The Best Private Student Loans
For most students and parents, private student loans are the better deal.
These loans typically have higher interest rates and fewer repayment options than traditional loans.
But private student loans can also have advantages, including flexible repayment options and more flexible repayment terms.
Plus, some private lenders take special care to make sure your student has the skills and money to get into grad school, or find a career that will pay a premium.
On top of that, they’re generally easier to get, although there are exceptions.
With these considerations in mind, here’s our list of the best private student loans you can get for the best rates and terms — as well as tips on getting a private loan when you don’t qualify for federal loan programs.
What are private student loans?
Though both federal and private student loans are designed to help pay for college, private student loans are unique. Because private student loans are private, private lenders, they’re more expensive than federal student loans. But here’s why you should consider private student loans in the first place.
Private student loans are designed to help you pay for college
So why would you need private student loans? The simple answer is because the terms of federal student loans and private student loans aren’t always the same. As part of federal student loans, you have more time to pay back your student loans. You also get access to certain deferment and forbearance options. While these options work for some, it doesn’t work for others.
How to apply for student loans
The best student loan loan rates you can get start out with an application. All federal student loans require you to apply for them. This is not so different from applying for a home loan or any other loan, except that you have to do it to get a student loan. The only difference is that the loan may not get disbursed until after you have finished school, but with that said, the federal government might have some tricks to get you into their program faster.
They say it takes at least three weeks to even get an application approved, depending on what you want, but what they don’t mention is that they just might take the first application that they receive as soon as you finish your application. This can help them get you started in a program in a faster manner.
How to choose the best private loan rates
You have tons of private student loan options, and your best bet for maximizing your borrowing power is to maximize the features that matter most to you. You can learn more about how to make that happen in this NerdWallet guide, but for now, let’s focus on how you can use the NerdWallet Loan Optimizer to find the best private student loan rates available today.
What Is A Private Loan?
Private student loans are federal loans that are not subsidized by the federal government. That means you are the one who is responsible for repaying the loan.
Why use NerdWallet?
As a consumer advocate and the nation’s leading resource for free financial advice, NerdWallet provides more than 1 million students, parents and teachers with financial tools to help them afford college and manage student debt.
What are the benefits of having a co-signer?
One of the most expensive and tricky parts of borrowing from a private lender is the co-signer, someone who will guarantee your debt if you aren’t able to repay your student loan. While a student has to maintain a 2.5 GPA in high school, college, or both, there are benefits for having a co-signer. Not only does having a co-signer mean that you don’t have to pay the full amount of your loan until you graduate, you have other benefits, such as putting your loan into deferral, or getting tax benefits. To find out more, click here.
What are the benefits of having a private loan servicer?
Sometimes, a private lender will place you in a category that makes it easier to get the best interest rates. If you are in this category, there are no fees associated with getting a private loan servicer.
Best private student loan lenders
You may have heard of private student loans or, if not, you can find more information about student loans on our Student Loan Council . But if you want to learn about the best private student loans out there, you need to know about the lenders that investors prefer.
Private student loans are not federal loans, they are loan products that you can find only with private lenders. There are no federal requirements that private student loans must offer the same interest rates as federal loans (there are often conditions on them).
Private student loans are always available, although they often aren’t marketed to students or parents that may be looking for information about private student loans.