The best student loans for 2020

Compare lending options

Click on a lender to open their site in a new window

  • 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.

CLT logo color-02

Not sure where to start?

Not sure what steps to take to pay for college?
We've put together a FREE detailed guide with everything you need to cover your tuition and life expenses.

mockup-of-an-ipad-pro-and-an-iphone-11-pro-at-a-studio-2032-el1 (5)
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Still need more information?

Federal

Federal student loans Student loans Refinance Some questions to consider when evaluating student loan options There are so many options for finding funding for your college tuition, it could be quite an intimidating prospect. Millions of students and their families have had great success in navigating the overall process and can you too. Additional to…

Read More

Finance

Finance Student loans Refinance Top 10 student loans College tuition costs have increased consistently year after year. In fact, the most expensive schools now charge between $50-$60k per year for tuition according to the College Board. To cover this massive expense, students and families use loans to help finance post-secondary education costs including tuition, room…

Read More

How to Apply for a Private Student Loan

How to Apply for a Private Student Loan Student loans Refinance When it comes to applying for a private student loan, it seems a little more daunting than it actually is. Like anything, you’ll want to be prepared with how you approach finding a loan that works for your personal finances. But first, if you…

Read More

Private

Private student loans Student loans Refinance Private student loans come in second to federal student loans, but what are the real differences? Should you take out private student loans? We answer all your questions and help you decide of private student loans are for you! Student loan debt is a topic that can be tricky…

Read More

Refinance

Refinance student loans Student loans Refinance Student loan refinancing See what you could be saving Refinancing means renegotiating your existing student loan: it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.The main reason why people refinance is to take advantage of benefits like only having one loan payment to manage, lower interest rates,…

Read More
girl stressing about her credit score

Student Loans for Bad Credit

Bad credit student loans Student loans Refinance Tips for getting student loans with bad credit Every year in the United States, thousands of students feel stuck scrambling to find ways to cover their tuition bill. Even though it feels stressful, most typically succeed. One of the top ways of funding education in 2019, is student…

Read More