LendEDU is an online financial marketplace that was co-founded by Nate Matherson and Matt Lenhard in 2014.
While the website offers a wide range of resources aimed at educating consumers, their main goal is providing a place for people to shop around for private student loans, student loan refinancing, personal loans, and credit cards.
With these details in mind, it’s important to note that LendEDU does not loan money. Instead, they partner with lenders to create a marketplace for consumers.
In that sense, some may consider them a “one-stop shop” for student loan refinancing and other financial products.
Over the years, LendEDU has been featured on a variety of websites including TechCrunch, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Bloomberg, NPR, CBS News, Fox News, Business Insider, Yahoo! Finance, and Forbes.
Although the company obviously exists to make money, it appears their strategy is two-fold.
Yes, they earn commissions from the loan products they sell, but they also offer original guides, tools, and resources that help consumers make tough decisions about their student loans and finances.
The bests part is, all the online resources they offer are entirely free.
What Does LendEDU Offer?
Today, LendEDU offers a wide range of financial products, but they didn’t start out that way. While the start-up endured humble beginnings, their initial focus was on student loans and student loan refinancing only.
Since then, the online marketplace has expanded its offerings to include other financial products college graduates might need.
This makes sense with the LendEDU business model, but it also benefits consumers who may need more than student loan refinancing to reach their financial potential.
When you visit the LendEDU website, you’ll notice they offer several different kinds of help:
- Resources and guidance to help you cut your student loan interest rates through refinancing
- Tools to help you find the lowest interest rates on private student loans
- Personal loan options that can help you reach specific financial goals
- Advice and information on credit cards that can help you earn rewards, pay down debt, and secure important consumer protections.
If you’re looking for free help with managing your student loans, LendEDU also offers a wide range of tools. For example, they offer nine student loan calculators,
These can help you see what your student loan payment would be with an income-driven repayment plan, determine whether you could save money by refinancing, or figure out whether you should pay student loan debt off early or invest.
Other resources you can access for free through LendEDU include:
- Detailed and informative guides on student loans, personal loans, home improvement loans, and myriad other financial products
- Links to credit card offers that can help you earn rewards or consolidate debt
- Information on various insurance products such as pet insurance, dental insurance, and high-interest bank accounts.
LendEDU also has its own blog, which features reviews of various financial products, scholarship opportunities, and basic personal finance content for consumers looking to educate themselves can consume.
Should You Really Refinance Your Student Loans?
One of the biggest questions people ask before they visit LendEDU or one of its competitors is whether they might be better off refinancing their student loans — or whether they should stick with the loans they have. This is a tricky question because the right strategy for different consumers can vary widely.
Generally speaking, factors to consider before you refinance your student loans include how much debt you have, whether your loans are federal or private, your income and future income potential, and how quickly you hope to pay your loans off.
LendEDU promises variable interest rates as low as 2.48% and fixed interest rates as low as 3.09% on student loans refinanced with their partners. Since federal student loans offer fixed rates between 5% and 7%, it’s easy to see why refinancing could be ideal.
According to statistics compiled by LendEDU, the average Class of 2017 graduate left school with $28,288 in student loan debt. That’s an increase over the year before, when Class of 2016 graduates moved on to adult lives with an average of $27,975 of debt.
Imagine you’re a college graduate who has $28,000 in debt with a fixed APR of 6.6% (the current fixed interest rate for unsubsidized direct student loans).
According to LendEDU’s student loan payment calculator, you would likely pay approximately $38,323 ($10,323 in interest) over ten years if you stayed on the standard ten-year repayment plan.
If you refinanced into a new private student loan with a fixed APR of 4%, you could pay off your student loans in seven years by making a total of $32,149 in payments ($4,149 in interest).
That’s a savings of over $6,000 and you would pay your loans off three years ahead of schedule.
On the flip side, it’s important to note the important benefits you’ll miss out on if you refinance federal student loans with a private lender. With federal student loans, you qualify for benefits like forbearance and deferment as well as income-driven repayment plans.
Also note, while some federal loans subsidize your interest and let you defer payments while you’re in school, private student loans do not come with any such benefits.
Once you refinance with a private lender, you will be expected to begin repayment right away no matter what.
LendEDU Pros and Cons
While it may be hard to complain about a student loan website that offers free information and resources, LendEDU isn’t perfect.
There are pros and cons to consider any time you rely on a resource for important information or financial products online. Consider these advantages and disadvantages before you check out LendEDU for yourself:
Advantages of Using LendEDU
- You can use the website to learn about various financial products with no obligation
- LendEDU offers student loan calculators that can help you determine your best course of action
- LendEDU partners with student loan refinancing companies that offer some of the best loans and rates in the business
- Since LendEDU works with multiple lenders, you can use the website to compare offers and find the best deal
Disadvantages of Using LendEDU
- LendEDU has received some bad press over the last year
- The company doesn’t lend money; instead, they connect you to loan offers from their partners
- Student loan refinancing isn’t always ideal, so you may want to seek third party advice before you move forward
The Bottom Line
If you are tired of dealing with soul-crushing student loan debt and think you could benefit from refinancing, LendEDU’s resources and tools could help you figure out the best course of action.
If you do ultimately decide to move forward, you can also use the website to find a loan with the best rates and terms.
Keep in mind, however, that refinancing federal loans with a private lender can be risky since you’ll lose important consumer protections once the process is complete.
At the end of the day, LendEDU is yet another website aimed at providing consumers with valuable insights they can use to make informed decisions about their finances.
Since all their tools and resources are free to use, exploring LendEDU.com and all their content and tools may be a smart move.