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7 Best Student Loans of November 2019

Anna HelhoskiOctober 15, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Use federal loans first, then the best private student loan companies below to fill any gap.

Summary of Best Student Loans of November 2019

LenderFixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

4.53-6.08%

N/A

None

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

Ascent Private Student Loan

Ascent Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

4.02-12.93%

3.31-12.62%

600

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

RISLA Private Student Loan

RISLA Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on RISLA's website

3.64-5.59%

N/A

680

Check Rate

on RISLA's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

4.74-11.35%

3.12-10.54%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

MPOWER Private Student Loan

MPOWER Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

7.52-13.63%

N/A

N/A

Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

College Ave Private Student Loan

College Ave Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

4.54-11.98%

2.84-10.97%

Mid-600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Parent Student Loan

College Ave Parent Student Loan

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

5.96-11.91%

5.23-11.76%

Mid-600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

LenderFixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

4.53-6.08%

N/A

None

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

Ascent Private Student Loan

Ascent Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

4.02-12.93%

3.31-12.62%

600

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

RISLA Private Student Loan

RISLA Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on RISLA's website

3.64-5.59%

N/A

680

Check Rate

on RISLA's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

4.74-11.35%

3.12-10.54%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

MPOWER Private Student Loan

MPOWER Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

7.52-13.63%

N/A

N/A

Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

College Ave Private Student Loan

College Ave Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

4.54-11.98%

2.84-10.97%

Mid-600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Parent Student Loan

College Ave Parent Student Loan

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

5.96-11.91%

5.23-11.76%

Mid-600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Our pick for

Overall

Federal student loans don't require a co-signer and offer unmatched payment flexibility. Use them first.

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan
Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan
Fixed APR 
4.53-6.08% 

Variable APR 
N/A 

Min. Credit Score 
None 

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Best first option for all student loan borrowers.

Pros

  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.

  • Subsidized loans do not collect interest while in school or during deferment.

  • Lower interest rates compared with private lenders.

Cons

  • You pay an origination fee.

Qualifications

  • No credit check or minimum income is needed to borrow.

  • Loan amounts for undergraduates: $5,500 year one, $6,500 year two, $7,500 year three and thereafter, up to a total of $31,000

  • Independent students and graduate students have higher loan limits.

Available Term Lengths

10 to 25 years once repayment begins, depending on the repayment plan.

Disclaimer

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Best private student loan

These lenders offer competitive rates, generous repayment options and borrower protections.

Ascent Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Ascent Private Student Loan

Ascent Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
4.02-12.93% 

Variable APR 
3.31-12.62% 

Min. Credit Score 
600 

Check Rate

on Ascent's website


Variable APR

3.31-12.62%

Key facts

Best for students who want to use a co-signer and pay off loans fast or upperclassmen and graduate students with no credit, income or co-signer.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders.

  • You can make biweekly payments via autopay.

  • For co-signed option, multiple in-school repayment options are available, including interest-only, flat-fee and deferred.

  • For non-co-signed option, no co-signer or credit history is required.

Cons

  • Fewer repayment term lengths than other lenders for fixed-rate loans.

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Non-co-signed option is only available to college juniors, seniors and graduate students.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose for co-signed option. For non-co-signed option, Ascent emphasizes future earnings over income or credit score.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 for co-signed option.

  • Loan amounts: For co-signed option, $2,000 minimum to $200,000 over the lifetime of a borrower. The amount for each loan period cannot exceed the total cost of attendance. For non-co-signed option, $2,000 to total cost of attendance.

  • Non-co-signed borrowers must maintain 2.5 GPA or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 for cosigned option or 10 or 15 for non-co-signed option

Disclaimer

6 Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), 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: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 11/01/2019 and include a 0.25% discount applied when a borrower in repayment elects automatic debit payments via their personal checking account. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details.

Read Full Review
RISLA Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on RISLA's website

RISLA Private Student Loan

RISLA Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
3.64-5.59% 

Variable APR 
N/A 

Min. Credit Score 
680 

Check Rate

on RISLA's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Best for Rhode Island students who may need wiggle room on payments in the future.

Pros

  • Income-based repayment plan available, with forgiveness after 25 years.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Partial loan forgiveness for eligible internships; interest forgiveness for qualifying nurses.

Cons

  • Loans available only to Rhode Island residents or those who attend school there.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 768.

  • Minimum income: $40,000.

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $45,000.

