The 10 Best Student Loan Providers in the US (2022)

Looking to take out a student loan or to refinance your existing loan? These are best loan providers around!

Illustration of a scale weighing money with books and a mortar board

Disclaimer: We receive compensation for some of the products reviewed in this article. Although this may influence where these products appear in the article, it does not affect our recommendations, advice or evaluations.


Given that the average annual cost of college in the US is $10,338 for a four-year public college and $38,185 for a four-year private college, and that the average annual household income is $67,521, it’s not uncommon for students to use loans to help them pay for their education.

But with a variety of options available, researching and choosing a student loan provider can be a daunting task — which is why we did the heavy lifting for you.

Whether you’re looking to take out a student loan or refinance your existing loan, we’ve got you covered. We compared a range of student loan providers in the US, in terms of rates, terms, features, reputation and various other factors, to bring you the best of the bunch so you can make a more informed choice based on your needs.

Top student loan providers comparison:

Lender

CareerAddict rating

Typical fixed APR

Loan amount

Min credit score

Details

 FEATURED 

Splash Financial logo

4.9/5

2.59%–8.44%

$5,000–No maximum

640

See review

Sallie Mae logo

4.4/5

3.75%–13.72% 1

$1,000–No maximum 2

N/A

See review

Ascent Funding logo

4.2/5

3.22%–14.75%

$2,001–$400,000

N/A

See review

LendKey logo

4.5/5

2.89%–5.08%

$1,000–No maximum

N/A

See review

Laurel Road logo

4.5/5

1.64%–5.65%

$5,000–No maximum

660

See review

College Ave logo

4.3/5

2.94%–12.99%

$2,001–$200,000

N/A

See review

Earnest logo

4.6/5

from 2.99%

$1,000–No maximum

650

See review

U-fi From Nelnet logo

4.4/5

3.59%–12.37%

$1,000–$500,000

680

See review

MPOWER Financing logo

4.3/5

up to 13.63%

$2,001–$100,000

N/A

See review

PersonalLoans.com logo

4.0/5

5.99%–35.99%

$1,000–$35,000

varies

See review


Splash Financial
 FEATURED 

CareerAddict rating: 4.9/5

 Splash Financial logo

Typical fixed APR

Typical variable APR

Loan amount

Term

Min credit score

Co-signer required?

2.59%–8.44%

1.99%–11.82%

$5,000–No maximum

5–25 years

640

No

Splash Financial is a student loan refinancing marketplace that matches US citizen, permanent resident and visa-holder borrowers with its vast network of financial institutions, credit unions and other lending partners. Since launching in 2013, Splash has rapidly become a national leader in student loan refinancing, and has over 100,000 accounts and more than $6 billion in financing requests.

Splash offers a seamless application process for prospective borrowers with an associate, a bachelor’s or a graduate degree. Once you complete your application, and provided you meet the qualification requirements, you’ll receive offers from Splash’s network of lenders. There are no application, origination or prepayment fees, and you’ll typically receive funds with 3–14 days.

PROS

  • Dedicated account representatives
  • Checking rates won’t impact your credit score.
  • Fixed APR starts below 3.00%

CONS

  • Loan features vary by lending partner
  • Membership may be required if lender is a credit union

CHECK RATE


Sallie Mae

CareerAddict rating: 4.4/5

Sallie Mae logo

Typical fixed APR

Typical variable APR

Loan amount

Term

Min credit score

Co-signer required?

3.75%–13.72%1

2.62%–12.97%1

$1,000–No maximum2

10–15 years3

N/A

No

Sallie Mae is a US consumer banking firm that offers clients private education loans, free college planning tools and a variety of savings accounts to save for college or university. It’s one of the largest private student loan lenders in the industry.

Sallie Mae offers several student loan products, with the most popular being for undergraduate student loans. These are for postsecondary students earning an associate or bachelor’s degree or a certificate. They also offer graduate student loans and career training student loans.

Their student loans cover all school-certified expenses, including tuition, books, housing and even a laptop, while they also have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

PROS

  • Part-time students eligible to apply
  • Online tutoring and free credit score tracking
  • Non-US citizens eligible to apply (with an American co-signer)
  • 4 months of free Chegg study assistance

CONS

  • Hard credit check required
  • Charges late and returned payment fees

CHECK RATE


Ascent Funding

CareerAddict rating: 4.2/5

Ascent Funding logo

Typical fixed APR

Typical variable APR

Loan amount

Term

Min credit score

Co-signer required?

3.22%–14.75%

0.98%–11.90%

$2,001–$400,000

5–20 years

N/A

No

Ascent Funding is a student loan provider that helps you cover the high cost of postsecondary education and coding bootcamps. Borrowers attending undergraduate and graduate programmes are eligible to apply for a student loan.

