6 Best Private Student Loans Options in 2018 - Make Lemonade

Private Student Loans

Best Private Student Loans For 2018

Private student loans are an excellent tool to help you pay for the cost of higher education.

Whether it’s private loans for college or private loans for graduate school, private student loans can help you bridge the gap between your financial aid and federal student loans on one side and total attendance cost on the other.

Our comparison tools help you compare the best private student loans and choose the private student loans that are best for you.

Find your personalized private student loan rates in only 2 minutes.

These are our highest-rated private student loans options for 2018.


Compare The Best Private Student Loans For 2018

Lender
Rates (APR)
Loan Type
3.94% - 12.78%
Graduate, Undergraduate

Overview

Variable Rates:3.94% - 11.19%
Fixed Rates:5.29% - 12.78%
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
4.92% - 10.01%
Graduate, Undergraduate

Overview

Variable Rates:4.92% - 10.01%
Fixed Rates:5.36% - 9.69%
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
4.04% - 14.87%
Cosigned Graduate, Undergraduate

Overview

Variable Rates:4.04% - 13.04%
Fixed Rates:5.81% - 14.87%
Minimum Loan Amount:$2,000
Loan Terms:5, 10, 15 years
Origination Fees:No
Prepayment Fees:No
Co-signer Option:Yes

Details

  • Ability to start repaying loan while in school
  • Co-signer release after 24 consecutive payments
  • Financial hardship forbearance option
  • Non-U.S. citizens are eligible if they have a creditworthy co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • 1% Cash Back Reward to students on their loan principle amount upon graduation
5.70% - 14.00%
Non-cosigned Graduate, Undergraduate

Overview

Variable Rates:5.70% - 13.00%
Fixed Rates:7.32% - 14.00%
Minimum Loan Amount:$2,000
Loan Terms:10, 15 years
Origination Fees:No
Prepayment Fees:No
Co-signer Option:Yes

Details

  • Borrowers can qualify without a cosigner
  • A borrower’s major, graduation date and future earnings potential are considered
  • Borrowers who choose a fixed-rate option only can select a 10 year term
  • No minimum credit score or minimum income is required
  • Must have Satisfactory Academic Performance of 2.5 GPA, have Junior status or higher, and must be enrolled full-time
  • 1% Cash Back Reward to students on their loan principle amount upon graduation
3.74% - 8.91%
Graduate, Law, Medical, MBA, Dentistry, Nursing

Overview

Variable Rates:3.74% - 7.89%
Fixed Rates:4.50% - 8.91%
Minimum Loan Amount:$5,000
Loan Terms:5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Origination Fees:No
Prepayment Fees:No
Co-signer Option:Yes

Details

  • Student loans available to graduate, undergraduate and associates degrees
  • Law school, business school, medical school, dentistry school available at select schools.
  • Flexible student loan repayment options
  • Forbearance up to 1 year available
3.62% - 12.98%
Undergraduate, Graduate

Overview

Variable Rates:3.62% - 12.98%
Fixed Rates:5.74% - 12.87%
Minimum Loan Amount:None
Loan Terms:None
Origination Fees:No
Prepayment Fees:No
Co-signer Option:Yes

Details

  • Multiple repayment options
  • You may be able to increase your chance of approval if you apply with a credit worthy co-signer
  • Borrow up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance
  • Choose up to 120 tutoring minutes with Sallie Mae’s partner Chegg
  • Deferment and forbearance options available

Advertiser Disclosure


What are private student loans?

Private student loans are student loans that help you pay for the cost of higher education.
Often, scholarships, grants and federal student loans are not sufficient to pay for the full cost of college or graduate school.

That is why private student loans help bridge the gap between the cost of attendance and your financial aid.
You can use private loans for college or private loans for graduate school.Private student loans can help you pay for tuition, books, room and board and other educational expenses.

In contrast to federal student loans, private student loans are not issued by the U.S. Department of Education. Rather, private student loans – including private loans for college – are issued by private student loan lenders. The best private student loans are issued by online lenders, banks and credit unions.

At Make Lemonade, with our free comparison tools, we compare the best private student loans so you can save money and live a better financial life. We help student loan borrowers compare the best private student loans to find private loans for college and private loans for graduate school.

Do I qualify for private student loans?

To qualify for the best private student loans, you need to be a creditworthy borrower or have a creditworthy cosigner.

The stronger your credit and history of financial responsibility, the lower your private student loans rate will be.

As a student, every potential borrower qualifies for a federal student loan. Every borrower also pays the same, fixed interest rate regardless of their underlying credit profile. However, the federal government does not issue private student loans.

