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What are my private student loan options?

Student Loan Repayment Options for 2022

Private student loans offer current rates as low as 0.99% to 14.50%. Click here to find a preferred lender.

Options for paying back private student loans are set by each lender, so it's important to understand the repayment process before you take out your loan. Ourloan payment calculator can help you estimate your monthly payments and decide what you can afford to borrow.

Private Loan Repayment Period

Repayment periods for private student loans are typically 7-15 years. Some lenders offer extended repayment periods of up to 30 years, depending on the amount of debt. Loans with fixed interest rates usually have shorter repayment periods than loans with variable interest rates.

View My Student Loan Refinancing Options

Student Loan Repayment Plans

Private student loan lenders may offer several plans to choose from. Here are some common examples:

Immediate Repayment

You start making principal and interest payments immediately after the loan is fully disbursed.

  • You save money on interest and your loan will be paid off faster.
  • Some lenders offer lower interest rates to borrowers who agree to repay their private student loans while they are still in school.
  • You will have to make payments while you are in school, which can be difficult for many borrowers

Interest-Only

You make interest-only payments while you are in school, and start making principal and interest payments after you leave school or drop below half time.

  • You save money on interest because the interest won't be accruing while you are in school.
  • Some lenders offer lower interest rates to borrowers who agree to repay their private student loans while they are still in school.
  • You will have to make payments while you are in school, but those payments will be much smaller than a principal and interest payment would be.

Fixed

You make low fixed monthly payments, typically $25 per loan per month while you are in school, and start making regular principal and interest payments after you leave school or drop below half time.

  • The monthly payments are more affordable than full interest payments
  • Some of the interest will still be added to your loan balance when you start making principal and interest payments

Full Deferment

You make no payments while you are in school at least half time. You start making principal and interest payments approximately six months after you leave school.

  • You don't have to worry about making payments while you are in school
  • You will pay more for the loan. Interest continues to accrue during the deferment period and will be added to your loan balance when you start making payments.

Repayment Difficulties

If you're having trouble making your private student loan payments, your lender may offer a program that can help. (Some examples appear below.) Contact your lender immediately to find out what may be available.

Private Student Loan Forbearance

Many lenders will offer reduced or delayed payments during a short-term period if you experience a financial difficulty. You will need to contact your lender to explain your circumstances, and you should be prepared to do so in writing (or to sign an official forbearance request form). A partial forbearance allows you to make interest-only payments for a period of time determined by your lender.

Death and Disability Discharges

Some lenders will discharge a private student loan in the event the primary borrower becomes totally and permanently disabled. In addition, many lenders will forgive any unpaid balance in the event of the primary borrower's death. Check your loan terms to see what benefits are offered.

Private Student Loan Refinance

You can refinance your private student loans to extend your loan term and possibly qualify for a lower interest rate, or release a cosigner. Start your search by comparing student loan refinance lenders.

Compare Student Loan Refinancing Lenders 

What to do next?

Should I Refinance or Consolidate My Student Loans?

How to Pay Off Your Student Loans Quickly

Compare Featured Lenders

Cosigner Recommended
Sallie Mae Private Student Loans
Recommendation
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable Rates: 2.00% APR - 12.35% APR1

Fixed Rates: 3.75% APR - 13.72% APR1

Repayment Terms

N/A

Sallie Mae Private Student Loans
Recommendation
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable: 1.86% APR – 11.52% APR1

Fixed: 3.20% APR – 11.99% APR1

Repayment Terms

5 , 7 , 10 and 15 years

Cosigner Recommended
Nelnet Student Loans
Recommendation
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable: 1.57% APR (with auto debit discount) to 11.25% APR (without auto debit discount)1

 

Fixed: 3.34% APR (with auto debit discount) to 11.68% APR (without auto debit discount)1

 

Lowest rates listed above include an interest rate reduction for eligible applications, enrollment in auto debit, and are available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may increase over the life of the loan. [See Disclaimer]

Repayment Terms

Multiple Term Options Available

Income Share Agreement
Stride
Recommendation
Best for Private Funding
Interest Rates

Payments based on a fixed percentage of future income

Lower (or no) payments when you're unemployed or underemployed.

Repayment Terms

Payments based on a fixed percentage of future income for up to 60 months after graduation

Only pay when earning more than the $30,000 minimum income threshold.

Payments stop early if you ever hit the payment cap (2.0x your initial funding amount)

Cosigner Recommended
Ascent offers loans that power bright futures
Recommendation
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable rates as low as: 0.98% APR1

Fixed rates as low as: 3.22% APR1

Repayment Terms

5, 7, 10, 12 and 15 years

Cosigner Recommended
Earnest Private Student Loan
Recommendation
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Graduate Rates

Fixed:3.24%-10.99% APR1

Variable:1.34%-9.89%APR1 

Undergraduate Rates

Fixed:3.24%-12.,78%APR1

Variable:1.34%-11.44%APR1 

Repayment Terms

5, 7, 10,15 or 20 years

Income Based Repayment
Edly Logo
Recommendation
Best for Private Funding
Interest Rates

Variable: 0.00% APR - 23.00% APR1

Repayment Terms

5-10 years

Sallie Mae Private Student Loans
Recommendation
Best for Private Loans
Interest Rates

Variable rates as low as: 1.69% APR (with autopay)*

Fixed rates as low as: 3.75% APR (with autopay)*

Repayment Terms

Up to four repayment types (including no payments while in school) and multiple repayment terms help you find the loan that fits your budget

Sallie Mae Private Student Loans
Recommendation
Best for Private Funding
Interest Rates

Fixed: 7.49% APR - 12.99% APR (not including 0.5% ACH discount)*

Repayment Terms

10 years

$20 minimum/month OR interest-only payments while in school

 

What are my private student loan options?