Best College & Student Loans 2020

Explore the best loans for new and returning students. College is a pricey time so we have collected the best private student loan options, guaranteed to support you through your studies. Each review details the brand’s student loan interest rates, how long it takes to pay off the student loan, and its application process. Get started in your search for the best student loans today.

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Extremely low rates

  • Work exclusively with credit unions and community banks
  • Places “people over profits”
  • Offer student loan refinancing and private student loans
Rating: 4.9/5
rating: 4.9

No origination fees

  • No prepayment penalties
  • Extremely competitive interest rates
  • Interest rate discount available in exchange for automatic payments
Rating: 4.7/5
rating: 4.7

Very flexible repayment plans

  • Loan limits up to $250,000
  • Refinancing of multiple loans available
  • Fixed and Variable Rate loans on offer

Flexible loan types and low rates

  • Up to 2 years hardship forbearance
  • Six month grace period before repayments start
  • Social contract funds developing world education

No application or origination fees

  • Multi-year approval on all types of loan
  • Numerous repayment and refinancing options
  • Low interest rates

College Ave

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College Ave Review


  • Their website is well designed and easy to navigate
  • Student loans are customized to your needs
  • Extra resources and tools available
  • Flexible process from applying to paying off your loan


  • Relatively new on the market
  • No special features available

Founded in 2014, College Ave brought a new surge of student loans with its extreme dedication and hard work. As one of the best student loan companies out there, College Ave provides the best college loans to graduates and undergraduates as well as parents at a variable rate. They also offer a number of repayment plans so you can be sure you’re in good hands. If you go online and look for College Ave student loans reviews, you’ll see the thousands of satisfied customers served in the past five years. Earning a reputation as maybe the best place for student loans in the United States, they’ve skyrocketed past their competition in their fairly short existence.

College Ave reviews show that this company provides more than just the best private student loans – they offer choice and flexibility, as well as a lot of educational materials and resources on their website. All of your questions should be answered within this FAQ section but if they’re not, you can always contact College Ave’s amazing customer service through phone or email. All of this has earned College Ave a 5.0 rating with NerdWallet as well as a spot in the top 5 student loan lenders on the market. Not many other features exist – like most good student loan companies, College Ave is streamlined to work with the essentials of their business only, removing unnecessary additions.

When it comes to their website, College Ave excels in front of their competition. It’s been designed to be accessible and easy to navigate, being on par with the websites of the best student loan banks out there. College Ave student loan reviews also point out the simplistic nature of the application process and how easy it is to take out an education loan. When looking for the adequate student loan reviews may prove important to your choice, but it’s more important what they say – and for College Ave, they’re very positive.

It should be noted that College Ave’s website is fully compatible with tablets and mobile phones, so you can access it from pretty much anywhere. Also, this company employs the latest in security technology to stop anyone from accessing your personal information. This includes the standard internet encryption as well as several additional security protocols and layers.

Finally, when you’re reading through a student loan review for another company and you come across a lot of praise for their speed and flexibility, remember – College Ave may well match that without much hassle as they already customize their student loans depending on the needs of their customers. This company is one of the pioneers of flexibility and variable, acceptable rates and they’ve left quite a positive mark on their customer base!

Sallie Mae

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Sallie Mae Review


  • Large amount of resources and tools available
  • Other services available
  • Lower and variable rates
  • Awesomely designed website


  • Co-signer required
  • Unsubsidized loans

Sallie Mae is the oldest student loan company in existence. During the majority of its 47-year run, Sallie Mae was owned and operated by the United States government, but today it’s publicly traded and one of the best student loan companies out there. In the beginning, people were wondering is Sallie Mae legit but with their continuous work, they’ve proven to be one of the most reliable companies out there, along with their federal student loan servicer, Navient. Sallie Mae personal loans of all types have gained a reputation for being quick to get and easy to repay.

As possibly the best place for student loans, Sallie Mae has a number of extra features that make your experience with them more enjoyable in every aspect. This is one of the reasons why Sallie Mae is considered to be one of the best student loan banks in the entire world! They provide information about everything you need to know concerning loans, including tax info and tools to calculate everything you need. Sallie Mae student loan reviews clearly show that students who chose to loan from this company really appreciate these extra benefits.

When looking for the best student loans, you also need to consider the numbers – Sallie Mae offers a complete overview of the loaning and repaying process down to every detail – another boon for its customers. When asking about the pros and cons of Sallie Mae student loans, this is one of the major pros as you are able to fine-tune the loaning process according to your wishes.

Sallie Mae prides itself on the ease of applying and processing – a trademark of all good student loan companies. However, this company takes it one step further – if at any point in the process you make a mistake, Sallie Mae customer service is there to help you rectify it no matter what – if you’re eligible for a loan, you’ll get one, no matter how many application errors have been made.

Sallie Mae reviews also give a great deal of positive feedback about their website design and layout, as it’s very easy to navigate and of course, compatible with mobile. Sallie Mae offers some of the best private student loans, but that’s not their only business – they can also help you manage your debt or grow your money in their SmartyPig online piggy bank. This is yet another feature greatly admired in every Sallie Mae student loans review.

As it used to be government-owned, Sallie Mae has always had the resources to care about their customer’s security, and in today’s terms, that means hackers would have better luck breaking into a real-life bank than in Sallie Mae’s website. There are multiple layers of protection, secured access protocols as well as a large degree of encryption. The best college loans need the best protection and as many student loan reviews will tell you, Sallie Mae performs perfectly in that regard.

