Earnest provides student loan refinancing and private loans to undergraduate and graduate students with customizable repayment terms and loan amounts. The lender does not charge any fees and allows you to skip a monthly payment once every 12 months if you otherwise make timely loan payments.
At a Glance: Earnest Student Loans
- 2.44%–7.99%Fixed APR Range
- 1.74%–7.99%Variable APR Range
- $1,000 upLoan Amounts
- Deferment until 9 months after graduationGrace Period
on Earnest Website
MoneyGeek Breakdown: Earnest Student Loan Details and Requirements
Undergraduate, Graduate, Medical, MBA, Law, Refinancing
$1,000 up to the total cost of attendance
5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years
Earnest Student Loan Application Requirements
Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
Must reside in a state where Earnest offers student loans (or in Washington, D.C.)
Must meet the state’s age-of-majority requirement
Must be a full-time college or university student
Must require a loan of at least $1,000
Must have a minimum credit score of 650
Must provide at least three years of credit history
Should not have bankruptcy on their credit report
Is Earnest Right for You?
Whether Earnest is the right lender for you will depend on your circumstances, financing needs and personal profile. MoneyGeek explains below which students will benefit from Earnest’s loans and who should avoid them.
Type of Student Earnest Is Perfect For
Earnest student loans are a great option for students looking to finance their education with a lender that provides loans on flexible terms. The company offers a customizable repayment schedule, which means you can make a fixed monthly payment, only pay interest or make multiple payments at once, as you deem fit.
Since the company does not require a co-signer, it’s the ideal choice for those who want to apply independently. Earnest would also suit you well if you’re a graduate looking to refinance your existing student loan.
Who Should Not Choose Earnest
Earnest generally does not approve student loan applications of individuals who are not full-time college students, which means you won’t be eligible for a student loan with the company if you’re taking less than 12 credit hours in a semester. It also requires students to meet the state’s age-of-majority requirement, which is different for every U.S. state.
Since Earnest takes about three to four weeks for loan approval, students who have good credit scores and want to finance earlier should compare rates with other lenders before applying.
How to Apply for an Earnest Student Loan
After you’ve made sure that Earnest is the right option for you, you should proceed with submitting the loan application. MoneyGeek outlined the steps you need to take to apply for an Earnest student loan.
Before you apply, you can check if you qualify for a loan by filling out your details on the prequalification tool. It’ll take about two minutes to receive a response.
Fill Out Application Form
After you prequalify, you would have to fill out the application form. At this point, Earnest will require your personal information, income details, savings and investment details and other essential information.
Wait for Approval
Once you submit the application, Earnest will take about three to five business days to review your information and let you know their decision.
Review Loan Agreement
After your loan is approved, you should have a thorough look at the loan agreement and understand Earnest’s interest rates, fees, repayment terms and other important details.
Sign Loan Agreement
If you’re satisfied with the loan agreement, you can sign it after downloading an unsigned copy from your online profile.
Receive or Direct Funds
After signing the loan agreement, Earnest will disburse the funds to your institution. This process may take three to four weeks.
You would have to start making payments based on the schedule you chose while submitting your loan application.
What to Do if You Are Rejected From Earnest
Earnest might reject your student loan application. It shouldn’t be a cause of great concern if that happens. The lenders reject loan applications for various reasons, including low credit score, insufficient income, incomplete application or unstable employment. In many cases, bad credit history is the main reason behind the loan rejection.
The company will usually let you know the factors that caused the loan denial. While it may be tempting to re-apply with a different lender, it’s best to improve that factor before applying again. For example, if the lender rejected your loan due to a low credit score, you can get a secured credit card to rebuild your credit history. Since Earnest allows co-signed loans, you can also apply with a co-signer. Doing so will increase your odds of approval.
You can also contact your school’s financial aid advisor to see if they offer resources that might help you in this situation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loans
MoneyGeek researched the following most frequently asked questions about Earnest student loans to help you decide if this lender is the best option for you.
- Earnest. "Disclosures." Accessed March 24, 2022.
- Earnest. "Eligibility Guide." Accessed March 24, 2022.
- Earnest. "How quickly can I get my student loan?." Accessed March 24, 2022.
- Earnest. "Private Student Loans." Accessed March 22, 2022.
- Earnest. "Undergraduate Private Student Loans." Accessed April 22, 2022.
- Earnest. "What Can Student Loans Be Used For?." Accessed March 24, 2022.
- Earnest. "What is the Difference Between APR and Interest for an Earnest Client?." Accessed March 24, 2022.
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