There are a number of student loan platforms available that will match you with a private student loan lender. The process typically works by pre-qualifying, going through a list of lenders, and then hopefully choosing the one with the best rate.
But what if you could get with a group of friends and approach a single lender for a loan? Would that lender be more willing to lower their rate?
Juno thinks the answer is yes because that is exactly what its strategy is built on. Juno takes a group of borrowers and presents them to its network of partner lenders. It then negotiates a lower rate based on a group of borrowers vs. a single borrower. In this article, we’ll review how Juno works.
- Uses group borrower strategy to negotiate lower rates
- No application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties
- Potential interest rate reductions or cash back
Juno Student Loan Details
Student Loan Type
Undergraduate, Graduate, Refinancing
1.24% to 12.78% APR
Fixed and Variable
5, 7, 10, 12, 15, and 20 years
Up to $1,000 cash back on refinancing
Who Is Juno?
Juno, formerly LeverEdge, negotiates better student loan rates for groups of student loan borrowers. Its founders are Christopher Abkarians and Nikhil Agarwal, who pioneered the "group student loan" strategy themselves during their years as Harvard students. The company has raised $2.5 million through a seed round.
“Juno is the first collective bargaining group for student loans,” Abkarians said to KTEN TV. “Our mission is to help students minimize the cost of education, from the day they take out their first loan to the day they finish paying it off.”
“Juno is the ultimate team effort...The more people involved, the greater our ability to negotiate lower rates. We’re committed to doing whatever we can to minimize the cost of student loans.”
What Do They Offer?
Juno offers private student loans and student loan refinancing. By working with its lending partners, Juno is able to negotiate lower rates on student loans. As Abkarians stated in the above quote, the more borrowers that are involved, the more negotiating leverage they'll have with lenders.
Traditional lender matching platforms pair up a lender with a borrower. Each loan is negotiated one at a time. It can be a slow, boring, and very time-consuming process. Some platforms will pre-qualify borrowers, however, which can greatly speed up the process.
Juno takes a group of borrowers and submits their information to its partner lenders. This can potentially be a win-win for both sides. Lenders receive a block of borrowers, which is far more efficient for them than working with just one borrower at a time. In return, the group of borrowers receives lower rates.
One drawback of this process is that it can take weeks or even months before lenders finalize any deal. Lenders still need time to analyze the group's overall credit risk, which is where the lag comes in. Students looking to get better rates with Juno should factor in their tuition due dates against how long it may take a deal to finalize. Of course, this doesn’t keep students from shopping around just in case.
Which Loan Types Are Available?
Undergraduate and graduate loans are available from Juno. Their private student loans come with terms of 5-15 years and there is a 9-month grace period after graduating or withdrawing from school before repayment begins.
Refinancing is available as well with terms of 5-20 years from the following partner lenders — Earnest, Splash, First Republic, and Laurel Road. Their refinancing partners provide cash back deals and rate discounts for medical refinance loans.
Is Juno Better Than Federal Student Loans?
The short answer is no. Federal student loans offer many advantages over private student loans. Some benefits of using federal student loans include:
In regards to the last two bullet points, private student loans are not eligible. Also, during the pandemic, federal student loans have been in a 0% interest forbearance period. For many private loans, this option has not been available.
However, if you've already hit your annual or lifetime federal borrowing cap, Juno's private student loans offer great benefits and competitive rates. Also, if you aren't taking advantage of IDR and aren't pursuing PSLF forgiveness, refinancing your federal loans to a lower rate with Juno could make sense.
Are There Any Fees?
No, Juno doesn't charge any application or origination fees. There also no prepayment penalties if pay off your loans before the end of your repayment term.
How Do I Open An Account?
You can visit Juno's website to get started. Expect to provide the following when filling out an application:
- Email Address
- School / University Information
- Educational Program Information
- Graduation Year
- Immigration Status
- Social Security Number
- Loan Balance
- Employment information (if applicable)
- Annual Income (if application)
- Cosigner Information (if applicable)
- Cosigner's Immigration Status (if applicable)
Is It Worth It?
If you need to take out private loans or you're looking to refinance your existing student loans, Juno could be worth it. They charge no fees, offer flexible terms, and may be able to offer you a lower rate than traditional lenders. However, Juno's application process may be more time-consuming so you’ll want to apply well before your tuition deadlines.
Before applying with Juno, make sure that you’ve filled out a FAFSA for federal loans first as they offer more protections than private loans. And, as with any loan, it's important to shop around for the best deal. Compare Juno with our top private student loan companies and student loan refinancing lenders.
Min Loan Amount
Varies by lender
Max Loan Amount
Varies by lender
0.25% when applicable
Fixed and variable
In-School Repayment Options
Varies by lender
Customer Service Phone Number
Customer Service Email
Juno Student Loans
- Loan Options
- Customer Service
- Rewards and Perks
- Rates and Fees
- Ease of Use
Juno uses collective bargaining power to negotiate better rates on undergraduate, graduate, and refinance student loans.
- No fees
- Competitive interest rates
- 9-month grace period on private student loans
- Up t0 $1,000 cash back on refinance loans
- Potentially longer approval process
- Negotiates with only a few private lenders
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.