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Best Private Student Loans of February 2024

Private student loans should ideally be considered for college expenses only after maximizing your potential borrowing through both subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loans. These private loans are offered by banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Unlike federal loans for undergraduate students, private student loans often necessitate a credit check, leading many undergraduates to require a co-signer to qualify. Generally, private loans are costlier than federal ones and lack the variety of flexible repayment options available with federal student loans. For this reason, our list of private student loans does not feature a five-star lender. In most situations, federal student loans are a superior option for financing college education. We invite you to review our compilation of top lenders and learn how to access the lowest rates in 2024. Please note that the annual percentage rates (APRs) and account details provided are current as of January, 2024.

William Stern
William Stern

Editor, Working Capital Staff

November 20, 2023

Editor’s note: At WorkingCapital, our revenue is partly generated through commissions earned from affiliate links. It’s important to clarify that these commissions have no impact on the views or evaluations made by our editorial team.

Our editorial integrity is paramount. We offer unbiased evaluations and insights, unaffected by advertisers. Our method is based on a data-driven approach, guaranteeing uniform and equitable evaluation of all financial entities and products. To gain insight into our editorial principles and the particular criteria employed in our reviews, please consult our Evaluation Method.

Best Private Student Loans

BEST FOR BORROWERS WHO HAVE A CITIZENS BANK ACCOUNT

Citizens Bank

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On Credible.com's Website

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On Credible.com's Website

Variable APR

5.82% to 13.97%

Fixed APR

4.43% to 12.57%

Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Details

BEST FOR AUTOPAY DISCOUNTS

PNC Bank

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On Credible.com's Website

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On Credible.com's Website

Variable APR

6.14% to 15.64%

(including 0.50% discount for automatic payments)

Fixed APR

4.39% to 13.89%

(including 0.50% discount for automatic payments)

Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Details

BEST FOR NO-FEE LOANS

Discover

Compare Rates

On Credible.com's Website

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On Credible.com's Website

Variable APR

6.37% to 16.62%

Fixed APR

4.49% to 14.99%

Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Details

BEST FOR GOOD STUDENTS

Funding U

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On Credible.com's Website

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On Credible.com's Website

Variable APR

N/A

Fixed APR

7.49% to 12.99%

Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Details

BEST FOR NO-COSIGNER LOANS

A.M. Money

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On credible.com's Website

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On credible.com's Website

Variable APR

N/A

Fixed APR

8.34% to 8.87%

Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Details

BEST FOR EXTRA MEMBER BENEFITS

SoFi

Learn More

On SoFi's Website

Learn More

On SoFi's Website

Variable APR

5.99% to 13.97%

with autopay and rate sale discount

Fixed APR

4.44% to 14.70%

with autopay and rate sale discount

Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Details

BEST FOR FLEXIBLE REPAYMENT TERMS

Ascent

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On Ascent's Website

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On Ascent's Website

Variable APR

6.15% to 16.08%*

Fixed APR

4.83% to 16.16%*

Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Details

BEST FOR MULTI-YEAR LOANS

College Ave

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On College Ave's Website

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On College Ave's Website

Variable APR

5.59% to 16.99%

Fixed APR

5.05% to 16.99%

Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Details

BEST FOR LOW MAXIMUM APR

Rhode Island Student Loan Authority

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On Credible.com's Website

Compare Rates

On Credible.com's Website

Variable APR

N/A

Fixed APR

5.79% to 8.74%

Why We Picked It
Pros & Cons
Details
CompanyBest ForVariable APRFixed APR
Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank

Best for borrowers who have a citizens bank account5.82% to 13.97%4.43% to 12.57%
PNC Bank

PNC Bank

Best for autopay discounts6.14% to 15.64%4.39% to 13.89%
Discover

Discover

Best for no-fee loans6.37% to 16.62%4.49% to 14.99%
Funding U

Funding U

Best for good studentsN/A7.49% to 12.99%
A.M. Money

A.M. Money

Best for no-cosigner loansN/A8.34% to 8.87%
SoFi

SoFi

Best for extra member benefits5.99% to 13.97%4.44% to 14.70%
Ascent

Ascent

Best for flexible repayment terms6.15% to 16.08%*4.83% to 16.16%*
College Ave

College Ave

Best for multi-year loans5.59% to 16.99%5.05% to 16.99%
Rhode Island Student Loan Authority

Rhode Island Student Loan Authority

Best for low maximum aprN/A5.79% to 8.74%
Guidelines for Evaluating Private Student Loans

As you gear up to take out a private student loan, it’s crucial to assess your borrowing capacity independently, rather than solely relying on your school’s determination. Financial experts commonly advise that your total borrowing should not exceed your expected first-year salary post-graduation. This approach helps in keeping your future monthly loan payments within a manageable range.

In evaluating potential lenders for your student loan, consider these key aspects:

  • The maximum amount you can borrow.
  • The total cost of the loan, factoring in interest rates and any associated fees.
  • The timeline for starting repayments.
  • The duration allowed for complete loan repayment.
  • Support options provided by the lender for instances where you might struggle with payments.
  • The impact of your credit score on interest rates, especially as lower scores typically lead to higher rates.
  • Discounts offered by the lender, such as those for automatic payments.
  • The feasibility of adding a co-signer to your loan and the possibility of releasing them from the obligation at a later stage.
Evaluation Method

We evaluated 12 leading lenders, who are among the highest in loan volume, using 15 different data points. These data points were spread across various categories including interest rates, fees, loan durations, options during financial hardship, the application process, and borrower eligibility. Our selection of the top nine lenders was based on those achieving a rating of three stars or above.

Here’s how we weighted each category in our evaluation:

  • Hardship Options: 30%
  • Application Process: 16%
  • Loan Terms: 14%
  • Interest Rates: 13%
  • Eligibility: 14%
  • Fees: 13%


In each category, we looked at specific aspects like the number of forbearance months available, additional repayment options under economic hardship beyond standard forbearance, and benefits such as cash-back rewards after graduation. Other factors considered included discounts, the time until a loan defaults, and the transparency of credit score and income requirements.

Lenders offering interest rates under 10%, those providing more than the usual 12 months of forbearance, those extending loans to non-U.S. citizens, offering interest rate deductions beyond the typical 0.25% for auto-payments, presenting a range of loan terms up to 15 years, and those with minimal fees scored particularly well.

In certain instances, lenders were awarded partial points. Additionally, up to 3% of the final score was determined by editorial judgment, focusing on the quality of consumer-friendly features provided.