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Compare Best Private Student Loans for 2022

Edvisors recommends exhausting federal student loans. grants, and scholarships before applying for private student loans. However, private student loans are available to help fill any funding gaps you may have, and could be best for those looking for competitive interest rates on student loans and a variety of repayment terms.

Once you've exhausted your federal aid options, compare offers from multiple lenders to find the best rates and terms, and borrow only what you need.

Benefits

Sallie Mae student loans

  • Variable Rates: 1.62% APR - 11.73% APR. Fixed Rates: 3.75% APR - 12.85% APR. Lowest rates shown include 0.25% interest rate discount with auto debit payments.1
  • Apply online in minutes and receive an instant credit result2
  • Multiple repayment options from in-school payments to deferred.1 No origination fee or prepayment penalty3
  • You may be 4X more like to be approved with a cosigner4 and it may help you get a better rate.
  • Only undergraduate student loan that offers 4 months of free Chegg® study help5
  • Borrow up to 100% of school-certified expenses, whether you're online or on campus6
Learn More Disclosure

When grants, scholarships, and federal aid are not enough, choose the Smart Option Student Loan® for Undergraduate Students. You can apply for the money you need for college, and the flexibility you want.

Student Benefits
  • Variable Rates: 1.62% APR - 11.73% APR. Fixed Rates: 3.75% APR - 12.85% APR. Lowest rates shown include 0.25% interest rate discount with auto debit payments.1
  • Apply online in minutes and receive an instant credit result2
  • Multiple repayment options from in-school payments to deferred.1 No origination fee or prepayment penalty3
  • You may be 4X more like to be approved with a cosigner4 and it may help you get a better rate.
  • Only undergraduate student loan that offers 4 months of free Chegg® study help5
  • Borrow up to 100% of school-certified expenses, whether you're online or on campus6

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.

1Interest 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 APRs assume a $10,000 loan to a borrower who attends school for 4 years and has no prior 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.

2From January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021, instant credit decisions were provided to 98% of applicants. Other applications received credit decisions in 3 to 5 business days.

3Although we do not charge a penalty or fee if you prepay your loan, any prepayment will be applied as outlined in your promissory note-first to Unpaid Fees and costs, then to Unpaid Interest, and then to Current Principal.

4Based 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 from May 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021.

5This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with undergraduate or parent loans with a first disbursement between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2024. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. Chegg Study® offers expert Q&A where students can submit up to 20 questions per month. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit http://www.chegg.com/legal/smtermsandconditions for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.

6Loan 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. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half time.

Information advertised valid as of 5/13/2022

SALLIE MAE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. CHECK SALLIEMAE.COM FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE PRODUCT INFORMATION.

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.

Edvisors is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Sallie Mae loan customers.

© 2022 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.

Income Based Repayment
Benefits

Edly No Cosigner Required

  • MUST BE a US citizen or permanent resident
  • MUST BE a college junior, college senior, or grad student
  • No co-signer required
  • Get approved in minutes. Pre-qualify without affecting your credit score
  • Income-based repayment with built-in protections, like deferred payments if you lose your job
Learn More Disclosure

A no-cosigner, income-based repayment loan

Student Benefits
  • MUST BE a US citizen or permanent resident
  • MUST BE a college junior, college senior, or grad student
  • No co-signer required
  • Get approved in minutes. Pre-qualify without affecting your credit score
  • Income-based repayment with built-in protections, like deferred payments if you lose your job
  • Pre-qualify without affecting your credit score
  • No in-school payments. Monthly payments only begin when you land a job grossing at least $30,000 yearly
  • You’ll never pay more than the maximum repayment amount
Eligibility
  • MUST BE a US citizen or permanent resident
  • MUST BE a college junior, college senior, or grad student
  • While a credit history is not required, adverse history, like defaults or collections, may affect your eligibility

Edly Student IBR Loans are unsecured personal student loans issued by FinWise Bank, a Utah chartered commercial bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to eligibility criteria and review of creditworthiness and history. Terms and conditions apply.

Loans from $5,000 - $25,000 Example: $10,000 IBR Loan with a 7% gross income payment percentage for a Senior student making $65,000 annually throughout the life of the loan. Payments deferred for the first 12 months during final year of education. After which, $270 Monthly payment for 12 months. Then $379 Monthly payment for 44 months. Followed by one final payment of $137 for a total of $20,610 paid over the life of the loan.

