Best Private Student Loans Of 2020

College tuition is expensive. Period. And whether you plan on taking in-person classes next semester or participating in online courses, you will need a student loan to help you cover the cost.

Federal student loans are typically more affordable than private loans, but they might not meet all of your expenses. Private student loans, grants, and work-study programs can supplement where federal loans fall short and ensure all of your costs are covered.

However, as Bruce McClary, a contributor to US News and the vice president of marketing for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, cautioned, make sure you don’t overborrow. “With so much uncertainty regarding college campuses and fall class schedules, planning for expenses is not an easy task,” he warned.

Despite the uncertainty, there’s an option that’s right for you. Check out US News My Money’s best choices for private student loans.

Best Online Service

SoFi

SoFi is an online bank that has refinanced more than $30 billion in student loans for over 375,000 borrowers. This lender offers refinancing in every state and provides loans for parents, undergraduates, and graduates.

 

Highlights

  • Provides loans for dental, graduate, law, MBA, medical, parent, refinancing, undergraduate
  • Minimum FICO credit score requirement: 680
  • Accepts cosigners
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A
  • Offers refinancing for all student loans
  • 100% online application process
  • Loan terms from five to 20 years
  • Pay nothing for late, origination, or application fees

 

Fastest Approval Time

College Ave

College Ave provides parent, undergraduate, and graduate loans and is available across the country. US News My Money gave College Ave high marks for its straightforward application process and immediate decisions.

 

Highlights:

  • Provides dental, graduate, international, law, MBA, parent, refinancing, undergraduate loans
  • Accepts cosigners
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+
  • Offers loans starting at $1,000 and up to 100% of the cost of attendance
  • Get access to a variety of payment options, including full, interest-only, flat, or deferred payments
  • Pay no fees for origination or prepayment

 

Best Product Availability

Sallie Mae

You’ve probably heard of Sallie Mae, the consumer bank that provides private student loans for undergraduates, graduates, and even specialty degrees. Sallie Mae has provided thousands of loans to Americans pursuing higher education.

 

Highlights

  • Offers loans for dental, graduate, law, MBA, medical, parent, refinancing, undergraduate
  • Accepts cosigners
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+
  • Provides student loans that fully cover qualifying education costs
  • Great customer service
  • No loan origination fees

 

Best Customer Service

Education Loan Finance

Education Loan Finance (ELFI) provides student loan refinancing services for federal and private borrowers. ELFI will refinance a variety of loan types, including undergraduate, graduate, parent, MBAs, law, dental, and medical school.

 

Highlights

  • Offers loan refinancing for dental, graduate, law, MBA, medical, parent, refinancing, undergraduate
  • FICO credit score requirement: 680
  • Accepts cosigners
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+
  • There is no limit on the amount you can borrow
  • Refinances every type of student loan
  • High approval odds, even if you have a 50% debt-to-income ratio

 

Lowest Fees

Discover Bank

Discover is one of the oldest financial institutions in the US and has provided private student loans to students enrolled at over 2,400 higher education institutions since 2010. Discover offers fixed- and variable-rate loans to meet all of your education expenses.

 

Highlights

  • Offers dental, graduate, international, law, MBA, medical, parent, refinancing, and undergraduate loans
  • Accepts cosigners
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+
  • Provides loans as low as $1,000 to help you meet your needs without borrowing more than you have to
  • Get a better interest rate with a cosigner
  • Pay no fees for origination, applications, or late payments

 

Best For Borrowers With Average Credit

Earnest

Earnest is an online bank where graduates and undergraduates can find student loans or refinance. You can decide the terms of the loan and borrow as much as you need to cover your tuition costs.

 

Highlights

  • Provides loans for dental, graduate, law, MBA, medical, parent, refinancing, and undergraduate programs
  • FICO credit score requirement: 650
  • Accepts cosigners
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+
  • Pay no additional costs for origination, application, or late payments
  • You can pick the due date for your monthly payment that works best for you
  • Select a repayment period that matches your needs
  • When you have a cosigner, you can qualify for better rates

 

Source
  • DeNicola, Louis. “Best Private Student Loans of 2020.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 1 Dec. 2020, loans.usnews.com/student-loans.
Ian Schindler