Graduate and professional students often struggle to find student loans with competitive interest rates. Even federal loans—which tend to have lower rates than other options—have high interest rates for graduate borrowers. 

If you need to borrow money to finance your master’s or professional degree, one alternative is a loan from Laurel Road. The lender's student loan options cater only to graduate-level borrowers, offering low-interest loans to students in programs at select schools. With flexible repayment options and valuable interest rate discounts, it can be an affordable option to pay for your degree. 

However, not everyone will be eligible for a loan. Here’s what you need to know before applying for a loan from Laurel Road.

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Pros

  • Multiple repayment options and loan terms

  • Potential for low interest rates

  • Employment and autopay discounts

Cons

  • Limited to students enrolled in select graduate and professional programs

  • No formal process for co-signer releases

  • No guarantee for lower interest rate with co-signer

Pros Explained

  • Multiple repayment options and loan terms – Laurel Road offers five loan terms ranging from five to 20 years in length. There are multiple repayment options, including full deferment while you’re in school and interest-only repayment. You can choose a loan term and repayment plan that works for your career and budget. 
  • Potential for low interest rates – Laurel Road’s rates are very competitive. Its fixed-rate loans have rates as low as 3.50% and go as high as 7.02%, including a 0.25% autopay discount. Seeing as federal loans for graduate school have rates as high as 7.08%, opting for a loan through Laurel Road could help you save money. 
  • Employment and autopay discounts – There are two interest rate discounts you may qualify for: a 0.25% discount for signing up for automatic payments and a 0.25% discount when you graduate and secure employment. Using both discounts, you can lower your interest rate by 0.50%. 

Cons Explained

  • Limited to students enrolled in select graduate and professional programs – Laurel Road’s loans aren’t available to undergraduate students. They are only available to graduate and professional students in select programs at eligible schools. 
  • No process for co-signer releases – While you can add a co-signer to your loan application to improve your chances of qualifying for a loan, Laurel Road does not have a standard process for co-signer releases. You may not be able to have your co-signer removed from the loan later on. 
  • No guarantee for lower interest rate with co-signer – According to Laurel Road’s loan disclosures, you may need a co-signer to get approved for a loan if you don’t meet its credit requirements. However, interest rates are not typically higher without a co-signer, so adding one won’t help you qualify for a lower rate. 

Laurel Road only offers student loans to graduate and professional students in select disciplines studying at certain schools: 

  • Business (MBA)
  • Dentistry (DO/DDS/DMD)
  • Engineering
  • Law (JD)
  • Medicine (MD)
  • Nursing (MA)
  • Nursing (DNP)
  • Physician’s Assistant (PA)

Graduate School Loans

Laurel Road’s loans have no application or origination fees and no prepayment penalties. Applicants can borrow up to the total cost of attendance, minus the amount of other financial aid you received. 

You can choose between fixed and variable interest rates. Laurel Road provides five loan terms: five, seven, 10, 15, and 20 years. The ability to choose a 15- or 20-year loan term—far longer than you’d get with a standard 10-year repayment plan with a federal student loan—can help make your monthly payments more affordable. 

Once you graduate and get a job, you can also qualify for a 0.25% employment discount, reducing your interest rate even further. 

Laurel Student Loans Rates and Terms
Variable Rates 1.99% to 6.65%
Fixed Rates 3.50% to 7.02%
Loan Amounts Up to the total cost of attendance
Loan Terms Five, seven, 10, 15, and 20 years
(Lowest rates include 0.25% autopay discount.)

Loan Eligibility

To qualify for a graduate school loan from Laurel Road, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid I-551 card, also known as a “green card.”
  • You must be a graduate or professional student in a qualifying program at an eligible school.
  • You must be enrolled at least half time.
  • You or your co-signer must meet Laurel Road’s credit and income requirements, which the company does not list on its website.

Is Loan Prequalification Available? 

With Laurel Road, you can use its “Check My Rates” tool to acquire an estimate of what interest rates you’d receive and get an initial decision on whether or not you’d qualify for a loan. This prequalification tool prompts you to enter basic information about yourself, including your education, the cost of your program, your employment and income, and your permanent address.

