Best for No Fees
- Must have a cosigner that is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Borrowers must have a U.S. Social Security number
- No origination, application, prepayment, or late fees
- Check your rate without impacting your credit
Earnest is a financial technology company with headquarters in San Francisco that provides eligible borrowers with credit cards, personal loans, student loans, and refinancing options for existing student loans. Earnest accepts applications for student loans from international students provided that the applicant has a U.S. cosigner, a U.S. address, and a Social Security number.
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the platform, making it a fee-friendly option. When it comes to private student loans, Earnest offers some of the most competitive interest rates available, particularly for creditworthy borrowers who enroll in automatic payment plans.
Borrowers are eligible to apply for the feature that allows them to skip a payment once they have made at least six consecutive payments toward their loans that were made on time. Because of this benefit, you will be able to put off making one payment toward your loans every year.
Earnest Cosigned Student Loan Rates
|Fixed rates (APR)||3.99% – 12.78%|
|Variable rates (APR)||3.58% – 12.28%|
|Rate discount||0.25% for automatic payments|
|Loan amount||$1,000 – 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance|
|Repayment plans||Full, interest-only, $25 fixed, or deferred|
|Repayment term||5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years|
What Types of Loans Does Earnest Offer?
Earnest offers both undergraduate and graduate loans, with or without a cosigner. This includes loans tailored specifically for students pursuing a medical degree, their MBA, or a law degree.
The lender also offers student loan refinancing for all of the above, as well as for Parent PLUS loan borrowers.
|Undergrad Loan||Graduate Loan||Refinancing|
|Loan amounts||$1,000+||$1,000+||$5,000 – $500,000|
|Fixed APRs||3.99% – 12.78%||4.19% – 12.78%||3.99% – 8.99%|
|Variable APRs||3.58% – 12.28%||3.79% – 10.19%||3.24% – 7.99%|
|Grace period||9 months||9 months||N/A|
General Eligibility Requirements
If you live in an eligible state, you can apply for a private student loan or a refinance loan if you meet the following requirements:
- You’re over the age of 18.
- You’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien (or have a cosigner who meets these criteria).
- You have debt from a Title IV accredited college or are attending an eligible school.
- You have either graduated, are in your final semester of college, or have an incomplete bachelor’s or associate’s degree (for refinancing); you are attending or are enrolled to attend a four-year Title IV institution (for private student loans).
- You must be currently employed in order to refinance.
- You need to borrow at least $1,000 for a private student loan; if you’re refinancing, the loan amount is over $5,000.
Note that Earnest loans are not available in Kentucky or Nevada.
For refinance loans, Earnest also favors applicants who have enough in savings to cover at least two months’ worth of expenses, are current on their rent or mortgage payments, and do not carry high amounts of credit card or personal loan debt, among other factors.
- Official Website: https://www.earnest.com/
- Loans Offered: Undergraduate, Graduate, International, Refinanced, parents
- Customer Service: Phone hours are Monday – Friday, 8am-5pm PST, excluding holidays.(888) 601-2801
- Address: EARNEST OPERATIONS LLC 535 MISSION ST., SUITE 1663 SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94105
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