Best Personal Loans for Students

Some students aren’t eligible for federal student aid or scholarships. Learn all about personal loans for students to fund your education!

Updated by C Laltlanhlua on 13th April 2022

College costs a pretty penny whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. Of course, private colleges are even more expensive; however, at an average cost of $22,000 per year, public colleges still pose a challenge to many financially. 

After you exhaust your federal student aid eligibility and still owe remaining tuition or have nothing left for other expenses, what other options are left? You could try applying for some scholarships or exploring private student loans. Student personal loans are another funding option for students to supplement or completely fund their education. 

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of taking out a personal loan, what it is, and the best personal loans for students this year. 

What Are Personal Loans for Students?

A personal loan for students acts similar to a private student loan – it has an interest rate, loan terms, approval requirements, fees, cosigner and cosigner release, the works. The main difference? Personal loans for students aren’t only for college tuition. In fact, some lenders make tuition the only restriction for use on their personal loans. 

A student borrower can use a personal loan almost any way they’d like – accommodation, food, transportation, books, entertainment, electronics, and more. 

Pros and Cons of Personal Loans for Students

The flexibility of spending is an attractive feature of personal loans for college students. But personal loans aren’t for everyone. Let’s run through some pros and cons: 

PRO: Personal loans are flexible and dispersed into your bank account: Students can rest easy knowing they have funds they can dedicate to anything federal student aid or scholarships might not cover. 

PRO: Personal loans are treated more favorably in bankruptcy. If you cannot afford to make your payments and file for bankruptcy, you’ll be relieved or discharged from a personal loan. Student loans, on the other hand, aren’t often dischargeable, even upon bankruptcy. 

CON:  Personal loans usually have higher interest rates than student loans, either federal or private. 

CON: Personal loan interest isn’t deductible on your taxes. 

CON: Many students have trouble achieving approval for a personal loan. You’ll need a solid credit history for a lender to consider you. You won’t often find personal loans for students with bad credit. 

Best Personal Loans for College Students

Now that you know the pros and cons of student personal loans, what’s your next step? Let’s dive into some of the best personal loans for students. 

1. Citizens Bank

Founded in 1928 in Rhode Island, the Citizens Bank is a trusted lender for American college students. They offer various credit products and services, including private student loans, credit cards, and student personal loans. Looking for personal loans for students with no income? Citizens Bank allows you to apply for loans with a cosigner if you don’t meet income requirements. 

  • Fees: $0
  • Credit score: 680
  • APR: 6.79% - 20.88%
  • Loan amount: $5,000 - $15,000
  • Loan duration: 3-7 years
  • Approval timeframe: Up to 16 business days
  • Perks: No fees whatsoever; Cosigner allowed
  • Cons: Slow fund access compared to other lenders

2. Discover

 A relatively new creditor, Discover is a well-known credit card issuer that’s been operating since 1985. The company is known for its student loans, but also offers a personal loan for college as well. Are you facing high expenses, whether it’s for accommodation or anything else? Discover offers personal loans up to $35,000, making it one of the most flexible if you qualify.

Be sure to make your payments on time, though. Discover doesn’t have any automation or origination fees but charges $39 for late payments. 

  • Fees: No fees, except for a $39 late payment fee 
  • Credit score: 660
  • APR: 5.99% - 24.99%
  • Loan amount: $2,500 - $35,000
  • Loan duration: 3-7 years
  • Approval timeframe: Same day or 1 business day
  • Perks: No fees whatsoever; Cosigner allowed
  • Cons: Late fees

3. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo easily serves over 70 million Americans – you might already have your account there yourself. This bank’s vast reach probably contributes to its generous personal loan amounts. Borrowers can take personal loans of up to a whopping $100,000 if needed (and if approved, of course). It’s also a great provider of personal loans for students with bad credit, as long as there’s collateral cash in another account. 

  • Fees: No origination or prepayment fees, but a late fee of $39 after ten days
  • Credit score: 660
  • APR: 5.74% - 19.99%
  • Loan amount: $3,000 - $84,000
  • Loan duration: 1-7 years
  • Approval timeframe: Same day or 1 business day
  • Perks: Cosigner allowed; large loan amounts; quick fund access
  • Cons: Late fees 

4. Lending Point

Most of the above personal loans require a credit score of at least 660 for approval. Not Lending Point – you can skim by with a modest 580 credit score, making this a great personal loan for students with bad credit. Reviewers cite Lending Point’s personal loan as one of the easiest to secure, but you’ll pay a premium with a higher APR. 

