Earnest Private Student Loans: 2023 Review

Author
Sparrow Team
Sparrow Team
author

This is the official Sparrow account.

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Edited by
Daniel Kahn
Daniel Kahn
editor
Daniel is the co-founder and COO at Sparrow. Daniel is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a company, working closely with other members of the executive team to develop and implement strategies to support the growth and success of the company.
Daniel was a 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 lister in the Education category.  Daniel was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and graduated from Duke University in 2020.
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Reviewed by
Camden Ford
Camden Ford
reviewer

Camden leads Sparrow’s business operations – everything from product management to business analytics. After graduating Cum Laude from Duke University where he studied Civil Engineering, Camden worked as a Consultant for A.T. Kearney where he worked in their Strategic Operations practice. With a strong background in analytics, Camden strives to deliver data-driven conclusions and insights.

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Updated
February 14, 2024
On a similar note

Best Private Student Loans of 2023

November 14 · 20 min read

Earnest Snapshot

Earnest offers both private student loans and student loan refinancing.1 Earnest’s student loans are available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. It is best if you are seeking competitive interest rates, unique borrower perks, and flexible repayment options that allow you to find a loan that matches your budget.

Pros
  • prosCompetitive interest rates
  • prosFlexible repayment options
  • prosWide range of loan terms to match your budget
  • prosNine-month grace period
  • prosOption to skip 1 monthly payment per year
  • prosAllows biweekly payments via autopay
Cons
  • consLoans aren’t available to borrowers in Nevada
  • consStudents enrolled less than half-time are not eligible
  • consNo cosigner release

Best Features of Earnest Student Loans

Competitive interest rates and zero fees for qualified borrowers

When looking for a student loan, finding a low-interest rate is typically a top priority. If you qualify for an Earnest student loan, you’ll have access to some of the best rates in the industry. Earnest’s variable and fixed interest rates are typically lower than competing student lenders. In addition, you won’t have to pay origination fees, application fees, prepayment penalties, late fees, or insufficient funds fees.

Variety of in-school repayment options

Earnest offers you four repayment options for your student loans.

If possible, it’s beneficial to make in-school loan payments in order to reduce the amount of interest you pay over time.

Repayment Option

Terms

Pros

Cons

Immediate Repayment

Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school.

You will minimize the interest you pay, resulting in the greatest savings. Because you’re paying down both interest and principal while you’re still in school, you’ll already have made a good start on repaying your loan by the time you graduate.

For many students, it’s not realistic to make full monthly payments while still enrolled in college.

Interest-Only Repayment

Pay only interest while you’re in school.

Your monthly payments will be more manageable, and your loan balance won’t grow while you’re in school.

You won’t make any progress paying down your loan balance while you’re a student. But at least you won’t owe more than you borrowed when it’s time to start making full payments.

Partial Repayment

Pay $25 per month while you’re in school to reduce accrued interest.

You can keep your loan balance in check, and reduce the total amount repaid.

You’ll still owe more than you borrowed when you graduate, but your loan balance won’t grow as quickly.

Deferred Repayment

Don’t make any payments while you’re in school. Begin repayment after graduation or 6 months after graduation.

You won’t have to make payments while you’re in school.

You will likely pay the highest overall cost since unpaid interest will be added to your principal amount at the end of your grace period.

Note: Parents borrowing on behalf of students are limited to interest only and immediate repayment options.

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Wide range of loan terms to match your budget

Earnest offers a wide range of loan terms to reduce the burden of your student debt. If you have a cosigner, you can choose a loan term of 5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years. If you don’t have a cosigner, you’ll have to choose between a 10, 12 or 15-year loan term, unless you are a graduate student. In that case, you may be considered for 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15 year loan terms.

Offers a nine-month grace period

After you are no longer in school at least halftime – because you’ve graduated, left school, or dropped below half-time enrollment – you have a grace period before you begin making full principal and interest monthly payments. While most lenders offer a six-month grace period, some require immediate repayment.

