Best MBA Loans of 2022

Best MBA Loans of 2022

Going to business graduate school can be expensive – the top schools can charge in the six figures – so it’s important to take steps early to determine how MBA loans can help you finance your education.

The Best MBA Student Loan Companies in 2022

Earnest

2.94% to 12.78% with autopay Fixed APR
No maximum Max. Loan Amount
650 Min. Credit Score

College Ave

2.99% to 12.99% with autopay Fixed APR
Cost of attendance, minus aid Max. Loan Amount
Mid 600s Min. Credit Score

Sallie Mae

3.50% to 12.60% with autopay Fixed APR
Cost of attendance, minus aid Max. Loan Amount
Mid 600s Min. Credit Score

SoFi

3.22% to 11.16% with autopay Fixed APR
Cost of attendance, minus aid Max. Loan Amount
640 Min. Credit Score

Ascent Funding

3.97% to 11.89% with autopay Fixed APR
$200,000 Max. Loan Amount
540 Min. Credit Score

CommonBond

3.74% to 10.74% Fixed APR
Cost of attendance, minus aid Max. Loan Amount
660 Min. Credit Score

LendKey

3.99% to 8.49% with autopay Fixed APR
Cost of attendance, minus aid Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Citizens

3.48% to 11.34% with auto and loyalty discount* Fixed APR
Up to $350,000 Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

PNC Bank

Not disclosed Fixed APR
Max. Loan Amount
620 Min. Credit Score

Purefy

3.26% to 14.50% with autopay Fixed APR
Not disclosed Max. Loan Amount
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Methodology:

U.S. News selects the Best Loan Companies by evaluating affordability, borrower eligibility criteria and customer service. Those with the highest overall scores are considered the best lenders.

To calculate each score, we use data about the lender and its loan offerings, giving greater weight to factors that matter most to borrowers. The scoring factors for private student loan providers are customer service ratings, fixed APR, variable APR, loan product availability, minimum and maximum loan terms, minimum and maximum loan amounts, minimum FICO score, and online features.

The weight each scoring factor receives is based on a nationwide survey on what borrowers look for in a lender.

To receive a rating, lenders must offer qualifying loans nationwide and have a good reputation within the industry. Read more about our methodology.

Find the Best Student Loans for You

Best for fair credit

Earnest is an online lender offering private student loans to college and graduate students, as well as student loan refinancing. The company was founded in 2013.

Borrowers can choose their own loan terms to fund up to the full cost of their education.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Refinance, Parent, MBA, Medical School, Law School.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 650.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A.

Best Features

  • There are no origination, application or late fees.

  • You can choose your monthly payment and loan term length.

  • You can use a co-signer on undergraduate or graduate student loans, and student loan refinancing is available.

See full profile

Best for instant approval

College Ave exclusively offers student loans. Founded in 2014 and based in Wilmington, Delaware, College Ave offers undergraduate, graduate and parent loans for students enrolled at schools affiliated with College Ave in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. College Ave’s advantage is speed, with applications that take a few minutes to complete and instant decisions.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Refinance, Parent, MBA, Medical School, Dental School, Law School, International Student, Health Professions, Career Loan.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Mid 600s.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

Best Features

  • Rapid application and approval process.

  • Career loan programs with a completion incentive available.

See full profile

Best for product availability

Sallie Mae is a publicly traded consumer bank that offers private student loans to pay for undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees, among other educational needs. Congress started Sallie Mae in 1972 as a government-sponsored entity that serviced student loans. The lender went private in 2004 and today provides a range of student loan products.

Additionally, Sallie Mae Bank offers savings products and other tools to help families plan and pay for college, including a credit card that earns bonus cash back to help you pay off any student loan.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, MBA, Medical School, Dental School, Health Professions, Law School, Bar Study, Career Training, Residency and Relocation Loan.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Mid 600s.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

Best Features

  • Student loans can completely cover school-certified expenses, such as tuition and fees, books, and other related costs.

  • Borrowers pay no loan origination fee.

  • Autopay enrollment qualifies you for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount.

See full profile

Best for multiple repayment options and no fees

SoFi is an online lender founded by Stanford business school students in 2011. Originally focused on student loan refinancing, the company added private student loans in 2019. Its student loans for undergraduates, graduates and parents start at $5,000 and charge no fees.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent, International Student, MBA, Medical School, Law School, Refinance.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 640.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

Best Features

  • Zero fees: You won’t have to pay origination fees, application fees, late fees or insufficient funds fees.

  • Flexible repayment options: SoFi offers multiple repayment term options, as well as cosigner release options. It also offers unemployment protection and other resources for eligible borrowers facing financial hardship.

