Best Student Loans Of

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Top Pick

9.9

  people visited this week

APR Starting At 3.99%1

  • Apply in as little as 3 minutes & receive instant credit decision
  • Cover up to 100% of school cost & other school-related expenses2
  • Loan term options include 5, 8, 10 and 15 years3
  • No application, origination or prepayment fees
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    APR Starting At 3.99%1

    2

    9.7

      people visited this week

    APR Starting at 4.29%

    • Fast application and decision process. Hear back in as little as 24 hours
    • Customizable payment plans with 4 flexible repayment options
    • Allows students to skip one payment every 12 months
    • No origination fees, no application fees & no late fees
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      APR Starting at 4.29%

      3

      9.6

        people visited this week

      APR Starting at 4.19%1

      • Rate discounts available for autopay (0.25%), repeat borrowers (0.25%), and cosigners taking out multiple loans to support multiple kids in college (0.25%)2
      • Got a 3.0 GPA or higher? You can get up to $250 for your good grades! 3
      • Cover 100% of school-certified costs.
      • Flexible repayment options to fit your needs, including interest-only payments, partial repay, immediately repay, and deferred payment.
      • Check your rate online in just 3 minutes, with no impact to your credit score. 4
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        APR Starting at 4.19%1

        4

        9.4

          people visited this week

        APR starting at 4.17% fixed APR (with autopay)*

        • Check pre-qualified rates without impacting your credit score
        • Compare rates from up to 8 lenders at once
        • Easily add a student to your application as a cosigner
        • No origination, prepayment, or service fees
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          APR starting at 4.17% fixed APR (with autopay)*

          5

          9.2

            people visited this week

          APR starting at 3.79%*

          • Save with 1% cash back at graduation + 0.25% - 1.00% autopay discount
          • Start payments up to 9 months after graduation
          • Cover up to 100% of school cost & other school-related expenses
          • No fees - No application, origination, disbursement or late fees
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            APR starting at 3.79%*

            6

            9.1

              people visited this week

            Get Started With a Personal Rate Today!

            • Variable or fixed rate student loan options put you in control
            • Applying online is easy - you could receive a credit result in about 10 minutes
            • Multiple repayment options from in-school payments, fixed payments, to deferred
            • Borrow up to 100% of school-certified expenses1, whether you're online or on campus
            • No origination fee or prepayment penalty2
              See Details

              Get Started With a Personal Rate Today!

              Best Student Loans

              Over the last few decades, the cost of college has steadily increased with no clear signs of stalling. Student loans act as a lifeline for millions of people who plan to pursue higher education. On average, students borrow more than $30,000 to achieve a bachelor’s degree, with those attending for-profit school’s borrowing significantly more. And with a multitude of options available, choosing the right student loan is essential for managing costs and minimizing debt. We’re here to help break down the different types of loans, including federal and private options, their benefits, recommended choices and the criteria for selecting the best one for your needs and long-term budget. 

              Student Loans Overview 

              While student loans are intended to help level the playing field and expand access to continuing education, it’s important to remember that the more you borrow, the more you’ll owe, which can make it challenging to manage those monthly payments when you’re still trying to gain your footing after graduation. It’s smart to explore various ways to help offset educational costs in addition to student loans, like applying for federal grants or work-study funds, plus researching other grants and scholarships that are available, as well as tuition installment plans, to help keep costs down. 

              But the truth is, often these options still fall short, and the majority of students will need to take out some type of loan to help fund their education, which makes it critical to understand the market. Generally, there are two main types of student loans: Private and federal.

              Best Private Student Loans

              While federal student loans are funded by the government, private student loans are provided by lenders, such as a bank, credit union, state agency or school. Federal loans tend to have a maximum allotment that may not cover enough of the overall educational expenses for students, which makes private loans a necessity. 

              Unlike federal loans, private student loans do not offer standard repayment plans and interest rates, but are instead dependent on a credit check for you—or a co-signer if you have one, to determine which loans and terms you qualify for. 

              Though it may be more difficult to be approved for private loans, they also offer greater borrowing potential than federal loans and better interest rates for those with strong credit scores. The perks of private student loans for borrowers with a positive credit history can also include more flexible loan terms and quick approval processes. If you don’t know where to start, Credible is a great resource for comparing private student loans and refinancing offers from multiple lenders simultaneously to help you narrow down your list. 

