10 Best student loans companies of 2022 (A Comprehensive Guide)

Table of Contents

One of the things you have to plan in life is how you're going to pay for your studies. The most popular way to help you pay for college expenses is by getting student loans. Keep in mind that before asking for a private student loan, try to apply for federal student loans, since you can borrow money directly from the government. After exhausting your federal loans, you can start looking for the best private student loans for you.

 There are many companies that loan students with considerate repayment options or requirements for eligibility. In this guide, we review the top 10 best private student loan companies in 2020 to help you choose the one that fits your specific needs the best. A private student loan is the best option if you have exhausted your federal financial aid.

Table of Contents

  • Best Lender for Online Loans to Students or Community College – SoFi
  • Best Overall Lender – Ascent
  • Best Lender for Flexible Payment Options – Discover
  • Best Lender for Refinancing – CommonBond
  • Best Lender for Graduate Students – Sallie Mae
  • Best Lender for International Students – MPOWER
  • Best Lender for Good Customer Service – Education Loan Finance
  • Best Lender for Lower Credit Scores – Earnest
  • Best Lender for Students that Attend Schools that Work with A.M Money – Chicago Student Loans by A.M Money
  • Best Lender for Part-Time Students – Advantage Education Loans

SoFi Private Student Loan- Best Lender for Online Loans to Students or Community College

If you're thinking about loans for online studies, SoFi can be an excellent option for you since it has a wide variety of repayment options, low rates, and no fees. It is one of the best private student loan lenders. If you become a SoFi member, you can also get exclusive benefits such as rate discounts, financial advice, and others.

 SoFi offers its student loans in all 50 states of the US and the District of Columbia, and it has worked with over 250,000 borrowers.

Key Points

Pros

  • It has many perks for exclusive members of the SoFi community.
  • You get many repayment options that adapt to your needs.
  • It doesn't have any fees.
  • It's an excellent option for people interested in an online lender.
  • The process is entirely online.
  • You can have a co-signer, but it isn't required.

Cons

  • You have to be a citizen of the United States to be eligible to apply.
  • You have to keep track of your repayments since SoFi doesn't pay directly to creditors if you have a debt consolidation loan.

Loan Terms 

  • For private student loans: Five to 15 years.
  • For student loan refinance: Five to 20 years.

Categories

  • Graduate
  • Undergraduate
  • Refinancing
  • Parent
  • Parent Refinancing
  • MBA
  • Law
  • Health   

Interest Rate

  • Fixed Rate: 4.11% to 11.38% APR (Annual Percentage Rate).
  • Variable Rate: 1.78 to 11.73% APR. 

Repayments 

  • Immediate: Pay both interest and principal while you are studying.
  • Interest: Pay for the interest-only while you are studying.
  • Partial: Monthly payments of 25% while you are studying. 

Qualifications 

  • No minimum income.
  • A minimum loan amount of $5,000.
  • A minimum credit score of 700.

Additional Details 

Unemployment Protection: You can apply for a temporary suspension of your monthly loan payments if you lose your job, and it wasn't your fault. You can ask for this suspension for three months at a time up to a total of 12 months.

Low Rates: If you are a good qualifier for SoFi, you can get a loan for up to $100,000 with low annual percentage rates for your financial aid. You can also get a discount if you accept having automatic payments from a savings or a checking account.

Payment Options: SoFi offers one of the most flexible payment options on the market. It doesn't charge any fees if you missed a payment, and you can also change the payment due date if you have a fixed-rate loan. You can do this change once a year. You have a grace period of six months. Co-signing is not required, but you can apply with a co-signer if you want to.

Click here to apply with our referral link!

Ascent Private Student Loan- Best Overall Lender

Ascent offers a lot of features that may comply with many student loan borrowers. The most interesting feature about this private lender is that it provides student loans to borrowers who don't have a co-signer or an established credit, which is a huge plus for both undergraduate and graduate students. Private student loans work in several different ways to provide other financial aid also.