Ascent Funding empowers students from all economic backgrounds to maximise the return on their education, and offers undergraduate college loans (both co-signed and non-co-signed), graduate college loans, loans for international, and DACA student and school loans. They also offer Bootcamp loans that provide access to career-transforming education.

An important advantage of Ascent Financing is that borrowers get a monthly repayment plan with low payments and fixed rates, and there are no prepayment penalties. The company has several other resources, too, such as the Bright Futures Engine and financial wellness tips, as well as scholarships and exclusive benefits for students.

PROS

  • Customisable loan terms
  • Financial wellness resources for students
  • Co-signer release option
  • 1% cashback

CONS

  • Must have a credit history spanning more than 2 years if no co-signer is used
  • Typically catered toward borrowers with good credit
  • Application reviewed within 1–2 business days

CHECK RATE


LendKey

CareerAddict rating: 4.5/5

LendKey logo

Typical fixed APR

Typical variable APR

Loan amount

Term

Min credit score

Co-signer required?

3.99%–8.49%

1.49%–7.62%

$1,000–No maximum

5–15 years

N/A

No, except PLUS Loans

LendKey is an online marketplace and lending platform that lets users apply for and receive private student loans or student loan refinancing from more than 13,000 partners comprising financial institutions and credit unions. The platform ensures that you have access to the best loan amount limits, repayment features and interest rates tailored to your needs.

A big advantage with LendKey is that it offers low-rate loans online. This is because it allows learners to take advantage of its digital platform and an automated loan process that reduces costs. These savings are passed on to borrowers.

PROS

  • 6-month grace period
  • Simplified application process
  • No application, origination or pre-payment fees
  • Excellent customer service

CONS

  • Loan refinancing capped at $125,000
  • May need to meet additional application requirements

Laurel Road

CareerAddict rating: 4.5/5

Laurel Road logo

Typical fixed APR

Typical variable APR

Loan amount

Term

Min credit score

Co-signer required?

1.64%–5.65%

2.25%–5.75%

$5,000–No maximum

5–20 years

660

No

Laurel Road is a digital financial platform and a brand of KeyBank, one of the largest bank-based financial services in the US today.

In addition to checking, savings and credit products, Laurel Road also offers borrowers fixed- and variable-rate student loans without the barrage of fees. It also maintains a Student Loan Cashback Card that gives the holder a 2% cashback in rewards. For borrowers who refinance their student loans, they can receive a $200 bonus.

Laurel Road provides customised solutions to improve the financial wellbeing of healthcare and business professionals.

PROS

  • Additional financial options available to save more
  • Borrowers can transfer Parent PLUS Loans to students
  • Competitive refinancing rates

CONS

  • No academic deferment
  • 36-month wait period to request a co-signer release
  • Application process can be slow

 


College Ave

CareerAddict rating: 4.3/5

College Ave logo

Typical fixed APR

Typical variable APR

Loan amount

Term

Min credit score

Co-signer required?

2.94%–12.99%

0.99%–11.98%

$2,001–$200,000

5–20 years

N/A

No, except undergraduate students

College Ave is a private student loan provider, designed to make the process smoother and more simplified by functioning as an online lending platform and securing student loans.

College Ave is a novel platform that provides a different and uncomplicated path to student loans. The company is run by former students and parents who aim to make getting private student loans for college a better and easier process.

They offer different types of loans, including undergraduate and graduate student loans; MBA student loans; parent-student loans; medical, law and dental school student loans; and career student loans.

College Ave prides itself in offering its clients flexible repayment options and a simple application process that takes three minutes to complete. Borrowers can customise their loans that suit their needs.

PROS

  • No hard credit check
  • 6-month grace period
  • Several repayment options available

CONS

  • Must be half-way through repayment term to request co-signer release
  • US citizen or permanent resident co-signer required for international students

 


Earnest

CareerAddict rating: 4.6/5

Earnest logo

Typical fixed APR

Typical variable APR

Max loan amount

Term

Min credit score

Co-signer required?

from 2.99%

from 0.99%

$1,000–No maximum

5–20 years

650

No

Earnest is an alternative student loan provider that is targeted toward those who have exhausted their federal student loan options, giving borrowers private student loans and student loan financing

They low-interest loans that are based on the borrower’s unique financial profile. Their key products include student loan refinancing, private student loans and personal loans. Earnest also has the Earnest Credit Card, which allows students to put 1.5% in cashback toward any student loan. and has no annual fee. In addition, students can avail the benefits of Mastercard.

