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Best Private Student Loans of October 2021
Cover your college expenses
Comparing different student loans can help you get the lowest rates. Check
our top choices of top-ranked lenders to find the best student loan for you.
Best Private Student Loans
of October 2021
Comparing different student loans can help you get the
lowest rates. Check our top choices of top-ranked
lenders to find the best student loan for you.
Best Private
Student Loans of
October 2021
1
Our top choice
  • 0.99% - 11.98% variable APR1
  • 2.94% to 12.99% fixed APR1
  • Quick & easy: apply in less than 3 minutes
  • Borrow up to 100% of cost of attendance3
  • Repay in 5, 8, 10, or 15 years2
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College Ave Student Loans is a private student lender offering student loans for undergraduates, graduates, parents, and career training. College Ave has among the lowest rates for fixed and variable rate student loans. With a range of repayment options and terms, College Ave is targeted at anyone looking for a customizable student loan that won’t break the bank.
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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.

(1)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.

(2) 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..

(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.

Information advertised valid as of 10/21/2021. 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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2
  • 1.25% - 11.35% variable APR1
  • 4.25% - 12.60% fixed APR1
  • Option to start payments while in school1
  • Covers online and on campus learning
  • 4 months of free Chegg Study support2
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Sallie Mae is a financial services company specializing in private student loans for undergraduates, graduates, parents, career training, and K-12. It offers competitive interest rates with a choice between interest-only, fixed, or deferred repayment options during school. As a former government entity-turned-private lender, it can also facilitate various forms of student financial aid and scholarships.
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Borrow Responsibly

We encourage students and families to start with savings, grants, scholarships, and federal student loans to pay for college. Students and families should evaluate all anticipated monthly loan payments, and how much the student expects to earn in the future, before considering a private student loan.

This loan is for undergraduate students at participating degree-granting schools. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., attend a participating school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident), and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID to verify their identity. Applications are subject to a requested minimum loan amount of $1,000. Current credit and other eligibility criteria apply.

1. Interest is charged starting when money is 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 APRs assume a $10,000 loan to a freshman with no other Sallie Mae loans. 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.

2. This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with new loans that first disburse prior to April 30, 2021. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit Chegg.com/studystarter/termsandconditions for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.

3. Based on a comparison of approval rates for Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loans for Undergraduate Students who applied with a cosigner versus without a cosigner during a rolling 12 month period from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.

SALLIE MAE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

Information valid as of 7/1/2021.

Smart Option Student Loans® are made by Sallie Mae Bank.

Sallie Mae, the Sallie Mae logo, and other Sallie Mae names and logos are service marks or registered service marks of Sallie Mae Bank. All other names and logos used are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

©2021 Sallie Mae Bank. All rights reserved.

SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Sallie Mae Bank, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

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4
  • 1.05% - 11.44% variable APR*
  • 3.49% - 12.78% fixed APR*
  • Flexible repayment options
  • 9-month grace period***
  • Option to skip a payment once per year**
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Earnest is a fast-growing fintech lender specializing in private student loans and personal loans. Its tech-powered underwriting software helps it analyze each applicant’s unique profile, allowing it to make quick decisions and offer competitive rates. Earnest offers a range of flexible repayment options with its student loans, the highlight being the industry-leading 9-month grace period after graduation.
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* Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. Not all borrowers will qualify for our lowest rates, and your rate will be based on creditworthiness at time of application.

** Earnest clients may skip one payment every 12 months. Your first request to skip a payment can be made once you’ve made at least 6 months of consecutive on-time payments, and your loan is in good standing. The interest accrued during the skipped month will result in an increase in your remaining minimum payment. The final payoff date on your loan will be extended by the length of the skipped payment periods. Please be aware that a skipped payment does count towards the forbearance limits outlined in your loan agreement. Please note that skipping a payment is not guaranteed and is at Earnest’s discretion. Your monthly payment and total loan cost may increase as a result of postponing your payment and extending your term.

*** Not available for borrowers who choose Earnest’s Principal and Interest Repayment plan while in school.

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6
  • 1.24% - 11.99% variable APR1
  • 4.24% - 12.99% fixed APR
  • 15-20 years to repay (depends on loan)
  • 0.25% discount when you set up autopay
  • Covers up to 100% of college costs
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Discover Financial Services is more than just a major credit card provider, offering a range of financial services including private student loans. Discover is rigid on repayment terms but more flexible than rival lenders from other angles, such as acceptance of international students and the ease of applying for loans on a multi-year basis.
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(1)Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only (https://www.discover.com/student-loans/interestonly) repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest and highest interest rates offered on the Discover Undergraduate Loan.

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 0.375% as of July 1, 2020. 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 APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Rates.

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7
  • 1.03% - 9.53% variable APR1,2
  • 3.99% - 10.56% fixed APR1,2
  • Repay in 7, 10, or 15 years
  • 0.25% discount when you set up autopay
  • 2.00% principal reduction after graduation
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Custom Choice (powered by Cognition Financial) offers private students loans to undergraduates and graduates along with benefits to encourage degree completion. Borrowers can choose from a range of flexible repayment options while in school and are only obligated to begin paying full principal and interest six months after graduation.
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Custom Choice Disclosures

Terms and Conditions

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. Custom Choice Loan® is a service mark used under license.

