10 Best Graduate Student Loans In 2022

Graduate school can be an excellent way to prepare for a successful profession, but it can also be costly. There are, however, various options for funding graduate education, including government and private student loans, as well as other sorts of financial aid.

Graduate student loans, both federal and private, are designed to assist you in covering the costs of pursuing an advanced degree, which include tuition, lodging, and board, books, and supplies, as well as personal expenses.

If you’re thinking about taking out a graduate student loan to help pay for your next degree, you should know what types of loans to look into, how to apply, and how much money you’ll be eligible for.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 Graduate Student Loans for 2022, along with instructions on how to choose between them and manage debt while in school.

What Is A Graduate Student Loan?

A graduate student loan is a sort of loan that supports students in repaying loans such as tuition, books, and housing. Because graduate education is more expensive, graduate student loans often have larger borrowing limitations than undergraduate student loans.

There are various graduate student loans to select from if you’re pursuing graduate school, but it’s vital to start with federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, which come with important safeguards such as income-based repayment alternatives. While there is no credit check for Direct Unsubsidized Loans, they do have annual and lifetime borrowing limits, as well as higher interest rates than private loans.

When it comes to graduate student loans, there are three primary options to consider:

  • Unsubsidized federal direct student loans
  • PLUS student loans from the federal government
  • Student loans from private lenders

READ ALSO: Subsidized Vs Unsubsidized Student Loans: Which One Should You Go For?

What Are The Benefits Of Applying For A Graduate Student Loan?

One of the most significant advantages of applying for graduate student loans is that it provides you with the financial means to pay for the graduate education that you desire.

It can help you advance in your career field, resulting in increased pay.

What Are The Best Loans For Graduate School?

1. Federal graduate student loans

Federal direct unsubsidized loans, including undergraduate loans, have a borrowing limit of $20,500 per year and a maximum of $138,500.

The interest rates and fees on federal grad PLUS loans are greater than those on direct unsubsidized loans, but you can borrow more money – up to your complete cost of attendance, minus any other help received. If you’ve used up all of your federal direct unsubsidized loans but still want to pay for graduate school, consider grad PLUS loans.

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to apply for federal loans for graduate school.

2. Ascent Graduate Student Loan

You can borrow anywhere from $2,000 to $200,000 with repayment durations ranging from seven to fifteen years with Ascent (depending on whether you choose a fixed or variable rate).

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Ascent also offers specialized loans to students pursuing professional degrees such as medicine or law.

Autopay discounts range from 0.25 percent to 2.00 percent.

1% cashback as a graduation gift

Without a cosigner, you might be able to qualify.

If you or a co-signer have excellent credit, Ascent’s graduate student loan is a wonderful alternative.

Because of its flexibility, Ascent’s graduate student loan stands out. The lender provides a nine-month grace period and a 24-month forbearance period, both of which are longer than those offered by many other lenders.

SEE ALSO: What is Student loan refinance, and How does it work?

3. College Ave Graduate Student Loan

If you’re still in graduate school, College Ave is a terrific place to be. College Ave, unlike many other lenders, offers graduate student loans if you’re only going to school part-time.

Graduate student loans from College Ave range from $1,000 to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance (less any other financial help you’ve received), with periods ranging from five to fifteen years. It offers both generic graduate school loans and loans tailored to specific professional programs.

Details about College Ave Graduate Student Loan:

  • APR9 ranges from 3.5 to 12.6 percent. Yes, you can compare prices after a year without damaging your credit score. It’s completely free!
  • Fixed Annual Percentage Rate
  • This lender’s lowest fixed rate is 3.09 percent plus.
  • Variable Annual Percentage Rate
  • This lender’s lowest variable rate is 1.48 percent
  • Autopay discounts range from 0.25 percent to 2.00 percent.
  • 1% cashback as a graduation gift
  • Without a cosigner, you might be able to qualify

4. Citizens

Citizens offer graduate student loans ranging from $10,000 to 100% of the cost of attendance at your school (aggregate limits might apply).

If you currently have a Citizens account, you may be eligible for a 0.25 percent rate decrease – plus an additional 0.25 percent off if you join up for automatic payments.

Pros

  • Large loan amounts are available for parents or students who want to support a high-cost degree or refinance existing student debts.
  • Even if you didn’t acquire a degree, you might be eligible to refinance your previous loans.
  • There are five repayment options available, as well as competitive interest rates.
  • Fixed Annual Percentage Rate
  • This lender’s lowest fixed rate is 3.23%+1.
  • Variable Annual Percentage Rate
  • This lender’s lowest variable rate is 1.03%+1.
  • The total amount you can borrow from this lender ranges from $1,000 to $350,000.
  • Term of the loan (years): 5, 10, 15

5. Prodigy Graduate Student Loan

Prodigy is a good option for international graduate students without a co-signer who is a US citizen. You don’t need a cosigner to qualify for a Prodigy graduate student loan; lending decisions are made based on your future earnings rather than your current financial condition.

Prodigy only provides variable-rate loans, which are riskier than fixed-rate loans, and it does not lend in all 50 states.

6. RISLA Private Student loan

Borrowers who value payment flexibility can consider RISLA’s private student loan. Similar to the federal government’s income-driven repayment schemes, RISLA offers an income-based repayment plan that caps payments at 15% of income and forgives any residual balance after 25 years. For borrowers who complete approved internships, RISLA forgives up to $2,000 and covers interest payments for up to 48 months for qualifying nurses.

