Our process

How Credible works

  • Fill out a simple form

    Answer a few quick questions. We’ll crunch the numbers to check for personalized rates from multiple lenders.

    Will I need a cosigner?

    Many students will need a cosigner if they don’t have a credit history. Students who add a cosigner are 3x more likely to qualify for a loan.

  • Select the loan that works best for you

    We’ll help you pick the loan that fits your needs. Choose from multiple rates and repayment plans. Start paying during school, or wait until you graduate.

  • Finalize your loan

    Finish with your chosen lender. Upload documents, sign your loan agreement, and your funds will disburse to your school.

Illustrative purposes, actual results may vary.

Prequalified rates are not a firm offer of credit.¹

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Our partner lenders

Compare the best private graduate student loan rates

If you decide to take out a private graduate student loan, it’s important to compare as many lenders as you can. This way, you can find the right loan for your needs. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders below in just two minutes.

LenderVariable APRFixed APRLoan AmountView Details

1.73%-12.30%

3.15%-14.75%

View Details

2.29%-9.64%

3.99%-10.59%

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Disclosures

2.67%-11.55%

3.65%-12.47%

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Disclosures

1.29%-12.99%

3.22%-13.95%

View Details

Disclosures

4.63%-8.27%

4.52%-9.05%

View Details

Disclosures

2.92%-7.28%

5.25%-9.68%

View Details

Disclosures

n/a

4.89%-6.99%

View Details

Disclosures

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We make sure our partners do not charge origination fees on their loans.

No prepayment penalties

There's no prepayment penalty if you'd like to pay off your loans faster.

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For all your goals

Loans for every student

Our lenders support private student loans for many different college and university degrees.

All Private Student Loans

Comparing private student loans ensures you find the option that best fits your needs while in school.

Parent Student Loans

Private parent student loans can help you pay for your child’s college tuition and fees, as well as housing, books, food, and other living expenses.

Medical School Loans

Private medical school loans can help keep your career on track. Some private student loan lenders even offer medical residency loans.

Law School Loans

Private student loans can help cover law school costs and some lenders also offer bar study loans.

MBA Loans

Comparing private student loan lenders can help you find the student loan that works for you and your MBA program.

Undergraduate Loans

To find the best private student loan for your particular needs, compare interest rate, loan terms, repayment plans and borrower benefits available.

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WHAT CUSTOMERS SAY

We’re Credible. It’s in our name, literally.

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I got my loan & I’m happy with the rate

I got my loan & I’m happy with the rate for my grad school loan.

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Helped me find the right student loan

Thanks! You really helped me find the right student loan. After visiting all my local branches and being discouraged you were a big help without the hassle.

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Fast, easy approval

Fast, easy approval. Easy to understand terms. Disbursement was super fast.

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COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Commonly asked questions about graduate student loans

Editorial disclosure: Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as "Credible."

Can you take out graduate student loans during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, you can still take out both federal and private graduate student loans during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need to borrow for school, it’s generally best to rely on federal student loans first before turning to private student loans to help fill any financial gaps left over.

Also keep in mind that families whose income has been affected by the pandemic might be eligible for additional federal, state, or school-based financial aid. Be sure to contact your school’s financial aid office to see what resources are available to you.

If you decide to take out a private student loan, remember to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for your situation.

How can you compare the best private student loan lenders for graduate students?

When weighing private student loan options for graduate school, it’s important to take the time to consider as many lenders as you can. This way, you can find a loan best suited to your needs.

Here are several important factors to compare as you shop around:

  • Interest rate: Your interest rate plays a major role when it comes to the total cost of your loan. The lower your interest rate, the more you’ll likely save on interest charges over time. Both your credit and the repayment term you choose will impact the rates you qualify for.
  • Repayment terms: You’ll typically have five to 20 years to repay a private student loan, depending on the lender. It’s usually best to choose the shortest term you can afford to keep your interest costs as low as possible. Additionally, many lenders offer lower interest rates to borrowers that opt for shorter terms.
  • Loan amounts: You might be able to borrow up to your school’s cost of attendance with some lenders, while others offer lower loan maximums. 
  • Fees: Some lenders charge fees on private student loans — such as origination fees or prepayment penalties — which can raise your overall loan cost. Keep in mind that if you take out a loan with one of Credible’s partner lenders, you won’t have to worry about application, origination, or disbursement fees.
  • Discounts: Several lenders offer rate discounts to borrowers. For example, you might qualify for a rate discount from some lenders if you sign up for automatic payments. There are also lenders that provide a discount to borrowers who already have an account with them. 