Key Points

Pros 

  • You don't have to pay an origination fee.
  • You don't get a fee for paying your student loan earlier.
  • It offers co-signed student loans and independent loans.
  • You can get a 1% cash-back graduation reward.
  • You don't need a co-signer to apply. 

Cons

  • If you're an international student, your
  • co-signer has to have a US permanent residency or citizenship.
  • It doesn't offer specific student loans forparents.
  • If you opt for an independent student loan, you have a loan limit of $20,000 per year.

Loan Terms

  • For co-signed student loans: Five, 10, or 15 years.
  • For non-co-signed student loans: Five or 10 years.

Categories

  • Graduate
  • Undergraduate

 Interest Rate 

  • Fixed Rate: 4.00% to 14.92% APR.
  • Variable Rate: 3.18 to 14.92% APR.

 Repayments

  • Interest: Pay the interest-only while you are in school.
  • Partial: Make a monthly payment of $25 while you are in school.
  • Deferred Payments: Defer your payments up until six months after leaving school.

 Qualifications

  • Minimum income of $24,000. If you opt for the non-co-signed future income-based option, income is not considered for the application.
  • You must meet a minimum of 2.9 GPA or higher if you opt for a non-co-signed future income-based student loan.
  • A minimum credit score of 680 and two years of credit history for the non-cosigned credit-based student loan. For the co-signed loan, you need a 540 credit score for you and a credit score of 740 or higher for your co-signer.
  • Loan amount of $1,000 up to $20,000 for non-co-signed option and $1,000 up to $200,000 for co-signed option.

 Additional Details

  • Forbearance payments: You can suspend your payments for three months at a time, up until 24 months of the life of the loan.
  • You have a period of grace of six months.
  • You can choose to apply with a co-signer, or you can apply for an individual, private student loan.

 Click here to apply with our referral link!

Discover Private Student Loan- Best Lender for Flexible Payment Options

Discover provides loans for students who are looking for low rates and flexible repayment options. It is one of the best private lenders for good interest rates and graduate student loans. This company doesn't charge an origination fee, so it's a good option if you're having trouble making payments through deferred payments.

Key Points

Pros

  • It doesn't charge an origination fee.
  • Flexible repayment options.
  • There are loans available for international students.
  • You get one percent of the entire loan amount as a cash reward if you have a 3.0 GPA or higher.
  • If you have good credit, you can get lower annual percentage rates.

 Cons

  •  Your co-signer can't be released if the borrower doesn't consolidate or refinances their loan.
  • You need a hard credit check to see if you qualify for the student loan and the interest rate that you can get.

Loan Terms

  • For graduate students: 20 years.
  • For undergraduate students: 15 years.

Categories

  •  Graduate
  • Undergraduate
  • Parent
  • Consolidation
  • Residency
  • MBA
  • Law
  • Health

Interest Rate

 The interest rates can vary depending on the private student loans available for you; these are the overall percentages:

  •  Fixed Rate: 1.24% to 10.99% APR.
  • Variable Rate: 4.49% to 12.39% APR.

Note: If you enroll in automatic payments, you can get a 0.25% discount.

Repayments

  • Deferred Payments: Defer your payments up to six or nine months after you leave school.
  • Interest: Pay the interest only when you are in school.
  • Fixed Monthly Payment: Make a $25 fixed payment while you are in school.
  • Full Monthly Payment: Pay your principal and interest each month while you are in school.

 Qualifications

  •  Minimum credit score for approved borrowers of 750.
  • Minimum gross income of $25,000
  • Loan amount from $1,000 up to your total cost of attendance.

 Additional Details

  • You can change the payment due date of the loan twice during the entire loan lifetime.
  • You can make payments on a weekly, bi-weekly, or twice-per-month basis.
  • The grace period is of six or nine months, depending on the type of student loan.
  • You can apply with a co-signer if you want to.
  • However, Discover doesn't let you have a co-sign release. The co-signer would be responsible for the entire life of the loan.

