Earnest Private Student Loan Review

Last updated on October 21st, 2019 at 09:00 pm

Earnest’s in-school student loan can give borrowers more opportunity and flexibility to pay for school.

Please note: All variable rates are current as of 6/01/2019.  See how This College Life makes money here.


  • co-signer invite available on application
  • 9-month grace period offered
  • No origination, pre-payment, return or late payment fees
  • Skip 1 payment per year during repayment period
  • Choice of loan terms
  • Deferred payment option
  • Fixed rates range 3.50% – 7.89% APR (with auto pay)
  • Variable rates range 2.49% – 7.27% APR (with auto pay)
  • Not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NY, PA & WA
  • Fixed $25 payment option
  • Interest – only payment option
  • Must be attending or enrolled to attend a Title IV institution to be eligible
  • Loan amount available is $1000 up to the student’s cost of attendance
  • .25% auto pay discount

Check Rate Here.


What makes Earnest private student loans unique?

Their 9 month grace period is 3 more months than most lenders.

To Qualify

In order to qualify, applicants need to match up in three different areas for student loan eligibility. Those are financial background, personal information and loan information.


You will need a minimum FICO score of 650 with at least three years of credit history (how to start building credit). Your income must be $35,000 per year in USD without any bankruptcy on your credit report. You have a history of on-time payments with any type of account that would be reported to the credit bureaus. This means anything like a car loan/lease, other student loans, or credit cards. Lastly, you have no accounts currently in collections.

In other words, if you have been on top of your different financial commitments in the past and have at least 35K USD/year income, you’re likely to qualify. The maximum debt-to-income ratio they will allow is 65%. One other important point is that you will need at least a small rainy day fund, money to cover a minimum of 2 months normal expenses – this includes housing.


You will need to reside in a state that Earnest lends in. That means any (including the District of Columbia) except for for Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Virginia. If you are not a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, you will need to have a cosigner who is, plus, be the age of majority in your state of residence (that means threshold of adulthood as viewed by law). Primary borrowers will need a social security number.


Your school is a Title IV, not-for-profit 4 year institution and you are pursuing a bachelor’s or graduate degree there. Enrollment must be full time with a minimum loan amount of $1000 (unless specified by your state of residence).

Repayment Options

In school

  • Interest-only payment: Just pay the interest while in school
  • Fixed $25 payment: pay only $25/month while in school
  • Deferred payment: Make no payments while in school
  • Principle & interest payment: Pay the entire cost of the loan payments while in school each month after its disbursed.


  • Forbearance: You can pause payments for up to 12 months
  • Military deferment: Yes
  • 9-month grace period
  • Skip a payment once per year (every 12 months)

Additional Points

Earnest keeps customer service in-house and loans given by them are serviced by them. Students must be enrolled half-time or more to be eligible. There are also no fees for origination, disbursement, prepayment or late payment.

Any drawbacks?

Residents of the states Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia are out of luck since Earnest can’t lend there.

What People Are Saying

Out of 851 reviews on TrustPilot, Earnest scores “Excellent“.

Their BBB rating is an A+.

On Glassdoor, Earnest scores a 3.4/5 with 100% approval of CEO Susan Ehrlich

Sound like an Earnest private student loan is the right fit for you? Check your rate with them here.

Information from This College Life on financial services products should be used for educational purposes only. Consult a licensed financial professional before making any major decisions.

About the Author

Bob Buckley
Bob Buckley
Bob Buckley is an account executive and writer with an emphasis on sales and product development. Since studying accounting in school, he has worked at major financial and media companies in various roles. He's also the founder of This College Life. In his free time, he cooks a lot and occasionally blogs a recipe.