How to apply for a private graduate student loan

If you’re ready to apply for a graduate student loan, follow these four steps:

  1. Fill out the FAFSA. If you need to pay for college, your first step should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your school will use your FAFSA results to determine what federal student loans and other federal financial aid you qualify for. Keep in mind that some federal aid is given on a first-come, first-serve basis — so be sure to complete the FAFSA as early as possible, especially if you have high financial need.
  2. Apply for scholarships and grants. Unlike student loans, college scholarships and grants don’t have to be repaid, essentially making them free money for school. There’s no limit to how many scholarships and grants you can get, so it’s a good idea to apply for as many as you can. As a graduate student, you might also be eligible for school-based scholarships or fellowships.
  3. Take out federal student loans. If you need to borrow for school, it’s usually best to take out federal student loans first. This is mainly because these loans come with federal benefits and protections — such as access to income-driven repayment (IDR) plans and student loan forgiveness programs. After you submit the FAFSA, your school will send you a financial aid award letter detailing which federal loans and other federal aid you qualify for. You can then choose which aid you’d like to accept.
  4. Use private student loans to fill the gaps. After you’ve exhausted your scholarship, grant, and federal student loan options, private student loans could help fill any financial gaps left over. These loans don’t come with federal protections, but they do offer some benefits of their own — for example, you can apply at any time, and you might be able to borrow more than you’d get with a federal loan. Before applying for a private student loan, remember to shop around and compare as many lenders as you can so you find the right loan for your needs.

Can I get a federal student loan for graduate school?

Yes, you can. Graduate students are eligible for two main types of federal student loans, including:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These loans are available to graduate and professional students regardless of financial need. Unlike with Direct Subsidized Loans that are provided to undergraduate students, you’re responsible for all of the interest that accrues on unsubsidized loans. 
  • Grad PLUS Loans: These are a kind of Direct PLUS Loan specifically offered to students who want to pay for graduate school. Keep in mind that Grad PLUS Loans generally have higher interest than Direct Unsubsidized Loans. They also require a credit check.

Do graduate school loans cover living expenses?

You can use graduate student loans to cover eligible living expenses, but it's important to keep in mind that your loans will first be disbursed to your school to pay for tuition, fees, and other authorized costs.

If there are loan funds left over, the school will send the remaining balance directly to you. You can use this money to pay for eligible expenses, such as textbooks, supplies, equipment, transportation, and room and board.

If you have a specific question about your loans or you're not sure which living expenses are approved, contact your loan servicer or private lender.

How can I financially support myself in grad school?

Depending on your program and situation, you may have a few different ways to support yourself through graduate school. For starters, many students take a break after their undergraduate program to work and save money before applying for grad school.

You may also opt to attend grad school part-time while you continue your full-time career or work part-time while in a full-time graduate program. If you want to pursue the latter option, research how much time the program demands and whether a part-time job is feasible.

If you've served in the military, look into educational benefits programs that are available to service members, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill program.

Finally, contact your school's financial aid office to learn about potential scholarship, grant, assistantship, and fellowship opportunities. You can also look for scholarships and grants from private organizations through websites like Scholarships.com and Fastweb.

What are the benefits of federal student loans for graduate students?

Here are a few potential benefits of federal student loans for graduate students:

  • Fixed interest rates: All federal student loans have fixed interest rates, meaning your rate will stay the same throughout the life of your loan.
  • Federal protections: With federal student loans, you’ll have access to federal benefits and protections, such as IDR plans and student loan forgiveness programs.
  • Multiple repayment options: Federal student loan borrowers can choose from several repayment options. For example, if you sign up for an IDR plan, your payments will be based on your income. Or if you opt for a graduated repayment plan, your payments will start low and gradually increase over time.

What are the drawbacks of federal student loans for graduate students?

There are also some possible drawbacks to keep in mind before taking out a federal loan, including:

  • Student loan limits: Graduate students can only borrow up to $20,500 in Direct Unsubsidized Loans per year with a $138,500 aggregate limit. However, you might be able to borrow up to your school’s cost of attendance with a Direct PLUS Loan or private student loan.
  • Higher interest rates: If you have excellent credit, you might qualify for a lower interest rate on a private student loan compared to a federal loan.
  • Can only get a lower interest rate through refinancing: The only way to possibly reduce your interest rate on a federal loan is through refinancing. But keep in mind that while you can refinance federal loans, doing so will cost you access to federal benefits and protections.

Learn More: Hidden Costs of Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loans

What are the advantages of private graduate student loans?

Like federal student loans, private student loans also have pros and cons to be aware of. Here are a few advantages of private loans for graduate students to consider:

  • No application deadline: Unlike with federal loans, you can apply for private student loans at any time.
  • Higher loan limits: You might be able to borrow more with a private loan compared to a federal loan.
  • Lower interest rates: Borrowers with excellent credit might qualify for a better interest rate on a private student loan compared to a federal loan.

What are the disadvantages of private graduate student loans?

There are also some potential drawbacks of private loans to keep in mind, such as:

  • Fewer options for poor or fair credit: You’ll typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for a private student loan — a good credit score is usually considered to be 700 or higher. There are also several lenders that offer student loans for bad credit, but these loans tend to come with higher interest rates than good credit loans.
  • No federal benefits: Private student loans don’t come with federal protections. Some private loans do offer assistance options to borrowers, but these are provided only at the discretion of the lender.
  • Lack of repayment options: Private loans don’t provide the same repayment options that federal loans do. For example, you typically won’t be able to sign up for an IDR or graduated repayment plan.