Earnest, on the other hand, offers a nine-month grace period on its student loans. This can be a massive benefit if you need some extra time to find a job and stabilize your income.

Be careful though – interest starts to accrue as soon as the loan is disbursed so delaying your payments means you’ll be paying more interest over the lifetime of your loan.

Option to skip one monthly payment every year

Earnest is the only lender that allows you to skip one monthly payment on your student loan every year. This can be incredibly helpful if you lose your job or face an unexpected expense.

In order to qualify, you must:

  • Make the request at least five business days before the payment is due.
  • Make the request after six months of timely payments of both interest and principal.

While this feature can be extremely helpful when life hits a bump in the road, do note that the principal and interest from that payment will be spread out across your remaining payments, resulting in increased monthly payments.

Allows biweekly payment via autopay

When you repay your student loan, your payments are due monthly by default. Instead, Earnest gives you the option to make biweekly payments via autopay — where you automatically pay half your monthly amount once every two weeks. Many borrowers use biweekly autopay in an effort to pay off their student debt faster and pay less in interest over the lifetime of the loan.

In addition to offering biweekly payments via autopay, Earnest gives you the option to make greater-than-minimum payments via autopay. This means you have the option to pay more than your monthly balance in order to reduce the interest that accrues over time. With Earnest, you can set this up automatically so that the desired monthly payment is drawn from your bank account at the end of each month.

The latest rates from Sparrow’s partners

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Drawbacks of Earnest Student Loans

Loans aren’t available to borrowers in Nevada

If you live in Nevada, you’ll have to consider other lenders for your private student loan. A variety of lenders offer private student loans to borrowers in Nevada, such as College Ave, Ascent, and more.

Students enrolled less than half-time are not eligible

If you are not enrolled in school at least half-time, you are ineligible for student loans through Earnest. If you’re studying less than half-time, you may want to consider another lender for your private student loan.

No cosigner release 

Most private student lenders require or strongly encourage you to apply with a cosigner. Given that young people generally have no/limited credit history, a cosigner can help you qualify for better loan terms.

Many private student lenders allow you to release your cosigner after a few years of timely payments (typically 1-2 years). This essentially means that the cosigner is no longer liable for repaying the loan in the event that you (the borrower) are unable to make payments.

While becoming a cosigner can be daunting, the cosigner release policy is meant to ease the burden and make it less risky. Unfortunately, Earnest does not offer any form of cosigner release. Instead, you will have to apply to refinance your student loan, which is only available once you’ve graduated.

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Earnest Eligibility Criteria, Repayment Options & More

Fees and Terms

Loan Terms

5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years.

Loan Amounts

$1,000 up to cost of attendance.

Application or Origination Fee

No

Prepayment Penalty

No

Lates Fees

No

Eligibility Requirements (Financial)

Minimum Credit Score

650

Minimum Income

$35,000 for cosigned loans.

Typical Credit Score of Approved Borrowers or Cosigners

Did not disclose.

Typical Income of Approved Borrower

Did not disclose.

Maximum Debt-to-Income Ratio

65%.

Ability to qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy

No.

Eligibility Requirements (Personal)

Citizenship

Primary borrower must have a Social Security number. International students are eligible if applying with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Location

Not available to borrowers in Nevada.

Must be enrolled half-time or more

Yes

School requirements

Any school authorized to receive federal aid.

Percentage of borrowers who have a cosigner

Did not disclose.

Repayment Options

In-school Repayment Options

Immediate repayment: Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re in school.

Interest-only repayment: Only pay interest while you’re in school.

Fixed repayment: Pay $25 a month during school.

Deferred repayment: Wait to make payments until you’re out of school.

Grace period

9 months.

In-school Deferment

Yes

Military Deferment

Yes

Internship, Residency, or Fellowship Deferment

Borrowers can defer payments for up to 48 months during a medical residency, internship, or fellowship program.

Forbearance

Up to 12 months available.

Cosigner Release

No. Borrowers may refinance with Earnest and release their cosigner.

Death or Disability Discharge

Yes, if the borrower dies or suffers a permanent disability.

