Iowa Student Loan Review
While federal loans are the best starting point when you need to borrow money to pay for college, there are times when you may need additional financing. If you’re ineligible for federal aid or have reached the annual or aggregate maximum, private lenders like ISL Education Lending — formerly known as Iowa Student Loan — can come in handy.
The Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation is a nonprofit organization that offers student loans and student loan refinancing under the name ISL Education Lending. As a nonprofit organization, ISL Education Lending is able to provide multiple low-interest loan options, including non-cosigned loans for undergraduate students.
ISL Education Lending student loan refinance review
While most student loan refinancing companies require you to earn a degree before you’re eligible for refinancing, ISL Education Lending allows you to refinance while you’re still in school. Even parents that took out parent PLUS loans to pay for their child’s education can refinance their debt before the student has graduated.
ISL Education Lending student loan refinancing is a good fit for borrowers and parents of students that haven’t completed their degrees.
ISL Education Lending student loan refinance review: The basics
ISL Education Lending offers refinancing options for undergraduate students, graduate students, parents, medical school students and medical residents.
Depending on the type of borrower you are and your degree type, loan maximums range from $200,000 to $400,000, and you can have up to 20 years to repay your loan.
What to like about ISL Education Lending refinance for student loans
If you’re considering refinancing your student loans, ISL Education Lending has the following advantages:
Offers in-school refinancing
Typically, refinancing lenders require borrowers to complete their degree and be in repayment on their current loans before they’re eligible for student loan refinancing.
However, ISL Education Lending is different. You can refinance your loans even if you’re still in school, allowing you to take advantage of lower rates right now.
Some borrowers can qualify for a graduated repayment plan
If you refinance your student loans with ISL Education Lending, you may be eligible for a graduated repayment plan. The lender’s refinancing program allows borrowers with loan terms of seven, 10, 15 or 20 years to take advantage of this option. With this plan, your payments will start off low and gradually increase over the life of your loan.
No origination or late fees
With some lenders, origination fees and late fees can add to your overall cost. But with ISL Education Lending, there are no origination fees, late fees or prepayment penalties.
Cosigner releases available after just 24 months
Adding a cosigner to your application can help you qualify for a better interest rate, but your cosigner may not want to be responsible for the loan for the duration of its repayment term.
Not all lenders offer cosigner releases, and some that do require you to make payments for three or four years before you can apply for a cosigner release. With ISL Education Lending, you can apply for a cosigner release after just 24 months of on-time payments, eliminating your cosigner’s obligation toward the loan sooner.
Extra bonuses for medical and dental school students
Medical and dental professionals, like physicians, dentists and optometrists, can refinance their medical school loans to potentially get a better rate. As an added perk, ISL Education Lending will give borrowers that refinance $60,000 or more a one-time $500 bonus. The $500 will be sent to you as a check within 60 days of your refinancing loan’s disbursement.
What to keep in mind about ISL Education Lending refinance for student loans
ISL Education Lending has refinancing options for both students and parents. However, there are some drawbacks to consider before choosing it as your lender:
Not available in all states
To qualify for a loan, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and live in one of the states where ISL Education Lending issues loans. Unfortunately, applicants in Maine and Oregon won’t be eligible for refinancing through ISL Education Lending.
Only offers fixed interest rates
Many borrowers opt for a variable-rate loan to take advantage of lower interest rates. A variable-rate loan could make sense if you plan on aggressively paying off your debt; the rate will likely be lower than if you selected a fixed-rate loan, so you can cut down on interest charges and pay off your loans faster.
However, ISL Education Lending doesn’t offer variable-rate loans — all of its refinancing loans have fixed interest rates.
High minimum credit score
To refinance your loans with ISL Education Lending, you or your cosigner need a credit score of 670 or above. A score of 670 to 739 is in the “good” category, and about one-third of Americans have a score below that range — with a lower score, you may not meet ISL Education Lending’s requirements.
How ISL Education Lending student loan refinance compares
Even though ISL Education Lending is a reputable lender with attractive refinancing options, it’s still wise to compare it with other lenders before moving forward with your application. Here’s how ISL Education Lending compares to other leading refinancing lenders:
Is refinancing student loans with ISL Education Lending right for you?
There are many different refinancing lenders out there — so how does ISL Education Lending compare?
With ISL Education Lending, you can refinance your loans even if you (or your child, in the case of parent borrowers) didn’t earn a degree. It has multiple repayment terms available, and it even has a graduated repayment plan that can make your payments more affordable. Plus, it offers cosigners after just 24 months of on-time payments.
ISL Education Lending is an excellent lender, but it’s not available in all 50 states, and doesn’t issue loans with variable-interest rates. If you decide that ISL Education Lending isn’t right for you, check out the best student loan refinancing lenders to find an alternative lender.
How to apply for refinancing with ISL Education Lending
You and, if applicable, your cosigner can apply online for student loan refinancing with ISL Education Lending. You can use the lender’s prequalification tool to check your eligibility and view loan options without affecting your credit score. Once you’ve selected the best loan for you, you can proceed with the application.
ISL Education Lending student loans review
Private student loans are usually credit-based. Since most college students don’t have established credit histories or steady sources of income, they’ll typically need cosigners to qualify for loans.
However, ISL Education Lending has loans specifically for students without cosigners — and its loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students.
ISL Education Lending student loans are a good fit for students that don’t have a creditworthy cosigner.
ISL Education Lending student loans reviews: The basics
ISL Education Lending has loans for undergraduate students, graduate students, parents and even family members. Depending on the loan type, you can borrow up to the total cost of attendance and have up to 15 years to repay your loan.