About this example: The initial payment schedule is set upon receiving final terms and upon confirmation by your school of the loan amount. You may repay this loan at any time by paying an effective APR of 23%. The maximum amount you will pay is $22,500 (not including Late Fees and Returned Check Fees, if any). The maximum number of regularly scheduled payments you will make is 60. You will not pay more than 23% APR. No payment is required if your gross earned income is below $30,000 annually or if you lose your job and cannot find employment.

Benefits

Elfi student loans

  • Prequalification: Prequalify to estimate your rate without affecting your credit score
  • Online Application Process: Submit online application in minutes
  • Flexible Repayment Options: ELFI offers immediate, interest only, partial payment, and fully deferred repayment options
  • No Fees: No application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties
  • Low Rates: Fixed rates from 3.20% to 11.99% and variable rates from 1.30% - 11.52%
  • Award winning Customer Service: Individually paired Student Loan Advisor to guide you through the application process
Learn More Disclosure

Education Loan Finance (also known as ELFI) is a division of Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank which launched in 2015 and is designed to assist borrowers with student loan refinancing as well as with undergraduate, graduate and parent private student loans.

  • During prequalification, ELFI performs a “soft credit inquiry” that will not impact your credit score
  • Flexible repayment options available: Choose from immediate, interest only, partial payment and fully deferred repayment options
  • No application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties
  • ELFI offers competitively low rates started from 3.20% APR on fixed rate products and 1.30% on variable rate products
  • Each applicant is individually paired with a student loan advisor to guide you through the application process
Student Benefits
  • Prequalification: Prequalify to estimate your rate without affecting your credit score
  • Online Application Process: Submit online application in minutes
  • Flexible Repayment Options: ELFI offers immediate, interest only, partial payment, and fully deferred repayment options
  • No Fees: No application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties
  • Low Rates: Fixed rates from 3.20% to 11.99% and variable rates from 1.30% - 11.52%
  • Award winning Customer Service: Individually paired Student Loan Advisor to guide you through the application process
Eligibility
  • Loan Minimum: $1,000 Minimum
  • Credit Score: 680
  • Minimum Income: $35,000
  • Enrollment: Must be enrolled at least half time or more in a bachelor’s degree program
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

*Education Loan Finance is a nationwide student loan provider offered by Tennessee based SouthEast Bank. ELFI is designed to assist students financially with receiving their education. Subject to credit approval. See Terms & Conditions. Interest rates current as of 05-15-2022. Variable interest rates may increase after closing but will never exceed 18.00%. Interest rates may also differ from the rates shown above. The term of your loan, financial history, and other factors, including your cosigner’s (if any) financial history can affect the interest rate. For example, a 10-year loan with a fixed rate of 7% would have 120 payments of $11.61 per $1,000 borrowed. Rates are subject to change.

 

Benefits

Ascent student loans

  • AFFORDABLE variable rates starting at 1.64% APR with Automatic Debit Discount*
  • 1% CASH BACK Graduation Reward*
  • NON-COSIGNED option may be available for undergraduate juniors and seniors.
  • PAY AFTER LEAVING SCHOOL – Customize your loan with flexible repayment options – start payments after graduation.
  • FORGET FEES – No application, origination or disbursement fees. No prepayment penalty if you choose to pay your loan off early.
  • COVER UP TO 100% of your tuition and eligible living expenses.
Learn More Disclosure

Student loans should expand your possibilities, not limit them. Ascent’s private student loan gives students more opportunities to qualify for a loan! Ascent offers benefits that put students first, like 1% Cash Back at graduation and more…

Student Benefits
  • AFFORDABLE variable rates starting at 1.64% APR with Automatic Debit Discount*
  • 1% CASH BACK Graduation Reward*
  • NON-COSIGNED option may be available for eligible undergraduate juniors and seniors.
  • PAY AFTER LEAVING SCHOOL – Customize your loan with flexible repayment options – start payments after graduation.
  • FORGET FEES – No application, origination or disbursement fees. No prepayment penalty if you choose to pay your loan off early.
  • COVER UP TO 100% of your tuition and eligible living expenses.
Eligibility
  • Ascent considers several factors which may include: creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors.
  • Ascent loans are for college students (both undergraduate and graduate) that are at least half-time enrolled in a degree program at an eligible institution.
  • U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents and DACA students may apply without a cosigner. Students who are not a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident or DACA student may apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.
  • The Ascent Non-Cosigned Outcomes-Based Loan option is for undergraduate juniors and seniors that are full-time enrolled (or with an expected graduation date within 9-months of the date the loan application is submitted) in a degree program at an eligible institution.
    • MUST be a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident or DACA student.
    • MUST have satisfactory academic performance of 2.9+ GPA or greater.

