Best of

11 Best Graduate Student Loan Options of June 2024

Graduate students should max out federal unsubsidized loans before turning to federal PLUS or private loans to cover their remaining costs.

NerdWallet
By
Last updated on May 16, 2024

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

NerdWallet's student loans content, including articles, reviews and recommendations, is produced by a team of writers and editors who specialize in consumer lending. Their work has appeared in The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Nasdaq, MSN, ABC News, MarketWatch and many other national and regional media outlets. They also have appeared on NerdWallet's “Smart Money” podcast, as well as local TV and radio.

NerdWallet’s

Best of Award Winner
Best Private Student Loan Overall
College Ave Private Student Loan
College Ave Private Student Loan
College Ave Private Student Loan
5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600s
Fixed APR
4.07-16.49%
Variable APR
5.59-16.85%
on Credible’s website
More details

Why our nerds love it

College Ave scores top marks among private student loan lenders for its fast repayment and payment flexibility features and wide variety of customers served. Read our methodology

Read our methodology
See all winners

Best Graduate Student Loan Options

Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Min. credit score
Fixed APR
Variable APR
Learn more
Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Read review

None

5.50-7.05%

N/A

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

5.0
/5
Best for Borrowers without credit or a co-signer

None

7.54-7.54%

N/A

College Ave Graduate Student Loan

College Ave Graduate Student Loan

COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
5.0
/5
Best for Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer

Mid-600s

4.07-14.49%

5.59-14.49%

COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
Ascent Graduate and Health Professions Student Loan

Ascent Graduate and Health Professions Student Loan

COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
4.5
/5
Best for Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer

Low-Mid 600s

5.29-15.11%

7.24-15.20%

COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
Custom Choice Loan

Custom Choice Loan

COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
5.0
/5
Best for Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer

600

4.43-14.04%

5.39-15.57%

COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website

Our pick for

All borrowers as a first option

Graduate students can take out up to $20,500 annually in unsubsidized federal student loans.

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan
Read review
Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

5.0
Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

5.50-7.05%

Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Graduate school borrowers qualify for unsubsidized student loans only.

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 than many 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 3.73%, while grad students get higher 5.28% rate
Available Term Lengths10 to 25 years once repayment begins, depending on the repayment plan.
Read Full Review

Our pick for

Borrowers without credit or a co-signer

Graduate PLUS loan interest rates aren't based on your credit score: All eligible borrowers receive the same fixed rate.

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

7.54-7.54%

Variable APR

N/A

Key factsBest for graduate students who need to borrow beyond the federal unsubsidized loan limit.
Pros
  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers compared with private lenders.
  • All borrowers who attend a school authorized to receive federal aid can qualify.
Cons
  • May have higher interest rates compared with private lenders.
  • You pay an origination fee.
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify without a hard credit check.
Qualifications
  • Grad PLUS loan borrowers must not have adverse credit history.
  • Borrowers with adverse credit history can still receive a grad PLUS loan by enlisting a co-signer without adverse credit history or documenting extenuating circumstances for their credit history.
  • Loan amounts: Total cost of attendance minus other financial aid.
Available Term Lengths10 to 25 years once repayment begins, depending on the repayment plan.

Our pick for

Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer

Key factsBest for graduate students who'll need extra time before starting repayment.
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 Lengths5, 8, 10 or 15 years
DisclaimerCollege Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community Bank, member FDIC, or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC.. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. 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. If a payment is returned, you will lose this benefit. 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 3/7/2024. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
Ascent Graduate and Health Professions Student Loan
COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
Ascent Graduate and Health Professions Student Loan

Ascent Graduate and Health Professions Student Loan

4.5
Min. credit score

Low-Mid 600s

Fixed APR

5.29-15.11%

Variable APR

7.24-15.20%

Key factsBest for graduate students who want flexible payment options.
Pros
  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • Grace period of 9 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Cons
  • You must be enrolled at least half-time to qualify.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Not available.
  • Minimum income: Not available.
  • Loan amounts: up to $400,000.
Available Term Lengths7, 10, 12 or 15 years
DisclaimerAscent’s undergraduate and graduate student loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills or DR Bank, each Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: Ascent Services Terms of Use - Ascent Funding . Rates are effective as of 5/1/2024 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: Affordable Rates & Repayment Examples (APR) | Ascent Funding . 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest rates require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, a cosigner, and are only available for our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores. Actual APR offered may be higher or lower than the repayment examples above, based on the amount of time you spend in school and any grace period you have before repayment begins.
Custom Choice Loan
COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
Custom Choice Loan

