7 Best Private Student Loan Options for 2022 (Updated Monthly)

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Here are some of the best private student loan providers for 2022.

Interested in the best private student loans for the 2022 year? Then you’ll find this article helpful. As you know, student loans are one of the best ways to fund your educational goals when you don’t have the resources right then and there.

Student loans, for example, can help provide you peace of mind while you chase your academic dreams. Like general personal loans, they gain interest over time and must eventually be paid back, albeit through minor installments.

According to Smarts.co,

“There are two types of student loans — federal and private. Each kind offers varying costs and benefits, with private loans tied to credit and provided through third-party institutions like banks, credit unions, state agencies or schools themselves — both colleges and universities have private loan options.”

When interest rates are high, federal and government loans tend to be more promising, particularly because they offer fixed rates and more stability. But the market currently has low-interest rates, making private student loans much more competitive.

Pretty much all private loans work the same way with one small exception: fixed versus variable rate loans. The difference between the two is simply that a fixed rate loan has a permanent interest rate tied to the contract, while a variable loan has an interest rate that may change based on the market. Variable rates tend to be lower but can be risky because market benchmarks like prime rates and LIBOR can make them shift up or down.

That doesn’t mean you should avoid reviewing the major details before accepting a loan contract.

Best Private Student Loan Options

Here are some of the best private student loan providers for 2022.

 
 
Lowest Rates
4.5
5.0
4.5
Variable APR: 3.62-9.59%
Variable APR: 2.52-11.11%
Variable APR: 1.79-13.85%
4.5
Variable APR: 3.62-9.59%
5.0
Variable APR: 2.52-11.11%
Lowest Rates
4.5
Variable APR: 1.79-13.85%

1) LendKey

RatingFixed APRMax. Loan AmountMin. Credit Score
4.7/53.99% to 8.49% with autopayCost of attendance, minus aidNot disclosed
lendkey

LendKey offers repayments terms ranging from five to 20 years. Borrowers can include parents of students, parents of graduates and degree holders as well as current undergrad and graduate students.

To be eligible, U.S. citizens and permanent residents must have proof of citizenship or residence permit as well as proof of income. Potential borrowers can check their eligibility online and then receive offers from LendKey’s networks of community lenders.

The minimum loan amount starts at $7,500 and goes up to $250,000, with rates as low as 3.62% or 3.99% depending on if you go with a variable or fixed APR.

Don’t meet the requirements or want to qualify for a lower interest rate? LendKey allows for borrowers to add a cosigner to the loan to help borrowers meet eligibility and get the interest rate that works best for them. This isn’t the only benefit to considering a  LendKey loan, they also offer unemployment protection. If you lose your job-or have just finished school- loan payments are placed on temporary hold.

LendKey

LendKey is a marketplace that connects borrowers with private student loans and refinanced student loans from credit unions and community banks. Its loans are best for borrowers who prefer to work with these institutions, rather than a big bank.

Check Rate

2) College Ave Student Loans

RatingFixed APRMax. Loan AmountMin. Credit Score
4.5/53.22% to 13.95% with autopayCost of attendance, minus aidMid 600s
college ave student loans

Student loans are available at College Ave Student Loans — which was founded in 2014 and is located in Wilmington, Delaware, and provides undergraduate, graduate, and parent loans to borrowers from all 50 states.

With applications that take a few minutes to finish on any device and quick decisions, College Ave has an edge in terms of speed.

At College Ave Student loans you can apply in just 3 minutes and get an instant decision. College Ave offers 4 flexible repayment options to help you make paying your student loans off easier. 

Special features include: Repayment Options, US Based Customer Service, Easy Mobile Application.

  • Loan term length of 5, 8, 10, or 15 years1
  • No application, origination or prepayment fees required
  • 0.25% reduction in the interest rate2 when enrolled to make automatic payments
  • Fixed APR of 3.22% – 13.95% [Rates include Auto-pay discount]
  • Variable APR of 1.79% – 13.85% [Rates include the Auto-pay discount]
  • Good or excellent credit score needed (get a co-signer if you have a bad or no credit score)
College Ave Student Loans

College Ave offers private student loans with multiple repayment options. Apply online in 3 minutes and get an instant credit decision. No application, origination, or disbursement fees.

Check Rate

3) Ascent Funding

RatingFixed APRMax. Loan AmountMin. Credit Score
4.5/53.89% to 13.16%$200,000Not disclosed
ascent

At more than 2,200 colleges and universities across the country, Ascent Funding is an online lender that provides undergraduate and graduate student loans.

Ascent loans are available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who want to borrow money for their education, as well as those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status – also known as “Dreamers” – who wish to borrow money on their own.

Applicants must have a co-signer who is creditworthy and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, among other requirements. Ascent Funding is located in San Diego.

It’s a smart option for students because:

  • When students meet specific criteria and conditions, they may be entitled to a 1% cash back graduation reward.
  • Undergraduate juniors and seniors may be eligible for Ascent Funding’s Non-Cosigned Outcomes-Based Loans based on their major, cost of attendance, graduation date, and other criteria. These loans are offered at a rate discount of one percentage point and must be paid automatically.
  • There are no application, origination, or disbursement costs with Ascent Funding student loans.

Ascent gives you more opportunities to pay for college with or without a cosigner. Find your best option in 4 simple steps – with no application fees.

Ascent Funding

Ascent is an online lender that offers three options for student loan borrowers: a traditional co-signed loan, a non-co-signed credit-based option and a non-co-signed future income-based option. Its co-signed loan is best for students who want to use a co-signer and pay off loans fast.