* 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 may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs

Rates are effective as of 05/01/2022 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: www.AscentFunding.com/Rates

1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student borrowers 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 are available for the most creditworthy applicants and may require a cosigner.

Benefits

SoFi student loans

  • Variable Rates: Starting variable rates range from 1.69% APR - 11.97% APR (with autopay)*, and will never exceed 13.95% (sometimes lower in certain states as required by law)
  • Fixed Rates: Fixed rates range from 3.47% APR to 11.16% APR (with autopay)*
  • Easy online application!
  • No origination fees, late fees, and no insufficient fund fees. Period
  • Up to four repayment types (including no payments while in school) and multiple repayment terms help you find the loan that fits your budget
  • 0.25% discount when you set up autopay*
Learn More Disclosure

Get competitive-rate in-school loans that work for you. SoFi makes the process simple—so paying for school is stress-free.

Student Benefits
  • 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.
  • Get a 0.25% discount when you set up autopay.*
  • No fees means no fees. That means no origination fees, no late fees, and no insufficient fund fees.
  • Cover up to 100% of your cost of attendance

*Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or other eligible status and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, evaluation of your creditworthiness, years of professional experience, income, and a variety of other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or may become available, such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

Benefits

Funding U student loans

  • Up to $15,000 per academic year with no cosigner required
  • Fixed Rates (APR) from 7.99% to 12.49% (plus an additional 0.5% discount for ACH auto-payments)*
  • No origination fee. No late payment fees. No prepayment penalties.
  • Quick prequalification and rate check that won’t impact your credit
  • Multiple repayment options
  • Dedicated loan officer for every borrower
Learn More Disclosure

Funding U offers a merit-based, no-cosigner student loan for high-achieving undergraduate students.

Student Benefits
  • No-cosigner student loans based on merit - not your FICO score
  • Quick prequalification and rate check that won’t impact your credit
  • Up to $15,000 per academic year to help cover the cost of college
  • Rates (APR) from 7.99% to 12.49% (not including 0.5% discount for ACH auto-payments)*
Eligibility
  • Students must be bachelor’s degree candidates who are US citizens, permanent residents, or DACA recipients
  • Students must be enrolled in a 4-year, degree-granting, not-for-profit institution in the US
  • Students must be 18-years-old or the Age of Majority in the state which they reside
  • Students must meet minimum GPA and graduation rate thresholds

New student loans of $3,001 up to $15,000 per school year will be granted to residents of eligible states enrolled as undergraduates in bachelor’s degree or equivalent- granting programs at eligible schools.

Funding U offers fixed interest rate loans, without a cosigner, to students who are serious about their academic success and post-grad career. Eligibility is determined by several factors, including: school graduation rate, class hours completed, estimated graduation date, academic record, major; employment or internship experience; and, other academic and non-academic activities that demonstrate the borrower is working hard towards academic and professional goals and is on track to be able to repay debt accrued.

Eligibility is also limited by state of permanent residence. Terms and conditions vary by state. Not all loans are available in all states. Loan amounts available may vary by state.

DISBURSEMENT All Loan proceeds will be sent to the student borrower’s school around the time classes begin, on the date your school prefers. Funding U will require documentation to verify your registration and certify your loan need prior to disbursement. Your school must also certify your loan need. Your loan may be adjusted based upon the amount of need certified by your school.

REPAYMENT TERMS New Undergraduate loans for the 2021-2022 school year will have an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 7.49% to 12.99%. All loans have a fixed interest rate range of 7.49%* to 12.99% (before consideration of ACH discount). There is no origination fee. Interest accrues while students are in school.

In-school partial payments: Students may choose either $20 monthly as a “Fixed Payment” while enrolled in school or “Interest Only” payments. These payments will be reported to credit agencies like other student loans. All loans have a 10-year repayment term (paid monthly over 120 months starting 6 months after graduation). Both In-School payment options may not be available in all states. Student’s electing to make Interest-Only payments will receive a 0.5% interest rate discount.

PREPAYMENT PENALTIES There is no prepayment penalty on your loan.

Additional details, terms & conditions will be included in each loan offer.

