Compare Private Student Loans Quickly & Easily
Purefy’s free tools let you compare private student loans to find your lowest interest rate and the right repayment terms for your unique financial situation. Get ready to save money while being more comfortable with your payment plan.
Private student loans may be your best option if you’ve maxed out your federal student loan options and explored all other avenues for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid.
Decided that applying for private student loans makes sense for you? The number one way to save money is to review and compare multiple private loan options:
- Fixed and variable interest rates — actual rate offers, not rate ranges
- Terms for loan repayments
- Eligibility requirements
- Minimum income, credit, and cosigner requirements
Whether you are a parent or student, Purefy can help you find the best private student loan after answering just five simple questions.
With our easy-to-use rate comparison tool, you can see real, personalized rates from a variety of lenders — without having to fill out several cumbersome applications.
Private student loan comparison and options
- Students who apply without a cosigner can potentially be approved based on their school of attendance, program, major, and other criteria that aren’t based on credit/income.
- 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward program
- Up to 48 months of deferment, if the borrower returns to school during repayment
- Cosigner release available after 24 months of on-time, consecutive monthly payments
- International students can apply with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner
- No FICO minimum for borrower with a qualified cosigner
- No half-time enrollment requirement for students enrolled in graduate programs
- Flat payment program available – pay just $25 a month while in-school to ease your debt burden on gradation
- Borrowers can enter deferment if they return to school after graduation, as long as they maintain at least half-time enrollment.
- International students may apply with a co-signer who is either a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
Private student loan basics
Private student loans vs. federal student loans
It’s important to understand the differences between federal student loans and private loans before applying for them to help fund your tuition.
Federal Student Loans
Federal student loans are issued by the U.S. Department of Education, and in most cases, offer lower rates (that are set by Congress) than rates offered by private lenders.
Federal loans also have great protections and benefits, such as forbearance, Income-Driven Repayment plans, and access to loan forgiveness programs. As such, they are the first choice when seeking the best loans for college.
You can apply for federal student loans using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After grants, scholarships, and other aid is awarded, the federal government will determine how much you can receive in federal loans. There are a few different types of federal student loans you may qualify for including Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans.
Private Student Loans
Private student loans, on the other hand, are offered by banks, credit unions, and other private institutions like online lenders. These lenders will run a credit check to determine your eligibility.
Private student loan interest rates vary and are determined primarily by your creditworthiness, as well as other factors like income or even the type of degree you are pursuing.
Because credit plays such a large role, most students will need a cosigner with an established credit history and a good credit score in order to qualify for a loan and obtain a manageable interest rate.
Although private loans don’t come with the same protections as federal student loans, many lenders offer attractive benefits and repayment options to borrowers. All in all, private loans can be another good solution for filling in necessary funding gaps so that you can afford college.
How to apply for a private student loan
Once you have used our rate comparison tool and decided on a lender, you will be taken to their application.
You can apply at any time, but keep in mind it can take up to 30-60 days for the funds to be disbursed to your school — so make sure you leave enough time to meet your tuition due dates.
The student loan application process itself will typically take less than 15 minutes to complete, and will consist mostly of personal information about yourself and your cosigner (if applicable). After you apply, you also will be asked for a few documents to certify the information listed on your application.
How to choose the best private student loan for your needs
In most cases, finding the best interest rate with the term and repayment plan you want is the number one selection criteria when comparing private student loan options.
That said, you should also pay attention to the other benefits that the lenders provide. For instance, if you plan on pursuing a graduate or professional degree full time after graduating from a bachelor's program, you will want to choose a lender that offers deferment while you continue your studies.
You’ll also want to think about the different repayment options that each lender offers. If you can afford to make interest payments while you are still in school, you can save a lot in interest costs.
Fixed vs. Variable Rate Loans
With private student loans, you may be able to choose between a fixed and variable rate, depending on the provider. Here’s how fixed rate and variable rate loans work so you can decide which would work better for you.
As the term suggests, a fixed interest rate will stay the same (or be “fixed”) for the entire length of the loan. This means that your monthly payment will also stay the same unless you’re on an alternative repayment plan such as a graduated repayment plan, which increases your payment over time.
Keep in mind that because the lender takes on more long-term risk with a fixed rate, it will usually be higher than the initial rate on a variable rate loan.
Unlike fixed interest rates, variable rates fluctuate over the life of your loan. The interest rate will typically change on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Variable rates are usually calculated based on the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR — a global market benchmark for many different types of loans and credit cards. If the LIBOR falls, so will the rate on your loan. But if the LIBOR increases, your interest rate — and monthly payment — will go up with it.
