With the cost of college continuing to rise, more students than ever find the need to take out loans to pay for their education. And once they graduate, they often need to consider student loan refinancing in order to help manage their debt. For many borrowers, the question is simply finding the right lender to meet their needs.

Since 2009, iHelp has offered student loan products to borrowers. It provides a service to its borrowers by matching them to community banks. This way, borrowers can work directly with lenders right in their community when taking out student loans or refinancing their existing loans. iHelp student loans are serviced by its parent company, Reunion Student Loan Finance Corp.

How iHelp Student Loans Work

The process to apply for a iHelp student loan is relatively simple. The application is available online, and prospective borrowers can apply within minutes. Before applying, borrowers can check to see their rates on private student loans. For those looking to refinance their student loans, they can review a range of interest rates based on their credit scores.

iHelp does have certain credit and financial requirements. To qualify for a loan, you must have a minimum credit score of 650, with the typical borrower having a score of 751. Similarly, the minimum income to be eligible for a loan is $24,000. The typical borrower has an income of $50,000.

The Costs of iHelp Student Loans

iHelp offers student loans with variable interest rates. This type of loan often has a lower interest rate than loans with a fixed interest rate. However, these loans can often be more costly as the interest rate can rise significantly over time. Currently, the interest rates for iHelp student loans range from 4.48% to 9.85%. All loan terms are 20 years.

iHelp does not charge an origination fee or a repayment fee for its student loans. And the limit for iHelp student loans is $100,000 for undergraduate students and $150,000 for graduate students.

For refinanced loans, iHelp offers both fixed-rate and variable-rate loans. Generally, fixed-rate loans are considered to be better, as the interest rate is stable and will not fluctuate. Refinanced loans are available for 10, 15 or 20-year terms. The interest rates for a 10-year fixed rate loan currently ranges from 4.75% to 8.00%.

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For 15-year fixed rate loans, it currently ranges from 5.50% to 9.00%. And for 20-year variable-rate loans, the interest rate currently ranges from the LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) rate plus 2.50% to the LIBOR rate plus 8.50%.  There are no origination or repayment fees for iHelp’s refinanced loans. The limit for refinanced iHelp loans is $150,000 for undergraduate loans and $250,000 for graduate loans.

iHelp Student Loan Perks

One of the biggest benefits iHelp offers to its customers is the ability to choose a repayment option that works for them.

iHelp’s repayment options are unique compared to other lenders. Student loan borrowers can enroll in an income-sensitive repayment plan, while borrowers with a refinanced student loan can choose from a variety of payment options depending on their budget. This includes interest-only payments (for 24 months), full monthly payments, a graduated repayment plan, or an income-sensitive repayment plan.

In addition, iHelp also offers dedicated customer support. Each borrower has an account manager and can access them directly. This gives borrowers the power to talk to someone about their student loans and get the answers they need rather than being routed to a third party who might not be able to help them or answer their questions.

iHelp Drawbacks to Consider

While iHelp is different than other lenders in terms of its flexible repayment options and its use of community lenders, it does have some drawbacks. Specifically, its rates tend to be higher than many other lenders, particularly for refinanced student loans. In addition, for student loans, the only option is variable interest rate loans, which can become more expensive for borrowers over time even if the interest rate is initially lower.

Loan terms are also relatively long. These factors make iHelp a more expensive option than other private student loan lenders. Students should carefully consider whether iHelp’s use of community lenders and repayment options are worth the added costs.

Making a Decision

While iHelp has a lot to offer potential borrowers in terms of local financing, it might be a costly way to borrow money or refinance student loans. Prospective borrowers should carefully examine loan terms to determine if an iHelp student loan or refinanced loan is a good deal before signing an agreement.