If you decide to take out a private student loan for graduate school, remember to shop around and compare as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for your needs. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes.

What is the maximum amount you can borrow for graduate school?

This depends on the type of student loan you get to pay for graduate school.

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: $20,500 per year ($138,500 aggregate limit)
  • Grad PLUS Loans: Up to your school’s cost of attendance (minus any other financial aid you’ve received) 
  • Private student loans: Up to your school’s cost of attendance (depending on the lender)

Learn More: Student Loan Limits: How Much in Student Loans You Can Get

How can you get the best graduate student loan rate?

Federal student loan rates are set by Congress each year — the exact rate you get will depend on the type of loan you choose. Here are the fixed rates you can expect for the 2021-2022 academic year:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans (for graduate students): 5.28%
  • Grad PLUS Loans: 6.28%

With private student loans, your rate will depend on the lender you choose as well as other factors like your credit score and repayment term. Here are the rates you can expect on private student loans from Credible’s partner lenders:

  • Fixed rates starting at: 3.15% APR
  • Variable rates starting at: 1.29% APR

There are also a few strategies that could help you get a good interest rate on a private student loan, including:

  • Have good credit: Your credit is one of the largest factors that will determine the interest rates you qualify for. In general, the higher your credit score, the better your rate. If you want to get approved for better rates, it could be a good idea to focus on building your credit. There are several ways to potentially do this, such as paying all of your bills on time or becoming an authorized user on the credit card account of someone you trust.
  • Apply with a cosigner: If you have poor or no credit and are struggling to get approved for a private loan, applying with a creditworthy cosigner could improve your chances. Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a better interest rate than you’d get on your own.  
  • Compare lenders: By shopping around and comparing your options from as many lenders as possible, you can more easily find a loan with a good rate that suits your needs.

What’s the difference between a fixed-rate and a variable-rate loan?

Before you borrow, you’ll have to decide whether a fixed- or variable-rate student loan is right for you.

  • A fixed interest rate will stay the same throughout the life of your loan. This also means that your payments won’t ever change.
  • A variable interest rate can fluctuate according to market conditions. This means your payments could rise or fall in the future.

What credit score do you need to get a student loan without a cosigner?

The credit score required for a student loan will depend on the type of loan you get. Here’s what you can expect when it comes to graduate student loan credit information:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans don’t require a credit check.
  • Grad PLUS Loans do require a credit check. However, instead of needing a specific credit score, you must not have an adverse credit history to qualify. This means you can’t have certain types of negative details — such as a default, foreclosure, or bankruptcy — listed in your credit report for the past five years. 
  • Private student loans typically require borrowers to have good credit. This usually means a credit score of 700 or higher. There are also some lenders that offer student loans for bad credit — though remember that these loans often come with higher interest rates.

Learn More: Taking Out Student Loans Without a Cosigner

Who are the best graduate student loan lenders?

The best graduate student loan lenders are ones that provide competitive interest rates, a wide selection of loan terms, inclusive eligibility requirements, and responsive customer service.

To find the best loan for your needs, it’s important to shop around and compare as many lenders as you can. Below, we’ve listed some of the most important details about the loans offered by Credible’s top graduate student loan lenders:

  • Ascent: If you have poor or fair credit, Ascent could be a good choice for a graduate student loan. You can borrow $2,001 to $200,000 (depending on if your credit is tested or not) with repayment terms from five to 20 years (depending on loan type). 
  • Citizens: With Citizens, you can borrow $1,000 up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance (aggregate limits might apply) with terms from five to 15 years. Citizens also offers loans specifically tailored to students studying in certain fields, such as law, business, and healthcare.
  • College Ave: With College Ave, you can borrow $1,000 up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance (minus any other financial aid you’ve received). You can also choose from a variety of repayment terms ranging from five to 15 years (depending on your degree type), which can make it easier to tailor your payments to your budget.
  • Custom Choice: The Custom Choice Loan is available from $1,000 to $99,9999 annually ($180,000 aggregate limit) with a three- or five-year term. Additionally, borrowers who graduate with at least a bachelor’s degree could get a 2% principal reduction on their loan.
  • EDvestinU: If you have excellent credit, EDvestinU might be a good choice for a graduate student loan. You can borrow $1,000 up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance ($200,000 aggregate limit) with terms from seven to 15 years.
  • INvestED: If you live or attend school in Indiana, an INvestEd private student loan might be a good option for graduate school. You can borrow $1,001 up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance (minus any other financial aid you’ve received) with terms from five to 15 years.
  • MEFA: With MEFA, graduate student loans range from $1,500 up to your certified cost of attendance (minus any other financial aid you’ve received) and come with a 15-year term. Keep in mind that you must attend a public or nonprofit university to qualify — for-profit schools aren’t eligible.

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