Available Term Lengths

10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Private student loan without a co-signer

Federal loans don't require a co-signer; if they are an option, use them first.

Ascent Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Ascent Private Student Loan

Ascent Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
4.02-12.93% 

Variable APR 
3.31-12.62% 

Min. Credit Score 
600 

Check Rate

on Ascent's website


Variable APR

3.31-12.62%

Key facts

Best for students who want to use a co-signer and pay off loans fast or upperclassmen and graduate students with no credit, income or co-signer.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders.

  • You can make biweekly payments via autopay.

  • For co-signed option, multiple in-school repayment options are available, including interest-only, flat-fee and deferred.

  • For non-co-signed option, no co-signer or credit history is required.

Cons

  • Fewer repayment term lengths than other lenders for fixed-rate loans.

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Non-co-signed option is only available to college juniors, seniors and graduate students.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose for co-signed option. For non-co-signed option, Ascent emphasizes future earnings over income or credit score.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 for co-signed option.

  • Loan amounts: For co-signed option, $2,000 minimum to $200,000 over the lifetime of a borrower. The amount for each loan period cannot exceed the total cost of attendance. For non-co-signed option, $2,000 to total cost of attendance.

  • Non-co-signed borrowers must maintain 2.5 GPA or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 for cosigned option or 10 or 15 for non-co-signed option

Disclaimer

6 Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), 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: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 11/01/2019 and include a 0.25% discount applied when a borrower in repayment elects automatic debit payments via their personal checking account. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Part-time students

Only a few companies offer loans to students who attend less than half-time.

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
4.74-11.35% 

Variable APR 
3.12-10.54% 

Min. Credit Score 
Does not disclose 

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website


Variable APR

3.12-10.54%

Key facts

Best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Borrowers can access online tutoring and free credit score tracking.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a co-signer.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Information not available on minimum qualifying credit scores or income.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.

  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified expenses.

Available Term Lengths

5 to 15 years

Disclaimer

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount: Fixed 4.74% - 11.35% APR and Variable 3.12% - 10.54% APR. Interest rates for Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options are higher than interest rates for the Interest Repayment Option. You're charged interest starting at disbursement, while in school, during your separation/grace period, and until the loan is paid in full. The repayment option that is selected will apply during the in-school and separation/grace periods. When you enter principal and interest repayment, Unpaid Interest will be added to your loan's Current Principal. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRs are valid as of 09/25/2019 and assume a $10,000 loan to a freshman with no other Sallie Mae loans. Additional information regarding the auto debit discount: Borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction benefit. This benefit applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month and may be suspended during periods of forbearance or deferment, if available for the loan. Loan amounts: $1000 up to 100% of the school certified expenses: Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. Repayment term of 5 to 15 years: This repayment example is based on a typical Smart Option Student Loan made to a freshman borrower who chooses a fixed rate and the Fixed Repayment Option for a $10,000 loan, with two disbursements, and a 8.44% fixed APR. It works out to 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $156.04 and one payment of $118.97, for a Total Loan Cost of $19,962.73.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Bad or no credit

Federal loans don't require credit history; neither do these lenders.

Ascent Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Ascent Private Student Loan

Ascent Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
4.02-12.93% 

Variable APR 
3.31-12.62% 

Min. Credit Score 
600 

Check Rate

on Ascent's website


Variable APR

3.31-12.62%

Key facts

Best for students who want to use a co-signer and pay off loans fast or upperclassmen and graduate students with no credit, income or co-signer.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders.

  • You can make biweekly payments via autopay.

  • For co-signed option, multiple in-school repayment options are available, including interest-only, flat-fee and deferred.

  • For non-co-signed option, no co-signer or credit history is required.

Cons

  • Fewer repayment term lengths than other lenders for fixed-rate loans.

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Non-co-signed option is only available to college juniors, seniors and graduate students.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose for co-signed option. For non-co-signed option, Ascent emphasizes future earnings over income or credit score.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 for co-signed option.

  • Loan amounts: For co-signed option, $2,000 minimum to $200,000 over the lifetime of a borrower. The amount for each loan period cannot exceed the total cost of attendance. For non-co-signed option, $2,000 to total cost of attendance.

