A college degree in America is a huge investment that can also include a hefty price tag to match. Whether you’re starting a 4-year degree at a less expensive institution or completing your 2-year degree, community college can be an economically sound choice — you’ll usually save on housing, tuition and overall expenses.
While community college tends to go easier on your wallet in the long run, it can still be a large chunk of change. If federal aid doesn’t offer enough coverage, or you have stellar credit, a private student loan can make ends meet.
Best Lenders for Private Student Loans
Loan comparison services and lenders alike can assist you in getting you a private student loan. Benzinga put together the following list to get you even closer to funding your education as soon as possible. Start your search today by using one of the following loan comparison services or by prequalifying with a trusted lender on our list.
Best for Loan Comparison: Credible
Credible is a popular free loan comparison service. You can compare multiple types of lending, including private student loans.
In less than 3 minutes, Credible will link you with prequalified loans and display your personalized offers. This makes side-by-side comparison easier so you can select your optimal rate and terms. Checking your rates doesn’t affect your credit.
If you’re a teen or young adult who hasn’t had a chance to build up your credit, you may not be eligible for a loan from Credible partners. Consider looking for a cosigner.
Finding and applying for a loan can be a daunting task, but Credible makes sure its Client Success team is there to assist you from the beginning. Get in touch using its convenient chat feature.
All of the lenders that work with Credible offer fee-free loans. Start your search today.
Best for Community Institution Loans: LendKey
Community credit unions and community banks tend to offer a more personal, customer-friendly banking experience. LendKey’s loan comparison service is made special by its focus on connecting borrowers with these types of lenders.
LendKey makes it easy to compare low-cost, personalized loans from local banks and not-for-profit credit unions. As a customer, you’ll benefit from the status quo of giving revenue earned back to the people in the form of better rates and more flexible, custom-fit terms.
Loan applications with LendKey lenders are evaluated based on credit. If you’re new to the world of credit, as many people entering college are, a cosigner will greatly improve your chances of approval. Many lenders do offer cosigner release loans, minimizing the overall financial risk to your cosigner.
A higher credit score and good credit history will net you improved interest rates and other perks that come with borrowing from a community bank or credit union. It’s free and easy to apply online.
LendKey also offers a very useful scholarship search. You can find “free money” with this tool by easily sifting through more than $10 billion in scholarships.
Best for Member Benefits: SoFi
SoFi is a big player in modern finance. Its mission is to help customers achieve financial independence through innovative financial products like loans, investments, insurance, financing and money-tracking tools.
Becoming a SoFi member comes with major perks. SoFi offers its members career coaching, financial planning, referral bonuses, estate planning, discounts at certain merchants, discounts on SAT and ACT prep courses — and the list goes on. Signing up with SoFi also nets you a complimentary subscription to Edmit Plus, a platform that assists in all facets of college financial planning.
Check your rates for private student loans with SoFi without risk to your credit score. You can qualify for several types of private student loans with SoFi. SoFi offers undergraduate and parent loans along with MBA and law school loans.
Their website is easy to navigate and applying for loans with SoFi is just as user-friendly.
SoFi’s private student loans are fee-free. SoFi offers multiple repayment options, competitive rates and flexible terms.
Qualifying for a Private Student Loan
While borrower standards change from lender to lender, you can count on the following to hold true for most:
- Be at least 18 with a high school diploma or equivalent certificate
- Have good credit or a cosigner who does
- Proof of income that shows you are financially able to repay the loan
- Proof of enrollment in an eligible higher education program
A loan comparison service or a quick visit to a lender’s website will typically show you the details of their private student loan approval policies.
How to Look for a Community College Student Loan
- Calculate how much you’ll pay for the year.
- Apply for federal aid using FAFSA.
- If aid doesn’t cover your total costs, look into private loans.
- Use a loan comparison service like Credible or Student Loan Hero to find lenders that work with your college.
- Find a loan that meets your needs. Look for loans with competitive rates and flexible terms that work for your financial situation both now and in the future.
Financial Aid at Community College
There are several ways to fund your community college education. Apply for federal aid first and look into any financial aid programs that your state may offer. Look into any institutional aid from your school — many offer scholarships and grants or other types of aid.
Look to your community as well. See if local organizations or organizations you belong to have any scholarships you can apply for. You can utilize the free scholarship search tool from the U.S. Department of Labor or with services like LendKey to find additional scholarships you may be eligible for.
If you exhaust these options and still find yourself short on funding, apply for private loans from any of the trustworthy lenders on our list.
Private Loans for Community College
Even though the cost for community college is usually lower than state universities or private colleges, you sometimes still need some help covering your educational expenses. A private loan from a trusted vendor can take the burden of making ends meet off your shoulders.
Get in touch with one of the lenders on our list or use one of our trusted loan comparison service partners to start shopping around today.
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.