Custom Choice Loan

Min. credit score

600

Fixed APR

4.43-14.04%

Variable APR

5.39-15.57%

Key factsCustom Choice student loans are best for upperclassmen who are confident they can take advantage of the 2% Grad Reward and returning borrowers who want to take advantage of a pre-filled application and income verification waiver.
Pros
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • No late fees.
  • Principal reduction of 2% if you graduate.
  • Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.
Cons
  • Doesn't apply extra payments to the principal balance by default.
  • Forbearance program is less generous than others.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 700 for a non-cosigned loan and 733 for co-signed loans.
  • Minimum income: No minimum, but borrowers must demonstrate positive income.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to $99,999.
Available Term Lengths7, 10 or 15 years
Earnest Undergraduate Loan

Earnest Undergraduate Loan

Min. credit score

650

Fixed APR

4.39-16.49%

Variable APR

5.62-16.85%

Key factsAn option for undergraduate borrowers who want flexible repayment.
Pros
  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.
  • No late fees.
  • Nine-month grace period is longer than most lenders offer.
Cons
  • Loans aren't available in Nevada.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 758.
  • Minimum income: $35,000.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to your total cost of attendance.
Available Term Lengths5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years
DisclaimerActual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.64% APR to 16.74% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.87% APR to 17.10% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan origination loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.
RISLA Private Student Loan

RISLA Private Student Loan

Min. credit score

680

Fixed APR

4.05-8.64%

Variable APR

N/A

Key factsBest 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 Lengths10 or 15 years
Advantage Education Private Student Loan

Advantage Education Private Student Loan

Min. credit score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

5.29-8.04%

Variable APR

N/A

Key factsBest for nontraditional or part-time students.
Pros
  • Forbearance of 24 months is twice as long as most lenders.
  • Loans are available if you’re enrolled less than half time.
Cons
  • Fewer repayment terms than other lenders offer.
  • Borrowers are not able to defer loans if they return to school after their grace period ends.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Does not disclose.
  • Minimum income: Does not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: Minimum $1,000. Maximum depends on creditworthiness and debt-to-income ratio.
Available Term Lengths10 years
SoFi Graduate Student Loan

SoFi Graduate Student Loan

Min. credit score

Mid-600s

Fixed APR

4.99-14.50%

Variable APR

5.99-14.50%

Key factsBest 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.
Cons
  • Does not offer bi-weekly payments via autopay.
Qualifications
    Available Term Lengths5, 7, 10, 15 years
    DisclaimerUNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.44% to 13.80% annual percentage rate ("APR") (with autopay), variable rates from 5.99% to 14.30% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.99% to 13.60% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 5.99% to 14.10% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 6.50% to 14.83% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 6.32% to 14.83% APR (with autopay). For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 11/15/2023.

    Our pick for

    International borrowers without credit or a co-signer

    International students don't qualify for federal aid and have fewer private options without a co-signer who's a U.S. citizen.