When you submit your information, Laurel Road will perform a soft credit check, which has no impact on your credit. If you decide to move forward with the loan application, then you’ll undergo a hard credit inquiry, which can affect your credit score. 

Loan Fees

Lauren Road doesn’t have any origination or application fees, and it doesn’t charge prepayment penalties. However, there is a late fee if you miss your payment due date. If a payment is more than 15 days late, you’ll be charged 5% of the late payment amount or $28, whichever is less. If a payment you make is returned or refused for insufficient funds, you’ll be charged a $20 returned payment fee. 

Loan Discounts 

Laurel Road has two discounts for borrowers: 

  • Autopay Discount – When you sign up for automatic payments, Laurel Road will reduce your interest rate by 0.25%.
  • Employment Discount If you graduate from your program and get a job, your interest rate will be reduced by 0.25%. 

Repayment Options

Laurel Road offers four different repayment options: 

  • Immediate Repayment You begin making payments against the principal and interest right after the loan is disbursed. 
  • Full Deferment The loan’s payments are deferred until six months after you graduate. 
  • Flat Repayment – You pay $50 per month while you’re in school and for six months after you graduate. 
  • Interest-Only Repayment – While you’re in school and during the six-month period after graduation, you only make payments against the interest on your loans. 

Rewards

Laurel Road does have a referral program, but it’s only for student loan refinancing and personal loans. When you refer a friend, and he or she takes out a refinancing or personal loan through Laurel Road, you can earn as much as $400, and you can get up to 10 such bonuses per year. 

Are Cosigners Required? 

Laurel Road does not require applicants to have a co-signer. However, if you don’t have good credit or a steady income, adding a co-signer to your application can increase your odds of qualifying for a loan. 

However, you should be aware that Laurel Road does not have a policy for co-signer releases. If you do have a co-signer, that person may be responsible for the loan for the entire length of its repayment. 

Forbearance and Loan Discharge Options

If you’re experiencing a financial hardship, you may be eligible for full or partial forbearance for up to three months, for a maximum of 12 months over the life of your loan

Length of Time for Loan Approval and Disbursement

Laurel Road does include information about timing for loan approval and disbursement on its website. The process generally can take several weeks or even months before a private student loan is disbursed, so it’s a good idea to submit your application well in advance. 

Is Student Loan Refinancing Available? 

Yes. Laurel Road refinances undergraduate, graduate, and parent student loans. As with graduate school loans, refinancing borrowers can choose loan terms as long as 20 years, giving them the option of a longer loan term and lower monthly payments. However, if it’s loan refinancing that you’re after, check out our best student loan refinancing companies first.

Customer Service

Laurel Road was previously known as DRB. In 2019 the company was acquired by KeyBank. Prior to the acquisition, the lender was only a refinancing lender, but in 2019 it began issuing private student loans for graduate and professional students, as well. As a relatively new lender, Laurel Road is not included in the latest Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Student Loan Ombudsman Report. 

Laurel Road’s customer service team is available six days a week via email, live chat, or phone. To reach customer support, email help@laurelroad.com or call 855-245-0989 during the following times: 

  • Monday through Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST
  • Friday and Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST

Apply for a Laurel Road Student Loan

Before applying for any private student loan, make sure you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to ensure that you qualify for all federal financial aid. If you need additional financing for graduate school, you’ll need to provide the following information to apply for a loan from Laurel Road: 

  • Name
  • Government-Issued ID
  • Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Employer Name
  • Income
  • Loan Amount Requested
  • School Name
  • Cost of Program
  • Expected Financial Aid
  • Co-signer Information (if applicable) 

Verdict

For graduate and professional students at eligible schools, Laurel Road offers private student loans with competitive interest rates, long repayment terms, and flexible repayment options. These loans can be a viable alternative to federal graduate school loans or can supplement your federal financial aid.

However, not everyone is eligible for a loan from Laurel Road, and, its co-signer release policy may be a significant drawback for some. Before applying for a loan from Laurel Road, be sure to compare offers from multiple private student loan companies to find the best lender for you. 

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of student loan lenders. We collected over 45 data points across more than 15 lenders—including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms—to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their education needs.