getting a loan through Brazos; the company itself, however, is easy to contact and work with.
Brazos also funds several scholarships through its education foundation. Students graduating from high schools in McClennan County, Texas are eligible to apply.