Citizens is a brand name of Citizens Bank, N.A. (NMLS ID# 433960). Member FDIC.

1Interest 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 for applications received on or after 9/01/20. 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 25 th is not a business day. The current LIBOR index is 0.17% on 9/01/20. 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.

2APRs assume a $10,000 loan with two disbursements and the summer savings rate discount of 0.50% (applicable to applications submitted for a credit decision between 12:00:00am EST on July 6, 2020 and 11:59:59pm EST on September 30, 2020). 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, no deferment and payments beginning 30-60 days after the last disbursement via auto pay from a bank account.

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8
  • 1.03% - 9.53% variable APR1,2
  • 3.99% - 10.56% fixed APR1,2
  • Repay in 7, 10, or 15 years
  • 0.25% discount when you set up autopay
  • 0.25% discount after 36 on-time payments
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Union Federal (powered by Cognition Financial) offers private students loans to undergraduates and graduates along with opportunities to substantially reduce the interest rate. Borrowers have a choice of three repayment terms as well as four flexible repayment options while in school. The online application process takes around 15 minutes to complete.
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Terms and Conditions

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 Union Federal® Private Student 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.

1 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 for applications received on or after 2/01/20. 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 25 th is not a business day. The current LIBOR index is 0.12% on 2/01/20. 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 on-time payment and auto pay discounts.

2 APRs assume a $10,000 loan with two disbursements and the summer savings rate discount of 0.50% (applicable to applications submitted for a credit decision between 12:00:00am EST on July 6, 2020 and 11:59:59pm EST on September 30, 2020). 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, no deferment and payments beginning 30-60 days after the last disbursement via auto pay from a bank account. See footnote 5 for auto pay details.

3 In order to provide you with a range of rates you prequalify for, Citizens will perform a soft credit inquiry, as authorized by you. Soft credit inquiries do not affect your credit score. If you prequalify, the rates and loan options offered to you are estimates only. Once you choose your loan options and submit your application, Citizens will perform a hard credit inquiry. Loan approval, options, and final rates depend on the verification of information provided on your application, and information obtained from the hard credit inquiry (and any cosigner’s hard credit inquiry).

4 The 0.25% interest rate reduction will automatically be applied if the first 36 consecutive monthly payments during the repayment term are received by the Servicer within 10 calendar days after their due date. Payments made prior to the start of the repayment term do not count toward the number of required monthly payments.

5 Earn a 0.25% interest rate reduction for making automatic payments of principal and interest from a bank account (“auto pay discount”) by completing the direct debit form provided by the Servicer. The auto pay discount will be 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.

6 Any applicant who applies for a loan the month of, the month prior to, or the month after the student’s graduation date, as stated on the application or certified by the school, will only be offered the Immediate Repayment option. The 15-year term and the Flat Payment Repayment option are only available on loans of $5,000 or more.

Union Federal is a registered trademark of Cognition Financial Corporation. Union Federal Private Student Loans are not offered in connection with any lender other than Citizens or the federal government. Cognition Financial Corporation is not an affiliate of Citizens Bank, N.A.

Citizens is a brand name of Citizens Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

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Our Top Choice
NaN
Editor's choice
  • 0.99% - 11.98% variable APR1
  • 2.94% to 12.99% fixed APR1
  • Quick & easy: apply in less than 3 minutes
  • Borrow up to 100% of cost of attendance3
  • Repay in 5, 8, 10, or 15 years2
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College Ave Student Loans is a private student lender offering student loans for undergraduates, graduates, parents, and career training. College Ave has among the lowest rates for fixed and variable rate student loans. With a range of repayment options and terms, College Ave is targeted at anyone looking for a customizable student loan that won’t break the bank.
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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.

(1)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.

(2) 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..

(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.

