All of the excitement of college acceptance letters have faded away, and the realization of actually paying for college is probably sinking in. After reviewing and re-reviewing your chosen school’s financial aid offer, and taking a hard look at your finances, you might be in need of college loans to make the ends meet.
We’re really good at helping students work through finding the best college fit, and we can explain, in depth, what types of loans are out there (unsubsidized vs subsidized, for example), but when it comes to choosing a private student loan company, there are too many individual factors to consider. Additionally, we aren’t financial advisers, and we don’t know your specific needs.
What we can do, however, is recommend three great sources for more information. When shopping for a loan, though, remember this: Borrow only what you need. Not a little extra… that’s a want.
NerdWallet (we just like saying that name) has great list that’s worth reviewing:
Ascent: One Ascent option is best for independent students; the other is best for borrowers who want to pay off loans fast.NerdWallet: Private Student Loans: 6 Best Lenders for May 2019
Citizens Bank: Best for international students and existing Citizens Bank customers.
College Ave: Best for students who want to make payments while they’re still in school.
SunTrust: Best for borrowers looking for an interest-only payment option after graduation.
Sallie Mae: Best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.
Discover: Best for students who may need wiggle room on payments.
Check out this link for each of these private lending companies’ rates and terms.
The Balance breaks it down a little differently:
Credible: Best Overall
Sallie Mae: Best for Flexible Options
College Ave: Best for Flexible Repayment Plans
Citizens Bank: Best from a Major Bank
Commonbond: Best Repayment Choices
Discover: Best for Good Grades
Ascent: Best for Undergrads Without Co-Signers
LendKey: Best for Backed By Community LendersThe Balance: The 8 Best Private Student Loans of 2019
Lastly, U.S. News ranks their choices for best private student loan companies (and by this point, some of these names are starting to look familiar):
LendKey: Best Lender With a Completely Online Loan Experience
Finally, we know the process of taking out loans can be difficult. It’s stressful and a little bit scary. The more you research and know your options beforehand, the less emotional it will be. Be smart, be aware, and be organized!
Disclosure: Smart College Visit is partners with Sallie Mae.