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To qualify for a private student loan from RISLA, you had to live in Rhode Island or attend school there. Its in-school programs are now available across the country.

Things you need to know about RISLA Private Student loan:

  • Repayment flexibility and forgiveness possibilities are uncommon.
  • A soft credit check is used to provide personalized rate estimations.
  • After 24 on-time payments, the co-signer is released.

Pros

  • Available income-based repayment plan with forgiveness after 25 years.
  • Without a hard credit check, you can see if you qualify and what rate you’ll get.
  • For suitable internships, partial loan cancellation is available, as well as interest remission for qualifying nurses.

7. INvestEd

Offers student loan refinancing to students from any state; but, to qualify for a new private student loan, you must live or attend college in Indiana. There are no application, origination, or disbursement fees, although the lender imposes a 5% late payment fee.

INvestEd may be a viable option for graduate student loans if you live or attend school in Indiana. With terms ranging from five to 15 years, you can borrow $1,000 up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance (less any other financial help you’ve received).

Pros

  • For graduating in six years or less, there is a 2% decrease in the principal.
  • Up to 100% of the cost of attendance will be covered.
  • There are numerous repayment alternatives available.

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8. EDvestinU

With payback durations ranging from seven to 15 years, EDvestinU offers graduate student loans ranging from $1,000 to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance (minus any other financial aid you’ve received).

If you sign up for automatic payments on an EDvestinU loan, you can save 0.50 percent on your interest rate, which is more than the 0.25 percent offered by most other lenders.

Pros

Cosigner release is available after just 12 months of on-time payments.

0.25 percent off if you pay with autopay

If you make interest-only payments while in school, you can save 0.50 percent on graduate and professional school loans.

9. MPower

Many overseas students do not have access to a co-signer based in the United States, and borrowing in their home country may need collateral. Two large finance businesses are filling this void by providing private student loans without the need for a co-signer. MPOWER Financing is the most widely available source.

International undergraduate and graduate students within two years of graduating or about to enter a one or two-year program at one of 350 recognized schools in the United States or Canada are eligible for MPOWER private student loans.

For the first six months of education and six months following graduation, students make interest-only payments. Borrowers make full repayments (interest and principal) until the loan is paid off after this period. While there are no application or prepayment fees, each loan comes with a 5% origination cost.

Key takeaways:

  • Only available for students studying in the U.S. or Canada at 1 of 350 approved schools.  
  • International students must be enrolled in a one- or two-year program or within two years of graduation.
  • MPOWER doesn’t require international students to have a cosigner or run a credit check.
  • All loan terms are 10 years and students can borrow a maximum of $25,000 per year, with a $ 50,000-lifetime limit.
  • Interest-only payments are required while in school and during the six-month grace period after graduation.
  • MPOWER only offers fixed interest rate loans.
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10. Sallie Mae

There are fixed and variable interest loans available, as well as a variety of repayment alternatives and no penalties for paying off a loan early. Students seeking MBAs, medical, dentistry, or health graduate degrees, or law school can apply for specialist loans from the lender.

You can borrow $1,000 up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance with a 15-year repayment period from Sallie Mae.

Additionally, if you make interest-only payments on a Sallie Mae loan while in graduate school, you may qualify for a 0.50 percent rate decrease.

Pros

  • Interest rates and competitive repayment alternatives
  • For cosigner release applications, the time frame is relatively short.
  • Under certain circumstances, a loan may be forgiven, annulled, or dismissed entirely or partially.
  • Specialized loans are available for specific more expensive degrees, such as an MBA.

Frequently Asked Questions on Graduate Student Loan

What is the maximum amount I can borrow for graduate student loans?

You can only borrow $20,500 per year in unsubsidized federal student loans as a graduate student, while you may be able to borrow up to your school’s cost of attendance using Grad PLUS Loans. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average graduate degree costs more than twice that amount in tuition and fees. Depending on the lender, you may be able to borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance through private student loans.

How do I apply for a graduate student loan?

Depending on the lender, there are a variety of ways to apply for a graduate student loan. You might be able to apply to the lender’s website. You could also be able to apply for a loan through a website that connects borrowers and lenders. In most cases, you’ll need to submit the FAFSA as well.

What is a cosigner release?

Student borrowers frequently require cosigners, such as a parent, other relatives, friends, or other creditworthy people, to qualify for a student loan. A cosigner release permits your cosigner to leave the loan when you’ve shown you can pay it off without their support. Before you may ask to have your cosigner freed from the loan, lenders usually need you to make a certain number of timely payments.

How do I find the best student loan rates for graduate school?

Finding the best student loan for your needs requires doing your homework to understand each lender’s unique requirements, interest rates, and terms.

Conclusion

Comparing lenders can help you locate the best alternative for your circumstances if you need to augment your graduate school funding with private student loans.

Keep in mind that the best graduate student loans have low-interest rates, a wide range of loan terms, broad eligibility conditions, and quick response times.

With so many student loan lenders to choose from, it’s critical to pick the best lender and graduate student loan for your specific circumstances. Based on the amount you need to borrow, your financial condition, and your course of study, certain loans may be a better fit for you than others.

References

  • https://www.nerdwallet.com/best/loans/student-loans/graduate-school-loans

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