Updated: July 15, 2020

Earnest: Private Student Loan

Undergraduate Private Student Loans

Student Loan Rating
4 of 5
Fixed APR
4.20% - 13.03%
Variable APR
1.49% - 11.69%
Repayment Terms
Up to 15 years
Important Information

Rewards: Autopay Discount

Flexibility: Allows borrowers to customize their payment due date, skip 1 payment every 12 months, and make biweekly payments

Yearly Loan Limits: Covers 100% of your Cost of Attendance

Overall Loan Limits: $1,000 (minimum)

Cosigner Terms: Cosigner optional, does not allow for cosigner release

The bottom line:

By giving you a lot of options when it comes to repayment and avoiding fees altogether, Earnest can best be characterized as one of the most flexible private student loan lenders. Though they do not provide a cosigner release option and are not available in 7 states, they do rank as one of the best lenders for college students.


  • Borrowers can customize the payment due date and skip one payment every 12 months
  • Biweekly payment option as alternative to monthly loan payments
  • Offers a partial forbearance option


  • Does not offer cosigner release
  • College freshmen, sophomores and juniors must be enrolled full-time
  • No available in Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas
Wondering how much that loan is going to cost you? Check out our free Loan Calculator!
Input your loan terms and we’ll tell you how much you can expect to pay monthly and in total

When it comes to repayment, Earnest really stands out from the pack. Borrowers are allowed to customize their payment due date, skip a payment every 12 months, select a biweekly payment schedule as opposed to a monthly one, and even get a 9-month grace period after graduation (as opposed to the standard 6 months). For borrowers in distress, they offer a partial forbearance option, not just a full forbearance, which really helps when it comes to avoiding debt spiraling out of control. 


Earnest also charges below-average interest rates. When you combine that with their auto-debit discount, graduation reward, and no fees (not even on late payments), their loan is one of the most cost-effective. 


On the flip side, Earnest requires that you be enrolled full-time in school to borrow with them. They also don’t offer a cosigner release option, so make sure your cosigner (if you have one) knows that they’ll be responsible for this loan as long as it is outstanding. Lastly, residents of states like New Hampshire and Texas, be aware that Earnest is not available for you.

Earnest - Private Student Loan Details

Interest Rates, Fees and Terms
  • Credit Check: Soft to check rates, hard to process application
  • Repayment Terms: Up to 15 years
  • Minimum Borrowing Limit: $1,000
  • Yearly Borrowing Limit: 100% of Cost of Attendance
  • Aggregate Borrowing Limit: None
  • Application Fee: None
  • Origination Fee: None
  • Prepayment Penalty: None
  • Late Fee: None
Requirements to Qualify
  • Minimum Credit Score: 650
  • Minimum Yearly Income: 35000
  • Citizenship Restriction: Citizens or Residents
  • List of States where Loan is Not Available: AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX
  • Minimum Enrollment Restriction: Full-Time
  • Approved Schools Include: Title IV
Repayment Options
  • Immediate Principal and Interest Repayment: Yes
  • Fixed Monthly Repayment: Yes, 25
  • Interest-Only Repayment: Yes
  • Full Deferment: Yes
Repayment Details
  • Length of Grace Period: 9 months
  • Maximum Deferment Period: 36 months
  • Maximum Forbearance Period: 12 months
  • Cosigner Release Option: None
  • Death Discharge: Yes
  • Disability Discharge: Yes
Customer Service
  • US-Based Call Center: Yes
  • Hours of Operation (in addition to weekdays): No Evenings or Weekends
  • Application Timeline: Rate estimate in 2 minutes
  • Scholarship Search Tool: None
  • Sponsors a Scholarship: Yes
  • Job and Career Assistance: Yes
  • Financial Literacy Training: Yes
Earnest Commonbond College Ave
Rates from (APR)
4.20% - 13.03%
1.49% - 11.69%
5.70% - 9.99%
1.68% - 7.66%
4.24% - 13.24%
1.49% - 12.23%
Loan repayment terms (Years) Up to 15 years 5 years, 10 years, 15 years 5 years, 8 years, 10 years, 15 years
Cosigner release? None Yes, after 24 months on-time payments Yes, after 24 months on-time payments