Private Student Loans

Student loans to
build your future.

Mentor helps you compare options to pay for school with no-fee private student loans.
Today's Rates

Top Picks For Private Student Loans

December 2022

Variable APR ?APR, or Annual Percentage Rate, is the price you pay to borrow money. Variable APR means that your interest rate can fluctuate over time, which can increase or decrease your monthly student loan payment. Typically, a variable-rate loan has a lower introductory rate than a fixed-loan rate loan. Variable APR includes a 0.25% discount when you enroll in autopay.
Fixed APR ?APR, or Annual Percentage Rate, is the price you pay to borrow money. Fixed APR means that your interest rate will always stay the same. Even if interest rates change, your interest rate or monthly payment will not. Fixed APR includes a 0.25% discount when you enroll in autopay.
APR
3.24% - 14.86%
3.99% - 14.96%
3.24% - 14.96%

View Details

on College Ave's website

Overview

Variable APR:
3.24% - 14.86%
Fixed APR:
3.99% - 14.96%
Loan Type:
Graduate, Undergraduate
Minimum Loan Amount:
$1,000
Loan Terms:
5, 8, 10, 15 years
Origination Fees:
No
Prepayment Fees:
No
Co-signer Option:
No

Details

  • Student loans available to graduate, bachelors and associates degrees
  • Deferment and forbearance options may be available
  • Grace period for undergraduates: 6 months
  • Grace period for graduate students: 9 months
  • Flexible student loan repayment options
4.49% - 13.88%
4.99% - 14.83%
4.49% - 14.83%

View Details

on SoFi's website

Overview

Variable APR:
4.49% - 13.88%
Fixed APR:
4.99% - 14.83%
Loan Type:
Graduate, Undergraduate
Minimum Loan Amount:
$5,000
Loan Terms:
5, 10 and 15 years
Origination Fees:
None
Prepayment Fees:
None
Co-signer Option:
Yes

Details

  • Offer college, graduate school, law school, MBA and Parent student loans
  • Flexible repayment options
  • No late fees
  • Autopay rate discount
  • Free perks such as career planning and job search assistance
4.36% - 10.24%
3.99% - 10.32%
3.99% - 10.32%

View Details

on LendKey's website

Overview

Variable APR:
4.36% - 10.24%
Fixed APR:
3.99% - 10.32%
Loan Type:
Graduate, Undergraduate
Minimum Loan Amount:
$5,000
Loan Terms:
10
Origination Fees:
No
Prepayment Fees:
No
Co-signer Option:
Yes

Details

  • Low rates from community lenders like credit unions and community banks
  • Get lower rates with a co-signer
  • Ability to pause payments for up to 18 months if you become unemployed
  • May consider your academic credentials to help you get a lower rate
  • If you repay 10% of your loan before your loan enters full repayment period, 1.0% APR is dropped from your current interest rate
5.49% - 12.62%
5.99% - 12.85%
5.49% - 12.85%

View Details

on Citizens' website

Overview

Variable APR:
5.49% - 12.62%
Fixed APR:
5.99% - 12.85%
Loan Type:
Graduate, Undergraduate
Minimum Loan Amount:
$1,000
Loan Terms:
5, 10, 15 years
Origination Fees:
None
Prepayment Fees:
None
Co-signer Option:
Yes

Details

  • Student loans for college, graduate, medical/dental, law, MBA and Parent Loans
  • Flexible repayment options
  • Multi-year approval: no need to apply annually
  • Cosigner option
  • Forbearance and deferment options
4.72% - 14.98%
4.62% - 16.75%
4.62% - 16.75%

View Details

on Ascent's website

Overview

Variable APR:
4.72% - 14.98%
Fixed APR:
4.62% - 16.75%
Loan Type:
Graduate, Undergraduate
Minimum Loan Amount:
$2,001
Loan Terms:
5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20 years
Origination Fees:
No
Prepayment Fees:
No
Co-signer Option:
Yes

Details

  • Student loan repayment while in school
  • 1% cash back on student loan principal at graduation
  • Co-signer release after 12 consecutive payments
  • Financial hardship forbearance available
  • No minimum income or credit score
  • Apply with or without a co-signer

Disclosures: College Ave | SoFi | LendKey | Citizens | Ascent

Choose a low
fixed or variable rate.