  • Fees: Origination fee of 0-6%
  • Credit score: 580
  • APR: 9.99% - 35.99%
  • Loan amount: $2,000 - $36,500
  • Loan duration: 2-5 years
  • Approval timeframe: 1 business day
  • Perks: Easy approval; quick access; no credit score impact
  • Cons: Higher interest rate and APR

5. Best Egg

Best Egg is a financial online platform that specializes in personal loans. Owned by Marlette Funding LLC, Best Egg boasts positive customer reviews that praise its excellent service and easy approval process. 

  • Fees: Origination fee of 0-6%, Late payment fees ($5)
  • Credit score: 600
  • APR: 4.99% - 35.99%
  • Loan amount: $2,000 - $50,000
  • Loan duration: 2-5 years
  • Approval timeframe: 1-3 business days
  • Perks: Easy approval; quick access
  • Cons: Higher interest rate and APR 


Credit Score

Loan Amount



Citizens Bank


$5,000 - $15,000

6.79% - 20.88%

$0; absolutely no fees



$2,500 - $35,000

5.99% - 24.99%

$39 late payment fee

Wells Fargo


$3,000 - $84,000

5.74% - 19.99%

$39 late payment fee

Lending Point


$2,000 - $36,500

9.99% - 35.99%

0-6% origination fee

Best Egg


$2,000 - $50,000

4.99% - 35.99%

0-6% origination fee; $5 late payment fee

Alternative Options for Personal Loans for Students

Not interested in personal loans or having trouble qualifying? Luckily, there are many alternatives to personal loans for college students:

Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants have requirements of their own, but you don’t have to pay back the funds. You might find scholarship opportunities with the federal government, your college, and private organizations. An excellent example is the College Monk’s No-Essay scholarship!

Federal Student Loans

The U.S Department of Education offers Direct Student Loans for undergraduate students, graduate students, and parents of dependent students. They have competitively lower interest rates and multiple repayment options, including Deferred Payment, Income-Driven Repayment Plan, and more. Students must clear the FAFSA to be considered for the loan.

Credit Union 

Credit Unions are not-for-profit organizations regulated by the federal government or respective state governments. They are financial institutions dedicated to serving specific communities. 

Most Credit Union offers student loans to members and families for fairly decent interest rates. They may also provide deferment and forbearance options on a case-to-case basis. If you or a member of your family is part of a credit union, please consider the student loans from these unions before looking at personal loans.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are offered by private financial institutions like private banks or organizations and loan servicers. They usually have higher interest rates compared to the above options. Eligibility is easy as long as you have a good credit score or a cosigner.

However, unlike federal student loans, private student loans don’t always offer deferment and forbearance options. Some private student loans do offer forgiveness and discharge. It is important to research your options thoroughly before choosing a lender to get the best rates and terms, and the most affordable option for your situation.

Peer-to-Peer Loan

Individual investors fund peer-to-peer loans on a platform that provides the necessary documentation, such as loan contract and promissory notes, with compliance with applicable federal and state laws. One loan may be fully funded by one investor or partially funded by more than one investor.

These loans usually have lower credit score requirements and are suitable for students who have difficulty obtaining a creditworthy cosigner.


Personal loans for students are a great way to fill in expense gaps throughout your college education. While private loans can be flexible, they often have higher interest rates than federal student loans and private student loans. So, if you’re thinking about getting a personal loan for students, we recommend using it as a last resort. 
Interested in finding more opportunities to finance your education? Check out our No-Essay $1,500 scholarship!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.Do personal loans affect your credit score?

    A personal loan can consolidate credit card debt and improve your credit score for several reasons: A personal loan is an installment loan so debt on that loan won't hurt your credit score as much as debt on a credit card that's almost to its limit, thereby making available credit more accessible.

  • 2.How long does it take for a personal loan to go through?

    It can take anywhere from one day to a few weeks, depending on the type of lender you go with. When you need extra money, knowing how long the loan process takes from start to finish helps you manage your expenses.

  • 3.How much personal loan do I qualify for?

    Typically, most lenders offer personal loans up to $50,000. However, some lenders offer loans up to $100,000 to borrowers with excellent credit and high income, which is usually at least $150,000 a year. The stronger your application, the more money you're likely to get approved for.

  • 4.Does a personal loan count as income?

    Personal loans are not considered income for the borrower unless the loan is forgiven. In other words, you cannot be taxed on loan proceeds unless the lender grants the borrower a reprieve on paying back the debt owed.

  • 5.Does paying off a loan early hurt credit?

    And while paying off an installment loan early won't hurt your credit, keeping it open for the loan's full term and making all the payments on time is actually viewed positively by the scoring models and can help your credit score. There are a couple of ways that paying off an installment loan affects your credit score.