              But there are also drawbacks to private student loans. Private loans can be more expensive— especially for people with lower or no credit, your rate terms can fluctuate, and private lenders often offer little flexibility if you have trouble making payments down the line.

              Generally, it’s recommended to exhaust your options for federal student loans first and only use private student loans to cover any extra cost as needed. 

              Best Banks for Student Loans 

              Private student loans are often the only way many students can cover their overall educational expenses, which extends beyond just tuition to include room and board, books, supplies and more. 

              Sallie Mae has become almost synonymous with student loans, with a long history of offering both private and federal student loans, although the company now specializes in providing private loans only. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all your certified school expenses, plus repayment terms ranging from 10 to 20 years. 

              It’s critical to shop around to secure the best private loan for your needs, with popular banks like SoFi and Citizens Bank also among some of the preferred lenders for private student loans.

              Best Federal Student Loans 

              Federal student loans are provided by the U.S government and are often preferred over private loans due to their benefits, fixed terms and availability. With no credit check or cosigner required, just about anyone who is in good academic standing can apply for Federal Direct Loans by submitting a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form.

              Federal Direct Loans have fixed interest rates, which means they won’t increase over time, and the interest rate is the same for all borrowers regardless of their credit. You’re also not required to begin making payments on federal loans until six months after you graduate, and if you run into issues, there are usually multiple options to help readjust or even pause your monthly payments based on certain circumstances. Plus, only federal loans are eligible for student loan forgiveness. 

              Unfortunately, federal direct loans also come with downsides, too. Mainly, they have lower borrowing limits that may not be enough to cover all of your educational expenses. It’s still recommended to start with federal loans and consider private loans as a supplement to cover any additional costs. 

              Best Student Loans for College 

              While there are student loans available for trade schools and certifications, most loans are used toward paying for undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

              Federal Direct Loans are great for college students as you don’t have to start payments until after you’ve graduated. Some loans, like Direct Subsidized loans, don’t charge undergraduate students interest while you’re in school, helping to keep long-term costs down. 

              Private student loans can fill the gap, with lenders like College Ave being one of the top picks for college students due to their flexible repayment options, low interest rates, quick and free application process, and coverage for up to 100 percent of school expenses. 

              Best Graduate Student Loans

              When considering loans for graduate school, look for options that offer low interest rates and flexible repayment plans. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans are excellent choices. Additionally, private lenders like Earnest and SoFi offer competitive graduate student loans with favorable terms.

              Best Parent Student Loans

              Parents looking to help their children finance their education can consider federal Direct PLUS Loans. Private loan lenders like Sallie Mae and College Ave offer competitive options for parents, as well as consignor plans with early release terms for consecutive payments.

              Best Rates for Student Loans

              Federal student loans tend to offer the lowest interest rates, with no credit check required. When it comes to private loans however, borrowers with the highest credit scores or ones who have a cosigner with a good credit history often receive the best rates. Make sure to compare multiple lenders’ interest rates, fees, repayment options and perks, as well as decide if a fixed interest rate (which does not change over time) or a variable interest rate (changes with the market) is the right option for your situation. Earnest is a popular private lender known for low interest rates, an auto-pay discount, flexible terms and a rate match guarantee. 

              Best Student Loans for Bad Credit 

              If you have a poor credit history or lack an established credit history at all, federal student loans are typically your best option due to their lack of credit requirements. All borrowers get the same rates regardless of credit score and history. For private loans, most companies will require a cosigner to offset their perceived risk. Look for lenders like A.M. Money and MPower Financing, which specialize in providing loans to students with bad credit.

              Best Student Loans Without Cosigner 

              For students who cannot find a cosigner, most Federal Direct Loans do not require a cosigner to apply, while some private lenders also offer loans without this requirement. Ascent and Funding U are notable lenders in this category. With Ascent, students can apply for the Non-Cosigned Outcomes-Based loan with eligibility based on your school, program, major, GPA and criteria other than established credit. 

              Best Refinance Student Loans

              Refinancing student loans can help you secure a lower interest rate and better repayment terms. To find the best rates for student loan refinancing, compare offers from multiple lenders. Look for lenders that offer fixed and variable rates, no origination fees, and flexible repayment terms. Top refinance lenders include SoFi, CommonBond and Earnest.