 Click here to apply with our referral link!

CommonBond Private Student Loan- Best Lender for Refinancing

This company has amazing options for private student loan refinancing since it has competitive interest rates. If you're already planning to apply with a co-signer, this may be a good fit for you.

Keep in mind that you need a bachelor's degree or higher if you want a refinance loan. Students with certain achievements may also apply for student loan forgiveness.

Key Points

Pros

  •  It offers many student loan terms.
  • You can get up to $500,000 in student loan refinance.
  • You can check if you qualify and the rate that you may get without having to go through a hard credit check.

Cons

  • These private student loans aren't available in the states of Mississippi and Nevada.
  • You need a co-signer to apply.
  • The minimum borrowing amount is $2,000.
  • You have to be a US citizen or have a permanent residence.

Loan Terms

  • For fixed and variable rate private student loans: From five to 20 years.
  • For hybrid-rate private student loans: 10 years.

 Categories

  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate
  • MBA
  • Health
  • Medical

Interest Rate

You can get a different variable or fixed interest rates, depending on the private student loans available.

  • Variable Rates: 3.56% to 9.64% APR
  • Fixed Rates: 5.45% to 9.74% APR

 Repayments

  • Deferred Payments: You can make the payments after the end of your grace period.
  • Fixed Monthly Payment: You can make a fixed 25% payment each month while you are in school.
  • Full Monthly Payment: You can make a full payment of your principal and interest each month, while you are in school.
  • Interest: Pay the interest-only while you are in school.

 Qualifications

  • You need to be a US citizen or a permanent resident.
  • A minimum credit score of 660.
  • Be enrolled at an eligible school.
  • It doesn't have a minimum income amount.
  • Loan amounts of $2,000 up to 100% of the cost of attendance. Max amount of $500,000.

 Additional Details

  • Forbearance payments: You can postpone your payments for three months up to 12 months of the entire lifetime of the private student loan.
  • You need a co-signer to apply for this private student loan. You can apply to release your co-signer after 24 consecutive months of full payment.
  • The grace period is of six months.

Click here to apply with our referral link!

Sallie Mae Private Student Loans – Best Lender for Graduate Students

This company offers undergraduate and graduate private student loans that may help you in financial hardship and execution of on-time payments. These private student loans may be good for you if you are a part-time student who wants flexibility with payments.

Key Points

Pros

  •  It provides loans to part-time students.
  • It's available to international students.
  • You get free access to your FICO scores.

 Cons

  • There is no information on what the minimum credit scores you may need or the income you may get.
  • You need a hard credit check to see if you can qualify for the private student loan.

Loan Terms

From five to 15 years, depending on the type of private student loan that you get.

Categories

  • Graduate
  • Undergraduate
  • Parents
  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Law
  • MBA
  • Career Training

Interest Rate

  • Variable Rates: 1.25% to 11.15% APR
  • Fixed Rates: 4.25% to 12.35% APR

 Repayments

  • Deferment: You can make the payments after the end of your grace period.
  • Fixed Payment: You can make a fixed payment each month while you are in school.
  • Interest: Pay the interest-only while you are in school.

 Qualifications

  • You have to be a US citizen or have a co-signer that is a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Loan amount of $1,000 up to the total of your school attendance.

 Additional Details

  •  You can have online tutoring.
  • You can access your FICO score for free.
  • You need a co-signer if you're an international student.
  • The grace period is of six months.

Click here to apply with our referral link!

MPOWER Private Student Loan – Best Lender for International Students

This private student loan company works for international students or students with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status (DACA). The most interesting offering from this company is that you can get a student loan advisor assigned to you, which can help you assess some concerns that you may have.

Key Points

Pros

  •  Its forbearance period is longer than other private student loan providers.
  • You get assigned an advisor for your student loan process.
  • It offers many non-co-signed student loans, which makes it ideal for international and DACA students.

 Cons

  • You can't defer payments.
  • You only have one payment term of 10 years.

