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8 Best Student Loans of June 2020

Anna HelhoskiMay 11, 2020

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

The best student loan is one you can repay at an interest rate you can afford. For most people, that student loan comes from the government.

Many borrowers wind up with a gap and turn to a private student loan from a bank, credit union or online lender. Most start by comparing private student loans from major companies such as Sallie Mae, College Ave, SunTrust and Discover.

But not all lenders serve all customers. If you are an international student, don't have a co-signer, attend school part time or attend graduate or professional school, your choices probably don't look the same as those for a more traditional student borrower.

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated dozens of data points to identify the best student loan companies in these 12 categories.

Summary of Best Student Loans of June 2020

LenderNerdWallet Rating Fixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
SoFi Private Student Loan

SoFi Private Student Loan

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Best for: Best private student loan + Community college

4.73 - 11.46%

2.05 - 10.63%

Does not disclose

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Best for: Overall

4.53 - 6.08%

N/A

None

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Ascent Private Student Loan

Ascent Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Best for: Best private student loan + Private student loan without a co-signer + Bad or no credit + International students with a co-signer

3.98 - 14.92%

3.17 - 13.92%

540

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

RISLA Private Student Loan

RISLA Private Student Loan

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Best for: Best private student loan + Graduate students + Parent loans for college

3.64 - 5.46%

N/A

680

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Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Best for: Part-time students + Law school

4.74 - 11.85%

1.50 - 9.66%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

MPOWER Private Student Loan

MPOWER Private Student Loan

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Best for: International students without a co-signer + Graduate students

7.52 - 13.63%

N/A

N/A

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College Ave Graduate Student Loan

College Ave Graduate Student Loan

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Best for: Graduate students

4.39 - 12.99%

1.49 - 11.98%

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

Best for: Parent loans for college

4.39 - 12.01%

1.79 - 11.00%

Mid-600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Our pick for

Best private student loan

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

SoFi Private Student Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

SoFi Private Student Loan

SoFi Private Student Loan

Fixed APR

4.73 - 11.46%

Variable APR

2.05 - 10.63%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

2.05 - 10.63%

Key facts

Best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

Pros

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

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only and flat-fee, and deferred for undergrad and grad students.

  • Additional perks like career planning, job search assistance and entrepreneurship support available.

Cons

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+.

