Top Private Student Loans For You

If you’re one of the thousands of college students taking remote courses this year, the thought that you’re stuck with the same tuition bill while staying home may have already crossed your mind. Even though one of the most cost-effective ways to finance the cost of tuition is with federal student loans, that money might not cover everything. A few ways to bridge the shortfall between the funds you need and what you can realistically afford are private student loans, grants, and work-study programs.

As Bruce McClary, the vice president of marketing for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, told US News My Money, it can be tempting to borrow more than you should. “With so much uncertainty regarding college campuses and fall class schedules, planning for expenses is not an easy task.”

Here’s where you can find the best private student loans, according to US News My Money.

Best Online Services

SoFi

Sofi is one of the best online banks available right now. It serves over 375,000 borrowers with refinanced student loans for undergraduates, graduates, and parents topping $30 billion. These loans are available nationwide.  

Other loans include:

 

  • Dental
  • Law
  • MBA
  • Medical

 

You must score at least 680 or higher on the FICO credit scale. SoFi accepts co-signers and has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of A. A few notable highlights include refinancing for all student loans, smooth online app[licaiton, and five to 20-year loan terms. Lastly, you don’t have to pay any fees for late payments, origination, or applying. 

Best For Instant Approval

College Ave

Undergraduates, graduates, and parents across the country can apply for a student loan from College Ave. This bank is well-known for its straightforward application forms and immediate decisions.

Other loan types include:

 

  • Dental
  • International
  • Law
  • MBA

 

College Ave didn’t reveal its minimum FICO score requirements, but it does allow a co-signer and receives an A+ from the BBB. It offers loans starting at $1,000 max 100% of the cost of attendance. You also get your choice of payment options, including flat, interest-only, or deferred. Lastly, College Ave has no origination or prepayment charges.

Best Product Availability

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae provides student loans for undergraduates, graduates, and those seeking specialized degrees. The loans it has offered have helped thousands of Americans cover the costs of higher education.

Other loan types include:

 

  • Dental
  • Law
  • MBA
  • Refinancing

 

Like College Ave, Sallie Mae does not list its minimum FICO score requirement. You are allowed to have a co-signer, and the BBB gave it an A+. These loans can help you cover all of the expenses associated with school-certified costs and have no origination fees. Sallie Mae is also rated highly for its customer service, which could make this process less stressful.

Best Customer Service

Education Loan Finance

ELFI is a nationwide refinancing program for both federal and private student loans operated by Tennessee’s SouthEast Bank. Here, parents, undergraduates, and graduates can finance their loans.

Other loan types include:

 

  • MBA
  • Law
  • Dental
  • Medical

 

You must have a FICO score of 680 or more to qualify. However, if your credit is bad or nonexistent, ELFI does let you have a co-signer. The BBB gives this bank an A+ for its excellent customer service, no cap on how much you can borrow, and other services. ELFI refinance all loans and may approve eligible borrowers with debt-to-income ratios as high as 50%.

Best For Low Fees

Discover Bank

Discover Bank was established over a century ago, but it has provided private student loans to students enrolled in 2,400 colleges and counting for the last decade. Discover offers fixed and variable rates to help you afford up to 100% of the cost of school.

Other loan types include:

 

  • Dental
  • Graduate
  • International
  • Law
  • MBA
  • Medical
  • Parent
  • Refinancing
  • Undergraduate

 

Discover does not list its minimum FICO score requirement, though, like other lenders on this list, you can have a co-signer. It has an A+ from the BBB, has no fees for late payments, applying, or origination, and offers loans starting at $1,000.

 

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