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Juno is a student loan negotiation group that helps groups of borrowers secure competitive rates on undergraduate and graduate loans and student loan refinancing. But spousal loans and specialty loans aren’t available through Juno, so borrowers seeking those options will need to look elsewhere.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
Negotiates loan rates on your behalf
Loan options for U.S.-based and international students and DACA recipients
Fixed and variable rate loans available
Up to nine months of payment deferrals after graduation
No specialty loans for medical, law, veterinary, or technical school
Negotiating the best rates may take time
May offer limited terms, depending on lender bids received
Need to sign up to view rates and loan options
- Juno (formerly LeverEdge) is a student loan negotiation platform that was founded in 2018.
- It leverages the power of group borrowing to negotiate favorable rates and terms on student loans.
- Borrowers can get private student loans and refinance existing loans with Juno’s partners.
- Lending partners charge no origination or administration fees, late payment fees, or returned payment fees.
Founded in 2018 as LeverEdge, Juno is a unique platform that negotiates exclusive group discounts on private student loans with partner lenders. It has over 110,000 members and offers undergraduate, graduate, and refinancing loan options for borrowers. Membership to Juno is free, and the platform is available in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., although availability for certain loans may be limited.
Feedback about Juno is limited on third-party sites, but borrower reviews shared through its Facebook groups are generally positive (these are from its own website, however). In addition to negotiating competitive rates for borrowers, Juno offers an autopay discount and a rate match program. If you find a better rate on a private student loan elsewhere, it will match that rate and give you 1% as cash back on the total loan amount.
- Year Founded 2018
- Official Website www.joinjuno.com
- Loans Offered Undergraduate, graduate, refinance
- Customer Service Phone: (201) 482-1269. Email: email@example.com. In-person meeting via Zoom
- Negotiates loan rates on your behalf: Juno uses the power of group borrowing to negotiate competitive rates and terms with its lending partners.
- Loan options for U.S.-based and international students and DACA recipients: Loans are available for international students, those based in the U.S., and DACA students. Quite a few companies only lend to U.S. residents, so this availability could be quite attractive.
- Fixed and variable rate loans available: Partner lenders offer fixed- and variable-rate loans to suit a variety of borrowers. Rates start at just 0.94% for variable-rate loans and 3.24% for fixed-rate loans.
- Up to nine months of payment deferrals after graduation: While many platforms offer a six-month payment grace period after graduation, Juno offers up to nine months of payment deferrals.
- No specialty loans for medical, law, veterinary, or technical school: Those seeking loans for a specialty degree program will need to look elsewhere.
- Negotiating the best rates may take time: While some platforms let you review your rates and terms instantly, Juno negotiates with prospective lenders. This means it may take more time to see your loan options.
- May offer limited terms, depending on lender bids received: Lenders submit bids to Juno with specific rates and terms. Depending on the bids received, Juno may only be able to offer limited options.
- Need to sign up to view rates and loan options: In order to view your rates and loan options, you’ll need to become a Juno member.
Lenders Available Through Juno
Other student loan marketplaces exist, but Juno’s model is unique among these platforms because it negotiates group discounts with its partner lenders. Juno’s partner lenders include:
Borrowers can access undergraduate and graduate loans through Earnest, and refinancing loans through Earnest, Laurel Road, and Splash Financial.
Loan Eligibility and Approval
Loan eligibility and approval requirements can vary across Juno’s partner lenders. But in general, its partners require that borrowers and their co-signers have a credit score of 650 or above to qualify. There’s no minimum income requirement specified, but Juno indicates that either you (or your co-signer) will need an income to get approved for an undergraduate loan.
To qualify for an undergraduate loan through Earnest, borrowers who are freshmen, sophomores, or juniors must be enrolled full-time at a Title IV school, while seniors must be enrolled at least half-time at a Title IV school. Those seeking graduate loans through Juno’s platform will need to be enrolled at least half-time and actively pursuing an advanced degree at a Title IV school.
Qualifying borrowers can also refinance up to $500,000 worth of student loans through the Juno platform. To be eligible for refinancing with one of Juno’s partners, you’ll need:
- Over $5,000 in student loan debt
- No recent delinquencies or bankruptcies
- To have attended a Title IV college
- To be employed and earning a salary in USD
- A credit score over 650
- U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
While Juno works with lending partners on your behalf, its list of partners is fairly limited. However, it does offer loan options for students in all 50 U.S. states and D.C. and their parents, international students, and DACA recipients.
Are Co-Signers Required?
Co-signers may not be required for all loans available through Juno, though most undergraduates will need a co-signer to be eligible for a loan. One particular offer for graduate student loans for international students also requires a co-signer. But there’s another deal for international students that doesn’t require a co-signer, which is a fairly uncommon option among lenders and lending platforms. Whether co-signers are required for graduate school loans will likely depend on the individual borrower’s situation.
Co-signers might be required in certain cases. If you have questions about whether you need a co-signer or not, reach out to Juno’s customer service team for more information.