  • Minimum income: No minimum.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 minimum.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Undergraduate Student Loans Interest Rates: Eligibility and Important Details APR Rates shown are effective as of 4/13/2020 and include the 0.25% autopay discount and assume a single disbursement. If approved for a loan, the rates and terms offered will depend on things like creditworthiness, the length of the loan, and other factors, and will fall within the range of rates available by applicable loan term—check out our APR examples and terms. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Want to learn more? Check out our eligibility criteria. SoFi reserves the right to change interest rates at any time without notice, changes would only apply to applications begun after the effective date of the change. Fixed Rates: Fixed rates range from 4.73% APR to 11.46% APR (with autopay). Variable Rates: Starting variable rates range from 2.05% APR – 10.63% APR APR (with autopay), and will never exceed 13.95% (sometimes lower in certain states as required by law). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin of between 1.12% – 10.70%. The current one-month LIBOR rate is 0.93%. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Autopay Discount. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make your scheduled monthly payments by an automatic monthly deduction (ACH) from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Credit Pulls. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms you are pre-qualified for, subject to the verification of the information you have submitted as part of your application. After seeing your rates, 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 inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan and may impact your credit score. Unemployment Protection.If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. If you qualify, SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in up to three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance, you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with SoFi Career Services to look for new employment. If the loan is cosigned, the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions. Learn more about SoFi’s Unemployment Protection here . Negative Amortization. Interest begins accruing on the first disbursement date, but some repayment options do not require full principal or interest payments until the end of the deferment period. Any unpaid interest that has accrued and remains unpaid at the end of the deferment period will be added to the principal balance at the end of the deferment period. Thereafter, interest will accrue on this new principal balance. This is known as negative amortization. You can help avoid negative amortization by making extra payments on your loan during the deferment period. Check out our APR examples and terms. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Important Information About Federal Repayment Options. SoFi Private Student Loans do not have the same repayment options that federal loan programs offer, such as Income-Based Repayment or Income-Contingent Repayment, or PAYE or REPAYE. In addition, federal student loans offer deferment and forbearance options that are not available for SoFi Lending Corp. Private Student Loan borrowers. Find out more about federal repayment options here. Graduate Student Loans Interest Rates: Eligibility and Important Details APR Rates shown are effective as of 4/13/2020 and include the 0.25% autopay discount and assume a single disbursement. If approved for a loan, the rates and terms offered will depend on things like creditworthiness, the loan term, and other factors, and will fall within the range of rates available by applicable loan term—check out our APR examples and terms. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Want to learn more? Check out our eligibility criteria. SoFi reserves the right to change interest rates at any time without notice, changes would only apply to applications begun after the effective date of the change. Fixed Rates: Fixed rates range from 4.51% APR to 11.76% APR (with autopay). Variable Rates: Starting variable rates range from 1.83% APR – 11.00% APR (with autopay), and will never exceed 13.95% (sometimes lower in certain states as required by law). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin of between 0.90% and 10.48%. The current one-month LIBOR rate is 0.93%. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Autopay Discount. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make your scheduled monthly payments by an automatic monthly deduction (ACH) from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal loan balance and is intended to help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Credit Pulls. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms you are pre-qualified for, subject to the verification of the information you have submitted as part of your application. After seeing your rates, 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 inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan and may impact your credit score. Unemployment Protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. If you qualify, SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in up to three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance, you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with SoFi Career Services to look for new employment. If the loan is cosigned, the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions. Learn more about SoFi’s Unemployment Protection here . Negative Amortization. Interest begins accruing on the first disbursement date, but some repayment options do not require full principal or interest payments until the end of the deferment period. Any unpaid interest that has accrued and remains unpaid at the end of the deferment period will be added to the principal balance at the end of the deferment period. Thereafter, interest will accrue on this new principal balance. This is known as negative amortization. You can help avoid negative amortization by making extra payments on your loan during the deferment period. Check out our APR examples and terms. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Important Information About Federal Repayment Options. SoFi Private Student Loans do not have the same repayment options that federal loan programs offer, such as Income-Based Repayment or Income-Contingent Repayment, or PAYE or REPAYE. In addition, federal student loans offer deferment and forbearance options that are not available for SoFi Lending Corp. Private Student Loan borrowers. Find out more about federal repayment options here. MBA & Law Student Loans Interest Rates: Eligibility and Important Details APR Rates shown are effective as of 4/13/2020 and include the 0.25% autopay discount and assume a single disbursement. If approved for a loan, the rates and terms offered will depend on things like creditworthiness, the loan term, and other factors, and will fall within the range of rates available by applicable loan term—check out our APR examples and terms. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Want to learn more? Check out our eligibility criteria. SoFi reserves the right to change interest rates at any time without notice, changes would only apply to applications begun after the effective date of the change. Fixed Rates: Fixed rates range from 4.41% APR to 11.67% APR (with autopay). Variable Rates: Starting variable rates range from 1.73% APR – 10.90% APR (with autopay), and will never exceed 13.95% (sometimes lower in certain states as required by law). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin of between 0.80% and 10.38%. The current one-month LIBOR rate is 0.93%. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Autopay Discount. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make your scheduled monthly payments by an automatic monthly deduction (ACH) from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal loan balance and is intended to help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Credit Pulls. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms you are pre-qualified for, subject to the verification of the information you have submitted as part of your application. After seeing your rates, 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 inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan and may impact your credit score. Unemployment Protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. If you qualify, SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in up to three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance, you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with SoFi Career Services to look for new employment. If the loan is cosigned, the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions. Learn more about SoFi’s Unemployment Protection here . Negative Amortization. Interest begins accruing on the first disbursement date, but some repayment options do not require full principal or interest payments until the end of the deferment period. Any unpaid interest that has accrued and remains unpaid at the end of the deferment period will be added to the principal balance at the end of the deferment period. Thereafter, interest will accrue on this new principal balance. This is known as negative amortization. You can help avoid negative amortization by making extra payments on your loan during the deferment period. Check out our APR examples and terms. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Important Information About Federal Repayment Options. SoFi Private Student Loans do not have the same repayment options that federal loan programs offer, such as Income-Based Repayment or Income-Contingent Repayment, or PAYE or REPAYE. In addition, federal student loans offer deferment and forbearance options that are not available for SoFi Lending Corp. Private Student Loan borrowers. Find out more about federal repayment options here. Parent Student Loans Interest Rates: Eligibility and Important Details APR Rates shown are effective as of 4/13/2020 and include the 0.25% autopay discount and assumes a single disbursement. If approved for a loan, the rates and terms offered will depend on things like creditworthiness, the length of the loan, and other factors, and will fall within the range of rates available by applicable loan term—check out our APR examples and terms. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Want to learn more? Check out our eligibility criteria. SoFi reserves the right to change interest rates at any time without notice, changes would only apply to applications begun after the effective date of the change. Fixed Rates: Fixed rates range from 4.73% APR to 11.46% APR (with autopay). Variable Rates: Starting variable rates range from 2.05% APR – 10.63% APR (with autopay), and will never exceed 13.95% (sometimes lower in certain states as required by law). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin of between 1.12% and 9.70%. The current one-month LIBOR rate is 0.93%. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Autopay Discount. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make your scheduled monthly payments by an automatic monthly deduction (ACH) from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Credit Pulls. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms you are pre-qualified for, subject to the verification of the information you have submitted as part of your application. After seeing your rates, 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 inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan and may impact your credit score. Unemployment Protection.If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. If you qualify, SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in up to three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance, you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with SoFi Career Services to look for new employment. If the loan is cosigned, the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions. Learn more about SoFi’s Unemployment Protection here . Negative Amortization. Interest begins accruing on the first disbursement date, but some repayment options do not require full principal or interest payments until the end of the deferment period. Any unpaid interest that has accrued and remains unpaid at the end of the deferment period will be added to the principal balance at the end of the deferment period. Thereafter, interest will accrue on this new principal balance. This is known as negative amortization. You can help avoid negative amortization by making extra payments on your loan during the deferment period. Check out our APR examples and terms. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Important Information About Federal Repayment Options.SoFi Private Student Loans do not have the same repayment options that federal loan programs offer, such as Income-Based Repayment or Income-Contingent Repayment, or PAYE or REPAYE. In addition, federal student loans offer deferment and forbearance options that are not available for SoFi Lending Corp. Private Student Loan borrowers. Find out more about federal repayment options here.

