Last Updated: June 2017

Compare options from the industries' top lenders.

If savings, scholarships, and grants aren’t enough to fully fund your college education, you might be considering taking out a private student loan. If so, it’s wise to do some research first. While you want to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible, it’s also important to ensure that you’re working with a reputable lender.

So where can you get the best deal on a private student loan for college?
Which lenders have the best rates and terms?
And which lenders can you trust?

 
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Check Out Nitro's Most Requested Lender!
Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
3.25% - 11.85%1 Variable & Fixed 5 - 15 years*

Undergrad & Graduate Students Learn More

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Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
3.13% - 11.90%1 Variable & Fixed 5 - 15 years

See Examples

Undergrad & Graduate Student & Parent Learn More

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Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
2.93% - 11.76%1 Variable & Fixed 8 - 15 years

Undergrad & Graduate Student & Parent Learn More

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Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
3.04% - 9.67%1 Variable & Fixed 5 - 15 years

Undergrad & Graduate Students Learn More

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Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
3.00% - 10.76%1 Variable & Fixed 10 & 15 years

Undergrad & Graduate Students Learn More

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Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
2.99% - 9.07% 1 Variable & Fixed 5 - 15 years

Undergrad & Graduate Students Learn More

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At Nitro, we have relationships with several lenders that we’ve put through an intensive vetting process. We have researched and compared:

✔  the competitiveness of their rates,
✔  repayment options and terms,
✔  discounts offered,
✔  fees and penalties to consider,
✔  responsiveness to customers and applicants, and
✔  the lender’s reputation, history, and solvency.

After our research we recommend considering the following lenders - Sallie Mae, Citizens One, College Ave, Connext & LendKey.

Important:  Remember, most rising college students don’t have enough of a credit history to qualify for a loan on their own.  Applying with a cosigner can help get you over that hurdle. Or, if you can’t qualify with your current cosigner, consider asking someone else. Keep in mind that cosigners do not have to be parents, guardians, or relatives.  Even if you can qualify for a loan on your own, applying with a cosigner may get you a lower interest rate

Ready to fill your gap in tuition costs and start your college journey?
Apply now and secure your personalized rates. Rates currently as low as 2.81% (APR):

How should I compare lenders for private student loans?

With a variety of traditional banks and new lenders on the scene, it’s easier than ever to find a private student loan that fits with your needs. Check out offerings from our preferred lenders and apply today.

**Remember, if you apply with a cosigner, you will increase your chances of getting approved for a loan and may get a lower interest rate.

  • Detailed review of Sallie Mae Student Loans
  • No origination fee and no prepayment penalty.
  • Variable interest rates from 3.25% APR to 10.22% APR.1
  • Fixed interest rates from 5.74% APR to 11.85% APR. 1
  • A quick credit result—Applying online is fast and easy. It only takes about 15 minutes to apply and get a credit result
  • Pay now or later—Defer your payments until after school or choose an in-school repayment option that fits your needs.1
  • Graduated Repayment Period—The Smart Option Student Loan is the first nationwide private student loan offering a Graduated Repayment Period feature 5, providing budget flexibility for graduating students. Students who graduate and maintain their Sallie Mae loans in good standing can request to make 12 interest – only payments instead of full principal and interest payments six months after school. 6


* This repayment example is based on a typical loan to a borrower who chooses a variable rate and the Fixed Repayment Option for a $10,000 loan, with two disbursements, and a 8.11% variable APR. It works out to 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $151.63 and one payment of $117.89, for a Total Loan Cost of $19,436.86. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan.

* This repayment example is based on a typical loan to a first-year graduate borrower who chooses a variable rate and the Fixed Repayment Option for a $10,000 loan, with two disbursements, and a 7.12% variable APR. It works out to 27 payments of $25.00, 59 payments of $216.41 and one payment of $200.56, for a Total Loan Cost of $13,643.75. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan.

+ The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.

SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Sallie Mae Bank, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America

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  • Detailed review of Citizens One Student Loans
  • Variable rates as low as 3.13% APR1,2,3 for eligible borrowers with automatic payment and loyalty discounts.
  • Fixed rates as low as 5.25% APR1,2,3 for eligible borrowers with automatic payment and loyalty discounts.
  • Reduce your interest rate by up to .50 percentage points with all available discounts.2,3
  • No application, origination or disbursement fees, plus no prepayment penalties.
  • Loan amounts from $1,000 to $295,000 (depending on degree).
  • Manage your payments with a variety of flexible repayment options.
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  • Detailed review of College Ave Student Loans
  • Apply in 3 minutes to get an instant credit decision.
  • Competitive fixed and variable rates.
  • Flexible repayment options to fit your budget.
  • Zero application fees, origination fees, or pre-payment fees.
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Connext Private Student Loans Powered by ReliaMax has a network of lenders providing your NEXT loan.

  • Detailed review of Connext Student Loans
  • Rates as low as 3.00% for variable rates, and as low as 5.40% for fixed rates
  • Interest rate discount for enrollment in Automatic Payments.
  • Maximum Loan amount - $100,000 as certified by school for Undergraduate, $150,000 for Graduate as certified by school
  • Co-signer release option after 36 consecutive on-time Principal & Interest Payments, borrower must be US Citizen and meet credit criteria
  • 24/7 application processing
  • No required payment during in-school deferred period (but encouraged)
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  • Detailed review of LendKey Student Loans
  • All loans funded by community lenders like not-for-profit credit unions and community banks
  • 30-day no-fee return policy for all borrowers
  • Cosigner release available2
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties
  • 0.25%3 Interest Rate Reduction with automatic payments
  • Only 3 simple steps to get a private student loan offer
  • 97% borrower satisfaction shows our best in class customer service
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Private Student Loans FAQs:

Q: What do I need to apply?

For most student loans, you can apply online within a matter of minutes if you have the right documentation on hand. The information you might want to have at the ready includes:

✔  Contact info
✔  Dates of birth
✔  Name of the school
✔  Major
✔  Social security number
✔  Your financial information, including a recent pay stub or other proof of income
✔  Proof of mortgage or rental payment amounts
✔  Contact info for your employer (if applicable)
✔  The financial aid award letter from the school you plan to attend
✔  The total cost of attendance
✔  Total financial aid offered
✔  Anticipated graduation date
✔  A personal reference

Note: If you’re applying with a cosigner, you’ll need the above info as it pertains to him or her as well. 

Q:  What else do I need to think about when applying for student loans?
Before applying for private student loans, be sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as FAFSA. Doing so will help determine your eligibility for federal grants and loans, as well as some scholarships. Accept all of your grants and scholarship money, followed federal loans, before applying for a private student loan. Then use our Free NitroScore tool to determine how much money you need to borrow before applying for loans.

Q:  Does it cost money to apply for a private student loan?
Some banks may charge an application fee. However, all application fees are waived if you apply through Nitro.

Q:  How long does it take to get approved for a student loan?
Most lenders will require certain kinds of documentation, including your (and your cosigner’s) social security number, address, and employment or income info. 

If you have your paperwork in hand, it should take about 15 minutes to go through the application process. Some banks may approve you within a few minutes. If you have to provide additional documentation, that process may take several days.

Q:  What’s the difference between a federal student loan and a private student loan? Is one better than the other?
Federal student loans are issued by the government and often feature lower interest rates than loans offered by private lenders. It’s a good idea to utilize all federal loan money that’s offered to you before applying for private student loans.

Q:  Should I opt for a variable or fixed interest rate?
A fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan. A variable interest may fluctuate based on market conditions. That may affect your monthly payment, as well as your overall loan amount.

Fixed interest rates are generally a safer bet, although finding a good deal on a variable rate might make sense if you’re only taking the loan for a short period of time, or if interest rates are expected to fall.