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12 Best Student Loan Lenders of 2023

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Best student loan lenders of 2023

Whether you are in college or planning to go to college, you’ll need a way to pay your bills and support your education. Student loans may be the answer for you. Private student loans originate with a bank, credit union, or online lenders. It is a fantastic option having exhausted all your scholarship, grant, work-study, and federal student loan options. We’ll discuss the best private student loan lenders in the sections that follow. After spending several hours researching each company’s rates, repayment policies, special features, and other factors, we came up with the following list, which is not in any particular order. In addition, we’ll also highlight the pros and the cons of these private lenders.

Most private student loan lenders require good credit, so we recommend adding a creditworthy cosigner to your application to improve your chances of approval. They are more expensive than federal loans and typically don’t offer flexible repayment options. In the vast majority of cases, the best college financing option is a federal student loan although they may not be enough to cover all costs. Private student loans can fill funding gaps, but you must shop around to choose the right lender.

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How You Can Use the Funds 

Private student loans provide money for living expenses and costs associated with continuing education that federal student loans may not cover. These costs consist of things like rent, food, and college tuition.  In many cases, private student lenders will require a co-signer.

How Much Money Can I Borrow with a Private Student Loan?

You might be able to borrow up to 100% of the tuition and fees your school estimates you’ll have to pay with a private student loan. When federal student loans are insufficient to meet a student’s educational expenses, private loans are frequently employed to bridge the funding gap.

The maximum loan amount is subject to the underwriting standards of private lenders. There may be yearly or cumulative borrowing restrictions among these requirements, which vary depending on the lender. Your credit history and co-credit signer’s standing are among the set criteria. In addition, the amount of money you may borrow from private lenders depends on your school’s tuition fees and the degree you’re pursuing.

Who is a Cosigner?

A cosigner is a person who has agreed in writing to repay the loan balance if the applicant is unable to do so. Loans for non-US citizens often fall under this category. The cosigners must also be US citizens or permanent residents who have lived in the US for the last two years and have good credit. Co-signers are particularly needed for borrowers who are undergraduate students. Graduate students are more likely to take out loans without one.

Steps to Identify the Best Private Student Loan Lenders for You

Generally, the most crucial thing you can do while looking for a private student loan is to weigh your possibilities. By doing this, you’ll be able to discover a loan that’s inexpensive and has reasonable repayment conditions. However, the following measures are what you should take to identify the best private student loans for you:

  1. Compile a list of student loan lenders that you’re interested in.
  2. Review the eligibility requirements for each lender
  3. Review the loan terms.
  4. Get quotes from the lenders you’re eligible with
  5. Compare your quotes
  6. Choose a lender

Best Student Loan Lenders of 2023 

 1. Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae was founded as a government entity in charge of servicing federal education loans. It fully transitioned into a fully privatized bank between 1997 and 2004 and began offering student loans. Borrowers can release their cosigner from the loan after they graduate as long as they make 12 on-time principal and interest payments and meet certain credit requirements

Pros: 

  • A short cosigner release period1
  • Multi-Year Advantage
  • Students attending school less than half-time are eligible
  • Covers up to the total cost of attendance3
  • A+ rating from the BBB

Cons:

  • Can’t prequalify with a soft credit check

If you are interested in applying for a student loan with Sallie Mae, click here to get started:

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 2. Ascent

Ascent is an online lender for student loans based in San Diego, California. The student loans from Ascent offer deferments for those who are in the military on active service, those who are enrolled in school, and those who are completing residencies or internships. Borrowers have a choice between three choices, including the conventional cosigned loan, a non-cosigned credit-based loan, and a non-cosigned future income-based loan.

Ascent is best for flexible repayment terms.

Pros:

  • Forbearance flexibility
  • Graduation reward
  • Prequalify with no impact on your credit
  • Job loss and natural disaster protection
  • Covers up to the total cost of attendance
  • A+ rating from the BBB.

Cons:

  • Limits to the amount you can borrow

If you are interested in applying for a student loan with Ascent student loan, click here to get started.

3. College Ave

College Ave is an online student loan lender based out of Wilmington, Delaware. The company’s sole focus is to make a college degree more attainable by helping students and parents afford the rising cost of higher education. Undergraduate and graduate students can apply for a student loan from College Ave.  According to the lender, 98% of all undergraduate loans are cosigned. College Ave is best for multi-year loans.

Pros:

  • You choose your repayment term
  • Offers all four in-school repayment options
  • Multi-Year Peace of Mind™
  • Option to apply for a six-month grace period extension
  • Covers up to the total cost of attendance
  • A+ rating from the BBB

Cons:

  • Cosigner release isn’t available until you are at least halfway through your repayment term.

If you are interested in applying for a student loan with College Ave, click here to get started.

4. Earnest

Earnest offers students loans with some of the lowest rates, flexible payments, and no fees. Based out of San Francisco, California, the online lender was founded with the goal of making higher education accessible and affordable for everyone. Earnest also offers a longer-than-average grace period and the ability to skip a payment once per year. You will not have to pay any application fee to apply for a loan with Earnest.

Pros:

  • No fees
  • A long grace period
  • Skip a payment once per year
  • Check your eligibility without affecting your credit
  • Covers up to the total cost of attendance
  • A+ rating from the BBB

Cons:

  • Cosigner release is not available.

If you are interested in applying for a student loan with Earnest, click here to get started.