Since the lender is shifting some of the interest rate risk to you, variable interest rates typically start out lower than fixed interest rates. If the rate goes up, you’re the one who will end up paying for it with higher monthly payments.
For a further deep dive into the differences and benefits of fixed and variable rate loans, read more into their pros and cons before choosing .
Private student loans with bad credit
Your credit score has a significant impact on the private student loan interest rates you can qualify for. But what is a credit score?
A credit score is a three-digit number that represents the overall strength of your credit history. It helps private student loan companies decide if you are creditworthy enough to lend money to.
The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to qualify for a loan and get the lowest interest rate available. The lower your credit score, the less likely you are to qualify for a loan. And if you do qualify, you may face a higher interest rate because of it. That means you’ll have higher monthly payments and end up paying more over the life of the loan compared to someone with a higher credit score.
What makes up your credit score is often the same set of criteria, including:
- Payment history
- Amounts owed (or credit utilization)
- Length of credit history
- Credit mix
- New credit
One of the most difficult credit score factors for private student loan applicants is often the length of credit history — because most students (especially undergrad students) do not have much of a credit history. That is why most private student loan borrowers will need a cosigner.
A cosigner (frequently a parent or relative) is someone who agrees to sign onto your loan with you and has a strong enough credit score to help you qualify for a loan. Typically, the better your cosigner’s credit score, the lower your interest rate.
Your consigner would ultimately be responsible for making payments should you be unable to do so. Having a cosigner with excellent credit is a great way to ensure you get the best rate on your private loans for college.
On the other hand, if you have a negative record in your credit history, such as delinquency, default, bankruptcy, or collections, you may want to give the lender you are considering a call before you apply to see if you are likely to be denied a private loan because of it.
Private student loans without a cosigner
Other than just qualifying you for a loan, a cosigner can also be very useful in getting you the lowest interest rate possible.
However, if you have established a little bit of a credit history and made your payments on time, you may find that you have a high enough credit score to qualify for a loan on your own.
With a decent credit score, many providers will offer loans to you without a cosigner, but you might not qualify for the lowest interest rates available. To get a better rate, make sure your credit score is in top-notch shape by taking all the necessary steps to boost your score as much as possible before applying:
- If you already have loans or credit cards, continue making on-time payments every month.
- Lower your credit usage by keeping the amounts you owe as low as possible.
- You could even try to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card, preferably someone with a solid credit score who makes on-time payments. You don’t have to use the card to take advantage of any benefits this provides to your credit score.
But keep in mind — many lenders offering private loans for college have other criteria for qualifying than just credit score such as a minimum income or debt-to-income ratio. If you aren’t working while in school or are working part-time, it may be hard to get approved.
In other circumstances, you may just not have easy access to a cosigner. If a cosigner isn’t possible and you’re struggling to improve your own credit score to qualify for a private student loan, take a look at other alternatives including:
How much to borrow
After you’ve completed the FAFSA for federal student loans, and secured your grants, scholarships, and other financial aid, your school’s financial aid office will provide you with a summary. You may find that there is a gap left in funding your education. Two common options to fill this gap are family college savings (if available), or private student loans.
Remember, if you do borrow, only borrow what you absolutely need. It’s easy to forget while you are busy with classwork and college social life, but every dollar you borrow for your education (and supporting yourself during your education) will be accumulating interest on a daily basis the entire time you are in school. So have fun while you’re in school — but don’t spend your private student loan money on it.
1Ascent Rate Disclosure:
Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 7/7/2020 and include a 0.25% on the lowest rate offered and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate. Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized back account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details.
2CollegeAve Rate Disclosure:
College Ave Loan Disclosure: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. Rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. Minimum loan amount $1,000, as certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. Information advertised valid as of 7/1/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
At Purefy, we do our best to keep all information, including rates, as up to date as possible. Keep in mind that each private student loan lender has different eligibility criteria. Your actual rate, payment and financing costs may be different based on your credit history, loan amount, term selected, the presence of a co-signer, among many other variables.If applying with a co-signer, lenders typically use the higher credit score between the borrower and the co-signer for approval purposes. All loans are subject to credit approval by the lender
Purefy’s comparison platform is not offered or endorsed by any college or university. Purefy is not affiliated with and does not endorse any college or university listed on this website.
Purefy reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice.