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What are my private student loan options?

Earnest Student Loan Review

Earnest is a partner lender from which we receive compensation. Edvisors® evaluates each lender we partner with and only recommend loan programs which we believe are a best fit for our audience.

What is Earnest?

Earnest is a student loan company that was built upon the foundation and desire to provide financially responsible people with the credit they deserve. Founded in 2013, they offer in-school private loans as well as refinancing and personal loans. Earnest merges technology with a keen understanding of banking principles to evaluate the creditworthiness of all individuals, including taking earning potential into consideration. The company earned a place on the Fast Company World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies list in 2015. And in 2017 they were acquired by Navient Corporation, a student loan servicer launched in 2014 as its own brand after doing business as Sallie Mae for over 40 years.

Apply for an Earnest Private Student Loan

Earnest Customer Service

Earnest provides customer service in the form of easy online chat messaging available when viewing the contact page, as well as service via phone Monday through Friday, and the option to submit your questions through their website with a returned response through email. Earnest has earned 4.5 stars of excellent service reviews through Trustpilot and they hold an A+ rating on Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Earnest Student Loans

Earnest prides themselves in providing low rates and a longer grace period than most private student loan lenders (9 months instead of 6 months). With Earnest you can also take advantage of zero fees, choice of loan terms, a 2-minute eligibility check, and the option to skip one payment a year.

Some of Earnest’s student loan products include:

  • Undergraduate Private Student Loans
  • Graduate Private Student Loans
  • Cosigned Private Student Loans
  • Business School Loans
  • Medical School Loans
  • Law School Loans

Earnest Private Student Loans

Earnest provides student loans with a variety of benefits including:

  • The option to pick a repayment option with bi-weekly or monthly payments
  • A nine-month grace period for payments; fifty-percent longer than most competitors
  • Options for flexible repayment plans
  • Zero prepayment penalties, late fees, or origination fees
  • Increased chance of approval when you apply with a cosigner

Earnest Graduate Student Loans

Earnest provides graduate students with a loan that “works as hard you do” and allows students to take their education to the next level, with competitive interest rates, and flexible repayment options. The benefits of Earnest’s graduate student loans include:

  • Zero fees
  • The option to skip one payment a year
  • The ability to save 0.25% with auto-pay
  • The capability to easily include a cosigner
  • A nine-month grace period
  • The option to make a $25 in-school payment

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest has helped over 130,000 clients with $11.6 billion in total student loans refinanced. Earnest touts competitive variable and fixed rates with the ability to combine multiple loans into one monthly payment. And their benefits include:

  • Loan customization
  • Choosing your loan term
  • The ability to remove a cosigner
  • The option to combine many loans into one payment
  • Access to a Client Happiness team (customer service)
  • The ability to adjust your payment date at any time
  • A resource library with how-to guides, calculators, and comparisons to help you make the best choice when refinancing your loan

Bonus: You could earn a referral fee of $200 for your word-of-mouth efforts. Simply refer a friend who successfully refinances their loans and earn your bonus.

Pros Cons
Credit is not the only factor in loan approval You must be enrolled full-time at a 4-year college or university
Can refinance with incomplete bachelor's or associate's degree
No origination or late payment fees; also, no prepayment penalties
Option to skip a payment once a year Interest continues to accrue and skipped payments could result in an extended repayment period. You must make a minimum of 6 monthly payments before qualifying.
Prequalification is available Earnest is not available in all 50 states
Offers four in-school repayment options and five loan terms
9-month grace period

Apply for an Earnest Student Loan

When applying for an in-school student loan from Earnest you’ll want to keep the following eligibility requirements in mind. Students and potential cosigners must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, and be enrolled full-time at a Title IV-accredited not-for-profit institution. Utilizing a cosigner is highly encouraged, especially to qualify for lower rates. Earnest makes the process easy with an eligibility checklist on their site for each loan product offered.

If you’re looking to refinance your loans with Earnest, you can pick them from our lineup of student loan refinance companies, and you can also see the other offers in the marketplace on our sister website. You’ll want to strongly consider whether it makes sense to include any of your federal loans as it may mean sacrificing borrower benefits, including potential loan forgiveness (if you qualify).

How Earnest Gives Back

Earnest most recently joined Fintech Equality Coalition to help fight racial inequality in the financial services system and society. This means pushing and enhancing access to financial services, as well as providing job and career advancements for the Black community.

Earnest Headquarters

Earnest is headquartered in San Francisco, California with additional offices in Salt Lake City, Utah.


What are my private student loan options?