Check Rate

4) SoFi

RatingFixed APRMax. Loan AmountMin. Credit Score
4.6/53.75% to 13.55% with autopayCost of attendance, minus aidNot disclosed
sofi logo

SoFi provides a variety of useful perks for members to assist them in managing their student loan repayment and getting out of debt faster.

SoFi’s mission is to help its customers handle their money and repay their student loans as quickly as feasible. SoFi offers a 3.75%–13.35% fixed APR with terms of 5-20 years. It also offers 2.99%–12.13% variable APR with autopay.

SoFi loans are available to all students with a credit score of less than perfect, and the entire application procedure can be completed online. There are no additional costs associated with any SoFi loans, and students have several payment alternatives that suit their budget.

With perks like $400 off SAT/ACT preparation courses, it’s no surprise that most SoFi members would suggest the company to a friend.

$100 SoFi Bonus: If you join using our referral link you can get $100 when you take out a student loan.

5) Citizens Bank

RatingFixed APRMax. Loan AmountMin. Credit Score
4.3/54.18% to 10.95%$50,000Not disclosed
Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank offers a five, 10 or 15-year student loan for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. To be eligible, you must be enrolled at least part-time in a degree-granting program via an “eligible” institution. For the most part, this classification simply means accredited institutions. You must also have good credit or a qualified co-signer who meets the credit requirements.

You can receive a minimum of $1,000 or up to $90,000 for undergrads, $110,000 for graduate programs, $130,000 for business or law programs and $170,000 for medical or dental programs.

What makes this loan option promising are some of the additional benefits and features offered. If you make your payments on time and keep your credit in good standing, you can apply for a co-signer release after 36 consecutive months. Doing so allows you to free the connection of the loan to anyone who helped you obtain it and also improve your own credit in the process.

Those with an active Citizens bank account, or those who activate autopay from a bank account — it doesn’t have to be a Citizen account — will receive a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction. Finally, you can opt to make interest-only payments while you’re still in school, or you can defer payments after graduation, with a nice grace period of six months with no payments.

6) Funding U

RatingFixed APRMax. Loan AmountMin. Credit Score
4.3/53.49% to 12.99%$10,000None
funding u

Funding U, also known as Funding University, has been around since 2016. This is a company that offers student loans to students without credit or a co-signer at eligible four-year colleges.

Funding U doesn’t fund you based on your credit score, but your grades in school and projected earnings after graduation. If you are a junior or senior in college, you can qualify for a Funding U loan. However, if you are a freshman or sophomore, the approval process is more strict.

It’s a smart option for students because:

  • You don’t need a co-signer or credit history to get a loan.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • DACA students with a work-eligible Social Security number can qualify.

If you wanted to apply you can see what rate you’ll get and it’s a soft credit check. The loan term is 10 years and loan amounts up to $10,000 and the range of interest rates is in line with other private student lenders.

7) Sallie Mae

RatingFixed APRMax. Loan AmountMin. Credit Score
4.3/53.50% to 12.60% with autopayCost of attendance, minus aidMid 600s
sallie mae

Sallie Mae offers a few great benefits, with loan terms of 10 years. The loans are eligible only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, who must be attending an eligible degree-granting school or have attended one prior to enrollment. Co-signers must adhere to the same requirements, including being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Minimum loan amounts start at $1,000 and cover up to 100 percent of school-certified costs for attendance. There are no origination fees for loans offered. Borrowers can receive a 0.25 percent interest rate decrease when enrolling in autopay with an active bank account.

If there’s a co-signer, you can apply for release after 12 months of consecutive payments. You can also defer payments, establish fixed repayment plans or pay just interest while in school. No prepayment penalties exist for any loans, which means you can begin paying off your debt as soon as you’re ready.

For those of you wondering if you should go with Sallie Mae or College Ave Student Loans (currently have the lowest rates), here is a quick comparison between the two lenders.

Are There More Private Student Loan Options?

This list is not a comprehensive one by any means. There are definitely many more unique ways to pay for college available to you — both private and federal — that we encourage you to research and consider as well. The loans listed here are some of the best in regard to benefits and future opportunities, such as the interest rate reduction for meeting various requirements. You can use sites like LendKey to find the best student loans with the lowest rates.

LendKey

LendKey is a marketplace that connects borrowers with private student loans and refinanced student loans from credit unions and community banks. Its loans are best for borrowers who prefer to work with these institutions, rather than a big bank.

Check Rate

When choosing a loan, remember to consider variable versus fixed rates and also the repayment plans offered. You might not have the resources to repay a loan immediately after you graduate and enter the workforce. In that case, deferment options and grace periods are highly beneficial.

You’ll also want to be sure the loan you choose does not include prepayment penalties for paying early. Some offer deferment and forbearance plans, yet should you decide to begin paying early — when you have funds — you will incur additional charges and fees. Websites such as Beat Student Loans are able to help you figure out the best repayment method and helps you organize your loans.

Ultimately, you’ll want to choose the financial option that offers you the most peace of mind so that you can focus on what really matters — your academic progress and bright future.

Recap of Best Private Student Loans (Reddit)

 
 
Lowest Rates
4.5
5.0
4.5
Variable APR: 3.62-9.59%
Variable APR: 2.52-11.11%
Variable APR: 1.79-13.85%
4.5
Variable APR: 3.62-9.59%
5.0
Variable APR: 2.52-11.11%
Lowest Rates
4.5
Variable APR: 1.79-13.85%

1This 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.

2The 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.

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About the author

Nathan Sykes
Nathan Sykes
Nathan Sykes writes about the latest in business and technology on his blog, Finding an Outlet.

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