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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
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Fixed APR

4.53 - 6.08%

Variable APR

N/A

Min. Credit Score

None

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure 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.

  • Undergraduate interest rate fixed at 4.53%, while grad students get higher 6.08% rate.

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

3.98 - 14.92%

Variable APR

3.17 - 13.92%

Min. Credit Score

540

Check Rate

on Ascent's website


Variable APR

3.17 - 13.92%

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 future-income based option, no co-signer or credit history is required.

Cons

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

  • Non-co-signed future income-based option is available only 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 future income-based option, Ascent emphasizes future earnings over income or credit score.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 for the co-signed and non-co-signed credit-based option. Income is not considered for the non-co-signed future income-based option.

  • Loan amounts: For co-signed option, $1,000 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, $1,000 to $20,000.

  • Non-co-signed future income-based borrowers must also meet satisfactory academic performance requirements with a 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

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 05/14/2020 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 2.00% (for undergraduate future income-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: AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates . 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student borrowers must have a minimum credit score. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner.

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RISLA Private Student Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

RISLA Private Student Loan

RISLA Private Student Loan

Fixed APR

3.64 - 5.46%

Variable APR

N/A

Min. Credit Score

680

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Best for 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

  • Fewer repayment terms available than other lenders.

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

3.98 - 14.92%

Variable APR

3.17 - 13.92%

Min. Credit Score

540

Check Rate

on Ascent's website


Variable APR

3.17 - 13.92%

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 future-income based option, no co-signer or credit history is required.

Cons

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

  • Non-co-signed future income-based option is available only 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 future income-based option, Ascent emphasizes future earnings over income or credit score.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 for the co-signed and non-co-signed credit-based option. Income is not considered for the non-co-signed future income-based option.

  • Loan amounts: For co-signed option, $1,000 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, $1,000 to $20,000.

  • Non-co-signed future income-based borrowers must also meet satisfactory academic performance requirements with a 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

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 05/14/2020 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 2.00% (for undergraduate future income-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: AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates . 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student borrowers must have a minimum credit score. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner.

