Best Student Loans of October 2021

Lender Talkfinance Rating Min. Credit Score Fixed APR Variable APR Learn More
Ascent Co-signed Private student loan + International students
4.5 /5
Best for Private student loan + International students
540 3.24 - 12.19% 1.85 - 10.35% Check rate
on Ascent Co-signed's website
Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
4.5 /5
Best for Private Student Loan
Mid-600's 3.50 - 12.60% 1.13 - 11.23% Check rate
on Sallie Mae's website
College Ave Parent Student Loan
4.5 /5
Best for Parent Student Loan
Mid-600s 2.99 - 12.99% 0.99 - 11.98% Check rate
on College Ave's website
SoFi Private Student Loan
4.5 /5
Best for Private Student Loan
Does not disclose 2.99 - 10.90% 0.99 - 11.33% Check rate
on SoFi's website
Discover Private Student Loan
4.5 /5
Best for Private Student Loan
Does not disclose 3.49 - 12.59% 1.12 - 11.87% Check rate
on Discover's website
Earnest Private Student Loan
4.5 /5
Best for Private Student Loan
650 2.99 - 12.78% 0.99 - 11.44% Check rate
on Earnest's website
CommonBond Private Student Loan
4.5 /5
Best for Private Student Loan
660 3.99 - 10.99% 4.13 - 9.64% Check rate
on CommonBond's website
Custom Choice Powered by Cognition
4.5 /5
Best for Powered by Cognition
660 3.75 - 10.56% 1.08 - 9.36% Check rate
on Custom Choice's website
Education Loan Finance Private Student Loan
4.0 /5
Best for Private Student Loan
680 3.20 - 11.99% 1.20 - 11.54% Check rate
on Education Loan Finance's website
Funding U Private Student Loan
5.0 /5
Best for Private Student Loan
None 7.49 - 12.99% N/A Check rate
on Funding U's website

Our pick for

Private student loan + International students

on Ascent Co-signed's website

Ascent Co-signed Private student loan + International students

4.5

Min. Credit Score

540

Fixed APR

3.24 - 12.19%

Variable APR

1.85 - 10.35%

Key facts
Online lender Ascent offers two private student loan products, one for borrowers who have a co-signer and one for independent students who don't have a co-signer or established credit.
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.

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 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 July apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 08/01/2021 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. 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

Private Student Loan

on Sallie Mae's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

4.5

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600's

Fixed APR

3.50 - 12.60%

Variable APR

1.13 - 11.23%

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.
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
10 to 15 years
Disclaimer

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit. Additional information regarding the auto debit discount: The 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. It may be suspended during forbearance or deferment, if available for the loan. Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. Payments may be required during the grace/separation period depending on the repayment option selected. 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 variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRS assume a $10,000 loan to a borrower who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae loans. Advertised APRs are valid as of 07/22/2021. Loan amounts: 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. Examples of typical transactions for a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common variable rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans and a 4-year in-school period, it works out to a 6.88% APR, 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $136.17 and one payment of $66.85 for a total loan cost of $18,314.28. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan.

Our pick for

Parent Student Loan

on College Ave's website

College Ave Parent Student Loan

4.5

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Fixed APR

2.99 - 12.99%

Variable APR

0.99 - 11.98%

Key facts
College Ave Student Loans is an online lender that offers student loans for undergraduates, graduate students and parents, plus student loan refinancing.
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.
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 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 8/9/2021. 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.

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Our pick for

Private Student Loan

on SoFi's website

SoFi Private Student Loan

4.5

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

2.99 - 10.90%

Variable APR

0.99 - 11.33%

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
  • Does not offer bi-weekly payments via autopay.
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 LOANS: Fixed rates from 2.99% to 10.66% annual percentage rate ("APR") (with autopay), variable rates from 0.99% to 11.22% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 10.90% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.09% to 11.33% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.08% to 10.86% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.04% to 11.28% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 10.66% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.19% to 11.22% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. 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. 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 08/23/2021. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).

Our pick for

Private Student Loan

on Discover's website

Discover Private Student Loan

4.5

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

3.49 - 12.59%

Variable APR

1.12 - 11.87%

Key facts
Best for students who may need wiggle room on payments.
Pros
  • Among the best for payment flexibility.

  • No late fees.

Cons
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 750+.

  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 minimum. Borrow up to 100% of school-certified cost of attendance — including tuition, housing, book and more — minus financial aid. Aggregate loan limits apply.

Available Term Lengths
15 years undergraduate, 20 years graduate
Disclaimer

The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.125% as of July 1, 2021. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APRs are only available to applicants with the best credit. The APR will be determined after an application is submitted. It will be based on credit history, the selected repayment option and other factors, including a cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). If a student does not have an established credit history, the student may find it difficult to qualify for a private student loan on their own or receive the lowest advertised rate. Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest

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Our pick for

Private Student Loan

on Earnest's website

Earnest Private Student Loan

4.5

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed APR

2.99 - 12.78%

Variable APR

0.99 - 11.44%

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

  • 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 Lengths
5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years
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Our pick for

Private Student Loan

on CommonBond's website

CommonBond Private Student Loan

4.5

Min. Credit Score

660

Fixed APR

3.99 - 10.99%

Variable APR

4.13 - 9.64%

Key facts
Best for students who are already planning to use a co-signer and value customer support.
Pros
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • You are assigned a dedicated Money Mentor.

