Sign up to get the latest student loan tips and news:

* indicates required

Improve your Debt-to-Income Ratio

A low debt-to-income ratio will also help your case for refinancing. You can calculate that ratio by adding up your monthly minimum loan payments and dividing those by your monthly gross income. A ratio of 43% or less is good, but lower is always better.

The hardest criteria to overcome is income. A low income may disqualify you, even if your credit score is stellar and you have no other loans. The only way to fix this is by asking for a significant raise, getting a new job or adding a part-time gig.

If you are self-employed or work as a contractor, you may have more trouble getting approved than someone with a more traditional employment situation. Getting a cosigner may be the only option if your income is too low to qualify.

Should I Refinance My Student Loans?

As always, consider the pros and cons of refinancing student loans. If you have federal student loans, you’ll lose the perks that go along with federal loans. These include an option for student loan forgiveness, possible widespread loan forgiveness, income-driven repayment plans and generous deferment and discharge options in times of unemployment and economic hardship. For high-interest private student loans, it could help you lower your interest rate and save money.

If you have decided that student loan refinance is right for you, check out our list of the best lenders to refinance student loans.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for expert advice and the latest news!

At, our goal is to help you make smart decisions about saving and paying for education. Some of the products featured in this article are from our partners, but this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

A good place to start:

See the best 529 plans, personalized for you


Deal with student loan debt better.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Saving For College is an unbiased, independent resource for parents and financial professionals, providing them with information and tools to understand the benefits of 529 college savings plans and how to meet the challenge of increasing college costs.