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Finally, student loans have evolved.

Private student loans look pretty much the same (lame), but we’ve built you something better. Variable rates start at 3.35% APR and fixed rates at 4.69% APR (including 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Check your eligibility in 2min, with no commitment or effect on your credit.

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Am I a ready to apply for private student loans?

Before applying for private student loans with Earnest, use this easy pre-application checklist to make sure you're prepared. View full eligibility details on our eligibility page.

Way to go! Continue to check your eligibility with Earnest in 2min.

Check My Eligibility

Way to go! Continue to check your eligibility with Earnest in 2min.

Check My Eligibility

Benefits of Earnest private student loans

  • Fast application and approval process
  • 9-month grace period (3 months more than most lenders)
  • No fees for origination, disbursement, prepayment, or late payment
  • Skip a payment once per year (once repayment period has started)
  • Expert support from our Client Happiness team
  • 0.25% Auto Pay discount
  • Covers up to 100% of school’s certified cost of attendance

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See how Earnest stacks up to other lenders (hint: we're better)

Feature comparison current as of March 5, 2019


Eligibility check        
No fees for origination, disbursement or late payments         
9-month grace period        
Choice of loan terms         
Skip a payment once per year once full repayment starts        


How to apply for Earnest private student loans
earnest personal loans

1) Quickly check your eligibility

All you need to know is where you’ll be going to school and an estimate of your credit score.

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2) Fill out an application

You (and your cosigner, if you have one) add further financial details to help us fully understand you and your needs.

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3) Choose your preferred loan

Once approved, choose your preferred repayment plan—then get back to preparing for class.

Earnest's private student loan interest rates

tldr: low rates and short terms = less interest

An interest rate is assigned based on the length of your loan, as well as the credit history of you and/or your cosigner. Having a cosigner can you qualify for better chances of approval and a potentially lower interest rate. Learn about the difference between variable and fixed interest rates.

Variable Rates

Starting at 3.35% APR (including 0.25% Auto Pay discount)

Variable rates not available in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX.

Fixed Rates

Starting at 4.69% APR (including 0.25% Auto Pay discount)

Four flexible repayment options to save you money

Pick the in-school payment option that fits your budget
  • Deferred Payment: Waiting till the end of your grace period to make payments means the highest total cost (not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NY, PA, and WA).
  • Fixed $25 Payment: Making small monthly payments while in school reduces your accrued interest.
  • Interest-Only Payment: Paying the accrued interest each month is the middle ground for in-school repayment options.
  • Principal & Interest Payment: Making full payments right away makes the biggest impact on your total loan cost.

    See loan cost examples for each repayment option. 


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Cosigners don't always wear capes

Being a (financial) hero just requires a signature

Many students can’t qualify for a private loan on their own, but an eligible cosigner can help. Click below to read about the requirements and responsibilities of being a cosigner. 

Learn About Cosigning

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Common questions about private student loans

What federal loan alternatives should I consider before applying for a private student loan?

Before applying for private student loans, it’s best to maximize your other sources of financial aid first. It’s recommended to use a 3-step approach to assembling the funds you need:  

1) Look for funds you don’t have to pay back, like scholarships, grants and work-study opportunities. 

2) Next, fill out a FAFSA® form to apply for federal student loans. Federal student do not require a credit check or cosigner, and offer various protections if you’re struggling with payments.

3) Finally, consider a private student loan to cover any difference between your total cost of attendance and the amount not covered in steps 1 and 2.

For more information, visit the Department of Education website.

How much can I borrow?

You can borrow as little as $1,000, up to the total school-certified cost of attendance for the applicable school year. Please note that the minimum loan amount varies by state.

Who is eligible for Earnest private student loans?

Eligible students must be:

• Attending, or enrolled to attend, full-time at an eligible 4-year Title IV institutions
• Residing in Washington D.C. or a state that Earnest lends in (all but AK, CT, DE, HI, IL, KY, NH, NV, OH, TX, VA)
• The age of majority in their state of residence
• A U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident or have a cosigner who is a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

View full eligibility details on our Eligibility page.

Do I need a cosigner?

If you meet all of Earnest’s eligibility criteria, you may be approved for a loan as a solo applicant—but applying with a cosigner who has good credit increases the probability of getting approved and may lower the cost of your loan. If you are not a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, you may only apply with a cosigner who is.

Please keep in mind our eligibility criteria for cosigners:

• A U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
• 3+ years of good credit history
• A minimum credit score of 650
• No history of bankruptcy
• Minimum yearly income of $35,000 (in USD)
• Resident of one of the states we lend in (all but AK, CT, DE, HI, IL, KY, NH, NV, OH, TX, VA)

Learn about paying for college on the Earnest blog

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