Find the Best Student Loan Companies
Compare Reviews for Top Student Loan Companies
|LendingTree||Read 1,538 Reviews|
Compares rates and quotes from multiple lenders for a variety of loan types. Free services. Use of the site doesn’t affect credit score. Provides a list of loan options tailored to the user’s situation.
|Get a Quote|
Read 1,430 Reviews
Offers private student loans, college planning advice, credit cards and savings products. Variable rates on undergraduate loans range from 1.25% to 11.35% APR. Fixed rates range from 4.25% to 12.59% APR.
Read 726 Reviews
Services federal and private student loans. Interest rates depend on the government and your private lender. Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans available for federal student loans. Military benefits available.
|Credible||Read 17 Reviews|
Helps find personalized rates from multiple lenders in minutes. Over 100 lending partners. Free to search and view loan and refinancing options. Inquiries don’t impact credit score. Allows co-signers.
|Great Lakes Higher Education Corp.|
Read 234 Reviews
Guarantees, services and originates student loans. Works with Federal Student Aid. Repayment options include standard and income-driven plans, deferment and forbearance. Also services consolidation loans.
|Wells Fargo Student Loans|
Read 138 Reviews
Offers private student loans, loan consolidation and refinancing. Requires a $5,000 minimum debt for consolidation. Provides interest rate discounts for enrollment in autopay and for those with other Wells Fargo connections.
|US Education Department|
Read 155 Reviews
Promotes student achievement. Assists students in getting and paying off loans. Provides various loans and grants to make education more accessible. Offers more than $150 billion in new and consolidated loans annually.
|PNC Student Loans|
Read 9 Reviews
Offers refinancing and private student loans for undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Provides online tools for managing loan repayment obligations. Variable APRs start as low as 2.91%.
Works with over 13,000 local banks and credit unions to provide private student loans and loan refinancing. Interest starts at 1.49% for variable-rate and 3.99% for fixed-rate loans. Terms of up to 20 years. No origination fees.
Lets users browse refinancing and scholarship options at no charge. Compares private student loan lenders side by side. Offers tips, advice, interactive tools and deals for students in higher learning.
What to consider when choosing a student loan company
Frequently, lenders offer a variety of discounts and other financial incentives.
- Cash back: Many lenders offer cash back on the loan for on-time payments. Other firms offer interest rate discounts.
- Interest: Interest rates vary from lender to lender and within a specific company. Lower interest-rate loans can save a dramatic amount of money over time. Lenders offer variable interest rates, which change throughout the course of the loan, and fixed rate loans. Make certain to understand the cap or maximum interest rate on a variable interest rate loan. Before accepting the loan, find out the future payment amount for the loan repayment.
- Amount: The total amount available for borrowing varies among private student lenders. Consider borrowing as small amount as possible to keep future loan repayments lower.
The waiting period before the consumer receives payments varies. Understand when the loan funds will be released.
- Application process: Before selecting a lender, review their application process. In most circumstances, a simpler application process is preferable.
- Requirements: Buyers should investigate the loan requirements. Certain loans require borrowers to have a specific credit score, and others look at your total current debt as well as prior repayment patterns of the borrower. Be aware of loan cosigner requirements as well.
- Fund transfer: Understand how you’ll receive the loan proceeds. Find out if the loan is distributed over time or in a lump sum.
Reseller of loans
It’s common practice for the initial lender to sell your loan to another firm. The borrower should investigate the lender’s loan reselling policy.
- Change of terms: If the loan will be resold, make sure that the terms of loan will remain intact.
- Markets: To avoid confusion, choose a lender that sells to only one secondary market. That way, the private student loans are easier to manage and remain with one company.
- New owners: Check the reviews of the company that may buy your student loan. The borrower should verify that the new company is reputable and easy to work with.
A loan servicer is a company that manages loans for a lender. Their duties include processing the payments, helping borrowers adjust repayment plans and assisting with repayment problems.
- Contact: Borrowers can ask the lender who the loan servicer is. It’s important for the borrower to update the servicer with change of address, income and other important loan related details.
- Payment method: Borrowers should find out the methods of payment accepted by the loan servicer.
This term describes the addition of interest to the principal loan amount borrowed from a loan. As soon as the private student loan funds are dispersed, the interest accrual begins. Ultimately, the borrower will pay back both the principal amount borrowed and the interest that continues to be capitalized or added on to the loan.
- Timeframe: Interest on the loan, calculated as a percent of the current principal balance begins when the money is sent to you or your school. The loan interest grows or accrues daily.
- Payment amounts: Find out the amount of the monthly loan payment, how it is calculated and ways to negotiate the payment, if necessary.
When taking out a loan, it's important to understand the terms of the loan including types of repayment plans offered by the lender. Choosing a lender with educational resources that helps the borrower manage their money is also important.
- Graduated repayment: Graduated repayment plans help borrowers pay less when they are first starting out with payment increases as their income goes up over time.
- Consolidation: Consolidating student loans can be helpful. Loan companies may offer various repayment solutions including bundling all the loans in order to make one monthly loan payment. The borrower should understand the terms and additional fees, if any, for the opportunity to consolidate their student loans.
What are different types of student loans?
Federal student loans are funded by the government. They may be included in a financial aid package. Federal loans include direct subsidized loans and direct unsubsidized loans, direct PLUS loans (for graduate students and their parents) and Federal Perkins loans. In general, interest rates and fees are lower for Federal student loans than for private student loans.
Federal direct subsidized loans
These loans are available to undergraduate students with a demonstrated financial need. The government pays interest on a direct subsidized loan while the student is in school and enrolled at least half-time. The government also pays the interest during the first six months after leaving school and during a period of deferment.
Federal direct unsubsidized loans
These loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students without demonstrated financial need.
Federal direct PLUS loan
A loan available to both graduate students and their parents. The borrower is responsible for the interest payments.
Federal Perkins loan
Also called the Perkins loan, these are low-interest federal student loans for both undergraduate and graduate students with extreme financial need.
Private loans are nonfederal loans made by a bank, credit union, state agency, school or other type of lender. The terms, amounts and benefits vary by lender.
Who are student loans for?
Undergraduate students with financial need
Undergraduates without an income or without the means to pay for college are eligible to apply for student loans to assist with the costs of attending college, university or post-high school educational institutions.
Graduate students with financial need
Graduate and professional school students without an income or without the means to pay for college are eligible to apply for student loans to help pay for tuition, fees and expenses.
Parents of students
The parents of graduate and undergraduate students may benefit from student loans to help pay for their children’s education. Loans are also available to parents of students attending private K through 12 educational institutions.
Students who don't qualify for scholarships
Many students are able to get free money in the form of scholarships to help pay for college tuition. It's a smart idea to explore this option before applying for student loans. Additionally, scholarships may be an important supplement to the student loan proceeds.
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Compare Reviews for Top Student Loan Companies
|Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loans||Read Author Review|
Offers private student loans for parents, undergraduates and graduates. Helps consolidate private and federal student loans. No penalties for paying above the minimum monthly payment or for prepayment.
|Conduent Education Services||Read 392 Reviews||Out Of Business|
Formerly named ACS. Provides student loan repayment and customer care services related to federal, campus-based and private loans. Performs services like payment processing and applying deferments for qualifying customers.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
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