  • Prequalify: Whether seeking undergraduate, graduate or parent loans, you and your co-signer can check rates and terms before submitting a full loan application without hurting your credit scores.

See full profile

Best for bad credit

Ascent Funding is an online lender offering undergraduate and graduate student loans for those with or without a co-signer at more than 2,200 eligible schools nationwide. Students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents or those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status – aka “Dreamers” – may apply for an Ascent loan. Ascent Funding was founded in 2015 and is based in San Diego.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, International Student, MBA, Medical School, Law School, Dental School, DACA Student.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 540.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A.

Best Features

  • Borrowers can receive a 1% cash back graduation rewards when they meet certain terms and conditions.

  • Outcomes-based loans without co-signers are eligible for a rate discount of 1 percentage point with automatic payments.

  • Ascent Funding student loans have no application, origination, or disbursement fees.

See full profile

Best for forbearance options

Founded in 2012, CommonBond has funded more than $2 billion in student loans. The lender offers undergraduate, graduate, medical, dental, MBA and student loan refinance loans.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, MBA, Medical School, Law School, Dental School, Refinance.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 660.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: B+.

Best Features

  • Borrowers can make up to full payments while in school or choose to pay interest only, a flat fee or defer payments.

  • Online preapproval is available.

See full profile

Best for minimal fees

LendKey’s digital platform connects borrowers who need private student loans or refinancing loans with credit unions and community banks. Since 2009, LendKey has helped more than 120,000 people by funding $4 billion in loans. The company offers fixed- and variable-rate loans for undergraduate and graduate students.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, MBA, Medical School, Law School, Refinance.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A.

Best Features

  • Co-signers are accepted but not required and may improve your chances of approval or help you obtain better terms.

  • LendKey charges no origination or application fees.

See full profile

Best for streamlined approval process

Citizens was founded in the late 1800s in Rhode Island. Today, it’s one of the largest commercial banks in the U.S. Branches are concentrated in the New England, mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Refinance, Parent, MBA, Medical School, Dental School, Law School, International Student, Bar Study, Medical Residency.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

Best Features

  • Citizens offers multiyear approval loans, meaning that once you get started, you can continue to secure funding for subsequent years in school without needing to go through a credit check every year.

  • Borrowers can reduce their interest rates by 0.5 percentage points if they have a qualifying Citizens account and sign up for autopay.

  • International students can apply if they have a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with good credit.

See full profile

Best for low down payment

PNC Bank is one of the largest banks in the United States, serving more than 12 million customers in all 50 states. A full-service mortgage lender, PNC offers most mortgage loan product types.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: Conventional, ARM, FHA, VA, Refinancing, Home Equity Loans
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Minimum down payment: 3%
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • PNC Bank offers multiple mortgage product lines.

  • Low down payment mortgages are available.

  • Its website offers an online homeownership cost tool.

See full profile

Best for customer service

Purefy is a student loan comparison site, and it also originates refinanced student loans and parent loans via a partnership with Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Purefy was founded in 2014, and began working with PenFed in 2016. Since then, the company has originated more than $1 billion in loans.

As a rate comparison tool, Purefy shares interest rates, terms and eligibility requirements from a few lending partners, including Ascent, Earnest, ISL Education Lending and College Ave. This lender review will focus on the loan refinancing options Purefy and PenFed offer together.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent, MBA, Medical School, Law School, Refinance.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

Best Features

  • No origination fees, application fees or prepayment penalties

  • Spouses can consolidate their loans together

  • Co-signer release after 12 consecutive months of on-time payments

See full profile

Find the Best Student Loans for You

What Is an MBA Student Loan?

An MBA loan is a student loan designed to help students pay for a Master of Business Administration degree.

These loans typically have higher interest rates than what you’re paying on your undergraduate loans, but they may also provide you with more financing so you can afford the higher costs of graduate school.

What Are the Different Types of MBA Student Loans?

There are a few different types of MBA loans you can get. While some are marketed as such, others may simply be general student loans:

  • Private MBA loans. Some lenders advertise loans specifically to help MBA students pay for their degree. Terms can vary depending on the lender, but you can typically borrow up to the total cost of attendance at your school.
  • Private graduate loans. Most private student loan companies offer general graduate student loans that you can use for any type of graduate degree. Interest rates, repayment terms and other features will differ from lender to lender, but you can usually borrow whatever you need to pay your tuition bill and other eligible costs.
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These federal loans limit how much you can borrow each year, as well as in total. However, they also offer certain benefits that private lenders don’t provide, such as loan forgiveness programs and income-driven repayment plans.
  • Federal Graduate Direct PLUS Loans: There’s no limit on how much you can borrow with these loans, but the interest rate and loan fee are higher than what you’d get with a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. You’ll also get access to the same federal loan benefits.

Are MBA Loans Worth It?

Ultimately, the decision whether or not to borrow money to complete your MBA depends on your goals and future prospects. Take a look at what you expect to borrow to get through the program and compare it with the average starting salary for someone with an MBA in your field.

According to Department of Education data analyzed by the Brookings Institution, the median first-year salary for MBA graduates is $73,868.

Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert who has written about student aid policy, suggests using the rule of thumb that your graduate student loan debt should be less than your annual starting salary.

“It’s a rule of thumb for undergraduate student loan debt and applies to graduate degrees,” he says, “except you include any outstanding undergraduate debt along with the new debt that you incurred during graduate school.”

The real key is whether you’ll get a job, Kantrowitz adds. If you’re already employed and have a secure place to land at your company after you complete your degree, business school may be a no-brainer. But if you’ve previously struggled to gain employment and think an MBA might do the trick, your prospects may not be as high.

How to Choose the Best MBA Loan for You

Not all MBA loans are created equal, so it’s important to take your time to shop around and compare multiple options before you make a decision. Here are some features to keep in mind as you do your research:

  • Qualifications. Private student loans typically require a credit check when you apply, and if your credit isn’t in great shape and you have no co-signer, it can be tough to qualify and get a favorable interest rate. Direct PLUS Loans also require a credit check, but it’s only to ensure you don’t have any significant negative items on your credit reports. If you want to avoid a credit check altogether, Direct Unsubsidized Loans are the only option.
  • Interest rates. Federal student loan interest rates are standardized, so you know what you’re going to get before you apply. “The government offers some good rates for which you don’t need a co-signer,” says Steve Muszynski, founder and CEO of Splash Financial, an online student loan refinance marketplace. “However, you may be able to get a better rate via a private lender.” Just be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Some private student loan companies offer both variable and fixed interest rates – unless you’re planning to pay off the debt quickly, a fixed rate is usually best because it won’t change with market rates.
  • Fees. In addition to the interest rate, you’ll also want to compare fees. In most cases, private lenders don’t charge origination fees, though you may be assessed a charge if you pay late. In contrast, federal student loans include an upfront loan fee, which is deducted from your loan disbursement. Federal loan fees can change from year to year, so check the Federal Student Aid website to get the latest information.
  • Repayment options. With federal student loans, you’ll get a variety of repayment options, including income-driven repayment plans. Private student loans also offer several different repayment schedules, but most of them don’t offer any kind of income-driven repayment plan.
  • Other features. Some MBA loans come with other features that could be appealing for you. For example, if you think you might qualify for a loan forgiveness program or loan repayment assistance program, federal loans may be the way to go. If not, compare the different benefits private student lenders offer to determine which one makes the most sense.

Muszynski says the loan’s interest rate should be at the top of your priority list. After all, even a slightly lower rate could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. But plan to look at each option holistically, especially if the rates are comparable.

How to Apply for an MBA Student Loan

The steps to apply for an MBA loan will vary depending on whether you’re applying for a federal or private loan. With federal loans, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, in which you’ll share information about yourself and your financial situation.
  • Review the financial aid award letter you receive from your school after it processes your FAFSA.
  • Once approved, choose how much you wish to borrow, up to the amount listed in your award letter.

In contrast, if you have private student loans, here are the steps you may need to take:

  • Get prequalified with multiple private lenders, so you can compare interest rates and other terms.
  • Choose a lender and submit an application through its website, including information about yourself, your creditworthiness and your financial situation.
  • Once the lender approves your application, you’ll be able to see the final offer, which you can accept or decline.

How Long Does an MBA Loan Typically Take to Pay Off?

The amount of time it’ll take to pay off your MBA loans will depend on a variety of factors. For example, the standard repayment term for federal student loans is 10 years, but you can stretch that out for up to 30 years through consolidation, says Kantrowitz. Just keep in mind that consolidating your loans will result in a slightly higher interest rate.

You can’t opt for a shorter repayment plan on federal loans, but you can make additional payments to eliminate the debt faster.

With private student loans, repayment terms can range from five to 20 years, depending on the lender and what you chose when you applied. If you want a shorter or longer repayment term after the fact, you’ll need to refinance the loans with a new private lender.

If you want to pay off the debt faster without refinancing, you can simply make extra payments until you’ve reached a zero balance.

How Much Do MBA Students Typically Borrow?

However, your debt balance will depend on several things, including which school you attend, which nontuition expenses you need to finance and whether you’re working while in school.

“Consider how much debt you’re taking on and what your job prospects will be coming out of your MBA program,” says Muszynski. “If you borrow $200,000, will you be able to repay that amount of debt, and in what time frame? Running the numbers could be eye-opening.”

Also, keep in mind that there may be other ways to reduce how much you need to borrow, which can pay off in the long run. Check with your school and websites like Scholarships.com and Fastweb to see if you qualify for grants and scholarships, which you don’t have to repay.

View More Best MBA Finance Loans

Best for comparing personalized loan offers side-by-side

Sparrow is an online marketplace where students and parents can fill out a single application to see if they prequalify for loan offers from a variety of lenders. Though Sparrow is not a lender itself, potential borrowers can use the free service to see the rates for which they qualify. The company is based in New York City, and its lending partners issue loans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. International students from countries that are not sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control also can use Sparrow’s services.

Sparrow was founded in 2020.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, MBA, International Student, Parent, Medical School, Law School, Dental School, Health Professions, Refinance, Career Loan, Ph.D.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: No minimum.

Best Features

  • Sparrow provides users with personalized loan offers, rather than estimates.

  • You can fill out one application to find offers you’re prequalified for from multiple lenders.

See full profile

Best for customer service

Education Loan Finance, also known as ELFI, is a student loan program offered by Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank since 2015. The company offers private student loans and refinancing for private and federal student loans.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Refinance, Parent, MBA, Medical School, Dental School, Law School.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 680.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A.

Best Features

  • All types of student loans are eligible for refinancing.

  • Loans are available in all U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

  • There are no origination or application fees.

See full profile

Best for Loan Comparison

Credible is a loan comparison marketplace that allows would-be borrowers to shop around for loans that meet their needs – including mortgages, mortgage refinancing, student loans, student loan refinancing and personal loans. The company was founded in 2012 in San Francisco as a tool to empower borrowers to find the best rates and products.

Lender Highlights:

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Refinance, Parent, MBA, Medical School, Law School.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

Best Features

  • Compare products and get prequalified.

  • Credible doesn’t sell your information to various lenders.

See full profile

Best for fixed APR

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority is a nonprofit quasi-state authority that provides college financing to students and parents. The lender specializes in providing loans to Rhode Island residents and students, though not all loans have residency requirements.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Refinance, Parent, Certificate Loans.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed.

Best Features

  • Students can be enrolled less than half-time and still qualify.

  • There is no prepayment fee, so borrowers may pay off their loans early.

  • Refinancing loans do not have residency requirements.

See full profile

Best for low minimum loan amount

U-fi offers private student loans to borrowers in all states except Vermont. Undergraduate and graduate student loan options are available. The lender specializes in offering flexible repayment options.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, MBA, Law School, Graduate Health Professional.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 680; 640 with co-signer.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

Best Features

  • Borrowers can get up to 15 years to pay off the loan.

  • The lender offers an interest rate discount for automatic payments.

  • While enrolled at least half time, borrowers can make full payments, pay only interest or defer payments.

See full profile

Best for no fees

Discover Bank has been operating for more than 100 years, and since 2010, it has offered private student loans to students attending more than 2,400 colleges and universities. Loans of up to 100% of education costs with fixed or variable rates are available. This Discover student loans review highlights the main features, application process and more to help borrowers decide if it’s a good fit.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent, MBA, Medical School, Law School, International Student.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed.
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+.

Best Features

  • Loans as small as $1,000 are available.

  • Discover has no origination, application or late fees.

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Best for co-borrowers

The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority offers private student loans to undergraduate and graduate students nationwide. The lender also offers education refinancing loans across the country.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Refinance.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed.

Best Features

  • Offers co-signer release on undergraduate loans.

  • Provides deferment on in-school loans for up to five years.

  • Allows students to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus financial aid.

See full profile

Best for small loan amounts

EDvestinU is a nonprofit student loan lending and refinancing organization. Undergraduate and graduate loans and student loan consolidation are available.

Before You Apply

  • Loan types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Refinance, International Student.
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 675 with co-signer.

Best Features

  • Loans are available from $1,000.

  • Borrowers can make full payments while in school, pay the interest only or defer payments.

  • EDvestinU student loans have no application or origination fees.

See full profile

Advertising Disclosure: Some of the loan offers on this site are from companies
who are advertising clients of U.S. News. Advertising considerations may impact
where offers appear on the site but do not affect any editorial decisions,
such as which loan products we write about and how we evaluate them. This site
does not include all loan companies or all loan offers available in the marketplace.

Eleanor C. William