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Best Student Loans in 2022: Top Personal Loans With Zero Origination Fees

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As a college student, chances are that your financial situation has seen better days. Yet, there's absolutely no reason to despair over it.

While student loan forgiveness may not be around the corner, you can apply for personal loans like LendKey -  regardless of your credit report.

Private loans for students can come from lenders online, credit unions, and banks. Unlike federal loans, personal loans require co-signers for undergraduates and tend to have higher interest rates.

That's why it is paramount to dig really deep into all personal loan options at your disposal and find the top pick even among what we describe as the best personal loans for students.

Below is a list of the 11 best personal loans for students.

Let's take it a step at a time.

Best Student Loans:

1. LendKey: Best Private Student Loans Overall

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Pros:

Cons:

  • Rate estimates not available without hard credit score check

After much deliberation, we decided that LendKey might be just the best site for student personal loans overall. This well-rounded platform delivers fair interest rates, zero origination and application fees, and fair loan terms.

APR: From 2.60%

Loan terms: 5, 10, 15 years.

Loan amount: $1,000 up to the total cost of attendance

LendKey allows borrowers to collaborate with community banks or credit unions rather than with major banks.

The platform offers loans to college students in all 50 US states and an impressive 18-month extended forbearance for 15-year loan terms, all in six-month increments.

On the downside, a hard credit check is required to receive a personalized interest rate estimate. We would also like to see LendKey offer payment postponement options for students in school.

The loan terms are 5, 10, or 15 years, and the loan amount goes from $1,000 up to the total attendance cost.

As noted, this platform charges no application or origination fees. For private student loans, interest rates start at 2.6%.

The minimum credit score required to take out a personal loan at LendKey is 660. You can also qualify for a loan even if you've filed for bankruptcy, but only after 5 years.

As usual, you are required to be a United States citizen or a permanent resident of any US state. Based on the official data, over 90% of borrowers at LendKey have a co-signer.

The platform supports automatic payments above the minimum level, yet without a biweekly automatic payment option.

After the loan is approved and the loan balance reaches your bank account, you can make interest-only payments for up to 60 months while you are still a college student. After you graduate or the 60 months have passed, you will be required to make full loan payments.

>>Get the best terms for your student loan on LendKey>>

2. Upgrade: Easy Loan for Students With Bad Credit Score

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Pros:

  • $50,000 loans
  • Low fixed interest rates
  • Monthly payments are affordable
  • 560 minimum credit score
  • Zero prepayment fees
  • Over 1 million customers, $15+ billion borrowed
  • 0.5% automatic payment discount

Cons:

  • Origination fees apply

Upgrade is the top platform we can recommend for bad credit personal loans. The site supports credit-based loans and offers more discounts than many other lenders. Upgrade has served over 1 million people, borrowing over $15 billion over the years.

APR: From 2.9%

Loan terms: 2-7 years.

Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000

Upgrade is a platform that allows you to take out loans up to $50,000. The site accepts poor credit scores, going as low as 560, while keeping the interest rate fair and acceptable.

The interest rate starts at 6.55%, and you can repay the loan in up to 7 years. We don't like that the site asks for an origination fee of up to 8%, but this place also charges zero prepayment fees and supports joint and secured loans. Bear in mind that the site charges late fees, too.

The approval only takes a few days, and the money will reach your bank account within one business day.

We love that Upgrade only performs a soft credit check for pre-qualification. We also like the discounts on this platform.

For example, Upgrade offers a 0.5% point rate discount for activating automatic payments, a discount for checking account users, and even a rate discount for creditors on debt consolidation loans.

The funding process is fast and secure, and the platform sports a modern design that is effortless to navigate. All pages load swiftly with zero lag.

>>Get a loan with a bad credit score on Upgrade>>

3. Funds Joy: Cash Loan for Students With the Fastest Approval Time

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Pros:

  • Easiest loan application process
  • No extra fees
  • Swift approval of personal loans for students
  • Loans up to $5,000

Cons:

  • Phone customer support is not available

If you need a personal loan ASAP, you better check out Funds Joy. This platform will grant you up to $5,000 in one of the easiest, clutter-free applications we’ve encountered among personal loan lenders.

APR: From 4.99%

Loan amount: Up to $5,000

We appreciate how clean and straightforward this site is. No hidden costs, no sneaky expenses snuck through the fine print, just clean loans ranging from $200 to $5,000.