*The lowest rate shown is available only to juniors & seniors with outstanding academic performance and is not typical of the rates offered to most borrowers. Your actual rate will depend on creditworthiness and other factors, such as your school year and GPA.

Private Student Loan FAQs

A private student loan is a credit-based loan for college that can cover the gap between financial aid received and the full cost of attendance. Private student loans are issued by private lending institutions, such as banks and credit unions. Lenders will require you to submit an application. Upon receipt of your application, they will confirm you meet their credit approval criteria, and ask you complete any other requirements (such as verification of school registration).

Private student loans should not be confused with student loans offered by the U.S. Department of Education, which does offer federal student loans through the federal student aid program. To learn more, please see an Introduction to Federal Student Loans.

Lenders accept and process private student loan applications throughout the year. You may apply at any time.

There are the obvious expenses, such as school tuition and fees. However, you can use your student loans to help you cover other education-related costs. Some of those items include:

  • Books and supplies
  • Housing – on- or off-campus
  • Food
  • Transportation to and from school
  • Childcare
  • Study abroad

In general, you are able to use your money to help you cover the cost of college and living expenses while you’re attending college.

HOWEVER, it’s inappropriate to use your student loans to pay for vacations (like spring break), buying clothes, or to invest that money to try to get a profit. If you are using student loan money inappropriately, there could be consequences (like an immediate demand of repayment). If you don’t get caught using your student loan money to live luxuriously, you could be paying that money back for years after graduation. /p>

Here are some of the key differences:

  Private Student Loan Federal Student Loan
Lender Bank, credit union, financial institution, state agency, or college/university U.S. Department of Education
FAFSA Required? No Yes
Interest Rate Type Fixed and variable options available Fixed
Rates Based on Credit Criteria? Yes No
Cosigner Required? Yes, unless borrower has strong credit history No*
Repayment Plans Varies by lender. Some lenders may offer multiple options. Multiple plans (including income-driven) available
Forbearance Options Varies by lender. Typically one year. Three years

*Direct PLUS Loans offered to parents of students attending college, or graduate students, require a credit check. If the borrower is found to have adverse credit, a cosigner may be required.

Private student loan lenders, generally, will not let you borrow money in excess of your cost of attendance. Your school will let you know the maximum amount you can borrow in a private student loan, which will be determined by subtracting all the aid you have been awarded/accepted from your total cost of attendance.

90% of undergraduate students and 75% of graduate students need a cosigner to get approved for a private student loan. Some students may have the credit qualifications to get approved without a cosigner. It all depends on your credit rating and history.

Different lenders have different qualifying criteria. To determine eligibility, it’s best to contact a potential lender directly.

The exact amount of time will vary by lender, school, and time of year. Generally, the process can take as little as two weeks and as long as two months. Since the loan funds will be sent directly to your school, any money left over after the school applies your loan to your account will be refunded to you.

Private student loan terms and conditions vary by lender. However, there are some terms and conditions that tend to be pretty similar from lender to lender.

  • The interest rate on a private student loan is determined by the credit of the borrower and cosigner (if needed), among other factors.
  • The loan funds are sent directly to the school.
  • Repayment typically begins six months after leaving school, but interest may begin to accrue immediately after the loan is disbursed.
  • The amount borrowed usually determines the time period for repaying the loan.

Failure to meet the terms and conditions of the loan you chose may damage the credit of both the borrower and cosigner.

It depends. If you make all of your payments on time, your credit may improve over time. Late and missed payments may damage your credit.

If you need to obtain a loan later (additional private student loan, car loan, or mortgage), your debt-to-income ratio will likely be considered. It is always recommended to borrow only what you need.

Yes, some private student loan lenders offer options for students who are seeking professional training and trade certificate programs. 

Many students enrolled in non-degree programs don’t know where to turn when they need help paying their tuition and fees. And like them, you may be considering other types of funding, like using a credit card or obtaining a personal loan. You would want to weigh your options carefully, credit cards may come with high interest rates, and personal loans may not offer flexible options for student borrowers. 

Compare private student loan lenders that work with your school today. 

 

Borrower benefits, like forgiveness, vary by lender. Before you obtain a private student loan, it is recommended you review the terms and conditions for each loan you are considering.

Technically, yes. But private student loans, like federal student loans, are very difficult to have discharged through bankruptcy proceedings. You will need to demonstrate that the repayment of the loan would “impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor’s dependents.” (U.S. Bankruptcy Code). For more information it is best you discuss your options with your legal adviser.