Earnest Student Loans Review – Great Repayment Options

Earnest is an online company that specializes in refinancing and private student loans. From repayment options to requirements and terms - here's our review
Earnest Student Loans Review

Earnest is an online company that specializes in refinancing and private student loans

The company was incorporated in 2013, and they stand out for their underwriting approach that is based on the borrower’s financial accounts and their earning potential. Borrowers usually save money on a regular basis through their low-interest rates, and they have a stress-free and drama-free repayment process.

They are ideal for people who wish to clear their federal student loans quickly.

Earnest has customized repayment options that make it easy for them to increase their monthly contributions if they wish to do so, or make multiple extra repayments or even a one-off payment for quick clearance of the loan.

Earnest Loan Rates And Terms

Rates and TermsRefinancing LoanPrivate Loans
Loan amounts
  • $5,000 to $500,000
  • From $1,000 up to the total cost of school attendance.
Fixed APR
  • 2.94 – 5.98%
  • 4.39 – 12.78%
Variable APR
  • 1.89 – 5.98%
  • 2.74 – 11.44%
  • Origination fee: None
  • Late fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Origination fee: None
  • Late fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: None
Time to funding
  • In a weeks’ time.
  • In a weeks’ time.
Loan Terms
  • 5-20 years.
  • For Co-signed loans – 5 years, or 7 years, or 10 years, or 15 years, while solo borrowers get 5-7 years.
  • The repayments are done monthly or weekly
  • You can make an immediate payment after the loan is disbursed
  • Defer payment and do not make any payments while in school
  • Fixed payment of $25 each month while still in school
  • Interest-only payment: You can make interest-only payments while still in school
Soft credit check?
  • Yes
  • Yes
How to qualify
  • You should have a minimum credit score of at least 650.
  • You should have proof of a consistent source of income.
  • Should not have declared any bankruptcies in the last 3 years.
  • You shouldn’t have any open collections accounts.
  • You should have a minimum credit score of at least 650.
  • You must be enrolled at least half the time in school.
  • You must be in a school that is authorized to receive financial aid.
Best for
  • People who have a good credit score of 650 and above, and with a consistent source of income.
  • Students who did not qualify for federal loans.

 Earnest Loan Requirements

Here are the main requirements for both refinancing and private loans:

RequirementsRefinancing Private Loans
Minimum credit score650650
Minimum income$35,000$35,000
LocationIt is ideal for all states except Delaware, Nevada, and Kentucky.It is ideal for all states except Connecticut, Alaska, Nevada, Illinois, Texas, Hawaii, Virginia, and New Hampshire.
Must have graduated? Part-time students?Both allowedMust be enrolled in school, either part-time or Full-time.
Debt to Income Ratio Max65%65%
DefermentYes. In-school deferment and Military DefermentYes. In-school deferment
Bankruptcy?Not qualifiedNo
Forbearance12 months12 months

Refinancing With Earnest

Loan refinancing helps in consolidating your existing loans. If you have more than one loan at the same time and are probably paying too much interest on them, you can choose to take out an extra loan from a different company that can be utilized in offsetting all of your current loans.

After refinancing, you should be left with only one loan.

Earnest student loans does exactly that. They offer students the opportunity to take out one large low-interest loan, which is enough to pay off all of their existing loans, and sometimes, you may end up with a little money left over.

You can qualify for a loan of up to $500,000, depending on your income level and ability to pay. They have flexible repayment terms of up to 20 years. You must, however, have a good credit score of at least 650, in order to qualify for an earnest loan.

Before you decide to refinance your loan using this lender, kindly ensure to compare multiple lenders so you can make an informed decision. According to the research we conducted on some of the top refinancers of student loans, Earnest seemed to have the lowest interest rates in the industry for now.

The Pros & Cons of Earnest Student Loans

Before making a final decision, it’s important you’ll be aware of both the pros & cons. Let’s start with the benefits:

Flexible Requirements

Earnest Loan Company has some of the most flexible rates in the industry.

Their approval requires a student to fulfill very few requirements, and you can even qualify for a loan when you do not have a credit history.

Repayment Period

The company offers a long repayment period and plenty of options to choose from 5 to 20 years, which gives you the opportunity to better organize your finances for easy and quick payment of the loan.

In addition, what you shall not find with other loans, is the ability to skip one payment every 12 months.

Credit Check

Earnest shall do a soft credit check before qualifying you for the loan. This is a benefit because a soft credit check doesn’t affect your credit score as a hard credit pull would.