The interest rate starts at 4.99%, and the approval process will only take 10 minutes of your time.

If you're not the most tech-savvy individual, Funds Joy is a perfect option because the platform is as easy to use as it gets.

You will be required to present an ID document, routing number, and appropriate documents during the application process. As usual, prepare the documents before you start the application process to make the procedure as smooth as possible.

Support agents are available over email and reply within just 24 hours if any issue occurs. The customer service is professional and polite, and you can also check out the site's FAQ library before contacting the reps.

Once your personal loan is approved, you can expect the loan balance to reach your bank account within one business day. Late payment fees apply and vary between lenders.

>>Learn why Funds Joy’s loans are super easy to get>>

4. LendingTree: Fair Interest Rates

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Pros:

  • Free credit report check
  • Various other loans available in addition to student loans
  • Co-borrowers are welcome
  • Student loans cover 100% of attendance cost

Cons:

  • Origination fee starts at 3%
  • 670 credit score minimum might be too steep

LendingTree is a top-tier online lending platform that covers various loan types, including student loans. Interest rates start as low as 3%, and student loans cover full attendance costs.

APR: From 3.00%

Loan terms: 5-15 years

Loan amount: 100% of attendance fee, minimum $1,000

LendingTree requires a 670 minimum credit score for approval. Personal loans start at $1,000, and co-signers are a welcome option for all users.

We are not huge fans of the site's origination fee policy, which starts at 3%, but we like their support team and how responsive and professional they are. You can contact them over a toll-free phone line, which is a plus.

The site offers free credit report checks, which is not something most lenders can offer. College students are eligible whether they pursue an Associate’s Degree, a Bachelor's Degree, a Master's Degree, or a Ph.D.

The service points out that having no credit is not an issue, noting that lenders won't punish anyone for not yet establishing their credits.

The website is packed with helpful resources on various topics, which, apart from student loans, include mortgages, general personal loans, auto loans, and more.

LendingTree points out that education is key and that you need to borrow responsibly. Many users will surely appreciate the company’s ethos before starting doing business with it.

>>Find best interest rates on LendingTree>>

5. MoneyMutual: Huge Variety of Private Lenders

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Pros:

  • Loans up to $5,000
  • 2+ million customers
  • Less than 5 minutes to apply for personal loans for students
  • Less than 2 minutes for approval
  • Money in bank account within 1 day

Cons:

  • Unavailable in 3 states in the US

MoneyMutual is a high-quality platform for payday online loans, allowing you to take out super-fast private loans up to $5,000. Approval only takes about 2 minutes, and application is a breeze.

APR: Depends on the lender

Loan amount: Up to $5,000

If you want a super-swift personal loan, MoneyMutual is one of the best options, in our opinion. The site allows you to take out loans up to $5,000 even with a poor credit score.

The application process is as easy as possible, taking only about 5 minutes to complete and then just 2 minutes to receive approval. The money will be in your bank account on the following business day.

With over 2,000,000 users, MoneyMutual is a reputable lending platform and a member of the CFEF and the Online Lenders Alliance.

MoneyMutual is perfect if you want to cut to the chase and easily loan up to $5,000. The money will be in your bank account within 24 hours in some cases, with as few questions asked as possible.

The website has a modern design and utilizes the latest encryption technology for maximum safety. The platform offers a solid resource database that will help you take out a loan even with a poor credit score.

>>If you need $5,000 fast, head over to MoneyMutual>>

6. BadCreditLoans: Lowest Credit Score Requirements

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Pros:

  • Credit score under 500 accepted
  • $10,000 loans available
  • No collateral required
  • Interest rate starts at 5.99%

Cons:

  • No BBB accreditation
  • Loans capped at $1,000 if credit score is under 500

Very few private student loan lenders accept borrowers with a credit score under 500. BadCreditLoans is one of those sites, and it actually offers fair terms and interest rates.

APR: From 5.99%

Loan amount: Up to $10,000

It's hard to find a financial institution that approves personal loans if your credit score is below 500.

BadCreditLoans lives up to its branding, offering loans even if your credit score is below $1,000, all at surprisingly fair terms.

The interest rate ranges between 5.99% and 35.99%. However, if your credit score is under 500, you are only eligible for a personal loan up to $1,000. Otherwise, the loans are capped at $10,000, and private student loans are supported.