    MPOWER Private Student Loan

    MPOWER Private Student Loan

    Min. credit score

    None

    Fixed APR

    12.99-15.99%

    Variable APR

    N/A

    Key factsBest 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.
    • Borrowers can request forbearance of up to 24 months, which is longer than many lenders offer.
    Cons
    • Payment required while in school.
    • 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 $100,000, limited to $50,000 per academic period.
    Available Term Lengths10 years
    DisclaimerNote: Our loan does not support Canadian citizens studying in Canada. Canadian Permanent Residents and U.S. citizens are considered “international” when studying in Canada. International students, U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and DACA recipients in the U.S. or Canada. ‘International’ means you are a non-U.S. citizen or U.S. non-permanent resident studying at a university in the U.S., or you are a non-Canadian citizen or Canadian non-permanent resident studying at a university in Canada. ‘DACA’ means the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Program initiated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012. In order to qualify as a DACA Student, you must have applied for, and been granted, DACA status by USCIS. As a graduate student, you can borrow with a fixed interest rate of 12.99% (13.98% APR¹). This is the maximum rate and will not increase. However, MPOWER offers borrowers a way to qualify for a discount; a 0.25% rate discount is possible by making your loan payments through automatic withdrawal from your bank account. If you qualify for this discount, your rate will be 12.74% (13.72% APR²). ¹[International graduate student with regular interest rate] The APR is calculated using the following assumptions: A loan is approved in the amount of US$10,000 with a 5% origination fee of US$500. The student will start making payments 45 days after loan disbursement. Payments will be interest only until graduation, plus an additional 6-month grace period. The remaining months of repayment are calculated using a 120-month amortization schedule. All payments are made on-time, a forbearance is never utilized, and there is no pre-payment of any principal. At an APR of 13.98%, the monthly payment amount is US$113.66 for the first 30 months. For the next 120 months, the monthly payment amount is about $156.71. ²[International graduate student with discounted interest rate] The APRs with discounts are calculated using the following assumptions: A loan is approved in the amount of $10,000 with a 5% origination fee of US$500. The student will start making payments 45 days after loan disbursement. The borrower signs up for automatic debit immediately after the loan is disbursed and remains on it for the life of the loan, which reduces the rate by 0.25%. At an APR of 13.72%, the monthly payment is US$111.47 for the first 30 months. For the last 120 payments, the monthly amount is US$155.17. Undergraduate Students in the U.S. or Canada As an undergraduate student, you can borrow with a fixed interest rate of 13.99% (15.01% APR³). This is the maximum rate and will never increase. However, MPOWER offers borrowers a way to qualify for a discount; a 0.25% rate discount is possible by making your loan payments through automatic withdrawal from your bank account. If you qualify for this discount, your rate will be 13.74% (14.75% APR⁴). ³[International undergraduate student with regular interest rate] The APR is calculated using the following assumptions: A loan is approved in the amount of $10,000 with a 5% origination fee of $500. The student will start making payments 45 days after loan disbursement. Payments will be interest only until graduation plus an additional 6-month grace period. The remaining months of repayment are calculated using a 120-month amortization schedule. All payments are made on-time, a forbearance is never utilized, and there is no pre-payment of any principal. At an APR of 15.01%, the monthly payment amount is $122.41 for the first 30 months. For the next 120 months, the monthly payment amount is $162.97. ⁴[International undergraduate student with discounted interest rate] The APRs with discounts are calculated using the following assumptions: A loan is approved in the amount of US$10,000 with a 5% origination fee of US$500. The student will start making payments 45 days after loan disbursement. The borrower signs up for automatic debit immediately after the loan is disbursed and remains on it for the life of the loan, which reduces the rate by 0.25%. A forbearance is never utilized and there is no prepayment of any principal. At an APR of 14.75%, the monthly payment is US$120.22 for the first 30 payments. For the last 120 payments, the monthly amount is US$161.39.

    Our pick for

    Borrowers from Texas

    Brazos Private Student Loan

    Brazos Private Student Loan

    Min. credit score

    680

    Fixed APR

    2.77-6.96%

    Variable APR

    5.00-9.44%

    Key factsBest for Texas residents and students of Texan colleges with strong financials or a qualified co-signer.
    Pros
    • May offer lower rates for graduate students than what are available through the federal government.
    • Applies extra payments to the loan principal by default.
    • Offers five loan terms, which is more than most lenders.
    Cons
    • Not available to borrowers enrolled in two year programs at community colleges.
    • Biweekly payments via autopay is not available.
    Available Term Lengths5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

    What are the best loans for graduate school?

    1. Federal graduate student loans

    Borrowers are eligible for two types of federal loans for graduate school: unsubsidized direct loans and grad PLUS loans.

    • Federal direct unsubsidized loans limit the amount you can borrow to $20,500 annually and $138,500 overall, including undergraduate loans. But these loans have lower interest rates and fees than PLUS loans, so opt for unsubsidized loans before graduate PLUS loans.

    • Federal grad PLUS loans have higher interest rates and fees than direct unsubsidized loans, but you can borrow more money — up to your total cost of attendance, minus other aid received. Use grad PLUS loans if you’ve maxed out your federal direct unsubsidized loans and still want to use federal loans to pay for graduate school.