Citizens Bank

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Citizens Bank Review


  • Great savings and low starting interest rates
  • Flexible repayment schedules provided
  • Graduate loans enjoy certain added bonuses
  • Their website is very well designed


  • Co-signer is required
  • All loans available only to employed people

If you’re looking for the best student loans, you’ve found them. Citizen Bank offers some of the best private student loans available on the market and almost all of the student loan reviews about their services back up that claim. This company has been around for long enough that they’ve learned all the most useful tricks in keeping customers, so you can be sure you’ll be treated like royalty when it comes to your loan.

Citizens Bank is one of the best student loan banks not only because it delves out loans to millions of people every day but also because they have a bunch of other features that make them an attractive business partner. Like all good student loan companies, they offer a multitude of choices when it comes to the actual loan, but also a number of other benefits further down the line, such as student loan refinancing through you or your cosigner. Check out Citizens Bank refinance reviews online to find out more! While Citizens Bank student loan consolidation is also an option, most students prefer to refinance instead of consolidate their loans due to better repayment terms.

When searching for the best college loans out there, you’ve probably come across many unsecured websites, some even incompatible with mobile. Well, as all Citizens Bank reviews state, that’s not the case here. Being possibly the best place for student loans means you work harder than usual, which is why Citizen Bank’s website is fully compatible with mobile and uses the very latest in security to protect your information from cyber attacks. As one of the best student loan companies out there, Citizens Bank have also made their website extremely easy to navigate, as all the subcategories are clearly divided and the map of the site is neatly presented from the front page.

When looking through any Citizens Bank student loans review you will immediately notice the pattern – easy application process, quick approval if eligible and a streamlined payoff process in the following years. While a student loan review may not be viewed as a valid source of information, the thousands of customers satisfied with Citizen Bank student loans are certainly valid and they’re happy.

When considering student loans Citizens Bank may seem like the obvious choice, but if you need any other type of loan, remember – they’re a bank first and a student lender later, so they will almost certainly be able to accommodate your request! Whatever you need can be found on their wonderfully designed website in one of the clearly marked categories. Do you need a loan for you or for your business? How large would you like it to be? Answer these two questions and you’re done -Citizens Bank will take care of the rest!

If you are considering going into further education then one of the problems that you may be facing is how to afford it. Studying is not cheap and there is a good chance that you will need some kind of financial assistance. That is why student loans exist, to help you fund your education in a manageable way.

What Are Student Loans?

In short, a student loan is a sum of money that you borrow in order to pay for your education. They will often cover the university/college fees, as well as additional expenses such as housing, food, books, and so on.

Student loans must be paid back according to the policies set by the lender. Furthermore, as with most forms of borrowed money, the debt will accumulate interest so the total that you pay back will be larger than the amount you borrow. Repayment plans can last for ten years or more, so it is important to understand fully what you are signing when you take a loan.

While you may initially balk at the idea of making years of repayments, a student loan may be the only way that you are able to afford further education. One other advantage to consider is that making payments on your loans can help improve your credit score, and this can make it easier later in life when you are looking for housing, or trying to make major purchases such as a car or home.

That said, a student loan is a major commitment so you need to do proper research before you take one. There is a lot of variation to be found in the terms and conditions of different loans, and it is essential that you know the exact conditions that you are agreeing to. Here we will take you through the basics of the different types of loans and some of the factors that you need to look at when accepting one.

Federal Student Loans

These loans, also known as Direct Loans, come from the Federal Student Aid program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Education. These loans have certain advantages, they normally have fixed interest rates, and often the repayment process is more flexible. However, if you fail to pay your loan back on time then it can have some harsh consequences such as having your wages garnished or your tax refund withheld.

There are two types of federal student loan, subsidized and unsubsidized. They differ in how the interest works. With a subsidized loan, the Department of Education will pay off the interest that accumulates on your loan while you are studying. With an unsubsidized loan, the interest accumulates while you study and adds to the overall debt.

A few different factors determine if you are eligible for a federal loan including the cost of attending college and your financial need according to the FAFSA. There will also be limits as to how much you can borrow. Some state governments offer their own loan programs and these can be a great help in securing the funding that you need, but many will have to turn to private loans.

To apply for a federal student loan you first need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will determine your financial need and whether you are eligible for subsidized loans.

Private Student Loans

These are loans taken from a privately owned source, such as a bank or credit union. Each place offering private loans will have their own application procedures and requirements, and it is very important to do careful research before taking a private loan.

Generally speaking, a private loan will have less flexibility in the repayment process than a federal loan, and they will also take into account your credit history. As most college-aged people do not have credit, the loans often require a cosigner, such as a parent, in order for the loan application to be accepted. The cosigner will have some legal responsibility for paying back the loan if you fail to do so, and it is important to keep that in mind.

Private loans may have variable rather than fixed interest rates, so the amount you pay back over time may be larger than you expect. However, often it is possible to take far larger private loans than federal loans and this makes them an invaluable tool for many.

Parent Loans

You will see that many places also offer parent loans, loans that parents can take to help fund their children’s education. These loans are in the parents’ names, so the child will not have legal responsibility for paying them back.  Just as with private loans these require careful research, but if your parents are able and willing to take one, they can be an excellent way to finance your education.

What To Look for When Taking a Loan

There is a huge amount to consider before taking a loan, but it is essential that you check the following carefully:

  • The principal of the loan (the amount initially borrowed).
  • The loan’s interest rate and whether it is fixed or variable.
  • When repayments start and how much you have to pay each month.
  • How much money you will be expected to pay in total including interest.
  • Are educational deferments available if you choose to attend graduate school, and what are their conditions?
  • What alternative payment plans, such as graduated or income-based, are available?
  • Is a cosigner required and is there a way to release them from the loan.


For many taking student loans is the only way to continue their education. However, there are a number of things it is important to be aware of when making a decision about loans and they should not be entered into lightly. Most people have a number of different loan options available to them, and it is important to research them all. However, these days there are many different loans available and it is highly likely that you will find one that fits your needs.