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Last update: February 21, 2024

7 minute read

Best Student Loan Lenders of 2024

After hours of in-depth research, here are our editor’s top picks to help make your student loan decision a little easier.

View private student loans for your school

By Yerain Abreu, M.S.

Edited by Derick Rodriguez, Associate Editor


Explore our list for the best student loans of the year! Whether you’re heading to college or continuing your education, these loans are designed to provide the financial support you need for your academic journey and a brighter future.

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Our editors and writers follow strict editorial guidelines to make sure that our content is fair and accurate, so you can choose the products that work best for you and make financial decisions with confidence.

    Best student loan companies for 2024

    Compare our top picks side-by-side so that you can quickly and easily how they stack up against each other and which one works best with you!

    Our top pick

    Citizens

    Citizens

    Disclosures

    Variable APR

    5.80% - 13.95%*

    Fixed APR

    4.43% - 12.57%*

    Repayment Options
      Fees
        Discounts & Benefits
        Loan Details
        Term lengths: 5, 10, 15-year

        Citizens

        Citizens

        Disclosures

        Variable APR

        5.80% - 13.95%*

        Fixed APR

        4.43% - 12.57%*

        Repayment Options
          Fees
            Discounts & Benefits
            Loan Details
            Term lengths: 5, 10, 15-year

            Citizens

            Citizens

            Disclosures

            Variable APR

            5.80% - 13.95%*

            Fixed APR

            4.43% - 12.57%*

            Repayment Options
              Fees
                Discounts & Benefits
                Loan Details
                Term lengths: 5, 10, 15-year

                College Ave

                College Ave

                Disclosures

                Variable APR

                5.59% - 16.65%¹

                Fixed APR

                4.11% - 15.44%¹

                College Ave

                College Ave

                Disclosures

                Variable APR

                5.59% - 16.65%¹

                Fixed APR

                4.11% - 15.44%¹

                College Ave

                College Ave

                Disclosures

                Variable APR

                5.59% - 16.65%¹

                Fixed APR

                4.11% - 15.44%¹

                Discover

                Discover

                Disclosures

                Variable APR

                6.37% - 16.62%*

                Fixed APR

                4.49% – 14.99%*

                Discover

                Discover

                Disclosures

                Variable APR

                6.37% - 16.62%*

                Fixed APR

                4.49% – 14.99%*

                Discover

                Discover

                Disclosures

                Variable APR

                6.37% - 16.62%*

                Fixed APR

                4.49% – 14.99%*

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                How we picked the best student loan companies

                Our editors performed in-depth research to be able to compare all of the best available loan options. The top lenders listed below are selected based on factors such as APR, loan amounts, fees, repayment options, and credit requirements.

                Our goal is to help you make smart choices about your money and your future with honest and fair recommendations. To learn more, read our review methodology.

                Lender Breakdown

                College Ave

                College Ave

                Check My Rate
                VARIABLE APR

                5.59% - 16.65%¹

                FIXED APR

                4.11% - 15.44%¹

                LOAN AMOUNT

                Not disclosed

                TERM LENGTHS

                5 to 15-year

                MIN CREDIT SCORE

                High-600s

                VARIABLE APR

                5.59% - 16.65%¹

                FIXED APR

                4.11% - 15.44%¹

                LOAN AMOUNT

                Not disclosed


                TERM LENGTHS

                5 to 15-year

                MIN CREDIT SCORE

                High-600s

                VARIABLE APR

                6.37% - 16.62%*

                FIXED APR

                4.49% – 14.99%*

                LOAN AMOUNT

                Not disclosed

                TERM LENGTHS

                See website for more information

                MIN CREDIT SCORE

                Varies

                VARIABLE APR

                6.37% - 16.62%*

                FIXED APR

                4.49% – 14.99%*

                LOAN AMOUNT

                Not disclosed


                TERM LENGTHS

                See website for more information

                MIN CREDIT SCORE

                Varies

                What to consider before applying for a student loan?

                There are several factors you should consider when applying for a student loan. Let's break down a few of the most important elements so that you can make an informed decision about your financial future. To learn about even more factors, be sure to check out our complete guide to student loans.

                1. Interest rates

                Interest rates are the cost of borrowing money, expressed as a percentage of the principal loan amount. They come in two flavors: fixed and variable.

                2. Term lengths

                Some loans require immediate repayment, while others offer a “grace period” that allows you to wait until after graduating to start making payments. A grace period can be extremely helpful because it gives you time to find a steady job and figure out your finances before beginning repayment. If you can afford to have a shorter loan term (less time to pay back), you will have to make larger monthly payments, but you will owe less interest by paying off your loan quicker.

                3. Total costs

                It's essential to calculate the total cost of the loan before deciding to take it on. This includes not just the principal amount, but also the interest, origination fees, or any additional charges. Take a look at the annual percentage rate (APR) to get an idea of the total cost of the loan for a year, including interest and fees. Keep in mind that you may be able to reduce your loan costs by making extra payments or paying off the loan early.