So, to obtain private student loans, you need to borrow from a private student loans lender.

For private student loans, most lenders want to lend to borrowers with a strong credit profile to minimize their risk. Lenders want to see that you use credit responsibly.This means that most lenders want a borrower to have a credit score of at least 650 and a low debt-to-income ratio (such as less than 30%). Although requirements vary by lender, lenders may also evaluate your assets, income, college or university, and proposed degree and major.

If you do not meet the minimum qualifications, however, don’t worry. You can still qualify for the best private student loans rates.

All you need is a qualified cosigner who has a strong credit profile and meets these requirements. Your cosigner also should have stable, recurring income. A qualified cosigner can help you get approved for private loans for college or private loans for graduate school.

Today, most private student loans are issued with a cosigner. Why? This reason is that most applicants for private loans for college or private loans for graduate school have limited or no credit history.

How do I choose the right private student loans?

Choosing the right private student loans can seem daunting.

However, these steps can help you choose the best private student loans for your specific situation.

After you maximize your scholarships, grants and federal student loans, you should evaluate private student loans.

Private student loans are issued by private lenders such as online lenders, banks and credit unions. Make Lemonade helps you compare lenders to find the best private student loans, and we connect you directly to each lender to apply. We include side-by-side comparisons to help you make informed decisions in a transparent way when searching for private student loans.

Whether you are evaluating private loans for college or private loans for graduate school,you should consider at least the following:

  • The annual percentage rate, or APR
  • The total cost the loan (including interest and fees)
  • The monthly payment
  • The total loan term for repayment
  • Payment deferment options

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 information do I need to apply for private student loans?

It is easy to apply for private student loans, and you can complete the entire application online.
To complete a private student loans application, you will need at least the following information:

  • Full name, social security number and date of birth
  • Permanent address and the number of years you have lived at that address
  • Annual income
  • Monthly rent or monthly mortgage payment
  • Phone number
  • Occupation and position
  • Name and contact information of your employer and how long you have worked for the employer
  • Contact information for a reference, including name, address and phone number
  • Name of college or university

If you are applying for private student loans with a cosigner, and want to know the eligibility requirements for private student loans, your cosigner will need to provide the same information for the private student loans application.

What is the application process for private student loans?

If you are applying for private loans for college or graduate school, the application process is typically online and is structured as follows:

  1. Compare lenders on Make Lemonade
  2. Select lender(s) to apply to
  3. Complete background and educational information
  4. Have cosigner complete information
  5. Upload required documentation
  6. Wait for approval from lender

You can complete the entire private student loans application within 15 minutes.

After you have been approved for a private student loan, you will sign a promissory note. A promissory note is a binding legal agreement to repay your student loans in full plus interest.

Once your lender verifies your enrollment and cost of attendance with your school, the private student loans funds will be disbursed directly to your school. If there is any money left over, you will be issued a check for the balance.

How do you get the best private student loans rates?

You can find the best private student loans rates on Make Lemonade. We help you compare the best private student loans from the top lenders. When it comes to private loans for college and private loans for graduate school, Make Lemonade helps save you money so you can live a better financial life.

We recommend that you apply to multiple private student loans lenders to increase your chances for approval.

How can you get the best private loans for college and best private loans for graduate school?

You can find the best private student loans for college and private student loans for graduate school on Make Lemonade. We thoroughly evaluate all our partner lenders to ensure that they operate with the highest professional standards and are reliable private student loans lenders. We believe strongly in transparency, and our free comparison tools highlight which lenders offer the best private loans for college and private loans for graduate school.

The secret to getting the best private loans for college and private loans for graduate school is to have a strong credit profile and history of financial responsibility. If you cannot meet these requirements, you should apply with a creditworthy cosigner who can help you get approved and receive the best private student loans rates.

What is a private student loans servicer?

A private student loans servicer is a company that handles the customer service functions related to your private student loan. Private student loans servicers manage billing and payments for your student loans. Student loan servicers can also help with optimal repayment plans and answer your student loans questions. Some lenders use a third party to serve as their private student loans servicer, while other lenders act as their own private student loans servicer.

You can use your student loan servicer as often as you need to ensure that your student loans payments are being collected and tracked properly. If your private student loans lender offers forbearance or deferral, you can consult your student loan servicer to discuss the details of the program.
Unfortunately, you cannot choose your student loan servicer. Rather, the student loan servicer is assigned to you by your lender. You can find out the name of your student loan servicer by contacting your lender or checking your credit report.

