The best low-interest student loans for borrowers are from the federal government. Generally, federal student loans offer lower interest rates than banks, along with a range of protections and benefits. However, keep in mind that federal student loans alone may not be able to cover the cost of higher education — this is where private student loans can help.
Private student loans originate from banks, credit unions and sometimes online lenders. However, these traditional lenders often have stricter underwriting processes and higher interest rates than federal loans. Finding private student loans with the lowest interest rates can help you best manage and pay off student debt after graduation.
College Ave Review
- College Ave
Borrow up to 100% of the cost of your education with no origination fees or prepayment penalties.
- 3.49%–12.99%Fixed APR Range
- 1.19%–11.98%Variable APR Range
- $1,000 minimum, no maximumLoan Amount Range
- Not requiredCo-signer
on College Ave Website
Pre-qualify for loans with no origination or late payment fees.
- 2.44%–7.99%Fixed APR
- 1.74%–7.99%Variable APR
- $1,000 upLoan Amount
- Allowed Co-signer
on Earnest Website
Sallie Mae Review
- Sallie Mae
U.S. Citizens, DACA and permanent residents: Get up to 100% of the cost of your education
- 3.50%–13.83% Fixed APR
- 1.37%–11.76%Variable APR
- $1,000 minimum, no maximumLoan Amount
- Allowed but not requiredCo-signer
on Sallie Mae Website
Fund your undergraduate, graduate, law or MBA degree.
- 3.22%–11.16%Fixed APR
- 1.10%–11.68%Variable APR
- $5,000 minimum, no maximumLoan Amount
on SoFi Website
Current Rates for Federal Student Loans
Federal loans are the best option for the lowest interest rate student loans. Unlike traditional student loans, federal student loan interest rates are set by federal law instead of based on your financial history.
The U.S. Department of Education extended COVID-19 emergency relief for student loans through the end of 2022, suspending loan payments, implementing a 0% interest rate and stopping collections on defaulted loans. Below are the rates through July 1, 2023.
Fixed Rates for Federal Student Loans
- Loan TypeBorrower TypeFixed Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized &
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Graduate or professional
Direct PLUS Loans
Parents, graduate or
How to Find Low-Interest Student Loans
Finding a private student loan with the lowest interest rate is essential for any borrower. It reduces how much you have to pay overall in the long run.
Tips to help you find a private student loan:
Maintain a good credit history
If you need to opt for a private student loan lender, your credit history determines your interest rates. Make sure to maintain a good credit history by making on-time payments on your bills or any other debt you might have.
Aim for a lower DTI ratio
Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is a key factor determining your APR. The lower it is, the better, as lenders have different thresholds or maximums.
Consider getting a co-signer
If you aren’t sure about your credit history or want a lower APR, getting a co-signer may help. Ask a family member or loved one with good credit if they would be willing to co-sign your loan. You may also want to opt for a lender who releases co-signers after a certain time.
Find a flexible repayment plan
It may be difficult to repay your loan right away — opt for lenders with a flexible repayment plan that can adjust depending on your situation in life.
Search for automatic payment discounts
The easiest way to reduce your interest rate is by opting for lenders who offer APR discounts. The most common one is for automatic payments, which a number of lenders we reviewed offer.
Compare fees and member benefits
When looking at private lenders, compare their offers and member benefits. Comparing lenders allows you to opt for the lowest rate available to you or perks that can help you with your studies and payments.
We reviewed more than 30 private student loan lenders using 35+ individual data points across six key categories: loan affordability, accessibility, consumer friendliness, customer service, flexibility and lender transparency.
Within each ranking criteria category, we considered several individual data points that carry the most weight when choosing a private student loan lender. These factors include APR ranges, available loan amount, minimum credit score, minimum income amount, application fees and disbursement time.
With the consumer in mind, we also factor in each lender’s customer support, business ratings and additional features that could make your experience easier and more accessible — like pre-qualification, payment options and mobile apps.
Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loan Rates
If you’re still unsure about low-interest student loans, MoneyGeek answered a few frequently asked questions.
- Federal Student Aid. "Interest Rates and Fees for Federal Student Loans." Accessed November 24, 2022.
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