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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.
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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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|Lender||Variable APR||Fixed APR||Degrees amount||View Details|
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Our lenders support private student loans for many different college and university degrees.
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.
Graduate Student Loans
Graduate school is a great way to set yourself up for success. Private graduate student loans can cover tuition, books and more.
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.
Comparing private student loan lenders can help you find the student loan that works for you and your MBA program.
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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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."
Yes, you can still take out both federal and private student loans during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need to borrow money to pay for school, it’s generally a good idea to start with federal student loans before turning to private student loans to help fill any gaps.
To apply for federal student loans: You’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 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. Contact your school’s financial aid office to see what resources are available to you.
If you decide to apply for private student loans, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you.
Private student loans are provided by private lenders — banks, credit unions, and online lenders. You can use private loans to pay for education costs and living expenses, which might not be covered by your federal education loans. Interest rates and terms on private student loans can vary, depending on your financial situation, credit history, and the lender you choose.
You can use private student loans to pay for education-related costs and living expenses, which might not be covered by your federal school loans. Some uses include:
Learn More: How Do Federal and Private Student Loans Work?
There are several types of student loans:
Learn More: Guide to Every Type of Student Loan Offered
Federal student loans are funded by the federal government while private student loans are offered by private lenders. Here are several important points to keep in mind as you compare them:
|Federal student loans||Private student loans|
|Interest rates||3.73% - 6.28%*|
(depending on loan type)
|Fixed rates from (APR):3.15%+|
Variable rates from (APR):1.29%+
(Private lenders on Credible)
|Offers subsidized loans||Yes||No|
|Option to change repayment plan or defer payments||Yes||No|
|Requires cosigner||Typically no|
(unless applying for a PLUS loan with adverse credit)
(but might increase chances of qualifying)
|Requires credit check||Only for PLUS loans||Yes|
*Federal student loan interest rates apply to loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2021, and before July 1, 2022.
Private student loans are offered by private companies that decide their own rates and terms. To take out a private student loan, you’ll have to undergo a credit check, which is used by the lender to determine your creditworthiness as well as your rate.
Keep in mind that private student loans generally don’t provide the same protections as federal student loans. However, they do offer some perks of their own, such as:
Federal student loans are offered by the federal government and have their rates set by Congress. To apply for these loans, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA. Unlike private student loans, most federal student loans don’t require a credit check.
If you need to borrow for school, it’s usually a good idea to start with federal student loans. This is mainly because they offer federal benefits and protections, including access to:
Learn More: Federal vs. Private Student Loans: 5 Differences
The interest rates on student loans vary depending on what type of student loan you have. Here are the current interest rates you can expect for both federal and private student loans as well as how they’re set:
Rates for federal student loans are set by Congress and can change from year to year. Here are the current federal student loan interest rates for the 2021-22 academic year:
Rates for private student loans vary between lenders and are based on market factors. Other factors that will influence the interest rate you qualify for include your credit, repayment term, and whether you have a cosigner.
Here are the current fixed and variable private student loan interest rates offered by Credible partner lenders:
Learn More: Current Private Student Loan Interest Rates
An interest rate is a percentage of the loan periodically tacked onto your balance — this is essentially the cost of borrowing money. Your monthly payment often goes toward paying interest first before the rest is allocated toward the principal (the amount you initially borrowed).
Getting a low interest rate could help you save money over the life of the loan and pay off your debt faster.
Before you borrow, you’ll need to decide whether you want a fixed- or variable-rate student loan. Here’s the difference between the two:
While private student loans can be a helpful option in some cases, they also come with drawbacks to keep in mind, including:
Potentially higher interest rates:If you have excellent credit, you might get approved for a lower interest rate on a private student loan compared to a federal loan. However, many college students haven’t yet established enough of a credit history to qualify for these rates — so unless you have a cosigner, you’ll likely get a higher rate on a private student loan.
With a private student loan, you’re eligible to borrow up to 100% of what your school says it costs to enroll and attend classes (the “cost of attendance”), minus other financial aid and loans you’ve already received.
How much you can actually borrow will vary by lender and can include annual or cumulative borrowing limits. Other private lender criteria that can affect how much you can borrow might include your credit history, the credit quality of your cosigner, your school’s certified cost of attendance, the degree you’re earning, and more.
Find Out: What Are Student Loan Limits?
If you’re approved for a private student loan, the lender will send the loan to your school for certification. During this process, your school will confirm several details, including your:
Your school can then opt to certify the loan you requested as-is, certify it with changes, or not certify it. Afterward, the lender will send your loan funds directly to your school. Your school will use the to cover your required tuition and fees before refunding any remaining amount to you.
Note that the certification process typically takes seven to 10 days, but it could take longer depending on the time of year and your school’s procedures. For example, January and August tend to be particularly busy months for schools, so certification could be delayed.
Because of this, it’s generally a good idea to apply for a private student loan as soon as you know you’ll need one. This way, you can avoid any potential delays.
You can apply for private student loans at any time since there’s no deadline tied to them (like filling out the FAFSA for federal loans). But it’s still a good idea to apply for private loans as soon as you know you’ll need them to cover education costs.
Although it varies depending on the lender and your school, it can sometimes take 3 to 5 weeks for you to receive the funds. So, if you’re trying to decide when to apply for a private student loan, be sure to give yourself some time and apply sooner rather than later.
Each lender has different requirements when it comes to qualifying for a private student loan. But typically you must:
You can get a student loan with bad credit, but not necessarily on your own. While federal loans don’t require a credit check, private student loans do. Many students don’t qualify for private loans on their own because they don’t have a credit history or they have bad credit. If that’s your situation, you may need to add a cosigner to qualify for a private loan.
Private student loans require a credit application that examines income, employment, and a credit report. The lower your credit score, the higher the risk for the lender, which translates into higher interest rates. One way to get approved for a loan with a lower rate can be to add a creditworthy cosigner to your loan application.
Learn: How to Find a Cosigner
It depends, but in most cases, yes. You don’t have to add a cosigner unless you’re under the age of majority in your state (usually between 18 and 21). But if you have a limited or poor credit history, a lender may require you to add a creditworthy cosigner to balance out their risk on the loan.
Plus, more than 90% of private student loans taken out by undergraduate students are cosigned. Even if you’re a graduate student and don’t need one, adding a cosigner with good credit can improve your chances of qualifying for a private student loan at a lower rate.
Credible even makes it easy to compare cosigners to see which cosigner can help get you the best rate.
Learn More: Getting Student Loans Without a Cosigner
When weighing private student loan options, it’s important to consider as many lenders as possible. This way, you can find the right loan for you. Here are several important points to compare as you shop around:
If you’re ready to take out a private student loan, Credible can help. After filling out a single form, you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in just two minutes. The best part is that this is completely free and won’t affect your credit, so prequalifying is risk-free.
You can also check out our lender reviews for more information:
Keep Reading: The Best Private Student Loans
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