Cons
  • Loans aren't available in Nevada and Mississippi.

  • Co-signer required.

Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

  • Minimum income: No set minimum.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to the total cost of attendance. Maximum $500,000.

Available Term Lengths
5, 10 or 15 years
Disclaimer

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. If you choose to complete an application, we will conduct a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit score. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of0.14% effective Dec 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.

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Our pick for

Powered by Cognition

on Custom Choice's website

Custom Choice Powered by Cognition

4.5

Min. Credit Score

660

Fixed APR

3.75 - 10.56%

Variable APR

1.08 - 9.36%

Key facts
Best for upperclassmen who are confident they can take advantage of the 2% Grad Reward.
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
  • Loans aren't available in Arizona, Iowa or Wisconsin.

  • Loans not available to borrowers with student visas.

Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 747.

  • Minimum income: No minimum, but borrowers must demonstrate positive income.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to $99,999.

Available Term Lengths
7, 10 or 15 years
Disclaimer

Before applying for a private student loan, Citizens and Cognition Financial recommend comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. The Custom Choice Loan® is made by Citizens (“Lender”). All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to Lender’s underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions and other terms and conditions apply. LENDER AND COGNITION FINANCIAL CORPORATION EACH RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. TERMS, CONDITIONS AND RATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. Interest rates and APRs (Annual Percentage Rates) depend upon (1) the student’s and cosigner’s (if applicable) credit histories, (2) the repayment option and repayment term selected, (3) the expected number of years in deferment, (4) the requested loan amount and (5) other information provided on the online loan application. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate applicable to your loan. Rates and terms are effective as of 8/1/2021. The variable interest rate for each calendar month is calculated by adding the One-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), or a replacement index if the Lender, in their sole discretion, deems LIBOR to be substantially altered or if LIBOR is no longer based on newly reported rates from its reporting banks, plus a fixed margin assigned to each loan. The LIBOR is published in the "Money Rates" section of The Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition). The LIBOR index is captured on the 25th day of the immediately preceding calendar month (or if the 25th is not a business day. The current LIBOR index is 0.09% as of 8/01/2021. The variable interest rate will increase or decrease if the LIBOR index changes or if a new index is chosen. The applicable index or margin for variable rate loans may change over time and result in a different APR than shown. The fixed rate assigned to a loan will never change except as required by law or if you request and qualify for the auto pay discount. APRs assume a $10,000 loan with one disbursement and the summer savings rate discount of 0.50% (applicable to applications submitted between 12:00:00am EST on May 1, 2021 and 11:59:59pm EST on September 30, 2021). The high variable rate APR assumes a 7-year term with the Full Deferment option, a 19 month deferment period, and a six-month grace period before entering repayment. The high fixed rate APR assumes a 15-year term with the Full Deferment option, a 31 month deferment period, and a six-month grace period before entering repayment. The low APRs assume a 7-year term, and the Immediate Repayment option with payments beginning 30-60 days after the disbursement via auto pay. Auto pay yields a 0.25% interest rate reduction which is applied after the Servicer validates your bank account information and will continue until (1) three automatic deductions are returned for insufficient funds during the life of the loan (after which the discount cannot be reinstated) or (2) automatic deduction of payments is canceled. The auto pay discount is not available when reduced payments are being made or when the loan is in a deferment or forbearance, even if payments are being made.Custom Choice Loan® is a service mark used under license. Citizens is a brand name of Citizens Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

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Our pick for

Private Student Loan

on Education Loan Finance's website

Education Loan Finance Private Student Loan

4.0

Min. Credit Score

680

Fixed APR

3.20 - 11.99%

Variable APR

1.20 - 11.54%

Key facts
Best for borrowers with a significant funding gap.
Pros
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • You are assigned a personal loan advisor.

Cons
  • Minimum loan amount is larger than other private lenders.

  • No co-signer release available.

Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Not available.

  • Minimum income: $35,000.

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

Available Term Lengths
5, 7, 10 or 15 years.

Our pick for

Private Student Loan

on Funding U's website

Funding U Private Student Loan

5.0

Min. Credit Score

None

Fixed APR

7.49 - 12.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Key facts
Best for high-achieving independent students enrolled in four-year programs who have small funding gaps.
Pros
  • You don't need a co-signer or credit history to get a loan.

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

  • Among the best for payment flexibility.

Cons
  • Loans aren't available in 19 states.

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

  • Maximum funding amount is less than most lenders.

Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 650.

  • Minimum income: No minimum, but borrowers must demonstrate they can pay $20 per month toward their loan.

  • Loan amounts: $3,001 up to $10,000.

Available Term Lengths
10 years
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