Private Parent Loans

Send your kids to college

Children deserve every opportunity. A low-rate Private Parent Loan could help you pay for their education.
Private Parent Loan 101

What’s a Private Parent Loan?

A loan for parents, guardians, or sponsors to help cover the cost of a child’s education. It differs from a cosigned loan because only the parent is responsible for paying it back.


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Low rates

Go with historically low interest rates

You have options. Pick from a low fixed rate or a variable rate.

Starting at
( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
variable rates
Are loans that have an interest rate that will fluctuate over time
Starting at
( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
fixed rates
Are loans that have an interest rate that will not fluctuate over time
Starting at
( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
variable rates
Are loans that have an interest rate that will fluctuate over time
Starting at
( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
fixed rates
Are loans that have an interest rate that will not fluctuate over time

Take charge of your loan

Take advantage of our unique features.


Get the FAQs on Earnest Private Parent Loans

What is an Earnest Private Parent Loan?

An Earnest Private Parent Loan is a type of student loan designed for parents, guardians, and sponsors who want to pay for a student’s education. If you are a parent or know a student and want to help them pay for college, you may want to consider an Earnest Private Parent Loan.

To learn more about private student loans, this Credit Karma article is a good resource.

What is the difference between a parent loan and a cosigned student loan?

A parent student loan and cosigned student loan are two different types of loans.

With a cosigned loan, both the borrower and the student are financially responsible for the loan. Both the loan borrower and the student will see the cosigned loan reflected on their credit reports. If any loan payments are missed, both the cosigner and the student might see their credit score impacted.

A parent loan is a loan you take out independently, and you are the only person financially responsible for paying it off. The student is not legally responsible for loan payments and the loan will not appear on their credit report.

What is the difference between a Private Parent Loan and a Parent PLUS Loan?

An Earnest Private Parent Loan is issued by a private lender, while a Parent PLUS Loan is issued by the government. It’s a federal student loan designed for the parent borrower.

In the case of a Parent PLUS Student Loan, only a biological or adoptive parent (in some cases a stepparent) can take out this loan from the federal government. This loan is sometimes referred to as a Federal Direct Plus Loan or a Direct Plus LoanThis NerdWallet article could be helpful if you’d like to learn more.

When it comes to a private student loan, such as the Earnest Private Parent Loan, the definition is more broad. You do not have to be a parent to apply. You could be a guardian, relative, or someone who wants to send a student to college.

What do I need to apply?

Review this checklist before you start the application process. For a complete list of requirements, please visit our eligibility page.

You must be:

  • 18 years or older
    • In Alabama and Nebraska, you must be 19 or older, and in Mississippi, 21 or older
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a FICO that is at least 650 or greater
  • Make at least $35,000 per year

Note: Open to all states, except Nevada

The student must be:

  • Student is enrolled in school full-time for College Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors, at least half-time for College Seniors. There’s no enrollment requirement for Graduate students.
  • Student is pursuing a Bachelor’s or Graduate degree.
  • School is a Title IV-qualified, not-for-profit, 4-year institution.
How much money can I borrow with an Earnest Private Parent Loan?

You can borrow between $1,000 (minimum loan amount) up to your total cost of attendance.

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

1) Encourage your student to apply for scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities.

2) Make sure your student fills out a FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the upcoming academic year. Students don’t need a credit check or a cosigner to take out a federal student loan and filling out the FAFSA is the first step in gaining access to a federal student loan.

3) Review Parent PLUS Loans and other federal loan options before you apply for a private parent student loan.

To learn more about federal student loan programs, visit the U.S. Department of Education.

If you applied for federal aid and still need to cover the cost of attendance, a private student loan may be for you.

What are the advantages of private student loans vs. federal student loans?

Federal student loan benefits:

You get certain protections that private student loans may not offer, such as income-based loan repayment, deferment, student loan forgiveness, and forbearance if repaying becomes too difficult.

You can visit to learn more about federal financial aid.

Earnest Private Parent Loan benefits:

Private student loans may offer you a lower interest rate, flexible repayment options, and a longer deferral period or grace period. Some private lenders, like Earnest, don’t charge an origination fee while some federal student loans do. We also give a 0.25% APR discount with enrollment in the automatic monthly payment program. Another Earnest benefit is that we will never pass your loan to another loan servicer. Your loans are serviced in-house for the life of the loan.

How do you pay out a Private Parent Loan?

We send a check directly to your student’s college, in a process called disbursement. You can learn more about student loan disbursement here.

What kind of interest rates do you offer?

You can choose between a fixed interest rate or a variable interest rate. We are proud to offer some of the lowest starting rates for Private Parent Loans.