Your Earnest student loans and COVID-19

Your Earnest student loans and COVID-19 Learn more


Extra diplomas deserve exceptional student loans

If you’ve got goals of higher education, we’ve got low interest rates to help you get there. Check your eligibility in 2 min.

Check My Eligibility
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Benefits of Earnest graduate 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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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 2.74% APR (including 0.25% Auto Pay discount)

Fixed Rates

Starting at 4.39% APR (including 0.25% Auto Pay discount)

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        


Leave grad school with less debt

Four in-school payment options to fit your budget
  • Deferred Payment (not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NJ, NY, OH, PA, and WA): Waiting till the end of your grace period to make payments means the highest total cost.
  • 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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Am I a good candidate for private student loans?

Before applying for private student loans with Earnest, use this easy pre-application checklist to make sure you're prepared.

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
Apply for a graduate private student loan in minutes
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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.

Common questions about graduate private student loans

Can graduate students apply for FAFSA®?

Yes, graduate students can apply for the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA®). Applying for the FAFSA® as a grad student is the same process as applying as an undergrad student, so the application may be familiar to you. We encourage grad students to apply for the FAFSA® and any other financial aid options available at your school as your first option for paying for educational expenses, to help decrease the overall cost of obtaining your education.

Do I need a cosigner for a private graduate student loan?

No, but there may be benefits to adding a cosigner. A cosigner with a strong credit history and sufficient income can improve the likelihood of getting approved and qualifying for a lower interest rate. While many cosigners tend to be parents or relatives of the student, any relation to the student applicant is acceptable. We do require that our in-school undergraduate loan cosigners meet all our minimum eligibility criteria. If you’re considering applying without a cosigner, you’ll need to meet our independent student loan eligibility criteria.

How much can graduate students borrow in federal loans?

Grad students are eligible to borrow up to $20,500 in unsubsidized federal loans each academic year. (Unsubsidized loans start accruing interest while you’re in school, whereas subsidized loans don’t accrue interest until the end of your deferment period.) Grad students are also eligible for Direct PLUS (also known as Grad PLUS) loans through the government, but these loans have a flat fixed rate as well as an origination fee of 4%+. 

You’ll need to apply for the FAFSA® to check your eligibility for graduate federal loans. Your school determines the actual loan amount you’ll be able to borrow.

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 institution
• Residing in Washington D.C. or a state that Earnest lends in (all but AK, CT, HI, IL, NH, NV, TX, VA)
• The age of majority as defined by 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.

Learn more about graduate student loans on our blog