What to like about ISL Education Lending student loans
If you need additional aid to cover your education costs, ISL Education Lending could be a good choice for the following reasons:
In-school loans available without cosigners
While most private student loan lenders require cosigners for their undergraduate or graduate loans, ISL Education Lending has loan options without cosigners. Qualifying undergraduate students can borrow up to $17,500 per year without a cosigner, while graduate students can borrow up to the total cost of attendance.
Other family members can take out loans
With parent student loans, there are usually restrictions for who can take them out. For example, only biological or adoptive parents of dependent undergraduate students can take out federal parent PLUS loans. Grandparents and legal guardians aren’t eligible, even if they had primary responsibility for raising the child.
With ISL Education Lending, however, other relatives can borrow money on behalf of the student. Family members, such as aunts, uncles, grandparents or siblings — and even close family friends — can apply for parent/family loans through ISL Education Lending and borrow up to the total cost of attendance.
No origination fees or late fees
There are no origination fees, late fees or prepayment penalties with ISL Education Lending’s loans.
Cosigner releases available after just 24 months
Most undergraduate and graduate students will require a cosigner to qualify for a private student loan. However, you may improve your credit and earn a steady income in the near future. After 24 months of on-time payments, ISL Education Lending allows you to apply for a cosigner release. If you meet the lender’s credit and income requirements, the lender will remove the cosigner from the loan.
Borrow up to the total cost of attendance
ISL Education Lending doesn’t have maximum loan amounts; you can borrow up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance.
What to keep in mind about ISL Education Lending student loans
While ISL Education Lending can be a valuable resource for some students and families, it’s not for everyone due to the following reasons:
Loan options aren’t available in all states
While ISL Education Lending offers loans in many states, some of its loans are limited:
Prequalification tool not available for all loan options
While ISl Education Lending does have a prequalification tool for parent/family loans, it doesn’t have a prequalification process for undergraduate or graduate student borrowers. The only way to check your eligibility and view loan options is to undergo a hard credit inquiry.
Unclear forbearance and deferment requirements
Although ISL Education Lending states that it will work with borrowers experiencing financial difficulties, it doesn’t have clear forbearance or deferment policies. There are no specifications regarding what circumstances forbearance is granted under, nor does it list how long forbearance or deferment can last.
High minimum credit score
As with its refinancing loans, ISL Education Lending has a minimum credit score of 670 for private student loans. Particularly for college and graduate school students, such a high credit score is difficult to achieve, so you’ll likely need a creditworthy cosigner to qualify for a loan.
How ISL Education Lending student loans compare
Before applying for a loan with ISL Education Lending, compare its loans with options from other major lenders:
You’ll very likely be better off if you shop around beyond a few lenders. Make sure you learn all about the best options for your specific needs.
Are ISL Education Lending student loans right for you?
ISL Education Lending’s loans have competitive interest rates, and you can qualify for a loan even if you don’t have a cosigner — making it a good choice for students that may not have family members able to cosign a loan application.
However, ISL Education Lending’s loans aren’t available in all states. Plus, there’s no prequalification tool for most loan types, so it can be difficult to compare its rates with other lenders.
If you need additional financing for college and decide against ISL Education Lending, consider one of the top private student loan lenders.
How to apply with ISL Education Lending
You and your cosigner can apply for ISL Education lending’s private student loans online. Parent/family loan applicants can check their rates without a hard credit inquiry, but all other borrowers have to complete a full application and consent to a credit check.
ISL Education Lending will ask for the following information:
How to contact ISL Education Lending
ISL Education Lending’s customer support team is based in Iowa, and is available by phone or email.
Frequently asked questions about ISL Education Lending student loans
If you didn’t find your question answered in our ISL Education Lending reviews, see the following FAQs:
Is Iowa Student Loan a federal lender?
Although ISL Education Lending is a nonprofit organization, it is not a federal student loan lender or servicer. Instead, ISL Education Lending issues private student loans and student loan refinancing.
Does ISL Education Lending work with borrowers outside Iowa?
Because of its name — Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation, doing business as ISL Education Lending — many people believe ISL Education Lending’s loans are only available to borrowers in Iowa. However, the lender issues loans to borrowers in most states, with the exceptions of Maine and Oregon.
What is Aspire Resources? How is it connected to ISL Education Lending?
Aspire Resources is a for-profit subsidiary of Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation. It disburses private student loans on behalf of partner lenders, and provides customer service support for both private and federal student loans.
Methodology for ratings
To come up with our star rating for student loan refinancing lenders and companies/private student loan lenders and companies, Student Loan Hero asks hard questions — 20 of them, in fact. These questions span three categories: Accessibility, Rates & Terms and Repayment Experience. That’s because we want to judge financial institutions on their products and services from start to finish: when our users are shopping around, filing applications and paying down their debt. A top-rated lender, for instance, has inclusive eligibility criteria, allows you to prequalify and check rates without harming your credit score and is supportive as you face monthly payments.
The answers that we get to our 20 questions — either from the lenders themselves or by combing through their fine print — determine their overall rating. We score answers consistently, sometimes awarding partial points, to ensure that you can make equal comparisons between all lenders that we put under the microscope.
Student Loan Hero isn’t paid for conducting these reviews, and lenders don’t have a say in their content. The goal with our reviews and ratings, along with everything else we do, is to give our users the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available to make the best decisions according to their borrowing needs.
Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to ISL Education Lending student loans, which is current as of May 13, 2022 unless otherwise noted. None of the financial institutions named has either provided or reviewed the information shared in this article.