Private student loan rates spike, but remain below last year’s record highs
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The latest private student loan interest rates from the Credible marketplace, updated weekly. (iStock)
Average private student loan rates for borrowers with credit scores of 720 or higher who used the Credible marketplace to take out student loans rose for fixed and variable rates during the week of Jan. 10, 2022:
- 10-year fixed rate: 6.68%, up from 5.89% the week before, +0.79
- 5-year variable rate: 4.54%, up from 3.26% the week before, +1.28
Through Credible, you can compare private student loan rates from lenders without affecting your credit score.
Rates for both 10-year fixed and 5-year variable private student loans skyrocketed last week. Five-year variable rates increased by 1.28%, while 10-year fixed rates rose by nearly a percentage point. However, current private student loan rates are still well below their highest levels from 2021. During the week of Feb. 8, 2021, rates for a 10-year fixed-rate loan hit 7.28%. Meanwhile, 5-year variable-rate loans averaged 5.91% during the week of Nov. 22, 2021. A 5-year variable-rate loan may be the best option for borrowers right now since rates are still relatively low — just two weeks prior, variable rates sat at 4.90%. But borrowers should keep in mind that a variable interest rate can potentially increase over time.
You should always exhaust federal student loan options first before turning to private student loans to cover any funding gaps. Private lenders such as banks, credit unions and online lenders provide private student loans. You can use private loans to pay for education costs and living expenses, which might not be covered by your federal education loans.
Interest rates and terms on private student loans can vary depending on your financial situation, credit history and the lender you choose.
Take a look at Credible partner lenders’ rates for borrowers who used the Credible marketplace to select a lender during the week of Jan. 10:
Private student loan rates (graduate and undergraduate)
Student loan weekly rate trends
Who sets federal and private interest rates?
Congress sets federal student loan interest rates each year. These fixed interest rates depend on the type of federal loan you take out, your dependency status and your year in school.
Private student loan interest rates can be fixed or variable and depend on your credit, repayment term and other factors. As a general rule, the better your credit score, the lower your interest rate is likely to be.
You can compare rates from multiple student loan lenders using Credible.
How does student loan interest work?
An interest rate is a percentage of the loan periodically tacked onto your balance — essentially the cost of borrowing money. Interest is one way lenders can make money from loans. Your monthly payment often pays interest first, with the rest going to the amount you initially borrowed (the principal).
Getting a low interest rate could help you save money over the life of the loan and pay off your debt faster.
What is a fixed- vs. variable-rate loan?
Here’s the difference between a fixed and variable rate:
- With a fixed rate, your monthly payment amount will stay the same over the course of your loan term.
- With a variable rate, your payments might rise or fall based on changing interest rates.
Comparison shopping for private student loan rates is easy when you use Credible.
Calculate your savings
Using a student loan interest calculator will help you estimate your monthly payments and the total amount you’ll owe over the life of your federal or private student loans.
Once you enter your information, you’ll be able to see what your estimated monthly payment will be, the total you’ll pay in interest over the life of the loan and the total amount you’ll pay back.
Credible is a multi-lender marketplace that empowers consumers to discover financial products that are the best fit for their unique circumstances. Credible’s integrations with leading lenders and credit bureaus allow consumers to quickly compare accurate, personalized loan options ― without putting their personal information at risk or affecting their credit score. The Credible marketplace provides an unrivaled customer experience, as reflected by over 4,300 positive Trustpilot reviews and a TrustScore of 4.7/5.