Loan discharge if cosigner dies or becomes disabled

No.

Autopay

Allows for surplus payments via autopay: Yes.
Allows for biweekly payments via autopay: Yes.

Customer Service

Loan Servicer

Earnest.

In-house Customer Service Team

Yes.

Process for Escalating Concerns

Yes.

Borrowers get assigned a personal customer service representative

No.

Average time from application to approval

Online application: a few minutes.
Approval: Varies by applicant.

Student loan rates from our partners
lender Ascent logo
Ascent
Minimum credit score
Varies
Fixed APR
Fixed APR

Ascent’s undergraduate and graduate student loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, or DR Bank, each Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 3/1/2024 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest rates require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, a cosigner, and are only available for our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores. Actual APR offered may be higher or lower than the repayment examples above, based on the amount of time you spend in school and any grace period you have before repayment begins.

4.09 - 15.71%
Variable APR
Variable APR

Ascent’s undergraduate and graduate student loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, or DR Bank, each Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 3/1/2024 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest rates require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, a cosigner, and are only available for our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores. Actual APR offered may be higher or lower than the repayment examples above, based on the amount of time you spend in school and any grace period you have before repayment begins.

6.16 - 16.09%
lender LendKey logo
LendKey
Minimum credit score
660
Fixed APR
Fixed APR

1 – Terms and Conditions Apply

Loan products, terms, and benefits may be modified or discontinued by participating lenders at any time without notice. Rates displayed are reserved for the most creditworthy consumers who enroll to make automatic monthly payments. Your initial rate will be determined after a review of your application and credit profile. Variable rates may increase after consummation. You must be either a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident in an eligible state and from an eligible school, and meet the lender’s credit and income requirements to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account, a minimum share account deposit, and the payment of any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to apply with, and accept a loan offered from, a credit union lender. If you are not a member of the credit union lender, you may apply and become a member during the loan application process if you meet the lender’s eligibility criteria. Applying with a creditworthy cosigner may result in a better chance of loan approval and/or lower interest rate. Loans for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not available via LendKey.com.

2 – Cosigner Release

Some lenders participating on LendKey.com may offer the benefit of cosigner release. Cosigner release is subject to lender approval. In order to qualify, the borrower, alone, must meet the following requirements: (1) Make the required number of consecutive, on-time full principal and interest payments as indicated in the borrower’s credit agreement during the repayment period (excluding interest-only payments) immediately prior to the request. Any period of forbearance will reset the repayment clock; (2) The account cannot be in delinquent status; (3) The borrower must provide proof of income indicating that he/she meets the income requirements and pass a credit review demonstrating that he/she has a satisfactory credit history and the ability to assume full responsibility of loan repayment; (4) No bankruptcies or foreclosures in the last sixty months; and (5) No loan defaults.

3 – Autopay Rate Reduction

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments.

4 – AutoPay Discount & Lowest Interest Rate

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised APR is only available for loan terms of 10 years and is reserved for the highest qualified applicants, taking into consideration the applicant’s credit and other factors.

4.39 - 10.39%
Variable APR
Variable APR

1 – Terms and Conditions Apply

Loan products, terms, and benefits may be modified or discontinued by participating lenders at any time without notice. Rates displayed are reserved for the most creditworthy consumers who enroll to make automatic monthly payments. Your initial rate will be determined after a review of your application and credit profile. Variable rates may increase after consummation. You must be either a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident in an eligible state and from an eligible school, and meet the lender’s credit and income requirements to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account, a minimum share account deposit, and the payment of any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to apply with, and accept a loan offered from, a credit union lender. If you are not a member of the credit union lender, you may apply and become a member during the loan application process if you meet the lender’s eligibility criteria. Applying with a creditworthy cosigner may result in a better chance of loan approval and/or lower interest rate. Loans for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not available via LendKey.com.

2 – Cosigner Release

Some lenders participating on LendKey.com may offer the benefit of cosigner release. Cosigner release is subject to lender approval. In order to qualify, the borrower, alone, must meet the following requirements: (1) Make the required number of consecutive, on-time full principal and interest payments as indicated in the borrower’s credit agreement during the repayment period (excluding interest-only payments) immediately prior to the request. Any period of forbearance will reset the repayment clock; (2) The account cannot be in delinquent status; (3) The borrower must provide proof of income indicating that he/she meets the income requirements and pass a credit review demonstrating that he/she has a satisfactory credit history and the ability to assume full responsibility of loan repayment; (4) No bankruptcies or foreclosures in the last sixty months; and (5) No loan defaults.

3 – Autopay Rate Reduction

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments.

4 – AutoPay Discount & Lowest Interest Rate

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised APR is only available for loan terms of 10 years and is reserved for the highest qualified applicants, taking into consideration the applicant’s credit and other factors.

6.09 - 11.33%
lender Earnest logo
Earnest
Minimum credit score
650
Fixed APR
Fixed APR

Auto Pay Discount Disclosure

You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay.

Student Loan Origination (Private Student Loan) Interest Rate Disclosure

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.36% APR to 16.15% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.87% APR to 16.45% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan origination loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.

Earnest Private Student Loans are made by One American Bank, Member FDIC, or FinWise Bank, Member FDIC. One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Finwise Bank, 756 East Winchester, Suite 100, Murray, UT 84107

Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC, 535 Mission St., Suite 1663 San Francisco, CA 94105, NMLS #1204917, with support From Navient Solutions, LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank, FinWise Bank, and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by agencies of the United States of America.

© 2024 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved.

4.11 - 15.90%
Variable APR
Variable APR

Auto Pay Discount Disclosure

You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay.

Student Loan Origination (Private Student Loan) Interest Rate Disclosure

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.36% APR to 16.15% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.87% APR to 16.45% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan origination loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.

Earnest Private Student Loans are made by One American Bank, Member FDIC, or FinWise Bank, Member FDIC. One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Finwise Bank, 756 East Winchester, Suite 100, Murray, UT 84107

Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC, 535 Mission St., Suite 1663 San Francisco, CA 94105, NMLS #1204917, with support From Navient Solutions, LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank, FinWise Bank, and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by agencies of the United States of America.

© 2024 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved.

5.62 - 16.20%
lender College Ave logo
College Ave
Minimum credit score
Mid-600s
Fixed APR
Fixed APR

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community Bank, member FDIC, or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

*The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. $5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. Information advertised valid as of 08/25/2022. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 2/15/2024. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.

4.11 - 15.44%
Variable APR
Variable APR

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community Bank, member FDIC, or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

*The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. $5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. Information advertised valid as of 08/25/2022. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 2/15/2024. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.

5.59 - 16.65%

Earnest FAQs

Is Earnest a legitimate lender?

Yes, Earnest is a legitimate lender that was founded in 2013 and has been providing private student loans since 2019.

Is Earnest available in all 50 states?

Earnest is available in all 50 states except Nevada.

How long does it take to get an Earnest student loan?

Submitting an application through Earnest takes a few minutes. Once you’ve submitted your loan application, Earnest will return a decision about your eligibility, but the exact timeline of this response varies by applicant. If you qualify, you will receive the rate and terms of your loan.

What happens if I don’t qualify for an Earnest student loan?

If you don’t qualify for an Earnest student loan, the company will inform you why. Depending on the reason, you may consider applying with a qualified cosigner or trying with a different lender. To check your rates across multiple lenders at once, try using Sparrow’s free search engine. In just two minutes, you can receive real, personalized offers from over 15 different lenders ready to help you. And best of all, it won’t impact your credit score.

Are Earnest student loans federal or private?

Earnest loans are private loans. Before you take on a private loan, we recommend that you exhaust your federal loan options.

Does applying for a loan through Earnest hurt my credit score? 

Applying for a loan through Earnest could hurt your credit score. Earnest has both eligibility check (hard credit check that may temporarily impact your credit score) and rate check (soft credit check, which will not impact your credit score).

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