If you have a trusted friend or family member who could co-sign your loan, you might want to consider this option. Having a co-signer with good or excellent credit may increase your odds of getting approved for a loan with favorable rates and terms. Note that co-signing isn’t permitted for certain refinance options through Juno.
Is Loan Pre-Qualification Available?
Juno indicates that it offers an option for borrowers to check their rates with a soft credit check before applying for a loan. However, its lending partners’ requirements could vary, and certain partners may not offer pre-qualification.
Length of Time for Loan Approval and Disbursement
Since Juno negotiates group discounts for borrowers with lenders, the timeline for loan approval and disbursement may be longer than what you’d see with another lender or loan marketplace.
For instance, for undergraduate loans, Juno solicits bids from lenders in April and May, and then shares negotiated deals with borrowers in June. Loans are typically disbursed in August. However, if you’re seeking a loan immediately, you may be able to access negotiated deals from the previous year. Keep in mind that disbursement times may also vary depending on the lending partner you decide to work with.
Loan Fees and Repayment Options
Juno has minimal fees, several forbearance and deferment options, and other benefits that make it worth considering. Here’s a look at what it offers.
Undergraduate and graduate loans available on Juno are provided by its lending partner, Earnest. Earnest doesn’t charge any of the following fees for its loans:
- Origination/administration fee
- Late fee
- Returned payment fee
- Forbearance fee
- Deferment fee
In addition to any group discounts Juno negotiates on its members’ behalf, Juno’s lending partners offer autopay discounts. The platform also has a unique rate match program with Earnest loans. Through this program, Earnest matches competitor interest rates, and Juno gives you 1% back in cash from the total loan amount. The rate match program is only available with Earnest, though, so that’s an important consideration if you’ll be working with a different lending partner.
Those seeking flexibility with repayment options may find what they’re looking for with Juno. The platform currently offers four different repayment options for undergrads and graduate students:
- Deferred payment: Make no payments until nine months after graduation; at that point, full interest-and-principal payments begin.
- Fixed payment: Make $25 monthly payments until nine months after graduation.
- Interest-only payment: Make payments only to cover the interest that accrues on the loan until nine months after graduation.
- Full payment: Full interest and principal payments start nine months after the loan is disbursed.
Loan Forbearance and Discharge Options
Juno customer support indicates that its borrowers can apply for hardship forbearance, though it didn’t provide specific information about how loan forbearance works. Options may also vary depending on the partner lender, so if you’re wondering about forbearance, talk to different partners about what they offer. The same goes for loan discharge and co-signer release policies.
Is Student Loan Refinancing Available?
Student loan refinancing is available through Juno lending partners Earnest, Splash Financial, and Laurel Road. Refinancing rates start at just 4.64% fixed or 4.24% variable, though terms and rates will vary depending on your income, credit, and other factors.
Juno offers phone and email support for members, and you can also schedule a Zoom call with a representative if you’re interested in learning more. Customer support is available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, except on holidays. Juno also offers contact information for its lending partners, in case you need to reach out to one of them directly.
- Earnest: (855) 463-1481 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Laurel Road: (855) 245-0989 or email@example.com
- Splash Financial: (855) 560-0435 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Applying for a Juno Student Loan
It’s best to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and see how much federal aid you qualify for before seeking private student loans. However, if you’ve already applied for financial aid and you still need loans to pay for school, Juno is worth considering.
You can apply for a student loan with a Juno partner by signing up for membership and viewing the offers available to you. Note that Juno typically shares negotiated deals with prospective borrowers in July for the upcoming school year, though deals from prior years may still be available. You aren’t obligated to apply for a loan through Juno, even if you sign up for membership.
But if you decide to apply, you’ll need to provide the following information to Juno:
- Basic personal information
- Contact information
- Education information
- Credit score
- Co-signer information
- Loan amount
You may also need to provide additional information to one of its lending partners if you decide to move forward with a loan.
|Loan types offered||Undergraduate; graduate; parent||Undergraduate; graduate; parent; professional||Undergraduate; graduate; parent; professional; medical; bar study|
|Undergraduate fixed APR||Starting at 3.24%||3.65%–16.75%||5.99%–12.18%|
|Undergraduate variable APR||Starting at 0.94%||3.99%–14.98%||5.99%–12.02%|
|Repayment options||Deferment; fixed; interest-only; full payment||Varies by lender||Deferment; interest-only; full payment|
If you’ve exhausted your options for federal student loans and are seeking private student loans to help offset college costs, Juno may be worth considering. It offers options for undergrads, graduate students, international students, and DACA recipients. And it provides exclusive discounts to borrowers.
That said, Juno has a fairly limited selection of lending partners. Consider signing up for a free membership to see what Juno offers—there’s no commitment to borrow—and comparing options from other private lenders to find the best deal.
Juno is a great way to shop for student loans, but it’s not the only way. See our picks for the best student loans for more options, including some direct lenders.
Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of student loan lenders. We collected thousands of data points across 30 lenders—including loan types, interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms—to ensure that we help readers make the right borrowing decision for their education needs.