Find a low interest rate, lower monthly payment, or both.

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Starting At

3.24%APR

(includes 0.25% auto pay discount)

variable

Starting At

3.99%APR

(includes 0.25% auto pay discount)

fixed

Student Loan Payment Calculator

Calculate your monthly payment

Step 1: Enter Current Loan Info

Student Loan Balance

Average Interest Rate 

Loan Term (years)
10
MONTHLY PAYMENT
$112
TOTAL PAYMENT
$21,124
If you refinance $30,000 of student loans at a 3.25% interest rate with a 10-year repayment term, you can save $4,789 over the life of your loan.

Why private student loans?

Get My Rate

Compare options

Choose between fixed and variable rates.

Flexibility

Choose a student loan repayment term from 5-20 years.

No fees

No application or origination fees.
No pre-payment penalties.

Bridge the gap

Help fund your education after borrowing federal loans.
Private Student Loans

Popular Questions

What are private student loans?

Private student loans are student loans offered by private lenders to help pay for the cost of college or graduate school. Often, scholarships, grants and federal student loans are not sufficient to pay for the full cost of college or graduate school. Private student loans help bridge the gap between the cost of attendance and your financial aid. You can use private student to help you pay for tuition, books, room and board and other educational expenses. Unlike federal student loans, private student loans are available with both fixed interest rates and variable interest rates. Depending on your credit worthiness, you may be able to get a lower interest rate with private student loans than with federal student loans.

Do I qualify for private student loans?

You are a good candidate for private student loans if you meet the following criteria:

  • Have a credit score of at least 650
  • Currently employed or have a signed job offer
  • Have steady and stable income

If you don't meet these or any other requirements, you can apply with a qualified co-signer such as a parent. A co-signer can help you get approved for private student loans and get a lower interest rate. Each lender has its own underwriting requirements. For example, some lenders may evaluate additional criteria, such as your debt-to-income ratio. Most lenders may require that you graduated from a Title-IV accredited college or university.

Who should borrow private student loans?

Private student loans are available for both college and graduate school. After considering options such as scholarships, grants, financial aid and federal student loans, you should consider private student loans to help pay for school.

What are the disadvantages of private student loans?

You should consider your options for federal student loans first before borrowing private student loans. With private student loans, you are borrowing from a private lender, not from the U.S. Department of Education. Federal student loans offer several unique benefits that may not be available with private student loans, such as forbearance or deferment. That said, some private lenders offer options for financial hardship and other types of student loan deferment that are separate from federal programs. Private student loans also aren’t eligible for public service loan forgiveness or a federal income-driven repayment plan, for example.

Do private student loans have fees?

There are no fees to borrow private student loans. Most lenders don’t charge application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.

What documents do you need to apply for private student loans?

To apply for private student loans, you may be asked to upload the following documents or information:

  • Social Security number
  • Proof of income (if applicable)
  • Government ID
  • School information
  • How much you would like to borrow
  • Financial aid you expect to receive
Do private student loans impact my credit score?

Before you borrow your student loans, most lenders let you check your estimated new rate before you submit a full application. This is called a soft credit check, and there is no impact to your credit score.

If you like your new rate, you can submit an application to borrow private student loans. At that time, a lender will pull your credit. This is called a hard credit check, and your credit score is impacted by a few points. You can apply to multiple lenders within a short time frame such as a week, and it will only count as a single credit inquiry. When you make on-time payments on your new loan, you can increase your credit score over time. This is because on-time payments comprise 35% of your FICO score, whereas applying for any new loan counts as 10%.

How do I get the lowest private student loans rate?

