Your Earnest student loans and COVID-19

Your Earnest student loans and COVID-19 Learn more


We’re giving student loans a major update

Earnest offers straightforward, no-fee private student loans to make paying for school simple. Check your eligibility in 2 min.

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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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Am I ready to apply for private student loans?

Before applying for private student loans with Earnest, make sure you've completed this pre-application checklist.

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

Earnest's interest rates for undergraduate private student loans

tldr: low rates and short terms = less interest

Earnest offers private student loans to full-time undergraduate students to cover college costs beyond financial aid and federal loans. 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)

How to apply for Earnest private student loans
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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.

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, NJ, NY, OH, 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: Starting full payments right away makes the biggest impact on your total loan cost—but note that this option has no grace period.

See loan cost examples for each repayment option. 

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Common questions about undergraduate student loans

Do I need a cosigner?

For most undergraduate students, a cosigner is highly recommended. 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.

What is my cost of attendance?

Your cost of attendance is the total amount of expenses that enable you to attend school each academic year. Different students have different specific expenses, but whether you are charged in-state or out-of-state tuition has the biggest impact on the total amount (see below for more information on that). Common expenses used in calculating your cost of attendance are:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Housing – including utilities
  • Transportation
  • Books and supplies
  • Dependent care
  • Meals

We’re able to provide you your estimated cost of attendance from the enrollment information your school has shared. You can also check your school’s website or contact your school directly.

How do I know if I qualify for in-state or out-of-state tuition?

This is generally dependent on the state you lived in before attending school. If you lived in the same state as the school you are attending, you are usually given the in-state tuition rate. If you lived in a different state than the school you are attending, you are usually given the out-of-state tuition rate.

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 about paying for college on the Earnest blog