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Student Loans

Arizona Student Loans

From state scholarships to federal grants and loans, students in Arizona have various funding options for attending college. And if those forms of aid don’t cover your full cost of attendance, private student loans can help close the gap.

Keep reading to better understand the differences between your loan options and find the best lenders for private student loans in Arizona.

LenderBest forLendEDU rating
Dept. of EducationFederal student loansNot rated
College AvePrivate student loans5/5
Sallie MaeCosigners4.8/5
EarnestNo fees4.7/5
AscentDeferred payments4.3/5

How to get student loans for college in Arizona

When you’re preparing to apply for financial aid in Arizona, the first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines your Student Aid Index (SAI), which in turn helps schools determine your financial need. 


You can submit the FAFSA at any time between October 1 preceding and June 30 of the academic year you’re seeking funds for. (So for the 2024 – 2025 school year, the dates are October 1, 2023, through June 30, 2025.) Plan to complete the FAFSA the semester before you need financial aid for priority financial aid consideration in Arizona.

After processing your FAFSA, the schools you’re accepted to will send you a financial aid award letter. This letter tells you how much you can expect to receive in scholarships, grants, and federal loans.

You won’t see private loans listed on your award letter, but if you apply for and accept private loans, your lender will send your funds to your school on your behalf.

Federal student loans in Arizona

The federal government offers student loans in Arizona through the Department of Education. These loans come with benefits that aren’t typically available with private lenders, such as:

  • Low rates: Interest rates are fixed and the same for every borrower who takes out the same loan, disbursed within the same set period.
  • Several repayment options: Borrowers facing hardship can enter into deferment or forbearance to pause payments. Income-driven repayment plans are also available to make repayment more affordable.
  • Loan forgiveness: If you work for an eligible employer and participate in an income-driven repayment plan for long enough, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness.

Types of federal loans

Here are three federal student loans available at colleges across the U.S., including those in Arizona:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans: These loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need. The government pays the interest on the loan while you’re in school at least half-time, for the first six months after you leave school, and during a period of deferment.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students regardless of financial need. Borrowers are responsible for paying the interest on this loan at all times.
  • PLUS loans: The two types of PLUS loans are the Parent PLUS Loan and the Graduate PLUS Loan. The Parent PLUS Loan is for parents of dependent undergraduate students. The Grad PLUS Loan is for graduate or professional students.

Direct Loans don’t require a credit check, but PLUS Loan eligibility is based on creditworthiness.

Private student loans in Arizona

If federal student loans don’t cover all your college expenses due to the borrowing limits, private lenders can help fill the gap.

Most private lenders rely on your credit to determine eligibility. If you don’t have an established credit history, a creditworthy cosigner can help improve your application. Here are the four top-rated private lenders offering student loans in Arizona.

LenderRates (APR)Best for
College Ave4.39% – 16.85%Best overall
Sallie Mae4.50% – 15.70%Cosigners
Earnest4.39%16.85%No fees
Ascent4.29%16.09%Deferred payments

College Ave

Best overall

5.0 /5
LendEDU Rating

Why it’s one of the best

College Ave stands out as the best overall student loan lender. It offers competitive interest rates and a range of repayment options, including deferred and interest-only plans. You’ll appreciate the user-friendly application process, which simplifies securing the funding needed for education.

College Ave also provides tools to help students and families understand their financial commitments. Its loan calculator and prequalification process give borrowers a clear picture of their potential payments, making College Ave a top choice for Arizona students.

Loan details

Rates (APR)
4.39% – 16.85%
Loan amounts$1,000 – 100% of certified costs
Repayment terms5, 8, 10, or 15 years
Repayment plansFull, interest-only, $25 flat, or deferred
Grace period6 months, but can apply for up to 6 more months
StatesAll 50 states
Cosigner releaseAfter making consecutive on-time payments for half the repayment term

Sallie Mae 

Best for cosigners

4.8 /5
LendEDU Rating

Why it’s one of the best

Sallie Mae offers a variety of loan products tailored to different student needs. Its loans for students with cosigners offer competitive rates that can make education more affordable.

It also offers a cosigner release option, allowing students to take full responsibility for the loan after meeting certain criteria. This feature and flexible repayment terms make Sallie Mae an excellent option for students needing cosigners.

Loan details

Rates (APR)
4.50% – 15.70%
Loan amounts$1,000 – 100% of certified costs
Repayment terms10 – 15 years
Repayment plansFull, interest-only, $25 flat, or deferred
Grace period6 months
StatesAll 50 states
Cosigner releaseAfter 12 consecutive, on-time payments


Best for no fees

4.8 /5
LendEDU Rating

Why it’s one of the best

Earnest is the best choice for students seeking loans without fees. It doesn’t charge origination or late fees, which can save borrowers significant money over the life of the loan.

It also offers customizable repayment plans, allowing students to tailor their payments to their financial situation. With fixed- and variable-rate options, Earnest provides flexibility and affordability for Arizona students.

Loan details

Rates (APR)
Loan amounts$1,000 – 100% of certified costs
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years
Repayment plansFull, interest-only, $25 flat, or deferred
Grace period9 months
StatesAll states except Nevada
Cosigner releaseNone


Best for deferred payments

4.3 /5
LendEDU Rating

Why it’s one of the best

Ascent offers deferred payment options that allow students to focus on their studies without the immediate pressure of repayment. It also offers loans without requiring a cosigner, which is ideal for students who may not have access to one.

Ascent provides rewards for good academic performance, encouraging students to excel in their studies. These features make it a strong contender for Arizona students looking for flexible loan options.

Loan details

Rates (APR)
Loan amounts$2,001 – $200,000
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years
Repayment plansFull, interest-only, $25 flat, or deferred
Grace period9 months
StatesAll 50 states 
Cosigner releaseAfter 12 consecutive, on-time payments

State resources for Arizona students

In addition to federal and private loans, you can also explore state student loans and scholarships. Here are a few resources just for Arizona students:

  • Arizona Promise Program: If you have at least a 2.5 GPA and qualify for a federal Pell Grant, you could get free in-state tuition and fees. You don’t need to complete a separate application—you’re automatically considered when you complete the FAFSA.
  • Arizona Teachers Academy: Education and non-education majors can use this scholarship. In exchange, you agree to teach at a K-12 school for every year you earn the scholarship.
  • AzLEAP: Pell Grant-eligible Arizona undergrads may also qualify for up to $2,500 through AzLEAP. Reach out to your financial aid to find out if your school participates and learn how to apply. 
  • Veteran Spouses: This scholarship is awarded to spouses of honorably discharged veterans on a first-come, first-served basis. You must also be enrolled at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona, or a participating community college.

Depending on the scholarship you qualify for, you may still be responsible for housing and meal costs. Still, these scholarships can reduce your debt in pursuit of higher education.

How we selected the best Arizona student loans

LendEDU evaluates student loan lenders to help readers find the best student loans. Accessibility is important to this evaluation, so our editorial ratings system primarily focuses on companies available in most U.S. states. That’s why the lenders we selected in the online section have editorial ratings. They’ve gone through an extensive review process and were determined to offer superior products compared to other lenders. We’ve also independently verified that these companies are available in Arizona.

Recap of the best Arizona student loans

LenderLendEDU rating
Dept. of EducationNot rated
College Ave5/5
Sallie Mae4.8/5

To compare more options, check out our picks for the best private student loans or learn more about state student loans.