Contributor, Benzinga
February 18, 2022

A college education can be expensive no matter how you spin it. You may need to take out a loan to fund part or all of your education. 

While federal loans are usually the go-to option for students, you might need to take out private loans as well. Check out Benzinga’s list of the best student loans to review preferred lenders and loan comparison services.

Federal Student Loans vs. Private Loans

Federal student loans and private loans differ in several ways. Federal loans originate with the federal government while private loans come from private institutions like banks. Federal student loans usually have low fixed rates, while private loans generally have higher fixed or variable rates. 

Federal student loans usually offer income-based repayment plans and deferment periods. Private student lenders usually set monthly payments based on the amount of the loan. Plus, you must repay them soon after graduation.

Another major difference is that you don’t need a credit check for most federal student loans. With private loans, you’ll need decent credit or a cosigner. You can find a comprehensive list of all the similarities and differences at

Best Student Loan Lenders

Lenders and loan comparison services make it easy to find a private student loan online. Benzinga did the heavy lifting and compiled this list of the best places to start your search. 

Credible Private Student Loans
Best For
  • Comparing Rates
SoFi Personal Loans
Best For
  • No origination fees
securely through SoFi Personal Loans's website

Best for Member Benefits: SoFi

SoFi offers quite a lot in the way of modern digital finance. It considers its customers members and empowers them to achieve financial independence and security. 

It offers innovative financial products such as loans, investment accounts, insurance, financing and money-tracking along with analysis tools.

Your SoFi membership comes with major benefits. You’ll have access to career coaching, financial planning, referral bonuses, estate planning, merchant discounts, discounts on SAT and ACT prep courses and more. SoFi membership automatically signs you up for a complimentary subscription to Edmit Plus, a platform that assists you with all facets of college financial planning. 

There are a few types of private student loans from SoFi, and you can see all your options after entering your information. It offers undergraduate and parent loans along with MBA and law school loans. 

Applying for a loan once you’re prequalified is easy. Plus, SoFi’s private student loans are fee-free. Unlike some private lenders, SoFi offers multiple repayment options. You can also expect competitive rates and flexible terms. 

Lend Grow
securely through Lend Grow's website

Best for Future-Income Based Loans: Lend-Grow

Lend-Grow lets you compare hundreds of rates and lenders designed to help you refinance, and Lend-Grow doesn't just focus on the ones who pay for your attention. You can:

  • Research over 300 lenders on Lend-Grow, including firms large and small
  • See each company's most competitive rates
  • Get information on lenders like size, locations, experience and more
  • Use personalized tools to see lender reviews, eligibility information and more

Compare hundreds of lenders and see prequalified offers from Lend-Grow.

How to Get a Federal Student Loan

Applying for a federal student loan is fairly easy, so don’t be intimidated. The process begins with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Your aid will be determined by the questions on this form along with your dependency status and financial needs. 

If you are eligible for aid, you’ll receive instructions on how to accept it. This includes attending an entrance counseling session along with signing off on the loan and reviewing master promissory notes agreeing to the loan terms.

Undergraduate students can receive up to $12,500 per year in federal student loans. Graduate students are eligible for up to $20,000 per year.

Qualifying for a Private Student Loan 

All lenders use different minimum standards for borrowers, but the following requirements are likely to be present:

  • Age 18 or over with a diploma or equivalent certificate
  • Acceptable credit or cosigner with acceptable credit
  • Proof that you have enough income to pay back the loan
  • Enrollment in a qualified higher education program

You’ll usually see lender-specific standards when you look for loans through a lender comparison service. Or, you can visit the lender’s website to review borrower requirements.

Get Stress-Free Funding With a Private Student Loan

If you max out federal aid or need extra money to make ends meet while taking classes, a private loan can provide a nice cushion. Use one of these trustworthy lenders or loan comparison services to uncover the funding you need.


Lend-Grow offers 5-, 10-, 15-, 20- and 25-year student loan refinance terms with fixed rates as low as 2.80% APR and variable rates as low as 1.89% APR. 

Lend-Grow pays down your loan, too — 0.10% APR every month for 3 years! Here’s what this means: Lend-Grow deposits 0.10% APR of your loan amount funded each month for up to 3 years (as long as your account is active) with payback rewards. 

Lend-Grow deposits the payback reward directly to the loan account you specify at the time of Payback Reward enrollment. Payback reward is not a rate discount and you must continue to meet your full payment obligations with the lender each month.

Apply at Lend-Grow today and pay down your loans faster.