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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 - 11.85%

Variable APR

1.50 - 9.66%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website


Variable APR

1.50 - 9.66%

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 U.S. 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% - 11.85% APR and Variable 1.50% - 9.66% 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 4/27/2020 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.

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Our pick for

Community college

Many lenders restrict borrowing to students at four-year schools only.

SoFi Private Student Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

SoFi Private Student Loan

SoFi Private Student Loan

Fixed APR

4.73 - 11.46%

Variable APR

2.05 - 10.63%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

2.05 - 10.63%

Key facts

Best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

Pros

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

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only and flat-fee, and deferred for undergrad and grad students.

  • Additional perks like career planning, job search assistance and entrepreneurship support available.

Cons

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+.

  • Minimum income: No minimum.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 minimum.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Undergraduate Student Loans Interest Rates: Eligibility and Important Details APR Rates shown are effective as of 4/13/2020 and include the 0.25% autopay discount and assume a single disbursement. If approved for a loan, the rates and terms offered will depend on things like creditworthiness, the length of the loan, and other factors, and will fall within the range of rates available by applicable loan term—check out our APR examples and terms. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Want to learn more? Check out our eligibility criteria. SoFi reserves the right to change interest rates at any time without notice, changes would only apply to applications begun after the effective date of the change. Fixed Rates: Fixed rates range from 4.73% APR to 11.46% APR (with autopay). Variable Rates: Starting variable rates range from 2.05% APR – 10.63% APR APR (with autopay), and will never exceed 13.95% (sometimes lower in certain states as required by law). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin of between 1.12% – 10.70%. The current one-month LIBOR rate is 0.93%. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Autopay Discount. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make your scheduled monthly payments by an automatic monthly deduction (ACH) from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Credit Pulls. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms you are pre-qualified for, subject to the verification of the information you have submitted as part of your application. After seeing your rates, 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 inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan and may impact your credit score. Unemployment Protection.If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. If you qualify, SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in up to three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance, you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with SoFi Career Services to look for new employment. If the loan is cosigned, the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions. Learn more about SoFi’s Unemployment Protection here . Negative Amortization. Interest begins accruing on the first disbursement date, but some repayment options do not require full principal or interest payments until the end of the deferment period. Any unpaid interest that has accrued and remains unpaid at the end of the deferment period will be added to the principal balance at the end of the deferment period. Thereafter, interest will accrue on this new principal balance. This is known as negative amortization. You can help avoid negative amortization by making extra payments on your loan during the deferment period. Check out our APR examples and terms. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Important Information About Federal Repayment Options. SoFi Private Student Loans do not have the same repayment options that federal loan programs offer, such as Income-Based Repayment or Income-Contingent Repayment, or PAYE or REPAYE. In addition, federal student loans offer deferment and forbearance options that are not available for SoFi Lending Corp. Private Student Loan borrowers. Find out more about federal repayment options here. Graduate Student Loans Interest Rates: Eligibility and Important Details APR Rates shown are effective as of 4/13/2020 and include the 0.25% autopay discount and assume a single disbursement. If approved for a loan, the rates and terms offered will depend on things like creditworthiness, the loan term, and other factors, and will fall within the range of rates available by applicable loan term—check out our APR examples and terms. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Want to learn more? Check out our eligibility criteria. SoFi reserves the right to change interest rates at any time without notice, changes would only apply to applications begun after the effective date of the change. Fixed Rates: Fixed rates range from 4.51% APR to 11.76% APR (with autopay). Variable Rates: Starting variable rates range from 1.83% APR – 11.00% APR (with autopay), and will never exceed 13.95% (sometimes lower in certain states as required by law). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin of between 0.90% and 10.48%. The current one-month LIBOR rate is 0.93%. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Autopay Discount. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make your scheduled monthly payments by an automatic monthly deduction (ACH) from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal loan balance and is intended to help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Credit Pulls. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms you are pre-qualified for, subject to the verification of the information you have submitted as part of your application. After seeing your rates, 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 inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan and may impact your credit score. Unemployment Protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. If you qualify, SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in up to three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance, you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with SoFi Career Services to look for new employment. If the loan is cosigned, the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions. Learn more about SoFi’s Unemployment Protection here . Negative Amortization. Interest begins accruing on the first disbursement date, but some repayment options do not require full principal or interest payments until the end of the deferment period. Any unpaid interest that has accrued and remains unpaid at the end of the deferment period will be added to the principal balance at the end of the deferment period. Thereafter, interest will accrue on this new principal balance. This is known as negative amortization. You can help avoid negative amortization by making extra payments on your loan during the deferment period. Check out our APR examples and terms. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Important Information About Federal Repayment Options. SoFi Private Student Loans do not have the same repayment options that federal loan programs offer, such as Income-Based Repayment or Income-Contingent Repayment, or PAYE or REPAYE. In addition, federal student loans offer deferment and forbearance options that are not available for SoFi Lending Corp. Private Student Loan borrowers. Find out more about federal repayment options here. MBA & Law Student Loans Interest Rates: Eligibility and Important Details APR Rates shown are effective as of 4/13/2020 and include the 0.25% autopay discount and assume a single disbursement. If approved for a loan, the rates and terms offered will depend on things like creditworthiness, the loan term, and other factors, and will fall within the range of rates available by applicable loan term—check out our APR examples and terms. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Want to learn more? Check out our eligibility criteria. SoFi reserves the right to change interest rates at any time without notice, changes would only apply to applications begun after the effective date of the change. Fixed Rates: Fixed rates range from 4.41% APR to 11.67% APR (with autopay). Variable Rates: Starting variable rates range from 1.73% APR – 10.90% APR (with autopay), and will never exceed 13.95% (sometimes lower in certain states as required by law). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin of between 0.80% and 10.38%. The current one-month LIBOR rate is 0.93%. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Autopay Discount. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make your scheduled monthly payments by an automatic monthly deduction (ACH) from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal loan balance and is intended to help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Credit Pulls. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms you are pre-qualified for, subject to the verification of the information you have submitted as part of your application. After seeing your rates, 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 inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan and may impact your credit score. Unemployment Protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. If you qualify, SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in up to three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance, you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with SoFi Career Services to look for new employment. If the loan is cosigned, the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions. Learn more about SoFi’s Unemployment Protection here . Negative Amortization. Interest begins accruing on the first disbursement date, but some repayment options do not require full principal or interest payments until the end of the deferment period. Any unpaid interest that has accrued and remains unpaid at the end of the deferment period will be added to the principal balance at the end of the deferment period. Thereafter, interest will accrue on this new principal balance. This is known as negative amortization. You can help avoid negative amortization by making extra payments on your loan during the deferment period. Check out our APR examples and terms. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Important Information About Federal Repayment Options. SoFi Private Student Loans do not have the same repayment options that federal loan programs offer, such as Income-Based Repayment or Income-Contingent Repayment, or PAYE or REPAYE. In addition, federal student loans offer deferment and forbearance options that are not available for SoFi Lending Corp. Private Student Loan borrowers. Find out more about federal repayment options here. Parent Student Loans Interest Rates: Eligibility and Important Details APR Rates shown are effective as of 4/13/2020 and include the 0.25% autopay discount and assumes a single disbursement. If approved for a loan, the rates and terms offered will depend on things like creditworthiness, the length of the loan, and other factors, and will fall within the range of rates available by applicable loan term—check out our APR examples and terms. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Want to learn more? Check out our eligibility criteria. SoFi reserves the right to change interest rates at any time without notice, changes would only apply to applications begun after the effective date of the change. Fixed Rates: Fixed rates range from 4.73% APR to 11.46% APR (with autopay). Variable Rates: Starting variable rates range from 2.05% APR – 10.63% APR (with autopay), and will never exceed 13.95% (sometimes lower in certain states as required by law). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin of between 1.12% and 9.70%. The current one-month LIBOR rate is 0.93%. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Autopay Discount. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make your scheduled monthly payments by an automatic monthly deduction (ACH) from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Credit Pulls. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms you are pre-qualified for, subject to the verification of the information you have submitted as part of your application. After seeing your rates, 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 inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan and may impact your credit score. Unemployment Protection.If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. If you qualify, SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in up to three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance, you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with SoFi Career Services to look for new employment. If the loan is cosigned, the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions. Learn more about SoFi’s Unemployment Protection here . Negative Amortization. Interest begins accruing on the first disbursement date, but some repayment options do not require full principal or interest payments until the end of the deferment period. Any unpaid interest that has accrued and remains unpaid at the end of the deferment period will be added to the principal balance at the end of the deferment period. Thereafter, interest will accrue on this new principal balance. This is known as negative amortization. You can help avoid negative amortization by making extra payments on your loan during the deferment period. Check out our APR examples and terms. Still have questions? Our FAQs have answers. Important Information About Federal Repayment Options.SoFi Private Student Loans do not have the same repayment options that federal loan programs offer, such as Income-Based Repayment or Income-Contingent Repayment, or PAYE or REPAYE. In addition, federal student loans offer deferment and forbearance options that are not available for SoFi Lending Corp. Private Student Loan borrowers. Find out more about federal repayment options here.