BadCreditLoans is not BBB accredited, but, again, no collateral is required for the loans. The minimum loan amount you can take out is $500.

The site is up-to-date, modern, and easy to navigate. When you apply, the platform will only ask you for the essential info, keeping the entire process in the 10-minute range.

When you submit your application, personal loans are approved surprisingly fast, within 2 minutes in some cases.

We also like the inclusion of a dedicated customer service phone line and how polite and responsive the support agents are.

>>If your credit score is under 500, seek BadCreditLoans>>

7. CashUSA: Easy $10,000 Personal Loans

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Pros:

  • $10k loans
  • 72 months to pay back the loan
  • Loan in bank account within a business day
  • Fair interest rate

Cons:

  • The site could use a revamp

CashUSA is the best option if you need a private loan of up to $10,000. Fast, secure, only basic questions asked, and swift delivery on top.

APR: From 5.99%

Loan terms: Up to 72 months

Loan amount: $500 to $10,000

CashUSA allows you to take out loans up to $10,000 and pay the money back in as long as 6 years or 72 months.

We like that the website only performs a soft credit check. If you're in the position to repay your loan ASAP, you can do it in just 3 months.

The minimum loan amount is $500, the origination fee amounts to 0, and the interest rate varies from 5.99% to 35.99%.

We must admit that the platform could use a revamp. But while the design is a bit dated, the foundations remain solid. The platform loads swiftly, it's SSL encrypted, and all data is safe.

The application form requires 5 to 10 minutes to fill out, and application processing is pretty short, usually not longer than 5 minutes.

Once approved, the money will be in your bank account the next business day, and you can start making monthly payments ASAP.

CashUSA support team is available via email or phone. The team is polite and professional, with no automated replies in our experience.

>>If you need $10,000 ASAP, CashUSA is a valid choice>>

8. PersonalLoans: Fast $35,000 Loans

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Pros:

  • $35,000 loans available
  • Quality site design
  • Money in bank account within 1 business day
  • Various lenders

Cons:

  • Origination fee applies

When taking out loans above $10,000, the application process on most platforms tends to become more complicated. Not at Personal Loans, where you can easily loan up to $35,000 at a fair interest rate and return it within 6 years in monthly payments.

APR: 5.99% to 35.99%

Loan terms: Up to 6 years

Loan amount: $1,000 to $35,000

You can take out anywhere from $1,000 to $35,000 at Personal Loans, and return the money within 3 to 72 months.

No collateral is required, and we like how vast the lenders' database is compared to other lenders offering private student loans.

The interest rate varies between 5.99% and 35.99%, depending on your credit score and other factors.

The platform is effortless to use and navigate through. The application process starts right on the home page and only takes 15 minutes, or even less if you are tech-savvy and come prepared with all the required documents.

The site also includes an APR table with examples, so you know what to expect before even starting the application procedure. The money will reach your bank the next business day, which is super swift considering the loan amount you can take out.

>>Get your loan safe and fast on Personal Loans>>

9. Zippyloan: 5-Minute Loan Application

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Pros:

  • Swift 5-minute application
  • Loans up to $15,000
  • 6 years to repay the loan
  • Over 100 lenders

Cons:

  • Geo-restricted for NY, DC, and WV users

If you like your loan application short and sweet - as short as 5 minutes - check out Zippyloan. This site allows you to take out up to $15,000, receive the money the next business day, and repay the loan within 6 years.

APR: Varies between lenders

Loan terms: 6 to 72 months

Loan amount: $100 to $15,000

Zippyloan is a smooth, modern-looking platform that delivers a seamless experience and one of the fastest loan application procedures we have seen.

It only takes 5 minutes to apply and get connected to a network of over 100 lenders. This platform is a clutter-free zone: the devs seem to have optimized the site to make every click waste the least amount of your time. The process only requires the essential data.

On the downside, Zippyloan is restricted in WV, NY, and DC. However, if you're not from any of those three states, you'll enjoy 6-year repayment periods, with loans ranging from $100 to $15,000.

If you need assistance, the site’s FAQ library is nothing to write home about, and we would also like to see the contact page more prominently displayed on the front page.

But once you do get in touch with support agents, you'll find them pleasant, professional, and highly efficient.