              Best Direct-to-Consumer Student Loans

              Direct-to-consumer student loans are distributed directly to the borrower rather than the school. These loans can provide greater flexibility and faster access to funds, but this is often accompanied by higher fees and interest rates. Top lenders in this category include Sallie Mae and Discover Student Loans.

              FAQ

              What are the best private student loans?

              The best private student loans offer competitive interest rates, flexible repayment options and minimal fees. While the ideal choice varies based on individual needs and financial circumstances, some widely recognized lenders include Sallie Mae, College Ave and Citizens Bank. These companies are known for their comprehensive loan offerings that cater to a variety of students, including those in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. Additionally, it’s important to compare factors such as the APR (Annual Percentage Rate), repayment terms, and borrower benefits like grace periods or interest rate reductions for automatic payments. Always review each lender’s terms and conditions closely and consider applying with a cosigner to possibly secure more favorable loan terms.

              Who offers the best student loans?

              The best student loans are often federal student loans, provided by the U.S. government, due to their lower interest rates, flexible repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs. To apply, students should start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

              For private student loans, options vary widely based on individual financial situations and needs. Top-rated lenders include Sallie Mae, Discover Student Loans and College Ave, known for their competitive rates and various repayment options. When selecting a private loan, compare factors like APR, fees, repayment terms and borrower benefits. It’s recommended to exhaust federal loan options before turning to private loans due to potential differences in interest rates and borrower protections.

              Disclaimers

              CollegeAve

              Disclosure:

              College Ave’s student loan products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community Bank, member FDIC, or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

              Information advertised valid as of 05/01/2024. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term. 

              1. Rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. If a payment is returned, you will lose this benefit.
              2. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.
              3. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

              Ascent

              Disclosure

              *Ascent’s undergraduate and graduate student loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills or DR Bank, each Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 7/1/2024 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest rates require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, a cosigner, and are only available for our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores. Actual APR offered may be higher or lower than the repayment examples above, based on the amount of time you spend in school and any grace period you have before repayment begins. 

              Credible

              Disclosures:

              Prequalified Rates Disclosure:

              • Prequalified rates are based on the information you provide and a soft credit inquiry. Receiving prequalified rates does not guarantee that the Lender will extend you an offer of credit. You are not yet approved for a loan or a specific rate. All credit decisions, including loan approval, if any, are determined by Lenders, in their sole discretion. Lowest rate advertised is not available for all loan sizes, types, or purposes, and assumes a very well qualified borrower with an excellent credit profile.

              Won’t Impact your Credit Score Disclosure:

              • Requesting prequalified rates on Credible is free and doesn’t affect your credit score. However, applying for or closing a loan will involve a hard credit pull that impacts your credit score and closing a loan will result in costs to you.

              Sallie Mae

              Disclosures:
              Borrow responsibly
              We encourage students and families to start with savings, grants, scholarships, and federal student loans to pay for
              college. Evaluate all anticipated monthly loan payments, and how much the student expects to earn in the future,
              before considering a private student loan.

              1 For applications submitted directly to Sallie Mae, loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less
              financial aid received, as certified by the school. Applications submitted to Sallie Mae through a partner website
              will be subject to a lower maximum loan request amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may
              be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half-time.

              2 Although we do not charge a penalty or fee if you prepay your loan, any prepayment will be applied as outlined
              in your promissory note—first to Unpaid Fees and costs, then to Unpaid Interest, and then to Current Principal.

              SALLIE MAE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
              Information advertised valid as of 05/31/2024
              Sallie Mae loans are made by Sallie Mae Bank.
              ConsumerRating is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of the Sallie Mae loan customers.

               

              SoFi

              Disclosure:

              1UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates range from 4.19% APR to 14.83% APR with 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates range from 5.74% APR to 15.86% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates range from 4.74% APR to 14.83% APR with 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates range from 5.74% APR to 15.86% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates range from 6.25% APR to 14.83% APR with 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates range from 6.07% APR to 15.86% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount.

              Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates are capped at 17.95%. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term and type of repayment option you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer (if applicable) and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Check out our eligibility criteria at https://www.sofi.com/eligibility-criteria/. 

              For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.

