Community college is often a more affordable option for higher education — but it has its own expenses. To pay for tuition and associated education expenses, including textbooks, transportation and housing, students can turn to scholarships, grants and other financial aid. However, private student loans are another alternative if those aren't enough.
To find the best student loans for community college students, MoneyGeek evaluated several providers based on 35+ factors: loan affordability, accessibility, customer service, flexibility and transparency.
Best for students with no co-signer.
- 4.36%–14.08%Fixed APR Range
- 1.47%–11.31%Variable APR Range
- $2,001–$200,000Loan Amount Range
- Non-U.S. citizens and temporary residentsCo-signer
College Ave Review
- College Ave
Best for flexible repayment terms.
- 4.44% - 15.99%Fixed APR Range
- 5.09% - 15.99%Variable APR Range
- $1,000 minimum, no maximumLoan Amount Range
- Not requiredCo-signer
Sallie Mae Review
- Sallie Mae
Best for students who need flexible repayment plans.
- 3.50%–13.83% Fixed APR Range
- 1.37%–11.76%Variable APR Range
- $1,000 minimum, no maximumLoan Amount Range
- Allowed but not requiredCo-signer
Best for those who want no fees and plenty of benefits.
- 3.22%–11.16%Fixed APR Range
- 1.10%–11.68%Variable APR Range
- $5,000 minimum, no maximumLoan Amount Range
How to Get a Student Loan for Community College
Selecting a private student loan for community college is a significant financial decision. For this reason, it’s smart to understand the process and factors, and compare lenders and options before making a choice.
Turn to private lenders if necessary
If you’ve applied for federal student loans but don’t have enough funding to cover all your educational expenses, private student loans may be able to help.
Determine how much you need
Think about how much you’ll need to cover your expenses. Expenses can include tuition, books, materials, transportation, housing and other miscellaneous fees in your program.
Check the eligibility requirements
Private lenders have stricter requirements than federal student loans. You may be required to have a co-signer, a minimum credit score or a certain income.
Get prequalified from multiple lenders
Opt for lenders who offer prequalification. While it’s not your official rate, a prequalification offer can give you an idea of how much your interest rate and other terms might be. Getting quotes from several lenders can also help you determine who might give you the best overall offer.
Assess loan features and terms
When evaluating lenders, look at the loan’s interest rate, repayment term and fees. You will also want to see if there are any benefits or perks the lender may offer to borrowers.
Apply and start payments
After considering your choices, learn about the application process for your chosen lender. You can usually apply online, but some lenders may require contacting an agent or visiting in person. Upon approval, the lender will send the funds to your school, and any leftovers will be returned to you. At this point, you may begin repaying your loan and developing a debt management strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loans
Getting a student loan for community college can help with various expenses, and there are many points to consider. Our answers to frequently asked questions about private student loans for community college may help you find the best option for your needs.
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 we feel 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.
Here at MoneyGeek, we value you, the consumer, so we also factor in each lender’s customer support, business ratings and additional features that could make your experience easier and more accessible — like prequalification, payment options and mobile apps.
After careful consideration and calculation, our picks are decided and chosen with your best interest in mind. Our personal loan recommendations and expert tips are meant to help you make the best decision when choosing a lender that meets your needs.
- Education Data. "Average Cost of Community College." Accessed February 10, 2023.
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