>>Secure private student loans with zero clutter on Zippyloan>>

10. 24/7DollarLoan: Fastest Personal Loan Approval

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Pros:

  • Effortless registration
  • 1-minute approval
  • $1,000 loans available
  • Entrepreneurs are also welcome

Cons:

  • Could use more educational resources

If in a real hurry, 24/7DollarLoan is our recommendation for the fastest personal loan approvals. While several platforms on this list approve personal loans within 5 minutes, 24/7DollarLoan does it within just 60 seconds in some instances.

APR: Varies between lenders

Loan terms: $800 monthly earnings are required

Loan amount: $100 to $1,000

24/7DollarLoan is a good solution if you need a private loan and have a poor credit score.

All you have to do is apply for a loan from the site’s homepage, provide proof that you earn at least $800 per month, and you’ll be eligible for loans up to $1,000 as a US citizen or permanent resident. You will also need to be 18 or older, as expected.

Unrelated to private loans for students, you can also apply for a loan as an entrepreneur as long as your monthly income crosses the threshold of $800.

The site is free to use and doesn't charge fees for connecting you with lenders. The application form is easy to fill out and will only take 5-10 minutes of your time.

We would surely appreciate a more extensive FAQ section and educational resources, but that’s hardly the reason for the existence of this site.  At the same time, their support team is on par with the best personal loan sites out there - polite, efficient, and responsive.

>>Head over to 24/7DollarLoan for 1-minute loan approvals>>

11. 24/7CreditNow: Big and Small Loan for Students With Poor Credit Score

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Pros:

  • $35,000 loans
  • 90-second replies
  • Poor credit score accepted

Cons:

  • Dated design

If you need a more substantial instant loan, 24/7CreditNow is a solid option. You can take out as much as $35,000 with zero hidden fees.

The T&Cs are crystal clear, APR varies between lenders, and you can still take out smaller loans - down to $100, to be precise.

To qualify, you must be 18+, a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, and have proof of $800 or higher monthly income. The process is smooth and as easy as it gets, with near-instant, 90-second replies.

>>Get a fast loan ASAP with zero fees with 24/7CreditNow>>

How We Chose Our Top Picks for Private Student Loans

This section highlights the six areas we used as benchmarks when rating private student loan lenders. The rundown includes the loan amount, the interest rate, the personal loan terms, credit score requirements, and more.

Private Student Loan Eligibility

We clearly prefer private lenders that perform only soft credit checks. The best personal loans for students keep the minimum credit score requirements low and allow you to take out an unsecured personal loan.

Loan Amount

The second condition is that the company can meet your needs and match the loan amount. Per 2022 data, the average debt for federal student loans is around $36,000 on average, while the debt for private student loans is in the $55,000 area.

Interest Rates & Origination Fees

A zero interest rate is ideal but rarely feasible when it comes to private student loans. That's not in the realm of possibility unless you borrow money from private lenders among your friends and family. In most cases, we aimed for the 2.60% to 3.99% interest rate, something that LendKey offers, for example. We also searched for zero origination fees.

>>Get the best terms for your student loan on LendKey>>

Loan Repayment

The best private student loan companies offer flexible repayment options. We searched for the longest possible loan repayment times, regardless of your credit history.

User Interface

Finally, while most college and graduate students are tech-savvy, we searched for sites offering students' personal loans that are easy to use and navigate. The top lenders lay out the loan agreement and terms in a clean, straightforward manner, with no hidden surprises regarding the monthly payment you will have to make.

Personal Loans for Students - A FAQ

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If you look for the best personal loans for students, you have undoubtedly faced multiple dilemmas that we want to resolve with this FAQ.

Can I get a student loan with bad credit?

Yes, getting a student loan with a bad credit score is still possible. Some federal student urgent loans don't take credit history into account.

If your credit score is under 630, however, it gets tricky. Either way, after applying for federal student loans, one of the options is getting a co-signer. College students can also build their student loan refinancing while in school.

>>Get the best terms for your student loan on LendKey>>

Finally, you can find private student loans through private lenders like BadCreditLoans, which aren't too strict regarding credit score requirements and are willing to offer financial aid to students.

Do private student loans allow deferment or forbearance?

Private student loans do not qualify for federal forbearance or deferment loans. However, you can find private loans that allow borrowers, including college students, to temporarily postpone their loan payments in case of financial hardship.

We are not talking about an automatic payment discount but a process that requires application with your online lender or financial institution.