              4To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

              0.25% Continuing Scholar Discount: Terms and conditions apply. Offer good for private student loan customers who have previously borrowed a private student loan from SoFi and are taking out a subsequent loan only, select a term and repayment type that is eligible for the discount, and is subject to lender approval. To receive the offer, you must: (1) complete a loan application with SoFi between 5/29/24 12:01AM PT to 9/1/24 11:59PM PT; and (2) meet SoFi’s underwriting criteria. Once conditions are met and the loan has been disbursed, the interest rate shown in the Final Disclosure Statement will include an additional 0.25% rate discount because you have borrowed a private student loan from SoFi in the past. Offer good for existing private student loan borrowers only. Offer cannot be combined with other rate discounts, with the exception of the 0.25% AutoPay rate discount. SoFi reserves the right to change or terminate the Rate Discount Program to unenrolled participants at any time with or without notice.

              0.25% Family Rate Discount: Terms and conditions apply. Offer good for SoFi private student loan cosigners who have previously borrowed a private student loan from SoFi and are taking out a subsequent loan only, select a term and repayment type that is eligible for the discount, and is subject to lender approval. To receive the offer, you must: (1) complete a loan application with SoFi; (2) meet SoFi’s underwriting criteria. Once conditions are met and the loan has been disbursed, the interest rate shown in the Final Disclosure Statement will include an additional 0.25% rate discount because you have borrowed a private student loan from SoFi in the past. Offer good for existing private student loan cosigners only. Cannot be combined with other rate discounts, with the exception of the 0.25% autopay rate discount and the SoFi Member Discount. Once the family discount benefit is earned, it cannot be lost. SoFi reserves the right to change or terminate the Rate Discount Program to unenrolled participants at any time with or without notice.

              2The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.

              Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. We encourage you to evaluate all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. (https://www.sofi.com/faq/)

              Terms and conditions apply. SoFi Private Student loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A. NMLS # 696891 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Minimum loan requirements may be higher than $1,000. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

              3Reward Eligibility:

              If eligible, you may receive one cash reward to a SoFi Checking and Savings account. The cash reward offered is $100 for single-semester loans and $250 for full-year loans. 

              You will be eligible to receive the cash reward to a SoFi Checking and Savings account on the school-certified loan amount if:

              • You must be a US citizen or permanent resident
              • Must be 18 years of age or older
              • Your cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) for the academic period in which your loan was taken out is at least a 3.0. 
              • Must have applied for and/or have an existing SoFi Checking and Savings account under the same name listed on your SoFi Private Student Loan
              • Your SoFi Private Student Loan is for Fall 2024, Spring 2025, Summer 2025, or the full ‘24-25 academic year.
              • You signed your loan agreement for a SoFi Private Student Loan during the promotional period. 
              • The first disbursement on your eligible student loan has been sent to your school.

              Please note: If you apply for and are approved for multiple loans, you will be eligible to receive the reward once for the academic year associated with your loan(s). For example, if you took out a loan for Fall 2024 and Spring 2025, only one of those loans would be eligible for Good Grades Rewards.

              Your final reward amount will be determined by the length of your loan period. 

              This reward is considered taxable income and may be reported on IRS Form 1099-MISC. We recommend you consult a tax professional for advice.

              It is your responsibility to notify us if you do not receive an expected cash reward, once you complete and submit the redemption form. You can contact SoFi at (855) 456-SOFI (7634) or via the chat function in the app.

              Reward Redemption: To redeem the reward, you must log in to your SoFi account and fill out the redemption form. The form should be completed after accepting the loan and receiving your cumulative GPA for the academic period associated with the loan. The redemption form will become available after the first disbursement of your loan has been received by your school.

              Upon self-attestation of your cumulative GPA, a credit of $100 or $250 will be added to the SoFi Checking and Savings account registered under your name.

              In the event your SoFi Checking and Savings account application is declined, we will email instructions to credit you the rewards amount via Automated Clearing House (ACH). We may request additional documentation to verify the GPA (or equivalent) provided on the redemption form. If any information provided on the redemption form is inaccurate, SoFi reserves the right to end your consideration for the promotion.

              Changes to These Terms and Conditions: The Student Loan Rewards for Good Grades Program may end at any time.  These Terms and Conditions are subject to change without notice. Changes may include, but are not limited to, changing the redemption methods or imposing additional conditions.

              ©2024 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Equal Housing Lender.

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              Here’s the methodology behind our ratings:

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              Comprehensive Overviews

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              Pricing Details

              We break down how much the student loans costs, noting everything that’s included for the different price points.
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              Student Loans Comparisons

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              FAQs

              In case the review wasn't enough to, we also include several FAQs to help ensure you have all you need to make an informed decision.