We rated 12 lenders with the most loans by volume out of 15 data points across interest rate, fee, loan terms, hardship options, application process, and eligibility categories. We’ve chosen the top nine to display based on those earning three or more stars.
Here is the weight assigned to each category:
- Difficulty options: 30%
- Application process: 16%
- Loan conditions : 14%
- Interest rate: 13%
- Eligibility: 14%
- Costs: 13%
Specific characteristics considered in each category included the number of months of abstention available, economic hardship reimbursement options available beyond traditional abstention, perks such as cash back on graduation , discounts, time to default, disclosure of credit rating and income requirements, and other factors.
Lenders who offered interest rates below 10% had the highest scores, as did those who offered more than the standard 12-month forbearance, who made their loans available to non-U.S. Citizens, who offered interest rate discounts beyond the 0.25% standard for automatic payments. , which offered multiple loan terms of up to 15 years and charged minimal fees.
In some cases, lenders were awarded partial points, and a maximum of 3% of the final score was left to editorial discretion depending on the quality of the user-friendly features offered.
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