    No one can get subsidized loans for graduate school. Certain professional students may be eligible for a federal health professions student loan as well.

    You can apply for federal loans for graduate school by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

    2. Ascent Graduate Student Loan

    Ascent's graduate student loan is a good option if you or a co-signer has excellent credit.

    While federal interest rates are historically low for the 2020-21 academic year, you still may get a better rate with a private graduate student loan. You'll almost certainly pay less in fees: Grad PLUS loans come with an origination fee of more than 4%, while most private lenders don't charge these fees.

    Ascent's graduate student loan stands out due to its flexibility. The lender offers a nine-month grace period and 24 months of forbearance — both of which are longer than many other lenders provide.

    3. College Ave Graduate Student Loan

    College Ave is a good choice if you're working your way through graduate school. Unlike many lenders, including the federal government, College Ave offers graduate student loans if you're attending school less than half-time.

    In addition to Ascent and College Ave, graduate students looking at private student loans may want to consider Discover, SoFi, RISLA and Wells Fargo. It's best to get quotes from multiple lenders before applying to ensure you get the best rate possible.

    4. Prodigy Graduate Student Loan

    Prodigy is a good choice for international graduate students who don't have a U.S. citizen co-signer. You can qualify for a Prodigy graduate student loan without a co-signer; lending decisions are based on your future income, rather than your current financial situation. Prodigy only offers variable-rate loans, which are riskier than fixed-rate options, and doesn't lend to borrowers in all 50 states.

    5. Stride Funding Income Share Agreement

    An income share agreement, or ISA, is not a student loan, but graduate students may be able to use one to finance their education. Stride Funding prioritizes lending ISAs to graduate students, particularly those in STEM and health care fields.

    With an ISA, you promise to pay a percentage of your future income in exchange for upfront funding. You may repay more or less than you receive. Be sure to compare ISAs and student loans to understand their potential costs before borrowing.

    Which graduate student loan is best for you?

    If you need loans to pay for graduate school, the best option will likely be federal student loans. These offer protections that private graduate school loans lack, including income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs.

    Those benefits can come in handy depending on how much you owe — the average graduate student debt is $82,000, including undergraduate loans — and your career plans. For example, you may want to pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness if you plan to get a Ph.D. and work at a university.

    If you won't work at a nonprofit or need federal benefits, compare private student loans to see what interest rate you'd qualify for. Many lenders have specific graduate student loan products based on the degree you're pursuing:

    Most lenders won't require you to pay student loans while in graduate school, provided you're enrolled at least half-time. But depending on how much you get paid as a graduate student, making payments can save you money because all graduate school loans accrue interest, increasing the amount you owe.

    STUDENT LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY

    Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

    We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

    The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

    Last updated on May 16, 2024

    To recap our selections...

    NerdWallet's Best Graduate Student Loan Options of June 2024

    • Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan: Best for All borrowers as a first option
    • Federal Grad PLUS Loan: Best for Borrowers without credit or a co-signer
    • College Ave Graduate Student Loan: Best for Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer
    • Ascent Graduate and Health Professions Student Loan: Best for Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer
    • Custom Choice Loan: Best for Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer
    • Earnest Undergraduate Loan: Best for Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer
    • MPOWER Private Student Loan: Best for International borrowers without credit or a co-signer
    • RISLA Private Student Loan: Best for Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer
    • Advantage Education Private Student Loan: Best for Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer
    • SoFi Graduate Student Loan: Best for Borrowers with good credit or a co-signer
    • Brazos Private Student Loan: Best for Borrowers from Texas

    Frequently asked questions

    • Most students should max out federal student loans for graduate school before considering other options. But if you have excellent credit, a private student loan may be cheaper in the long run.

    • Grad students can get up to $20,500 annually and $138,500 overall in unsubsidized federal loans. Federal PLUS loans and private loans can cover up to your cost of attendance minus other aid received.

    • Interest rates and loan fees are higher with grad PLUS loans. But you can also borrow more with these loans — up to your cost of attendance — compared to other federal options.

    • Complete the FAFSA to qualify for all federal aid, including unsubsidized loans and graduate PLUS loans. If you want a private student loan for grad school, apply directly with the lender.

    Further reading

    NerdWallet Pixel