Best Personal Loans for Teachers

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Contributor, Benzinga
May 25, 2022

Quick Look: The Best Personal Loans for Teachers

Teaching is one of the more selfless professions, as seen with the all-too-regular practice of teachers who open their own wallets to provide supplies and resources to their students. But there may be times that your generosity or needs extend beyond the money in your bank account.

If you’re a teacher and need a personal loan to cover classroom expenses or to create a teaching-from-home office (or for any reason at all), Benzinga’s got you covered. Read on to find the best personal loans and lender comparison services for teachers.

Best Personal Loans for Teachers

Teachers, while you do maintain near-superhuman status, you still experience debt, a leaking roof or the itch to take that dream vacation. Like the rest of us everyday humans, sometimes you need cash you don’t have on hand to cross something off your running to-do list. A personal loan can be your solution when you need funding. Personal loans are usually 1-lump sum payments, repaid over a set installment plan period. Usually, you can use a personal loan for whatever you’d like. Some lenders may offer specific-use personal loans or require you to disclose your intended use to approve your loan.

Figure

Figure gives teachers personal loan options in an all-online format that allows any educator to get started as quickly as they can. The firm provides teachers with competitive rates and quality customer service throughout the process, and the lender even offer gift cards to customers who refer friends and family to their personal loans department. This could be a good way for teachers to pick up some extra cash, help their colleagues or enhance their classrooms.

Plus, Figure also offers:

  • Financing up to $50,000
  • Multiple fixed-term options
  • Low fees
  • Quick funding

If you’re a teacher, consider Figure when you want to take out a personal loan. There’s less waiting around, and you can even earn a bit of that money back through referrals. This is a great way to help yourself when you work in a chronically underpaid and under-appreciated profession.

Avant

Avant is another lender known for fast funding and low fees. These attributes are very helpful for teachers, and they make it simpler because you have so little time in the day to find a personal loan. When you apply with Avant, you can complete the entire process online, pay a low origination fee, never worry about a prepayment fee and manage your loan online. The website is easy to view even on a mobile device while you’re on the go, and you can get:

  • No collateral, unsecured financing
  • An online loan eligibility calculator
  • Loans that could be as high as $35,000
  • A range of loan terms that suit your situation

With a great customer service team and available funding for any number of situations, you can turn to Avant in an emergency, get the money you need and deal with repayment after the fact. This is especially important as teaching changes so often, and your salary could changes, you might have a change in your circumstances or you may want to adjust your repayment schedule.

SoFi

Sofi has long prided itself on helping consumers refinance debt, get out of debt and manage their finances in an all-in-one setup. This is especially helpful for teachers who may be beset by student debt, high interest rates and the like.

When you look for personal loans through SoFi, you can choose from a broad range of terms, pay no late fees, origination fees, etc.

SoFi also makes personal loans easy with:

  • A powerful mobile app for anyone who’s on the go
  • Unemployment protection (given how unpredictable education can be)
  • No collateral required
  • U.S.-based customer service associates

You don’t need to become a member to relish in some of the benefits that target borrowers, and you can open other accounts with SoFi at any time. Because you’re not paying fees, you have more money to pursue other financial goals. This also makes it easier for you to budget for the future, use your loan funds wisely and never feel like you’re overextended.

  • securely through SoFi Personal Loans's website
    securely through SoFi Personal Loans's website
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    No origination fees
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    Fixed rates from 8.99% APR to 29.99% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay interest rate discount and a 0.25% direct deposit interest rate discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 02/06/2024 and are subject to change without notice. The average of SoFi Personal Loans funded in 2022 was around $30K. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, and a variety of other factors. Loan amounts range from $5,000– $100,000. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0%-7%, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive.

    Autopay: The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.

    Direct Deposit Discount: To be eligible to potentially receive an additional (0.25%) interest rate reduction for setting up direct deposit with a SoFi Checking and Savings account offered by SoFi Bank, N.A. or eligible cash management account offered by SoFi Securities, LLC (“Direct Deposit Account”), you must have an open Direct Deposit Account within 30 days of the funding of your Loan. Once eligible, you will receive this discount during periods in which you have enabled payroll direct deposits of at least $1,000/month to a Direct Deposit Account in accordance with SoFi’s reasonable procedures and requirements to be determined at SoFi’s sole discretion. This discount will be lost during periods in which SoFi determines you have turned off direct deposits to your Direct Deposit Account. You are not required to enroll in direct deposits to receive a Loan.

OneMain Financial

With flexible terms and loan values, OneMain Financial allows teachers to get funded in just a few days, irrespective of the purpose of the loan. While OneMain is not available in all 50 states, it still has broad coverage across America, and allows borrowers to:

  • Choose a loan term and value that’s best for them
  • Choose between secured and unsecured loans
  • Avoid prepayment fees
  • Pay competitive origination fees

Keep in mind that OneMain Financial’s APRs tend to be higher than the competition, but it might be the perfect loan for a teacher with a low or growing credit score.

LightStream

LightStream, like many of its competitors, offers teachers:

  • No collateral loans
  • No late fees
  • The possibility of same-day funding
  • An online application 
  • A quality mobile app

There are no monthly service fees and no origination fees when you borrow with LightStream. Plus, the company is highly rated by both Benzinga and the BBB, which is great for teachers who simply don’t have the time necessary to deal with lingering issues, extra fees or confusion.

Also, it’s easy to reach out to the customer service team for more information on your application, loan balance or repayment. This is an excellent option for teachers who are on the go or need to make changes to their accounts.

As the best of the $0 origination fee loan programs, you can choose from a vast range of terms and loan values, which makes it easier for teachers to manage their budgets or plan how they will use the funds they have accessed.