  • Non-co-signed borrowers must maintain 2.5 GPA or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 for cosigned option or 10 or 15 for non-co-signed option

Disclaimer

6 Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), 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: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 11/01/2019 and include a 0.25% discount applied when a borrower in repayment elects automatic debit payments via their personal checking account. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

International students without a co-signer

MPOWER Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

MPOWER Private Student Loan

MPOWER Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
7.52-13.63% 

Variable APR 
N/A 

Min. Credit Score 
N/A 

Check Rate

on MPOWER's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Best for international students and students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status.

Pros

  • Offers a hard-to-find option: non-co-signed student loans for international and DACA students.

  • Borrowers are assigned a dedicated student loan advisor.

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer, and borrowers can access national disaster forbearance as well.

Cons

  • Payment required while in school and during the grace period.

  • Offers only one repayment term: 10 years.

Qualifications

  • MPOWER considers future income potential but does not factor in credit scores.

  • Loan amounts: Minimum $2,001. Maximum loan is $50,000, limited to $25,000 per academic period.

Available Term Lengths

10 years

Disclaimer

Read Full Review

Our pick for

International students with a co-signer

Ascent Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Ascent Private Student Loan

Ascent Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
4.02-12.93% 

Variable APR 
3.31-12.62% 

Min. Credit Score 
600 

Check Rate

on Ascent's website


Variable APR

3.31-12.62%

Key facts

Best for students who want to use a co-signer and pay off loans fast or upperclassmen and graduate students with no credit, income or co-signer.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders.

  • You can make biweekly payments via autopay.

  • For co-signed option, multiple in-school repayment options are available, including interest-only, flat-fee and deferred.

  • For non-co-signed option, no co-signer or credit history is required.

Cons

  • Fewer repayment term lengths than other lenders for fixed-rate loans.

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Non-co-signed option is only available to college juniors, seniors and graduate students.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose for co-signed option. For non-co-signed option, Ascent emphasizes future earnings over income or credit score.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 for co-signed option.

  • Loan amounts: For co-signed option, $2,000 minimum to $200,000 over the lifetime of a borrower. The amount for each loan period cannot exceed the total cost of attendance. For non-co-signed option, $2,000 to total cost of attendance.

  • Non-co-signed borrowers must maintain 2.5 GPA or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 for cosigned option or 10 or 15 for non-co-signed option

Disclaimer

6 Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), 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: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 11/01/2019 and include a 0.25% discount applied when a borrower in repayment elects automatic debit payments via their personal checking account. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Law school

Compare rates with federal PLUS loans.

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
4.74-11.35% 

Variable APR 
3.12-10.54% 

Min. Credit Score 
Does not disclose 

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website


Variable APR

3.12-10.54%

Key facts

Sallie Mae's law school loan is available to students enrolled less than half time, making this a good option if you're studying for your JD at night or part time. The loan also offers 48 months of deferment during a clerkship or fellowship.

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Borrowers can access online tutoring and free credit score tracking.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a co-signer.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Information not available on minimum qualifying credit scores or income.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.

  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified expenses.

Available Term Lengths

5 to 15 years

Disclaimer

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount: Fixed 4.74% - 11.35% APR and Variable 3.12% - 10.54% APR. Interest rates for Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options are higher than interest rates for the Interest Repayment Option. You're charged interest starting at disbursement, while in school, during your separation/grace period, and until the loan is paid in full. The repayment option that is selected will apply during the in-school and separation/grace periods. When you enter principal and interest repayment, Unpaid Interest will be added to your loan's Current Principal. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRs are valid as of 09/25/2019 and assume a $10,000 loan to a freshman with no other Sallie Mae loans. Additional information regarding the auto debit discount: Borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction benefit. This benefit applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month and may be suspended during periods of forbearance or deferment, if available for the loan. Loan amounts: $1000 up to 100% of the school certified expenses: Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. Repayment term of 5 to 15 years: This repayment example is based on a typical Smart Option Student Loan made to a freshman borrower who chooses a fixed rate and the Fixed Repayment Option for a $10,000 loan, with two disbursements, and a 8.44% fixed APR. It works out to 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $156.04 and one payment of $118.97, for a Total Loan Cost of $19,962.73.

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Graduate students

Compare rates with federal PLUS loans.

College Ave Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Private Student Loan

College Ave Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
4.54-11.98% 

Variable APR 
2.84-10.97% 

Min. Credit Score 
Mid-600s 

Check Rate

on College Ave's website


Variable APR

2.84-10.97%

Key facts

Highest-rated nationwide lender for graduate school students.

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • International students can qualify with a co-signer.

