We scored 12 lenders that make the most loans by volume across 15 data points in the categories of interest rates, fees, loan terms, hardship options, application process and eligibility. We chose the nine best to display based on those earning three stars or higher.

The following is the weighting assigned to each category:

  • Hardship options: 30%
  • Application process: 16%
  • Loan terms: 14%
  • Eligibility: 14%
  • Interest rates: 13%
  • Fees: 13%

Specific characteristics taken into consideration within each category included number of months of forbearance available, economic hardship repayment options available beyond traditional forbearance, perks like cash back rewards upon graduation, discounts, time to default, disclosure of credit score and income requirements and other factors.

Lenders who offered interest rates below 10% scored the highest, as did those who offered more than the standard 12 months of forbearance, made their loans available to non-U.S. citizens, offered interest rate discounts beyond the standard 0.25% for automatic payments, offered multiple loan terms maxing out at 15 years and charged minimal fees.

In some cases, lenders were awarded partial points, and a maximum of 3% of the final score was left to editorial discretion based on the quality of consumer-friendly features offered.

To learn more about how Forbes Advisor rates lenders, and our editorial process, check out our Loans Rating & Review Methodology.

*Fixed rates range from 5.24% APR to 9.99% APR with 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates range from 6.24% APR to 9.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 13.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 13.95% APR. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 02/06/24 and are subject to change at any time. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. 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. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. You may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term.

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Last Update: June 26, 2024

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