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Compare Private Student Loans to PLUS Loans

PLUS Loans are federally-funded, fixed-rate college loans available to the parents of dependent undergraduate students. They are also available to graduate students to pay for their own education.

Sallie Mae student loans offer competitive fixed and variable rates for undergraduates, graduate students. Learn More About Sallie Mae

When your financial aid package falls short of your needs, a private student loan may be a competitive alternative to a PLUS Loan.

  Private Student Loans PLUS Loans
Lender Bank, credit union, financial institution, state agency, college, or university U.S. Department of Education
FAFSA Required? No Yes
Interest Rates Fixed and variable options available Fixed at 7.54% (first disbursed on or after July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023)
Rate Based on Credit Criteria? Yes Yes, but debt-to-income or credit score are not considered
Cosigner Required? Yes, unless borrower has a strong credit history No, but borrower may not have an adverse credit history
Loan Fees Typically 0% to 5%, but varies by lender and borrower 4.228% (first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022)
Repayment Plans Vary by lender Many options available
Suspending Repayment Typically 1 year of forbearance, depending on lender 3 years of deferment and 3 years of forbearance available, if eligibility requirements are met
Cancelling Repayment Very limited options Some forgiveness and discharge options available
Eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness No Grad PLUS Loans: Yes; Parent PLUS Loans: No
Eligible for Income-Based Repayment No Grad PLUS Loans: Yes; Parent PLUS Loans: No

Best Private Student Loans for Graduate School

Sallie Mae Private Student Loans
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable: 1.30% APR – 11.52% APR1

Fixed: 3.20% APR – 11.99% APR1

Repayment Terms

5 , 7 , 10 and 15 years

Cosigner Recommended
Ascent offers loans that power bright futures
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable rates as low as: 1.78% APR1

Fixed rates as low as: 5.17% APR1

Repayment Terms

5, 7, 10, 12 and 15 years

Instantly Compare Lenders for Your School

Learn More About Student Loans

Best Private Student Loans for June 2022

Federal Student Loans vs Private Student Loans

Private Parent Student Loans 

Introduction to Parent PLUS Loans

Fixed vs Variable Interest Rates

Financial Aid for Graduate School





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