How do you find the best private student loan?

You can start your search for the best private student loan by comparing interest payments, the minimum credit score requirement, the loan amounts you can take out, and the monthly payments you are required to deliver each month.

Check the whole thing for fair credit terms. That is exactly what we did when looking for the best personal loans for students, and the result is the online lender list in this article.

>>Get the best terms for your student loan on LendKey>>

Who qualifies for a private student loan?

Private loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students who are at least 18 years old and citizens or permanent residents of the United States. You will likely be required to provide evidence that you are enrolled in a school before a private student loan is approved.

What are the different types of personal loans for students?

There are two basic student loans a college student can take out: federal and personal loans.

Types of federal student loans:

  • Direct subsidized federal loans
  • Direct unsubsidized federal loans
  • Direct Grad PLUS federal loans
  • Direct Parent PLUS loans
  • Direct debt consolidation loan

Private student loan types:

  • In-school private loans for students and parents
  • Income-share agreements
  • Refinanced loans for graduates

Should you get a personal loan for college?

Yes, you should take out a personal loan for college depending on your financial situation and as long as you meet certain minimum credit criteria.

You should know that in most cases, personal loan repayment starts off almost instantly and that repayment times are shorter even if you have an excellent credit score. Also, try to keep in mind what your monthly interest payment is, and always strive to meet the payment deadline.

How to choose the right student personal loan?

You can choose the right student personal loan if you remember that the interest rates and fees are the first things to check.

Whether you pay fixed interest rates or variable interest rates, this factor determines the loan amount you will ultimately repay. The second thing to pay attention to is the fees you have to pay. Check for application, origination, and late fees.

>>Get the best terms for your student loan on LendKey>>

Next, go through the eligibility requirements and see if you meet all the demands regarding credit score, age, citizenship, etc.

Lastly, check the loan terms regarding repayment. Is repayment immediate, or is it the interest-only repayment?

Make sure to know where you stand and ensure that every loan term is as clear as day. That’s what we did when summarizing our list of best personal loans for students.

What is student loan refinancing?

Student loan refinancing is the process of taking some or all of your student loans and putting them into a single new loan. The new loan often has lower interest payments, helping you lower your monthly payments over a longer repayment period.

What are federal student loans?

Federal student loans are made by the government, with terms and conditions that are set by law. These student loans usually have income-driven repayment plans and fixed interest rates.

Can international students take out student loans in the US?

International students are not eligible for federal student loans. Federal financial aid is intended only for U.S. citizens and permanent residents with active savings accounts, even if you have a good credit score.

However, you can still take out a personal student loan as an international student.

>>Get the best terms for your student loan on LendKey>>

Tips for Borrowers Seeking an Instant Loan for Students

When you examine your private student loan options, we recommend sticking to this rundown of tips for finding fair credit terms and the best private student loan borrowers for your needs.

Compare as many lenders as possible: Do your research. Apply critical factors like interest rate, fees, loan repayment time, and eligibility requirements to round up 5 or 10 best online lenders to match your needs and credit history.

Then, go in-depth with the top loan lenders based on your credit report. See if they offer fixed or variable rate loans or accept international students, and check if unsecured or secured loans are an option.

Round up all the info you need: When applying for a personal loan, you will need your SSN, employment info, financial forms, and desired loan amount, among other things.

Ensure all the data is readily available before and during loan applications. You will need this information even if you have a good credit score.

It's better to prequalify: Some lenders allow college students to prequalify for their personal loans. This way, you can see the interest rate and loan terms that you might qualify for. This will also allow you to easily determine whether you need to add a co-signer to your personal loan.

Where Do I Find the Best Personal Loans for Students?

We hope this article was helpful to you and that you have learned something new about receiving financial aid as a college student.

>>Get the best terms for your student loan on LendKey>>

We believe you will find the best private student loans at LendKey, but we still urge you to at least check out the summaries on other lenders and their loan terms on this list.

Personal loans are a valid option for college students even if you don't have an excellent credit score. Just make sure to do your research because there's a world of difference between a good lender and a subpar one.

So take your time, don't rush anything, and you'll cover your education-related expenses in no time.

** This does not constitute as a financial advice article. Make sure to contact a financial advisor if you need financial assistance.

 

This post is provided by a third party who may receive compensation from the companies whose products or services are mentioned.