 Loan Terms

 It has a single term length of 10 years.

Categories

  •  Undergraduate
  • Graduate
  • International Refinancing

Interest Rate

  • Fixed Rates: 7.52% to 13.63%
  • Variable Rates: Non-applicable.

 Repayments

You are required to make interest-only payments until you graduate. These payments start 45 days after the loans have been disbursed. After you leave, you have 10 years to pay for everything.

Qualifications

You have to be enrolled in your school half-time or more.

Loan amounts start at $2,000 up until $50,000, which is limited to $25,000 per academic period.

 Additional Details

  •  It doesn't consider credit history or score.
  • It considers future income potential.
  • The grace period is of six months.
  • You don't need a co-signer to apply for these private student loans.

 Click here to apply with our referral link!

Education Loan Finance Private Student Loan – Best Lender for Good Customer Service

Education Loan Finance is a division of the SouthEast Bank, and it has worked with refinancing private student loans for many years.

Key Points

Pros

  • It doesn't have an origination fee or an application fee.
  • It doesn't have a maximum amount of loans that it can give.
  • Every type of private student loan is eligible for refinancing.

Cons

 You must have a minimum FICO score of 680.

The minimum amount that you can ask for is $15.000.

 Loan Terms

 Depending on the type of private student loan that you get, you can get terms from five to 20 years.

Categories

  • Graduate
  • Undergraduate
  • Parent
  • Refinance

 Interest Rate

 Interest rates may vary depending on the term that you choose.

  •  Variable Rates: 2.39% to 6.01% APR
  • Fixed Rates: 3.19% to 5.99% APR

Repayments

 For these private student loans, you can make full monthly payments while you are in school. This company doesn't have pre-payment penalties, which means that you can make payments for more than the full amount that you pay each month.

Qualifications

  •  Minimum FICO credit score of 680.
  • Minimum credit history of 36 months.
  • Minimum income of $35,000.
  • Minimum loan amounts start at $15,000. There is no maximum amount.

Additional Details

  •  Forbearance payments: You can postpone your payments up to 12 months. However, the bank has to approve the decision first.
  • The grace period is of six months.
  • You can get a co-signer if you want, but it's not necessary.

 Click here to apply with our referral link!

Earnest Private Student Loan – Best Lender for Lower Credit Scores

Earnest offers some of the most flexible ways of repayment. If you have a low credit score, such as 650, you may still be eligible to apply for these private student loans.

Key Points

Pros

  •  It doesn't have any late fees.
  • It offers a nine-month period of grace, which is longer than most lenders.
  • You can select your loan term length and how much you can pay monthly.

 Cons

  • You need a hard credit history check to see if you can qualify for these private student loans.
  • Earnest's private student loans aren't available in some states such as Connecticut, Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, Illinois, New Hampshire, Nevada, Virginia, and Texas.

Loan Terms

From five to 15 years, depending on the type of private student loans available for you.

Categories

  •  Undergraduate
  • Graduate
  • Medical
  • Law
  • Business
  • Refinance

 Interest Rate

 This company offers fixed and variable interest rates, and they may vary depending on the type of loan that you get.

  •  Fixed Rates: 3.19% to 5.99% APR
  • Variable Rates: 1.99% to 5.99% APR

Repayments

  • Deferred Payments: You can wait until the end of your period of grace to start paying.
  • Interest: You pay only the interest while you are in school.
  • Fixed Monthly Payments: You can make small monthly payments to reduce the amount of interest that you accrue.
  • Full Monthly Payments: With this option, you pay for your principal and your interest right away.
  • You can also opt for forbearance, or use the company's ‘Skip a payment' option.

Qualifications

  • A minimal credit score of 650 and three-year credit history.
  • You must have consistent income, or send a written job offer that starts within six months.
  • You must be a US citizen or have permanent residency.
  • Loan amounts are $1,000 up to 100% of your cost of attendance.

