RISLA Refinancing and Private Student Loans: Our Review

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) offers a variety of services to help both Rhode Island (RI) residents and US students.   

A non-profit, quasi-governmental organization, RISLA is proud to empower students to make responsible financial decisions and advance their careers.

 If you are looking for a loan or simply looking for career assistance, RISLA can be a great resource.   

Always remember to compare your options when looking for student loans. We recommend Credible because you can compare up to 8 different lenders (including RISLA) at once. 

Check out Credible here. As a bonus, College Investor readers are eligible to receive up to a $1,000 gift card his bonus when refinancing with Credible.   

Also, check out our list of the best places to refinance student loans and see how RISLA compares to other top lenders. Go to the RISLA review!

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RISLA Student Loans

RISLA provides a variety of student loan products. Students in all 50 states are eligible for loans, which have an annual maximum of $45,000 and a minimum of $1,500. Their main characteristics are as follows:

RISLA Student Loans
Min. Loan Amount $1,500
Max Loan Amount$150,000
APRAs low as 2.69% APR
Rate TypeFixed
Loan Terms10 or 15 Years

Immediate Repayment Student Loan

This is a fixed-amount student loan that requires immediate repayment even while you are in school. However, it has the lowest interest rate of any loan offered by RISLA.   

Currently, you can take out a loan at 3.74% p.a. with an automatic rebate of 0.25%. The standard term for this loan is 120 months (10 years). 

 If you are a Rhode Island resident or attended a Rhode Island college or university, you may be able to take advantage of lower interest rates starting at 2.99%. 

RISLA calls it Rhode Island Advantage and is available only to eligible students who choose the 10-year immediate payback plan.

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Deferred Repayment Student Loan

Look into their deferred repayment student loan if you’re worried about making student loan payments right away because you might still be in school and have no income. 

This loan offers an auto-pay option and a fixed APR of 4.74%. The longer repayment period is 180 months, which equates to 15 years.

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RISLA Parent Loan

This loan is intended for parents who want to take out a loan to finance their child’s education. 

We generally do not recommend these loans (see options if you cannot afford Parents PLUS Loans). 

But we are not your mother either. And it’s a viable option for paying for college.   This loan has automatic payments at a fixed APR of 4.54% and a standard repayment term of 120 months (10 years). 

Please note that prices and terms are subject to change. For the latest information, please visit the RISLA website.   Interest will accrue as usual after the first payment. 

For students who choose the deferred repayment option, students will be provided with a statement of accrued interest. This can be repaid (reducing interest costs in the long run).

Forgiveness And Rewards

Consistent with its career development-focused approach, RISLA is offering a $2,000 loan forgiveness to students who complete a qualifying internship and submit a simple two-page application.   

RISLA also offers a free internship referral service (through Bridge Jobs) that connects a student with her RI employer. 

This makes it easier to meet the potential for credit forgiveness. In particular, internships can be completed in Germany or abroad.   

RISLA also offers a one-to-one program for nurses and nursing educators. Qualified nurses can get up to four years (48 months) interest-free on loans they take.

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RISLA Student Loan Refinancing

RISLA also offers student loan refinancing from $7,500 to $250,000, depending on the degree of the borrower. 

You can apply for a refinance through RISLA regardless of the state in which you live or attended college. 

Rates are based on credits. Autopay also offers discounts to borrowers who work, were in school, or live in Rhode Island.   

Fixed interest rates from 2.69% with automatic payments. Please note that all rates and conditions are subject to change. Please visit the RISLA or Credible websites for the latest information.   

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Are you hesitant to refinance your student loans because you might get a college degree later? Fortunately, this is not RISLA’s problem. Borrowers re-enrolling in graduate school after refinancing can benefit from a 36-month deferment.

What Borrower Protections Are Available in 2024?

Various federal benefits are lost when borrowers choose to refinance private student loans or student loans. 

Also, one of the perks that private lenders typically don’t offer is the ability to make monthly payments based on your current income. 

However,  RISLA is one of the few private financial institutions that offer income-based repayments. A student who chooses his IBR at RISLA will never use more than 15% of their monthly income towards loan payments.

 And if you have any credit left after 25 years, give it up. This is an incredible benefit that is almost unheard of in the private student loan arena. That’s not the only way RISLA protects borrowers. 

It also provides academic and military tolerance, immunity in death and disability, and up to 12 months of tolerance in economic distress. 

RISLA is simply one of the best personal loan options when it comes to providing flexibility and loss protection.

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How Does RISLA Compare?

Because it provides an income-based repayment alternative, RISLA stands out in the crowded market for private student loans. 

However, if another private lender can provide you with a lower interest rate and you don’t intend to take advantage of this benefit, you might want to consider switching.

Who Qualifies To Apply?

RISLA loans are credit-based. This means that college students or students with low credit scores (>680) and stable income (>$40,000) may need a co-signer. 

Luckily, RISLA offers a co-signer release option after his two years of on-time payments.   

If you apply for a personal student loan with RISLA, you will not be able to see interest rates unless you submit a complete application. 

However, when refinancing, borrowers can use RISLA’s pre-qualification tools to validate estimated interest rates without affecting their creditworthiness. You can also check and compare RISLA refinancing rates on Credible.

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Are There Any Fees?

The RISLA does not impose any up-front costs (application or origination fees). 

Additionally, there is no prepayment penalty. It does, however, impose an excessive late fee of 6% of the late payment total.

How Do I Contact RISLA?

This is one area where RISLA really excels. Customer testimonials posted on RISLA’s website generally praise the personal attention RISLA provides and advice that goes beyond the typical credit of its provider.  

 To test this, I called RISLA customer service and asked a few questions about student loans.

 After a short wait, we were ushered in by the most helpful receptionist who promptly answered all our questions regarding the credit and co-signing process. 

The entire process took less than 1 minute.   Below are various ways to contact RISLA.  


College loan origination: 800-758-7562

Student loan refinancing origination: 866-268-9419

Loan servicing: 888-897-4752

Email: [email protected]

General mailing address:

PO Box 81071

Warwick, RI 02888-0089

Address for sending payments:

PO Box 150501

Hartford, CT 06115-0501

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Does RISLA offer income-based repayments? 

Yes, 15% of monthly income is for both individual student loans and refinancing, and the outstanding balance will be waived after 25 years.  

Do I have to live in Rhode Island to apply for a RISLA loan? 

No, RISLA loans are available to students and existing borrowers in all 50 of her states. However, Rhode Island residents or non-residents who attend eligible Rhode Island schools may qualify for lower interest rates for immediate repayment loans.  

 Is RISLA federal or private? 

 As a private non-profit corporation, RISLA loans have no federal interest. However, they may offer higher interest rates and benefits than some for-profit private financial institutions.   

Do I need a degree to apply for a RISLA refinance?  

 No, anyone with student loans, including non-university borrowers, can apply for a refinance through the RI Student Loan Office.   

Does RISLA offer any bonuses or incentives?   

Yes, refinancing borrowers can receive a gift card bonus of up to $1,000 when they apply through Credible. 

Also, Rhode Island residents (or people who attend Rhode Island schools) may be eligible for significantly reduced interest rates on immediate repayment of college loans.


Overall, RISLA offers both competitive interest rates and excellent borrower protection, including income-based repayment options. 

For new or existing borrowers looking for a more personal experience that’s hard to find with federal loans and private banks, RISLA is certainly a strong contender. , see Student Loan Refinancing Tools. 

You can also compare plans on Credible. And don’t forget that you can get up to $1,000 in gift card bonuses when you refinance with Credible.


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