Student loan comparison sites enable you to view and compare multiple student loan opportunities in order to find the package that’s best for you. But before you start comparing, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
The following student loan comparison sites and directories of education lenders may accept paid placement for their listings. The loans may initially be ranked according to criteria that maximize profit to the directory and not necessarily criteria that minimize cost to the borrower. Some of the least expensive loans may be excluded from such directories because the lenders may be unwilling to pay for placement. Also, some of the directories rank loans by the best advertised rates or average rates, as opposed to the actual rates.
Featured Student Loan Comparison Sites
Credible offers borrowers a “kayak-style” experience while shopping for personalized prequalified rates. Similar to the “Common App,” users (and co-signers) complete a single, brief form and receive personalized prequalified rates from multiple lenders. Checking rates on Credible is free and does not impact a user’s credit score to compare offers.
Credible’s marketplace includes:
- College Ave
- Custom Choice
- Sallie Mae – UG
Please be advised that the operator of this site accepts advertising compensation from companies that appear on the site, and such compensation may impact the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented.
Disclosure: Personalized Prequalified Rates on Credible is free and doesn’t affect your credit score. However, applying for or closing a loan will involve a hard credit pull that impacts your credit score and closing a loan will result in costs to you. Prequalified rates are based on the information you provide and a soft credit inquiry. Receiving prequalified rates does not guarantee that the Lender will extend you an offer of credit. You are not yet approved for a loan or a specific rate. All credit decisions, including loan approval, if any, are determined by Lenders, in their sole discretion. Rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Rates from Lenders may differ from prequalified rates due to factors which may include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in your personal credit circumstances; (ii) additional information in your hard credit pull and/or additional information you provide (or are unable to provide) to the Lender during the underwriting process; and/or (iii) changes in APRs (e.g., an increase in the rate index between the time of prequalification and the time of application or loan closing. (Or, if the loan option is a variable rate loan, then the interest rate index used to set the APR is subject to increases or decreases at any time). Lenders reserve the right to change or withdraw the prequalified rates at any time.
Fees and Terms
Student Loan Providers
Compare multiple lenders instantly with Private Student Loans
Find the best interest rates and benefits
Student loans available for students, parents, and professional degree seekers
Competitive terms and benefits available–including cosigner release
Expert tips on borrowing you won’t find anywhere else.
Fees and Terms
Please be advised that the operator of this site accepts advertising compensation from companies that appear on the site, and such compensation impacts the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented.
Best Student Loan Comparison Sites
The most useful student loan comparison sites need to satisfy the following minimal standards:
- Present consumers with actual interest rates and fees, not just the best advertised rates or average interest rates. This will ensure that consumers are making comparisons based on relevant information.
- Include a critical mass of lenders sufficient to ensure that the borrower has a reasonable chance of obtaining a rate that is close to the best rate the borrower could find on his or her own.
- Minimize the impact on the prospective borrower’s credit score. Each credit inquiry for student loans results in up to a 5-point hit to the borrower’s credit score. More than three or four such inquiries are likely to shift the borrower from one credit tier to the next, increasing their costs.
- The presentation of information must be based solely on the prospective borrower’s best interests. In particular, the initial sorting of results must be based on the total cost of the loan, including interest rates and fees, not paid placement or other criteria.
- The lender listings must provide sufficient information about the loans to permit the prospective borrower to make an informed decision.
- The sites must provide clear disclosures regarding any potential or actual biases. In particular, the comparison tools should disclose whether the lenders provide any payment for inclusion in the loan comparison tool and whether the payments influence the ranking of the loan product comparisons.
- The comparison site should provide sufficient contact information for the lender, such as telephone numbers and web links, to permit the prospective borrower to apply for the loan.
- Prospective borrowers should not be charged any fees for using the comparison site.
- Loan comparison sites should recommend, in a clear and conspicuous fashion, that prospective borrowers should borrow federal first before relying on any private student loans.
- Find the best graduate student loans.
To date, none of the loan comparison sites satisfy all of these standards, although all satisfy some of them.