Loans Are Serviced In-House

Unlike federal student loans, Earnest loans are usually serviced in-house, which means that they do not outsource the loan servicing functions to another company.

The beauty of this is that you are able to receive first hand and one-on-one attention, which ensures that you are always on-track whenever something goes wrong.

Their Underwriting Techniques

Earnest usually considers your earning potential from your career and this is based on the financial data they collect.

You should connect your checking account where you deposit your paycheck, so they can use this data to verify your income.

You can also connect the savings, credit and investment account to your application, so they can have a complete insight into your finances, and this helps them make an informed decision when considering you for a loan.


They are a top choice for most students because;

  • They do not charge extra processing fees in cases of early or late payments of the loans.
  • You can opt to pay the loans on a weekly basis, which is excellent especially for students who wish to save on the interest.
  • They have a mobile app which they use to track and manage the loan.
  • They usually give a 0.25% discount whenever you are enrolled in their auto-pay system.
  • You can easily switch from the variable rates to the fixed rates every 6 months.

They Do Not Refinance For Parent Plus Loans

If your parent had taken the student loan on your behalf, which is known as the Parent plus Loan, then you cannot refinance such a loan with an Earnest loan.

This is a big con because most parents usually qualify for a parent plus loan, which they use to pay for their kid’s school.

Limited Location

With Earnest loans, people who live in Delaware, Nevada, and Kentucky do not qualify for the loan.

This caused them to limit these people from accessing the loans, which is a very big disadvantage.

Credit Score

In order to qualify for an earnest student loan, you must have a credit score of 650 and above.

This is quite high, especially for college kids, and the fact that you cannot have help when taking out a loan is also a bit off-putting.

Co-Signer Option

Earnest loans do not accept the use of a co-signer.

A co-signer is someone who can co-sign the loan with you. Most lending companies usually have this option, as it helps people with bad credit to still qualify for loans.

For example, if your score is less than 650, you simply look for a parent of a family member who has a better score, and ask them to sign the loan with you, and take complete responsibility in case you default.

This arrangement is not allowed with Earnest loans.

Repayment Options For Earnest Loans

Earnest offers a couple of repayments options, depend on your personal situation


The company allows borrowers to defer payments for up to 36 months if you are still in school, and also 36 months for Military personnel who wish to do so.


You can apply for forbearance if you are going through financial challenges, although, this is subject to approval.

You must be experiencing qualifying economic hardships which include loss of a job, involuntary decrease in income or parental leave.

Earnest shall, however, require you to first make at least 3 months repayments before you can become eligible for forbearance.

The interest shall continue to accrue during the period of forbearance and this is then reported to the credit agencies. This shall however not affect your credit score. Please note that voluntary resignation from work does not qualify you to receive forbearance.

Skipping A Payment

You can skip one-month payment every 12 months.

This is if you have been making monthly payments or making payments on a biweekly basis. This skipped payment shall be spread across the remaining loan payments, which shall cause them to increase slightly.

Skipping a payment is also part of your 12 months forbearance.

Payment Date Extension

You can push the due date for a loan payment by seven days, or change your auto-pay date through the online portal.

Customer Complaints And Reviews

The company’s loan processing is usually done in-house, which makes it easy for them to keep track of their customers. They have an active customer service department that is always available to offer help to their customers whenever needed.

Earnest Student Loans, have been listed on the Better Business Bureau since 2014. They are listed as a Limited Liability Company with only 21 customer complaints, which have all received responses from the company.

The BBB is a not for profit corporation that makes use of the Accredited Business system in order to assign ranks to businesses, charities and other organizations. These ranks and ratings help customers identify the reputation of the company before transacting with them.

Having only 21 complaints from a company that has been in operation for the last 7 years is no mean feat. This means that they have good customer service.

The company has also received more than 2,000 reviews on Trustpilot.com, on which they have a 4.5 rating on their customer service among others.


Earnest is a great lender to students, and the fact that they offer both refinancing loans, as well as Private loans, make them ideal for most students.

Private student loans from Earnest can be utilized by students who did not qualify for federal loans, or if the federal loan you received was not enough to cater for all your in-school needs and you need a top-up.

Loan refinancing, on the other hand, helps in consolidating student loans into one, including all federal loans. It is perfect for people who wish to lessen their loan repayment burden.

This company has one of the lowest refinancing interest rates and this is why most students prefer to use them. If you are planning on refinancing, or take out a private loan, they are a worthy option to consider.