Information advertised valid as of 10/21/2021. 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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Private Student Loans vs. Federal Student Loans
When it comes to borrowing money for college, grad school, or career training, there are two options: private student loans or federal student loans.
Federal student loans are loans funded by the federal government. These are typically the student loans with the lowest interest rates. They also offer assistance and grace periods if you have trouble paying your student loans. However, federal college loans for students have high origination fees, strict eligibility requirements and usually only cover part of the cost of admission.
Comparing the Best Student Loans
Comparing private student loans is a bit like comparing colleges in that there are so many different options out there. Obviously, finding the best student loans rates should be a priority. However, it can sometimes be worth paying a higher rate in exchange for other benefits. Here’s the full breakdown of things to look for before applying for student loans.
Loan type. Some student loan companies only offer undergraduate loans, while others offer the full range of loans. Possible loan options include: undergrad student loans, graduate student loans (e.g. law school, medical school, MBA), parent loans, career training loans, and K-12 loans.
APR.Most private student lenders offer a choice between fixed student loan interest rates and variable student loans rates. Based on our study of the best student loans for college, variable student loan interest rates range from 1.04% to 12.40% and fixed student loan interest rates run from 3.49% - 12.99%. The average interest rate for a student loan is around 5-6% for undergraduate loans, 6-7% for graduate student loans, and 7-8% for parent loans. The lower loan interest rates are reserved for the borrowers with the best credit scores.
Fees. One of the main advantages of private student loans is that there are usually no additional fees to worry about. That means no origination fees, no application fees, and no prepayment fees. If a lender boasts of low interest loans for students, always double check to make sure there aren’t any additional fees.
Discounts.Most private student loan interest rates come with a 0.25% rate discount for using autopay. Other potential offers from private student loans organizations include cash-back upon graduation, refer-a-friend bonuses, and free learning tools from third-party partners.
Loan amount.The best college loans for students cover the full cost of admission. This includes tuition, room and board, fees, books and supplies, transportation, and a computer for school.
Repayment terms.Depending which lender you choose, you may be given up to 15-20 years to finish paying your student loans. Many private lenders require student loan payments while you are still in school, but some allow you to begin paying your student loans after graduation.
Grace and deferment periods.With some private student loan services, you may have the option of taking a grade period of 6-12 months after graduation before starting to pay off your student loans. Some student loan companies also offer deferment options for borrowers who find themselves struggling to make student loan payments.
Minimum credit score.Qualifying requirements for personal student loans are highly variable. Most private lenders require a credit score of at least 680, although some have been known to accept borrowers with scores as low as 600. As mentioned already, the best interest on student loans is reserved for borrowers with strong credit.
Co-signer option.Many students don’t have the credit score required to qualify for a private student loan on their own. With this in mind, many student loan companies allow for a co-signer (such as a parent, relative or someone else you trust) to be added to student loan applications. Having a co-signer with excellent credit is key to getting the lowest student loan rates.
Our Top 3 Student Loans Services
#1
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Pros
  • Low variable rates
  • Flexible repayment options
  • Takes only 3 minutes to apply
Cons
  • No co-signer release until half the term has elapsed
  • No phone applications
College Ave is a standout performer on all the most important aspects of student loans, namely: low interest rates, flexible repayment options, and co-signer option. The absence of a transparent minimum credit score and the difficulty of getting a co-signer release add a bit of risk. However, if you or your co-signer are in a strong position in terms of credit score, then College Ave is one of the best student loan options out there.
#2
View Rates
Pros
  • Flexible eligibility requirements
  • 95% approval rate with co-signer
  • 4 months of free Chegg study support
Cons
  • No principal + repayment option during school
  • Graduate student loan rates not advertised
Sallie Mae is one of the oldest and most-respected private student loans companies in America. It offers competitive interest rates, flexible repayment options, and loans to suit all types of degrees and courses. Its flexible eligibility requirements make it a great choice for borrowers not covered by other private student loan providers, such as people studying less than half-time or studying abroad.
#3
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Pros
  • Personalized pre-qualified rates
  • No filling out duplicate forms
  • 3-way phone support connecting you to lenders
Cons
  • Not a direct lender
  • -Works with some but not all top lenders
With so many student loan providers out there, it’s hard to know where to begin. Credible takes advantage of this situation, encouraging its top lending partners to compete to offer you their best rates. The result: Credible can help you obtain great offers from some of America’s best lenders, in minutes, without any impact to your credit score.
Guide to Student Loan Applications
All the top lenders maintain student loans websites where you can begin your application. Useful tip: Only apply to a handful of lenders with the best student loans rates in order to save yourself the trouble of uploading dozens of student loan applications.
It typically takes around 15 minutes to apply for a student loan. Here’s what you and your co-signer will need to provide:
  • Your addresses
  • Your social security numbers (so the lender can run a credit check)
  • Your employment information
  • Your financial information, including your bank account and mortgage/rent payments
  • Requested loan amount
  • Information about the school of attendance, including: degree, enrollment study, and academic period you need to finance
  • Information about any financial aid, scholarships, or federal loans you expect to receive
After submitting your application, you’ll have a chance to review the interest rate and repayment term options. Then you and your co-signer will have the opportunity to review and e-sign the agreement. Finally, your lender will verify your academic enrollment and loan eligibility with your school. Assuming everything goes smoothly, you’ll be funded for school.
Finding Your Student Loan
As long as you or your co-signer have decent credit, getting student loans isn’t all that difficult. After all, there are literally dozens of companies offering student loans in the USA. However, unless you want to try your luck applying for student loans from literally every lender, then it pays to do a bit of research first. On this website, you’ll find lender reviews and information to help you find student loans with low interest rates and favorable terms. Compare the student loans organizations on key factors like APR, loan type, and repayment term to find which makes most sense for you.
Make sure you exhaust your options of federal student loans before you turn to private loans. Once you chose private loans, compare offers from multiple lenders to find the lowest interest rate.
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College Ave
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Sallie Mae
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Credible
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Earnest
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