  • More flexible repayment options than other lenders.

Cons

  • No formal forbearance options.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Mid-700s.

  • Minimum income: $35,000 per year.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $80,000.

Available Term Lengths

5, 8, 10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust 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. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Flat Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.78% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 54 monthly payments of $25 while in school, followed by 96 monthly payments of $176.21 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $18,266.38. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.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. Information advertised valid as of 11/4/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

Read Full Review
RISLA Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on RISLA's website

RISLA Private Student Loan

RISLA Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
3.64-5.59% 

Variable APR 
N/A 

Min. Credit Score 
680 

Check Rate

on RISLA's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Offers generous graduate school repayment options and flexibility.

Pros

  • Income-based repayment plan available, with forgiveness after 25 years.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Partial loan forgiveness for eligible internships; interest forgiveness for qualifying nurses.

Cons

  • Loans available only to Rhode Island residents or those who attend school there.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 768.

  • Minimum income: $40,000.

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $45,000.

Available Term Lengths

10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Read Full Review
MPOWER Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

MPOWER Private Student Loan

MPOWER Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
7.52-13.63% 

Variable APR 
N/A 

Min. Credit Score 
N/A 

Check Rate

on MPOWER's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Offers a niche loan for international graduate school students.

Pros

  • Offers a hard-to-find option: non-co-signed student loans for international and DACA students.

  • Borrowers are assigned a dedicated student loan advisor.

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer, and borrowers can access national disaster forbearance as well.

Cons

  • Payment required while in school and during the grace period.

  • Offers only one repayment term: 10 years.

Qualifications

  • MPOWER considers future income potential but does not factor in credit scores.

  • Loan amounts: Minimum $2,001. Maximum loan is $50,000, limited to $25,000 per academic period.

Available Term Lengths

10 years

Disclaimer

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Parent loans for college

College Ave Parent Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Parent Student Loan

College Ave Parent Student Loan
Fixed APR 
5.96-11.91% 

Variable APR 
5.23-11.76% 

Min. Credit Score 
Mid-600s 

Check Rate

on College Ave's website


Variable APR

5.23-11.76%

Key facts

Make interest-only payments while your child is in school.

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Up to $2,500 can be disbursed to you directly for school-related expenses.

  • You can choose your monthly payment while the student is in school, provided it covers at least the interest.

Cons

  • No formal forbearance options.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Mid-700s.

  • Minimum income: $70,000 per year.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to school-certified cost of attendance.

Available Term Lengths

Between 5 and 15 years.

Disclaimer

Read Full Review
RISLA Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on RISLA's website

RISLA Private Student Loan

RISLA Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
3.64-5.59% 

Variable APR 
N/A 

Min. Credit Score 
680 

Check Rate

on RISLA's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

The only parent loan that offers income-based repayment.

Pros

  • Income-based repayment plan available, with forgiveness after 25 years.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Partial loan forgiveness for eligible internships; interest forgiveness for qualifying nurses.

Cons

  • Loans available only to Rhode Island residents or those who attend school there.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 768.

  • Minimum income: $40,000.

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $45,000.

Available Term Lengths

10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Read Full Review

Best private student loan companies

Chances are that multiple private lenders offer the kind of student loan you want. We've gathered them by category below. Compare offers from as many as you can before signing on the dotted line.

No co-signer

Bad or no credit

Part-time students

Community college

Lenders that offer co-signer release

International students

Medical school

Law school

Graduate school

Parent loans

Last updated on October 15, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see which student loan companies rank highest among all lenders we review. Here’s the criteria:

  • Enable faster repayment: Lenders score highly if they offer a variety of term lengths and make extra payments easy.
  • Disclose requirements and limit costs: Lenders score highly if they limit fees and interest rates, are transparent about their underwriting criteria and allow borrowers to get personalized rate estimates before applying.
  • Serve a range of borrowers: Lenders score highly if they cater to customers in varying locations, in different financial situations and with varying citizenship statuses.
  • Offer payment flexibility: Lenders score highly if they offer longer than 12-month forbearance periods, in-school and military deferment, and any other flexible policies that help borrowers during tough times.
  • Supports customers: Lenders score highly if they assign borrowers an advisor, offer multiple ways to get in touch and have in-house customer service. Websites should display full APR ranges, fees and forbearance policies.

Our best private student loan selections drill down on certain loan types or loan features and present the highest-rated lender meeting those criteria.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Student Loans of November 2019