Banking and Finance

The 10 Best Student Loans of 2020

Elizabeth
July 27, 2021

Students borrowed an estimated $259 billion for the 2018-2019 academic year, but only 5% of that amount was from private loans. It’s true that federal student loans are much more common and often offer better terms when it’s time to repay the loans. However, they don’t always cover the complete costs of attending college.


To take out a private student loan, you’ll have to have a good credit score and meet a few other general requirements. And, by opting for a fixed APR you can enjoy interest rates as low at 3.75% (at the current moment). Need to figure out how to pay for college? Check out our picks for ten of the best private student loans in 2020.

Best Private Student Loans in 2020

1. Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae is one of the most well-known names in the world of student loans. Because the lender is so ubiquitous, they’re able to offer a variety of loan options. And, on top of that, they tend to offer some of the most competitive fixed and variable rates on private student loans, ranging from 4.74% to 11.85% for fixed-rate loans and 1.50% to 9.66% APR for variable-rate loans. Their loans are open to international students and are the best for those who need a co-signer.

2. College Ave

Interested in a private student loan with some great repayment options? College Ave is one of the best loans for students who need a bit of variety when it comes time to repay the loan amount. Enjoy loan terms lasting five, eight, 10, or 15 years on top of a six-month grace period after you finish school. And, the interest rates they offer for variable-rate loans are pretty great, going all the way down to 1.49% in some cases.

3. SoFi

Looking for the best private student loan for graduate students? SoFi is a great place to start. They offer private loans specifically for graduate, MBA, and law students at great rates. Interest rates on their variable-rate loans go as low as 0.98% for MBA and law students. You can be approved for a SoFi student loan with a credit score as low as 650 and they even offer built-in unemployment protection, great refinancing options, and loan terms up to 15 years.

4. Discover

Similar to Sallie Mae, Discover student loans are extremely popular and it’s in part due to the fact that they don’t charge any application, origination, or late fees. They’re a great option for international students who have an eligible US co-signer. And, they offer loans as small as $1,000 to cover small education-related costs such as bar exam loans and consolidation loans (but will provide loans up to the full amount of attendance, too). Interest rates are pretty comparable to other private student loans.

5. Earnest

If you have a lower credit score and are having trouble getting approved for other private loans without a co-signer, check out Earnest as they accept applicants with credit scores as low as 650. On top of that, they offer some of the best loan rates when compared to Sallie Mae, Discover, and even SoFi. Variable rates start at 1.24% APR with AutoPay. The best part? With Earnest, you’re able to choose your own monthly payment and loan term length.

6. Advantage Education Loan

If you’re only enrolled in school par-time then you might find that it’s difficult to find a lender who will approve you. Advantage Education Loans are perfect for part-time students as they should have no problem approving part-time students. On top of that, you can enjoy perks such as no late fees, a generous forbearance of up to 24 months, and fixed APRs that don’t go over 8%.

7. Stride

Instead of repaying your private student loan like normal, why not look into something called income share agreement? Through this unique form of financing, you’ll receive money to fund your education but will only have to pay it back based on what you earn after you graduate. You’re basically getting cash in return for a part of your future salary. If you make less than $40,000 a year, you don’t have to pay anything.

8. Ascent

Whether you’re looking for great interest rates or need to find a student loan lender who will let you borrow without a co-signer, Ascent is one of the very best of the best. The terms for these loans are unique and, quite honestly, great for students. They offer a 2% interest rate discount on the highest offered rate when you sign up for automatic payments. And, you can even enjoy a 1% cashback graduation reward.

9. Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank is unique in that it offers refinancing options for parents. However, that’s not what makes their loans one of the best student loans of 2020. It’s the fact that they’re one of the few private lenders to offer multi-year approval. So, if you apply for loans in your sophomore year, for example, you will automatically secure funding for the remaining years without having to go through a credit check and application process every year.

10. MPower Financing

International students often have a hard time with the student loan process in the United States due to the fact that they have no credit history. MPower Financing is the best option for international students as they don’t check credit history or require co-signers (however, do note that they charge a 5% loan origination fee). Rate discounts are available, even to international students and DACA recipients.

Preparing to Pay Back Your Student Loans

You shouldn’t have to struggle just to pay for higher education. You should start saving for college now in order to help alleviate a bit of the stress that comes with paying off your student loans.


With the Cheese Debit Card, you’re able to enjoy savings bonuses and cashback offers that make this easy to do. Without any fee charged, you can save more by doing, well, pretty much nothing. Interested? Learn more and join our growing community of super savers using the Cheese Debit Card.

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