                4. Repayment options

                You should consider all the repayment options available for your loan, such as income-driven repayment plans, graduated repayment plans, and extended repayment plans. It’s important to note that federal and private loans have different repayment options. Choose whatever repayment plan that best fits your financial situation and future goals.

                5. Lenders reputation

                Don’t forget to research the lender's reputation and track record for customer service and support. Read reviews, ask for recommendations, and check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the lender is trustworthy and reliable.

                TuitionHero Tip

                Our detailed lender reviews make it fast and easy to find private student loan lenders that you can trust.

                Final thoughts

                College Ave, Sallie Mae, and Earnest are all excellent choices for student loans in 2024 and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Whichever lender you choose to go with may just depend on which one best fits your individual situation.

                If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out some more educational resources by TuitionHero. Our goal is to help you understand all your options so that you can make smart and confident financial decisions.

                Frequently Asked Questions

                Confused about how things work? Check out our FAQ below for quick answers to all your burning questions.

                An interest rate is a percentage of your loan value that’s added onto your total monthly repayments — this is the cost that comes with borrowing money.

                The total amount of interest you owe is determined by the amount of time you take to pay off the loan and your interest rate.

                Since more interest is owed with each payment, having less payments by repaying your loan sooner can lead to big savings.

                Additionally, getting a low interest rate means that you will owe less interest with each monthly repayment, helping you save money over the life of the loan and pay off your debt faster.

                Most private student loans will offer you the choice between a fixed- or variable-rate loan. The difference between them is:

                • A fixed-rate loan has an interest rate that remains the same over the entirety of the loan. This means that your monthly payments won’t change either, leading to predictable payments.

                • A variable-rate loan has an interest rate that can go up or down with the market. As a result, your monthly payments could increase, but they also have the potential to decrease.

                Historically, over 90% of private student loans taken out by undergraduate students are borrowed with a cosigner — a creditworthy individual who agrees to repay the debt if you, as the primary borrower, fall behind. The reason behind this is that students usually haven’t had the time to build up their credit yet to meet lenders’ loan approval requirements.

                Even if the lender doesn’t require a cosigner or you don’t need one, applying with a cosigner could improve your chances of qualifying for a private student loan at a lower rate.

                You can still get a private student loan with bad credit, but maybe not on your own. If you have bad credit or no credit at all, you will most likely need to add a cosigner to qualify.

                Even if you can get approved for a loan by yourself, your interest rate will likely be high if your credit score is low. One potential way to avoid this and get approved for a student loan with a lower interest rate can be to apply with a creditworthy cosigner.

                While most lenders allow you to borrow up to the total cost of attendance for your school, how much you can actually borrow may vary based on the lender, your major, your credit score, and whether or not you have a cosigner.

                A school's total “cost of attendance” is defined by your school and usually includes costs like: tuition and fees, room and board, transportation, school supplies, and any other education-related expenses.

                Just because you might be able to borrow 100% of school-related expenses with a private student loan doesn’t mean you should. It’s always a good idea to explore other funding options like federal student loans first before turning to private student loans to cover whatever’s leftover.

                Each lender has their own requirements for taking out a loan. With that being said, lenders will usually require that you:

                • Plan to use the loan for education-related expenses

                • Have a qualifying credit score

                • Have a qualifying income and debt-to-income ratio (DTI)

                • Be enrolled in an eligible school

                • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident with a Social Security number

                If you don't meet the minimum approval requirements, you'll want to apply with a creditworthy cosigner who does in order to qualify. A cosigner is someone who applies with you and agrees to take responsibility for paying back your loan if you don't. A cosigner is usually the student's parent or guardian, but any creditworthy individual can fulfill the role. Even if a co-signer isn't required by the lender, applying with one can increase your chances of approval and help you get a better rate.


                Author

                Yerain Abreu avatar

                Yerain Abreu is a Content Strategist with over 7 years of experience. He earned a Master's degree in digital marketing from Zicklin School of Business. He focuses on college finance, a niche carved out of his journey through the complexities of academic finance. These firsthand experiences provide him with a unique perspective, enabling him to create content that's informative and relatable to students and their families grappling with the intricacies of college financing.

                Editor

                Derick Rodriguez avatar

                Derick Rodriguez is a seasoned editor and digital marketing strategist specializing in demystifying college finance. With over half a decade of experience in the digital realm, Derick has honed a unique skill set that bridges the gap between complex financial concepts and accessible, user-friendly communication. His approach is deeply rooted in leveraging personal experiences and insights to illuminate the nuances of college finance, making it more approachable for students and families.

                At TuitionHero, we're not just passionate about our work - we take immense pride in it. Our dedicated team of writers diligently follows strict editorial standards, ensuring that every piece of content we publish is accurate, current, and highly valuable. We don't just strive for quality; we aim for excellence.


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