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Ally Bank is one of the most popular online banks, offering checking, savings, and money market accounts to its customers. The bank also offers loan products such as mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards. One type of loan that Ally doesn’t offer is a student loan.
If you’re in need of alternatives to Ally student loans, there are plenty of options available.
Private alternatives to Ally Bank student loans
Though Ally doesn’t offer student loans, there are plenty of private lenders that do offer student loans and student loan refinancing.
Private student loans
Private student loans can help you get the money that you need to pay for college, but they’re generally more expensive than federal student loans. You should only turn to them once you’ve exhausted your federal loan options.
We have a full guide to the best private student lenders, but here are a few of our top picks.
1.79% – 10.97%
4.39% – 11.98%
$1,000 – 100% of school-certified cost of attendance
College Ave is LendEDU’s top-rated private student lender. You can apply for a wide variety of loans for different courses of study and the company offers competitive variable and fixed rates. If you have a cosigner, you can remove them from the loan after 24 consecutive payments.
The greatest drawback of College Ave is that the company has fewer options for forbearance and deferment than its competition.
2.74% – 11.44%
4.39% – 12.78%
$1,000 – 100% of school-certified cost of attendance
Earnest offers student loans that have a nine-month grace period. That gives you some extra time to get established in your career after graduation before you need to start making loan payments. The company has loans for undergrads, graduate students, and parents, so you can find a loan that meets your needs.
Earnest also lets you skip one payment per calendar year without penalty. This will push back your payoff date but can provide needed relief in difficult times.
3.18% – 13.92%
4.00% – 14.92%
$1,000 – $200,000
The information above is for the cosigned loan.
Ascent is special in that it lets students apply for either cosigned or non-cosigned loans. That means that you can borrow money without getting your parent or guardian to put their credit at risk. The non-cosigned loans have much lower limits, but can still be useful if you need to borrow small loan amounts.
Ascent’s customers also get the option to customize their payment plans—you can choose fixed payments or set it so that your payments start small after graduation and grow over time. This lets you scale your payments with your hopefully increasing post-graduation income.
Student loan refinancing
Refinancing your student loans can help you save some money or reduce your monthly payment, all in the name of tackling your student loan debt. Before you take that leap, check to make sure that refinancing makes sense for your situation.
You can check out our guide to the best student loan refinancing companies or read about a few of our top picks below.
3.50% – 8.72%
3.75% – 8.77%
$5,000 – $500,000
Beyond offering private student loans, Earnest offers student loan refinancing. You can take out a loan with a fixed or variable rate. You also get many of the perks that come with the company’s new student loans, such as the option to skip one payment each year if you need to.
Another great perk is that Earnest doesn’t charge origination or prepayment fees, making it easier to save money by refinancing.
2.39% – 6.01%
3.30% – 6.69%
$15,000 – Total outstanding loan balance
Education Loan Finance (ELFI) is a student loan refinance company that offers highly competitive interest rates. The company also lets you put your loan in forbearance for up to twelve months if you have trouble paying your bills, but it doesn’t have the option to defer payments while you’re in school.
The greatest downside of ELFI is that you need to have a minimum balance of $15,000 to refinance with the company. You also can’t remove your cosigner from a loan.
What to consider when taking out student loans
When you borrow money for any reason, including to pay for your education, there are multiple factors that you need to consider.
- Interest rates: The higher the interest rate, the more you’ll pay over the course of the loan. Look for a lender that will charge a low rate.
- Term lengths: Long-term loans have low monthly payments but cost more in the long run. Short-term loans are cheaper but require higher monthly payments. Look for a lender with lots of loan term options and repayment plans so you can strike a balance that fits your budget.
- Fees: Origination fees and prepayment penalties add additional costs to your loan. You want to pay as little as possible to borrow money, so avoid them whenever possible.
- In-school payment options: Some lenders let you avoid payments completely while you’re in classes. Others give you the option to make partial payments while you’re attending school, which can help you save on interest. Think about the payment plan that works for you and find a lender that will let you execute that plan.
- Financial hardship: Some student lenders let you put your loan into forbearance if you’re having financial trouble. Many give you a grace period after graduating before you have to make payments. Ideally, you won’t run into financial trouble, but knowing you have the option to pause payments can offer a lot of peace of mind.
- Ability to pay: Before you borrow money for any reason, think about your bank account and your ability to repay the loan. Figure out the level of income you can expect after you graduate and make sure that you’ll be able to repay the loan before signing the paperwork.
Summary of alternatives to Ally student loans
Author: TJ Porter