To get the lowest private student loans rate, make sure to compare lenders. Most lenders reserve the lowest private student loans rates for borrowers (or cosigners) with strong credit and income as well as a lower debt-to-income ratio. Variable interest rates tend to be lower than fixed interest rates, so you may be able to save money with a variable interest rate student loan. To save interest, you can also choose a shorter student loan repayment term. Typically, a shorter student loan repayment period such as 5 years will have a lower interest rate than a longer student loan repayment period such as 20 years.

How do I choose the best private student loans?

When evaluating private student loans, you should compare at least the following across lenders:

  • The annual percentage rate, or APR
  • The monthly payment
  • The total payment
  • The total loan term for student loan repayment
  • Student loan payment deferment options
  • Other benefits
What is the difference between federal student loans and private student loans?

There are several differences between federal student loans and private student loans.

Federal student loans are issued by the U.S. Department of Education and available to all borrowers, regardless of need, credit history or income. The most popular types of federal student loans are Stafford, Perkins and PLUS Loans. With federal student loans, each borrower receives the same fixed interest rate, meaning the interest rate of a federal student loan will not change over the life of the student loan. Federal student loans also offer several borrower protections such as income-driven repayment programs, deferral and forbearance.

Private student loans are issued by online lenders, banks and credit unions. The federal government does not issue private student loans. Unlike federal student loans, private student loans have both fixed interest rates and variable interest rates. A fixed interest rate means that the interest rate will not change over the life of your private student loan. A variable interest rate means that your student loan rate will rise or fall with movements in interest rates. Typically, a variable interest rate student loan has a lower rate than a fixed interest rate student loan.

For private student loans, borrowers with strong credit may be able to obtain a variable interest rate that is lower than a federal student loan interest rate. The best private student loans lenders also offer some form of payment flexibility due to unemployment or hardship.

What’s the difference between fixed and variable rate loans?

When you borrow private student loans, you can choose between a fixed and variable interest rate. In contrast, federal student loans only have fixed interest rates and do not offer variable interest rates. A fixed interest rate means that the interest rate on your student loan will never change for the duration of your student loan. A variable interest rate means that the interest rate on your student loan can change over time based on movements in prevailing interest rates.

A fixed interest rate will provide you with more certainty and predictability because you will have the same interest rate every month. Since the interest rate on a variable interest student loan can change, you may have a higher or lower monthly payment over time. Typically, the starting interest rate on variable rate loans are lower than on fixed rate loans.

How do I apply for private student loans?

The process to get a private student loan is straightforward:

  1. Compare rates
  2. Use a student loan calculator.
  3. Check your rate with no impact to your credit score
  4. Choose your loan and repayment terms
  5. Apply online
  6. Get approved
Do I need a cosigner to borrow private student loans?

If you have a strong credit score, work experience, stable income and a history of financial responsibility, then you may be a good candidate for private student loans.

However, if you have a limited or no credit history (such as when you apply to college), you may be asked to have a cosigner to help you.A cosigner is someone – such as a parent, grandparent, spouse, mentor or other creditworthy family member – who assumes equal financial responsibility for your student loan. A qualified cosignershould have a strong credit score, history of financial responsibility and stable income. The advantages of having a cosigner is that a cosigner can help you get approved for private student loans and get a lower rate. Since lenders are focused on minimizing their credit risk, they want to have comfort that a creditworthy individual can serve as a cosigner for a student loan if you’re unable to repay your student loans.

There are risks to serving as a cosigner for private student loans.For example, the cosigner is financially responsible to repay the student loan if the primary borrower does not repay, or defaults on, the student loan. As a cosigner, your credit score could be impacted due to any missed or late student loan payments.

Most lenders permit cosigners to be released from financial responsibility for a private student loan after certain requirements are fulfilled. For example, after you make regular, on-time student loan payments, the cosigner may be able to be released from your private student loan. Most lenders permit a student loan borrower to apply for student loan refinancing in their name only, which then releases the cosigner from financial responsibility.

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