Private Student Loan Rates: March 20, 2023—Loan Rates Move Down

Last week, the average interest rate on 10-year fixed-rate private student loans inched down. Despite the rise, rates still remain relatively low, providing borrowers with an opportunity to fill in financial gaps in higher education costs.
For borrowers with a credit score of 720 or higher who prequalified on’s student loan marketplace from March 13 to March 18, the average fixed interest rate on a 10-year private student loan was 7.15%. On a five-year variable-rate loan, the rate was 11.23%, according to
Related:  Best Private Student Loans
Fixed-rate Loans
Last week, the average fixed rate on 10-year loans decreased by 1.68% to 7.15%. The week prior, the average stood at 8.83%.
Borrowers in the market for a private student loan now can receive a higher rate than they would have at this time last year. At this time last year, the average fixed rate on a 10-year loan was 5.35%, 1.80% lower than today’s rate.
If you were to finance $20,000 in student loans at today’s average fixed rate, you’d pay around $234 per month and approximately $8,052 in total interest over 10 years, according to Forbes Advisor’s student loan calculator.
Variable-rate Loans
Last week, rates on variable five-year student loans moved up, reaching 11.23% from 9.74% the week prior.
In contrast to fixed rates, variable interest rates fluctuate over the course of a loan term. Variable rates may start lower than fixed rates, especially during periods when rates are low overall, but they can rise over time.
Private lenders often offer borrowers the option to choose between fixed and variable interest rates. Fixed rates may be the safer bet for the average student, but if your income is stable and you plan to pay off your loan quickly, it could be beneficial to choose a variable loan.
Financing a $20,000 five-year private loan at 11.23% would yield a monthly payment of approximately $437. A borrower would pay $6,229 in total interest over the life of the loan. Keep in mind that since the interest rate is variable, it could change monthly.
Related: How To Get A Private Student Loan
How To Get a Private Student Loan
If you reach the annual borrowing limits for federal student loans or if you’re otherwise ineligible for them, private student loans may be a decent option. But consider a federal student loan as your first option since the interest rates are typically lower. You’ll also receive more liberal repayment and forgiveness options with federal student loans.
Getting a private student loan generally involves applying directly through a non-federal lender, such as a bank, credit union or online entity. You may also be able to get a private student loan through a nonprofit organization, state agency or college.
If you’re an undergraduate with limited credit history, you’ll generally need to apply with a co-signer who can meet the lender’s borrowing requirements.
Here’s what to consider when applying for a private student loan:

Make sure you qualify. Private student loans are credit-based, and lenders typically require a credit score in the high 600s. This is why having a co-signer can be particularly beneficial.
Apply directly through lenders. You can apply directly on the lender’s website, via mail or over the phone.
Compare your options. Look at what each lender offers and compare the interest rate, term, future monthly payment, origination fee and late fee. Also, check to see if the lender offers a co-signer release so that the co-borrower can eventually come off of the loan.

Comparing Private Student Loans
When shopping for a private loan, consider the overall cost of the loan, including interest rate and fees. You may also want to consider the type of assistance each lender offers if you’re not able to make your loan payments.
Keep in mind that the best rates are only available to those with good or excellent credit.
Experts generally recommend that you borrow no more than what you’ll earn in your first year out of college. While some lenders cap the amount of money you can borrow each year, others don’t. When comparing loans, figure out how the loan will be disbursed and what costs it covers.
How Lenders Determine Your Rate
Lenders offering private student loans generally offer both fixed and variable interest rates. These rates are, in part, based on your creditworthiness. Generally, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate you’ll receive. But credit history, income, the degree you’re working on and your career can factor into the interest rate you receive as well.