The 7 Best Private Student Loans of 2022

Students may decide to take out private loans to help with the cost of their college education. Learn about the seven best private student loans of 2022.

portrait of James Mielke
by James Mielke

Published on January 28, 2022 · Updated on February 11, 2022

Edited by Lorraine Mumby
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The 7 Best Private Student Loans of 2022


Federal loans make up the largest percentage of student debt in the U.S. For many students, federal loans and gift aid such as scholarships and grants fail to cover the entire cost of their college education.

Enter private student loans.

Students should maximize federal loans and other forms of financial aid before taking out private loans. However, when it's necessary, finding the best private student loans can be vital.

We take a look at some of the best private loans. Keep reading to see which loans can help cover the cost of your education.

1. Sallie Mae

A popular option for private student loans, Sallie Mae offers various loan options for which students and their co-signers can borrow varying amounts from $1,000 to the entire cost of attendance. Students securing a loan with co-signers can apply for a release after a year of on-time, continuous payments.

Borrowers traditionally pay off these loans in 10-15 years, and Sallie Mae offers a 0.25% autopay discount. For students struggling to make payments, these loans provide limited forbearance periods.

2. Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank offers various loans for both graduate and undergraduate students. Citizens private loans are also available to parents or guardians funding their child's education. In addition to more standard loans, students can access loans designed specifically for medical, law, and business schools.

Borrowers can secure loans for up to $350,000 and can pay them off in five, 10, or 15 years. Citizens Bank offers a fixed 3.23%+ annual percentage rate. Students can apply for a co-signer release after three years.

3. MEFA

For borrowers wanting a fixed-rate loan, the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) is available to students and families across the U.S. MEFA offers fixed-rate student loans for undergraduate and graduate students. Students at for-profit institutions are not eligible.

MEFA's fixed interest rates fall between 3.75% and 5.75%, and students pay off loans in 10 or 15 years. Borrowers can apply for co-signer release after four years of regular on-time payments.

4. RISLA

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) offers private student loans with flexible repayment and forgiveness opportunities. Borrowers must have a minimum 680 credit score and an annual income exceeding $40,000. RISLA offers competitive interest rates, but individuals who live, work, or went to college in Rhode Island can secure even lower rates.

Similar to federal repayment plans, RISLA provides income-based repayment options and also has loan forgiveness options for nurses. Borrowers can apply for a co-signer release after two years of consecutive, on-time payments.

5. Earnest

Earnest takes a holistic approach when evaluating potential borrowers, considering credit scores, earning potential, and other financial information. This online lender provides loan repayment options from 5-20 years and offers flexible and customizable payment terms. Borrowers may also be eligible to skip one payment each year.

This private loan option allows you to pay off debt quickly and is a solid option for borrowers without exorbitant debt and a relatively blemish-free repayment history. Unlike other loans, Earnest does not allow the option to apply with a co-signer.

6. LendKey

Partnering with smaller credit unions and community banks, LendKey can be a good option for borrowers looking for a more personalized experience than what big banks can provide. Students can secure loans between $5,000 and $125,000 with repayment plans from 5-20 years.

Loan applicants must have a minimum 660 credit score and $24,000 in annual income. Students can secure loans with a co-signer. Loans are not available in five states: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

7. Other Providers

While students can secure private student loans from big banks and other national services, local resources like credit unions, local banks, and other organizations provide education-based loans as well. Additionally, many states — including Connecticut, Texas, Maine, and South Carolina — have their own options.

Reach out to your school's financial aid office for advice on paying for your education.


DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute professional financial advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Readers of this website should contact a professional advisor before making decisions about financial issues.


Feature Image: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

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