The company is led by a team of engineers, financial professionals, designers and storytellers. The company has a quick application process and has over 126,000 happy clients. It has an excellent rating with the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.

PROS

  • Option to skip payments once every 12 months
  • No hard credit checks
  • Customisable student loan terms
  • 9-month grace period
  • No late fees

CONS

  • Residents of Kentucky and Nevada not eligible
  • No co-signer option

U-fi From Nelnet

CareerAddict rating: 4.4/5

U-fi From Nelnet logo

Typical fixed APR

Typical variable APR

Max loan amount

Term

Min credit score

Co-signer required?

3.59%–12.37%

1.20%–11.70%

$1,000–$500,000

5–15 years

680

No

U-fi offers student loans and student loan refinancing through Nelnet Bank. It lends to students at each stage of postsecondary education, from undergraduate to graduate, including MBA, law and medical degrees. It also offers extremely competitive rates and flexible repayment plans when refinancing student loans.

U-fi From Nelnet has been lauded for its simple application process and an in-depth library of articles relating to student loans and covering the cost of college and university, no matter how high. It is essentially a one-stop-shop for every student, professional and family member interested in paying for higher education opportunities.

PROS

  • No fees
  • Loan forbearance offered in case of a disability
  • Private loan forgiveness in event of death
  • Co-signer release after 24 consecutive, on-time payments
  • Flexible repayment options

CONS

  • Applicants must have an annual income of at least $36,000
  • Limited deferment and forbearance options if you refinance a federal student loan
  • Residents of Vermont not eligible

MPOWER Financing

CareerAddict rating: 4.3/5

MPOWER Financing logo

Typical fixed APR

Typical variable APR

Max loan amount

Term

Min credit score

Co-signer required?

up to 13.63%

N/A

$2,001–$100,000

5–10 years

N/A

No

MPOWER Financing offers student loans to international students, with offices in Washington and New York, and in India. The company’s purpose is to reduce financial barriers to international education.

MPOWER Financing provides student loans to US citizens, international students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students. The business has garnered plenty of investment and attention for its educational pursuits at the international level. Its loans include tuition fees, accommodation costs, living expenses, books and insurance for international students.

There is a lifetime limit of $50,000.

PROS

  • No credit check or history required
  • Discounts available (terms and conditions apply)
  • International students eligible

CONS

  • Must be within 2 years of graduation to be eligible
  • Acceptance depends on the school you attend
  • Low loan maximums and high APR rates

PersonalLoans.com

CareerAddict rating: 4.0/5

PersonalLoans.com logo

Typical fixed APR

Typical variable APR

Max loan amount

Term

Min credit score

Co-signer required?

5.99%–35.99%

N/A

$1,000–$35,000

90 days–6 years

varies

No

PersonalLoans.com is an easy and convenient platform that allows consumers to get a personal loan through the company’s network of lenders and other third-party lender networks.

Borrowers can get a loan of between $1,000 and $35,000 online. Loans can be applied for home improvement projects, payday loans, debt consolidation, bad credit, medical bills or any other expense. The company has a very simple online process and connects consumers with lenders and lending partners without any fees. Clients can get loans in as little as one business day. Repayment timeframes generally range from 90 days to 72 months.

PROS

  • Fast application process
  • Flexible repayment timeframes
  • Competitive interest rates

CONS

  • Not directed toward postsecondary students
  • Few benefits that student borrowers would typically enjoy

Final thoughts

By now, you may have heard plenty of stories of graduates leaving university with $100,000 in debt, only to quit the field that they majored in and either go back to school or find employment in another industry that didn’t require extensive education. With that kind of six-figure tab weighing you down, what is the point of paying for college?

Secondary and postsecondary students already go through enough, and enduring the student loan application process is another tough journey for these young people to go through. This is why it’s critical to know your options and understand what you’re getting yourself into for the next 4, 7, 15 or 20 years.

By selecting a suitable student loan provider, whether it’s comparing costs or calculating how much you will need for tuition, food and shelter, you can be confident that you made the right financial and university decision for yourself and your wallet.

 

Disclaimer: While we try our best to keep the information on our website accurate and up to date, lender terms and conditions (including offers, rates and specific features) are subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information about a lender’s products and services, please visit the lender’s website.

Methodology: We compared a range of loan providers to compile this list. Scores are based on 13 data points: customer service ratings, fixed APR, variable APR, minimum loan amounts, maximum loan amounts, minimum loan terms, maximum loan terms, availability to range of borrowers, perks like cashback rewards, discounts, forbearance policies, deferment policies and co-signer release. The 10 top-rated loan providers were then awarded a rating out of 5 stars.