5. Juno

Juno is an online student loan lender with one of the lowest rates and operates in a unique way. When you sign up for Juno, it groups you with other comparable borrowers. It makes use of that group to discuss loan conditions with its affiliate lenders on behalf of both domestic and foreign students. You could thus be qualified for loan rates that are lower than those you would find if you went shopping alone. In addition to the standard rewards, several of Juno’s partners also provide cash-back benefits.

Pros:

  • Special discounts and bonus offers
  • Rate match guarantee
  • Lower rates than you may get on your own
  • Loan options for international and DACA students.

Cons:

  1. The limited list of partners
  2. No pre-qualification option
  3. The process takes longer.

If you are interested in applying for a student loan with Juno, click here to get started.

6. MPOWER

MPOWER is the best lender for international students and students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status. Students can borrow up to $50,000 per year and have 10 years to repay their loans. MPOWER offers discounts for automatic payments and for providing proof of graduation and employment. Students can qualify for a private student loan without a cosigner.

Pros:

  • No co-signers required
  • Autopay discount
  • Graduation and employment discount

Cons:

  • Higher APRs
  • Must be within two years of graduation
  • Must attend a participating school

If you are interested in applying for a student loan with MPower, click here to get started.

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7. SoFi

SoFi offers both private student loans and student loan refinancing without charging any fee when you apply. It looks beyond credit scores and debt-to-income ratios to consider other factors like cash flow, education, and career prospects. This rebrand stands them out among other lenders. Undergraduates, graduates, and parents may apply for SoFi’s private student loans. However, the rates are higher relative to other lenders.

Pros:

  • The entire application can be completed online within minutes.
  • SoFi charges no origination, application, insufficient funds, or late fees.
  • You can get a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you sign up to make automated payments from your checking or savings account.
  • You have your choice of four repayment plans (immediate repayment, interest-only payments, partial payments, and full deferment), allowing you to customize your SoFi student loan according to your personal financial situation.

Cons:

  •  SoFi’s private student loans are more expensive
  • SoFi comes with fewer borrower protections and repayment options.

If you are interested in applying for a student loan with SoFi, click here to get started.

8. ISL Lending

ISL lending is a nonprofit organization with the purpose to help students obtain the resources necessary to succeed in postsecondary education. Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation has been helping students pay for college since 1977. In the past 40 years, ISL has helped nearly 400,000 students with college costs. ISL doesn’t have a minimum income requirement, and you can qualify if you don’t have a degree — or haven’t even graduated yet.

This lender offers private loans for current students as well as for parents and in addition, provides refinancing loans for borrowers who are paying off one or more previous student loans.

Pros:

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • You can refinance without a degree.
  • You can refinance while in school or during a medical residency.

Cons:

  • Interest rates vary by refi product.

If you are interested in applying for a student loan with ISL Lending, click here to get started.

9. Funding U

Funding U offers loans to students without a cosigner in a limited number of states. Borrowers are assessed based on academic success, likelihood to graduate on time, and projected earnings after graduation. Only full-time students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or DACA recipients with a work-eligible Social Security number can apply. You must also attend an eligible school, be in a qualifying year for your school, be a resident of an applicable state and meet the GPA minimum. Funding U is best for good students.

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.

Cons:

  • Loans aren’t available in all the states.
  • Payment is required while in school and during the grace period.

If you are interested in applying for a student loan with Funding U, click here to get started.

10. A.M. Money

Similar to Funding U, A.M. Money offers loans to qualified borrowers based on their academic record and GPA, not their credit. Additionally, A.M. Money distinguishes out since it provides borrowers who require it with an income-based repayment plan that lasts up to 36 months. The plan requires a $50 minimum monthly payment.

Co-signers are not sought, and there is a 4.5% origination fee. Borrowers can choose an income-based repayment plan for up to 36 months if they need it.

Pros:

  • No late fees
  • Income-based repayment available

Cons:

  • Requires a 4.5% origination fee
  • The short amount of time before a default occurs on unpaid loans.

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11. Citizens

Citizens is one of the largest commercial banks in the U.S. and offers multiyear approval loans, which cover each year of college. There are no application, origination, or disbursement fees. It offers both fixed- and variable-rate student loans with terms ranging from five to 15 years. Borrowers can save up to 0.5 of a percentage point for having another Citizens account (0.25) and setting up autopay (0.25). International students can apply if they have a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with good credit. Citizens is best for a streamlined approval process.

Pros:

  • Offers a loyalty discount for existing customers
  • Allows borrowers to get multi-year approval
  • Co-signer release is available.

Cons:

  • No pre-qualification option
  • Not available for part-time students
  • Relatively low aggregate limits
12. Credible

Credible Student Loans makes it easy to get pre-qualified with multiple lenders at once. Partner lenders may also offer various interest rate discounts, which are worth exploring. Federal and private student loans, including Parent PLUS loans, are eligible for refinancing. International students can apply if they provide a U.S. address and apply with a creditworthy co-signer.

Pros:

  • You can compare products and get prequalified without hurting your credit score.
  • Credible doesn’t sell your information to various lenders.

Cons:

  • You will only see prequalified offers from lenders if you are eligible.
  • Credible is just a starting point; further research into lenders is up to you.

If you are interested in applying for a student loan with Credible, click here to get started.

Summary

Whether you are in college or planning to go to college, you’ll need a way to pay your bills. Private student loan lenders are banks, credit unions, or online lenders. They are more expensive than federal loans and typically don’t offer flexible repayment options. Most private student loan lenders require good credit, so we recommend adding a creditworthy cosigner to your application.

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Morris Michael is a prolific writer, dedicated to excellent service delivery, motivated, and inspired by the satisfaction of clients. He is a Masters's Degree holder in Biochemistry from the University of Ibadan.

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