 Additional Details

  •  It has a nine-month grace period.
  • The ‘Skip a Payment' feature means that you can skip one payment every 12 months if you want to.

 Click here to apply with our referral link!

Chicago Student Loans by A.M Money – Best Lender for Students that Attend Schools that Work with A.M Money

If you are planning to attend a school that works with A.M Money, this may be an excellent choice for you. These private student loans may be best suited for students who can't co-sign and have a high GPA.

Key Points

Pros

  • You don't need to co-sign.
  • It offers a temporary income-based repayment option.
  • Everyone gets the same fixed interest rate.

 Cons

  •  It only applies to some schools in the country.
  • It charges origination fees.

Loan Terms

You only get a 10-year loan term.

Categories

  •  Graduate
  • Undergraduate
  • Parent

Interest Rate

With these private student loans, you get fixed interest rates. These are benchmarked to the PLUS loan rates.

 Fixed Rates: 7.08% to 8.06% APR

Repayments

  • Immediate: You can make an immediate repayment after the loans are disbursed. A.M Money doesn't give pre-payment penalties.
  • Deferred Payments: You don't have to pay up until your period of grace is over.

Qualifications

  • The only thing considered is your GPA level and school transcript.
  • You need to study at one of the schools that A.M Money works with.
  • Loan amounts of $2,000 up to 100% of the cost of attendance.

Additional Details

  • The period of grace is of six months.
  • You don't need co-signing to apply since your approval is based on your GPA level.

 Click here to apply with our referral link!

Advantage Education Loans – Best Lender for Part-Time Students

Some private student loans from other companies don't consider students who don't enroll in their school for at least half-time. This company does consider part-time students.

Key Points

Pros

  • You can get a loan if you're not enrolled half-time or more.
  • You can get a considerate forbearance period of 24 months.
  • You don't need a hard credit check to determine if you qualify.
  • You can refinance without a degree.

 Cons

  •  It doesn't offer many repayment options.
  • Some of these private student loans are not available in some US states.

Loan Terms

There is only a single available term of 10 years.

Categories

  •  Undergraduate
  • Graduate

Interest Rate

The interest rates may vary depending on if it's fixed or variable.

  •  Fixed Rates: 3.19% to 5.99% APR
  • Variable Rates: 1.99 to 5.99 APR

Repayments

There are three repayment options that you can choose if you want to pay in school.

  •  Immediate: You make full monthly payments when your loan is disbursed.
  • Deferred Payments: You don't make any payments up until your period of grace is over.
  • Interest: Pay the interest-only while you are in school.

Qualifications

  •  It doesn't disclose the minimum credit score or minimum income.
  • Minimal loan amounts of $1,000.

 Additional Details

  • The period of grace is of six months.
  • You can co-sign if you want. After 36 months of consecutive payments, you may release your co-signer.

Click here to apply with our referral link!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between Federal Student Loans and Private Student Loans?

Federal student loans are loans that you get from the government. A federal loan allows you to apply for forgiveness programs or income-based payments, which are not usually available in a private loan for students.

To apply for federal student loans, you need to submit a FAFSA, which stands for ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid.' The interest rate for federal loans is usually flat, whereas, with private loans, the rate depends on your credit score. The lower your credit score is, the higher amount you may pay.

How To Choose the Best Private Student Loans?

It's recommended that you make the most out of federal student loans and financial aid before considering private student loans. A federal loan for a student may help pay some of their college expenses.

After you maximized your federal student loan benefits, you may focus on private loans. To choose an appropriate loan company for you, keep in mind what it has to offer, the cost, the extra features, and if you're eligible for it. Keep in mind that things like the interest rate may vary depending on your credit score or GPA level.

Conclusion

Deciding which loans to apply for your college studies can be a life-changing decision, so you can't take it lightly. In this article, we targeted the most popular student loan companies in 2020. There is no right answer to which one offers the best loans.

You should research as much as you can to choose a proper company that offers great student loans that you can apply for. Undergraduate and graduate loans can make going to school easier financially.

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