Your student loan servicer also helps you track your student loan balance, monthly payment, total interest and total loan cost. However, you should keep your own records and keep track of any conversations that you have with your student loan servicer. This will help you manage your student loans better. Also, when requesting an extra student loan payment or other important requests, you should make any such requests in writing.

Do private loans for college have any risks?

Private student loans, including private loans for college and private loans for graduate school, have risks. Unlike federal student loans, private student loans do not offer federal income-driven repayment programs. Further, interest on your private student loans accrue while you are in school.

Private student loans do not automatically come with deferral or forbearance, for example, but many lenders now offer some form of unemployment protection if you lose your job, while others may allow for forbearance options.

What is the difference between variable interest rates and fixed interest rates for private student loans?

A fixed interest rate means that the interest rate will not change over the life of your private student loan. For example, if you borrow a private student loan at 5% interest, the interest rate will not change over the life of your private student loans. Private student loans and federal student loans may have different interest rate, but if they are both fixed, the respective interest rates will remain the same.

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 example, if you borrow a variable interest rate private student loan at 4%, that rate may increase or decrease based on the underlying benchmark for interest rates. If interest rates move up, your variable rate may increase. If interest rates move down, your variable rate may decrease.

Do private student loans require a credit check?

Yes, private student loans require a credit check. With most private student loans lenders, you can check your interest rate for free online with only a soft credit check (which will not impact your credit score).

Once you submit your application, your lender will check your credit (and your cosigner’s credit).

The good news is that you can apply simultaneously to multiple private student loans lenders, and your credit score will not be adversely impacted beyond the first credit pull.

Will borrowing private student loans improve your credit?

Borrowing private student loans can improve your credit. If you have a limited credit profile, bad credit or no established history of credit, a private student loan can help improve your borrower profile.

By making on-time payments in full each month, you can begin to develop a credit track record. When you repay your student loan each month, your lender can begin to view you as a responsible borrower. Avoiding missed or late payments can also improve your credit score because it demonstrates that you are responsible with debt.

What are the repayment options for private student loans?

There are several options for repayment of private student loans.

Whether it’s private loans for college or private loans for graduate school, first check with your lender. Generally, if you are enrolled at least half-time, you typically do not have to repay your private student loans while you are a student.

The only caveat is if you are a parent or guardian who borrows a loan on behalf of your child. In this case, unless you are also a student, repayment for these private student loans typically can begin while the student is enrolled in school.

Once you graduate, your lender may offer a grace period during which time you do not need to take student loan payments. Similarly, you can check with your lender to determine whether interest will accrue on your private student loans while you are a student.

There are several types of repayment option, which can vary by lender, and may include some or all of the following:

  1. Defer Loan Payments Until Graduation: this repayment option means that you start making student loan payments once you graduate (or after some pre-defined grace period).
  2. Make Interest Only Payments: this repayment option means that you make the interest payments on your private student loans while you are a student
  3. Start Payments While In School: this repayment option means that you make principal and interest payments while you are in school

There may be other options so make sure to contact your lender for details.

How can a cosigner help you get the best private student loans and get approved for private student loans?

Private student loans lenders prefer to lend to borrowers who have a strong credit score, work experience, stable income and a history of financial responsibility.

However, many applicants for private student loans are recent high school graduates (in the case of private loans for college) or recent college graduates with limited or no credit history (in the case of private loans for graduate school). This is where a cosigner can help borrowers get approved for private student loans and even get a lower interest rate.

What Is A Cosigner?

A cosigner is someone who assumes equal financial responsibility for a student loan. If the primary borrower does not repay the student loan or the student loan goes into default, the cosigner assumes equal responsibility for the student loan.

To be a qualified cosigner, the person should have a strong credit score, history of financial responsibility and stable income. A cosigner can be a family member, friend, mentor or anyone else who is a creditworthy individual.

What Are The Benefits Of A Cosigner?

A creditworthy cosigner can help you get approved for private student loans and secure a lower interest rate, which will save you money in the long term.

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 the primary borrower is unable to repay the student loan, lenders want assurance that a creditworthy cosigner will be responsible.

What Are The Risks Of A Cosigner?

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 the student loan due to death, disability, unemployment or any other reason. As a cosigner, your credit score could be impacted due to any missed or late student loan payments.

Can Cosigners Be Released From Private Loans For College or Private Loans For Graduate School?

Most lenders permit cosigners to be released from financial responsibility for a 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 the student loan. Most lenders permit the student loan borrower to apply for student loan refinance in their names only, which if the borrower is approved, then releases the cosigner from financial responsibility. You can check with your lender to determine if they offer a cosigner release option and the requirements.

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