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    *AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Excellent credit required for lowest rate. Rates vary by loan purpose.

Types of Personal Loans for Teachers

The type of personal loans (secured or unsecured loan or a fixed or variable rate loan) you’re offered and what you’ll ultimately choose depends on several mitigating factors:

  • Your credit score
  • Your loan amount
  • Lender borrower requirements 

Your unique financial situation may dictate that you look for a loan with a specific set of terms, like a fixed or variable interest rate, so educate yourself on the differences to suss out your best fit. 

Secured Loans

When a lender offers a secured loan, it’s asking you to back your loan with some form of collateral. This may be an asset like your house or a savings account — something that allows the lender to recoup the funds it lent you if you were to default on the loan.

When does a lender require collateral? It’s different from case to case, but secured loans are often an option given when you need to borrow a large amount. Your lender may see something in your credit report that doesn’t fully rule you out as a borrower, but the lender may see it as potentially risky. 

A secured loan reduces risk for a lender but also increases your personal risk. Your collateral could be in trouble and seized as payment if you find yourself unable to repay the loan, so always be sure you can meet the terms of a loan before signing for it. 

Unsecured Loans

While unsecured loans are usually preferable because your credit history only backs the loan, you do take on significant personal risk. You aren’t at risk of losing any collateral, but your credit will take a huge hit if you default. 

Unsecured loans are commonly offered by lenders if your loan amount is relatively low or if you have solid credit that demonstrates you are a trustworthy borrower. 

Fixed-Rate vs. Variable-Rate Loans

A lender will either offer you a fixed or variable rate, or allow you to select from either. This refers to the interest rate that applied throughout the duration of the loan.

While each has its place, there are some benefits and drawbacks to each. A fixed-rate is beneficial because it allows you to calculate exactly how much interest you’ll pay on a loan, so you know the true cost of borrowing before you agree to anything. 

Fixed interest rates may be higher, have higher monthly payments, or both, ensuring that a loan stays profitable for a lender. But these are minimal drawbacks compared to the money you typically save by choosing a fixed-rate loan.

When would a variable rate loan make more sense? If your financial situation necessitates you to have access to more cash now, you may prefer the lower payments and rates even if you have to pay more in the long run. 

Personal Loan Requirements and Criteria

A potential lender can usually give you an exact idea of their specific requirements and criteria, but you can basically count on the following to hold true for most personal loan approvals:

  • Your FICO credit score
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Delinquencies or negative remarks on your credit report
  • Credit utilization (your credit balance vs. your credit limit)
  • Open accounts with a positive standing 

Some lenders may offer special loan considerations for teachers, like rate discounts and so forth. Some will even work with imperfect credit. Services like BadCreditLoans.com will connect you with lenders willing to consider your application even if your credit isn’t quite up to snuff. 

While they often cap personal loans at $1,000 for borrowers with bad credit, even these small loans can be of great service — both to your bank account and your credit history if you keep up your end of the repayment agreement. This will begin to establish that you are a trustworthy credit user, opening up more avenues to funding along with better rates and terms in the future. 

If you’re pretty sure your credit meets standard borrower requirements, you should use a free loan comparison service like Credible. Instead of visiting a million different lenders and clicking back and forth between tabs to compare offers, you can see all your prequalified loan offers side-by-side. This will help you pick your most suitable offer — without risk to you or your credit history.

Personal Loan Considerations

The biggest thing you should pay attention to when considering a personal loan is to make sure its terms and conditions are feasible for you to meet. If taking out the loan will put too much pressure on your finances in the future, you may need to rethink it.

That being said, do your due diligence to make sure you’re getting the best rates and terms. Look for personal loans with minimal fees and prepayment penalties. You’ll face fewer surprise expenses with more flexible repayment terms.

Stick with trusted companies like SmarterLoan.com to ensure you’re dealing with a vetted loan service.

You can also use a service like Even for a buffer against fraudulent or sketchy lenders. Even only partners with vetted lenders, so you can shop around without having to research the background of every lender you interact with.

Personal Loans vs. Credit Cards

Personal loans and credit cards both add some “oomph” to your spending power in the form of a line of credit. But while they are similar in certain ways, their differences make them uniquely useful in certain situations.

Personal loans are often best for large expenses, both of the planned and emergency variety. They can provide a cushion at a low-interest rate, making it a potentially smarter decision than dipping into savings you have in an interest-bearing account. They also often offer a higher credit limit than credit cards, so this makes them more ideal for large expenses as well.

Personal loans are also a better option for debt consolidation. For example, Payoff offers loans structured around the amount you owe to creditors. You can pay off each account, rolling multiple payments into 1 monthly installment plan payment. 

Because personal loans tend to offer lower rates than credit cards, this is a cost-efficient way to consolidate debt and streamline your finances while boosting your credit — you’ll lower your credit utilization by paying off multiple debts and raising your overall credit limit.

Personal loans are closed-end credit. Your payments only go toward repaying the loan, not restoring available credit. With credit card payments, your owed balance will lower while your available credit is restored in that amount. Because credit cards are revolving lines of credit, they’re perfect for small purchases you can pay off quickly. They’re also useful for recurring purchases.  

Get Funding Fast

A personal loan can be the solution when you’re trying to make ends meet but don’t have the cash to do so. If your situation makes sense for a large lump-sum payment that you can pay back in fixed monthly payments, any of the lenders or loan comparison services on our list can help you out.

Get in touch with a lender today to prequalify and start the process of getting the funding you need as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Are personal loans helpful for businesses?

A

Yes. Businesses can use personal loans to manage financing for a range of projects.

Q

Are personal loans easy to obtain?

A

Personal loans can be easy to obtain when you have good credit, but there are also loans available for those with little to no credit.