Best Of Awards 2022

This year’s best

Our Nerds ran the numbers on repayment options, rates, grace periods, and more to find the best student loans of 2022. While some winners may be partners, this didn't influence our decisions or opinions.

Best Private Student Loan Overall

College Ave Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Fixed APR

3.22-13.95%

Variable APR

2.49-13.85%

Min. credit score

Mid-600s

Best for students who want to make payments while they're still in school.

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • More flexible repayment options than other lenders.
  • Six-month grace period extension is available.

Cons

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

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Mid-700s.
  • Minimum income: $35,000 per year.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to cost of attendance.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5, 8, 10 or 15 years

Disclaimer: College 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. 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 09/15/2022. 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.

Fixed APR

3.22-13.95%

Variable APR

2.49-13.85%

Min. credit score

Mid-600s

Best for students who want to make payments while they're still in school.

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • More flexible repayment options than other lenders.
  • Six-month grace period extension is available.

Cons

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

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Mid-700s.
  • Minimum income: $35,000 per year.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to cost of attendance.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5, 8, 10 or 15 years

Disclaimer: College 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. 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 09/15/2022. 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.

Why this Lender made the list

College Ave private student loan scores top marks among private student loan lenders for fast repayment, payment flexibility and variety of customers served.

Read our methodology

Best Private Student Loan for Parents

Fixed APR

3.19-7.40%

Variable APR

1.24-6.08%

Min. credit score

670

Best for low-interest loans with consumer-friendly features, like a generous forbearance policy.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • No late fees.

Cons

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

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 759.
  • Minimum income: No minimum income.
  • Loan amounts: $1,001 or $2,001, based on residency and school location, up to cost of attendance minus other aid received.

Available Term Lengths

  • 10 or 15
Fixed APR

3.19-7.40%

Variable APR

1.24-6.08%

Min. credit score

670

Best for low-interest loans with consumer-friendly features, like a generous forbearance policy.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • No late fees.

Cons

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

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 759.
  • Minimum income: No minimum income.
  • Loan amounts: $1,001 or $2,001, based on residency and school location, up to cost of attendance minus other aid received.

Available Term Lengths

  • 10 or 15

Why this Lender made the list

ISL Private Student Loan earns top marks for measures that limit costs and stands out by extending death and disability discharges to the parent borrower.

Read our methodology

Best Student Loan Refinancing Overall

Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Fixed APR

3.99-8.74%

Variable APR

1.89-7.99%

Min. credit score

650

Best for borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast.

Pros

  • Customizable payments and loan terms.
  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • You can’t apply with a co-signer.
  • Loans aren't available in Kentucky and Nevada.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 760.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.
  • Must have a degree: No, but must be within six months of graduation and have income or a job.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5 to 20 years

Disclaimer: Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.74% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance 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. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. 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.

Fixed APR

3.99-8.74%

Variable APR

1.89-7.99%

Min. credit score

650

Best for borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast.

Pros

  • Customizable payments and loan terms.
  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • You can’t apply with a co-signer.
  • Loans aren't available in Kentucky and Nevada.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 760.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.
  • Must have a degree: No, but must be within six months of graduation and have income or a job.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5 to 20 years

Disclaimer: Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.74% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance 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. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. 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.

Why this Lender made the list

Earnest student loan refinance earns top marks among student loan refinance lenders due to its fast payoff features and transparency about requirements.

Read our methodology

Best Student Loan Refinancing for Fast Payoff

Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Fixed APR

3.99-8.74%

Variable APR

1.89-7.99%

Min. credit score

650

Best for borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast.

Pros

  • Customizable payments and loan terms.
  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • You can’t apply with a co-signer.
  • Loans aren't available in Kentucky and Nevada.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 760.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.
  • Must have a degree: No, but must be within six months of graduation and have income or a job.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5 to 20 years

Disclaimer: Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.74% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance 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. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. 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.

Fixed APR

3.99-8.74%

Variable APR

1.89-7.99%

Min. credit score

650

Best for borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast.

Pros

  • Customizable payments and loan terms.
  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • You can’t apply with a co-signer.
  • Loans aren't available in Kentucky and Nevada.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 760.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.
  • Must have a degree: No, but must be within six months of graduation and have income or a job.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5 to 20 years

Disclaimer: Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.74% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance 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. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. 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.

Why this Lender made the list

Earnest Student Loan Refinance offers short loan terms, accepts biweekly and greater-than-minimum payments via autopay, helping borrowers repay loans faster.

Read our methodology

Best Student Loan for Independent Students

Ascent Independent Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Fixed APR

8.69-14.75%

Variable APR

7.09-12.87%

Min. credit score

Varies

Best for independent students with strong credit or upperclassmen with good grades.

Pros

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.
  • Grace period of 9 months is longer than most lenders.

Cons

  • International students are not eligible.
  • Freshmen, sophomores and those enrolled less than half-time are not eligible for future-income based loan.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Minimum income: $24,000 per year for credit-based loan. No minimum for future-income based loan.
  • Loan amounts: $2,001 to $200,000 per year with an aggregate loan limit of $200,000 for credit-based loan. $2,001 to $20,000 per year for future-income based loan.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years

Disclaimer: Ascent Student Loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, 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.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 09/01/2022 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 2.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, and a cosigner, and are only available to our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores.

Fixed APR

8.69-14.75%

Variable APR

7.09-12.87%

Min. credit score

Varies

Best for independent students with strong credit or upperclassmen with good grades.

Pros

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.
  • Grace period of 9 months is longer than most lenders.

Cons

  • International students are not eligible.
  • Freshmen, sophomores and those enrolled less than half-time are not eligible for future-income based loan.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Minimum income: $24,000 per year for credit-based loan. No minimum for future-income based loan.
  • Loan amounts: $2,001 to $200,000 per year with an aggregate loan limit of $200,000 for credit-based loan. $2,001 to $20,000 per year for future-income based loan.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years

Disclaimer: Ascent Student Loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, 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.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 09/01/2022 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 2.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, and a cosigner, and are only available to our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores.

Why this Lender made the list

Ascent Independent Student Loan scores highest among the few lenders offering private student loans that don’t require credit history or a co-signer.

Read our methodology

Best Student Loan for Flexible Repayment

Ascent Credit-based Student Loan
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Fixed APR

3.89-13.16%

Variable APR

2.52-11.11%

Min. credit score

Varies

Best for students with a creditworthy co-signer.

Pros

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.

Cons

  • Students enrolled less than half-time are not eligible.
  • Co-signer release not available to international students.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Minimum income: $0 for primary borrower. $24,000 for current and previous year for co-signer.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $200,000 per year with an aggregate loan limit of $200,000.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years

Disclaimer: Ascent Student Loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, 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.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 09/01/2022 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 2.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, and a cosigner, and are only available to our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores.

Fixed APR

3.89-13.16%

Variable APR

2.52-11.11%

Min. credit score

Varies

Best for students with a creditworthy co-signer.

Pros

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.

Cons

  • Students enrolled less than half-time are not eligible.
  • Co-signer release not available to international students.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Minimum income: $0 for primary borrower. $24,000 for current and previous year for co-signer.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $200,000 per year with an aggregate loan limit of $200,000.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years

Disclaimer: Ascent Student Loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, 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.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 09/01/2022 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 2.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, and a cosigner, and are only available to our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores.

Why this Lender made the list

Ascent Co-signed Student Loan offers several generous forbearance options, an extended grace period and multiple repayment options.

Read our methodology

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