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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

3.98 - 14.92%

Variable APR

3.17 - 13.92%

Min. Credit Score

540

Check Rate

on Ascent's website


Variable APR

3.17 - 13.92%

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 future-income based option, no co-signer or credit history is required.

Cons

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

  • Non-co-signed future income-based option is available only 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 future income-based option, Ascent emphasizes future earnings over income or credit score.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 for the co-signed and non-co-signed credit-based option. Income is not considered for the non-co-signed future income-based option.

  • Loan amounts: For co-signed option, $1,000 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, $1,000 to $20,000.

  • Non-co-signed future income-based borrowers must also meet satisfactory academic performance requirements with a 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

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 05/14/2020 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 2.00% (for undergraduate future income-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: AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates . 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student borrowers must have a minimum credit score. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner.

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Our pick for

International students without a co-signer

MPOWER Private Student Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

MPOWER Private Student Loan

MPOWER Private Student Loan

Fixed APR

7.52 - 13.63%

Variable APR

N/A

Min. Credit Score

N/A

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure 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

3.98 - 14.92%

Variable APR

3.17 - 13.92%

Min. Credit Score

540

Check Rate

on Ascent's website


Variable APR

3.17 - 13.92%

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 future-income based option, no co-signer or credit history is required.

Cons

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

  • Non-co-signed future income-based option is available only 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 future income-based option, Ascent emphasizes future earnings over income or credit score.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 for the co-signed and non-co-signed credit-based option. Income is not considered for the non-co-signed future income-based option.

  • Loan amounts: For co-signed option, $1,000 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, $1,000 to $20,000.

  • Non-co-signed future income-based borrowers must also meet satisfactory academic performance requirements with a 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

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 05/14/2020 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 2.00% (for undergraduate future income-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: AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates . 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student borrowers must have a minimum credit score. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner.

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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 - 11.85%

Variable APR

1.50 - 9.66%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website


Variable APR

1.50 - 9.66%

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 U.S. 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% - 11.85% APR and Variable 1.50% - 9.66% 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 4/27/2020 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.

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Our picks for

Graduate students

Compare rates with federal PLUS loans.

College Ave Graduate Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Graduate Student Loan

College Ave Graduate Student Loan

Fixed APR

4.39 - 12.99%

Variable APR

1.49 - 11.98%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website


Variable APR

1.49 - 11.98%

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.

  • Nine-month grace period is longer than other lenders offer.

Cons

  • You must be at least halfway through your repayment term before you can request a co-signer release.

Qualifications

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

  • Minimum income: $35,000 per year.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to the total cost of attendance.

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.Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and 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. 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 5/18/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.

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RISLA Private Student Loan
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RISLA Private Student Loan

RISLA Private Student Loan

Fixed APR

3.64 - 5.46%

Variable APR

N/A

Min. Credit Score

680

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure 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

  • Fewer repayment terms available than other lenders.

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

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MPOWER Private Student Loan
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MPOWER Private Student Loan

MPOWER Private Student Loan

Fixed APR

7.52 - 13.63%

Variable APR

N/A

Min. Credit Score

N/A

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure 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

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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

4.39 - 12.01%

Variable APR

1.79 - 11.00%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website


Variable APR

1.79 - 11.00%

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 co-signer option.

  • Estate is still responsible for the loan if the parent borrower dies.

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

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. Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and 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. 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 5/18/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.

Read Full Review
RISLA Private Student Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

RISLA Private Student Loan

RISLA Private Student Loan

Fixed APR

3.64 - 5.46%

Variable APR

N/A

Min. Credit Score

680

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure 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

  • Fewer repayment terms available than other lenders.

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 May 11, 2020

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 June 2020