The best student loans for 2020

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  • Fixed: 4.74% – 11.85%³
  • Variable: 1.25% – 9.44%³
  • Includes rates for undergraduate loans.
  • Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount
  • Sallie Mae disclosure
  • Fixed: 4.49% – 12.39% APR
  • Variable: 1.24% – 11.37% APR
  • Lowest APRs are available for the most creditworthy applicants for the undergraduate loans and include an interest-only repayment discount and Auto Debit Reward
  • Fixed: 3.99% – 12.99%²
  • Variable: 1.24% – 11.98%²
  • Includes rates for undergraduate and graduate loans.
  • Includes autopay discount of 0.25%
  • College Ave disclosure

Best overall

  • Fixed: 3.99% – 12.99%²
  • Variable: 1.24% – 11.98%²
  • Includes rates for undergraduate and graduate loans.
  • Includes autopay discount of 0.25%
  • College Ave disclosure

Understanding student loans

To cover this massive expense, students and families use student loans to help finance post-secondary education costs including tuition, room and board, books, and additional living expenses.

When shopping for private student loans, it’s important to make sure you keep in mind each private student loan provider has its own set of terms, rates and eligibility requirements that vary, unlike a typical federal loan. Also know that applying with a co-signer can greatly improve your chances of qualifying.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the best way to pay for college?

If you need extra funding to help pay for your higher education, you should start by maximizing free financing sources such as scholarships and grants. After you maximize free money, you can turn to loans.

How do I apply for student loans?

We recommend that you take advantage of federal loans before turning to private loans. To apply for a federal loan, you must first complete the FAFSA and be accepted into an accredited collegiate program. Federal loans are need-based, tied to uniform interest rates, and do not require specific credit scores. Because federal funding is in high demand, remember to apply early.

What’s the difference between federal and private student loans?

There are many differences between federal and private student loans. For starters, unlike fed student loans, private loans are credit-based loans that are issued by private banks. This means that interest rates may vary based on a borrowers credit-worthiness. It can also mean that you may need a co-signer on your application if you have bad credit to be approved for private student loans. After graduation and sometimes before, you may seek to consolidate your student loans to reduce your monthly payments or overall cost. Student loan forgiveness is in the news quite a bit lately, but we don’t recommend using that hope as a repayment strategy.

How do I find the best rates?

As we say again and again, always start with federal student loans. When you’re looking to find the best private student loan, we highly recommend you compare student loans. Private student loans can have different interest rates, repayment terms, and other details that you’ll want to be aware of before you decide on the best student loan for you.

How do I apply for private loans?

If you have unmet financial needs to cover your college costs, and you’ve exhausted free and federal financing options, you may choose to turn to private student loans. When comparing private student loans, remember to pay special attention to interest rates, and repayment terms. Here’s a list of the top lenders of 2020 that we have vetted for your convenience.

Do I need a cosigner on my student loan?

While many lenders make it a requirement, some lenders offer student loans without a cosigner. If you or your parents have bad credit, it may be necessary to find a cosigner with a higher credit score to help you get a loan.

How can I refinance my loans?

Student loan refinancing, sometimes called student loan consolidation, is a great option for borrowers to pay their student loans back faster, lower their monthly payments or reduce the overall cost of their loan. Just like undergraduate student loans, refinance student loans can vary quite a bit. To help you navigate through different options, we’ve pulled together the best place to refinance student loans by allowing you to compare between the best student loan refinance companies. Generally speaking it’s a challenge to secure a refinance student loan with bad credit, but like the saying goes, it never hurts to try. Remember that loan forgiveness is not something you can plan on, so in the meantime, plan to compare refinance student loan options and find the right fit for your needs.

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