Private Student Loans

Private student loans are made by banks, credit unions, or finance companies, typically to students who need to borrow more than the federal loan limits allow.

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If you’re looking for a new private student loan, visit Earnest for a free rate check.

Contact Us for Help

We service a variety of private student loan programs – with different promissory notes, originated by various lenders. Some repayment programs are described in your loan's promissory note. Additional options may also be available at the lender's discretion.

Below are some common options for private student loans. Please call us at 888-272-5543 to see which options are available for your private student loan.

Repayment Plan

Standard (Level) Repayment

The standard (or level) plan is the repayment schedule assigned in your promissory note – typically a level monthly payment amount of principal and interest – for the contractual repayment term. This is generally the lowest-cost way to repay your loans.


If you and your cosigner (if applicable) are experiencing difficulty, options may be available to you depending on your circumstances. Your lender, loan program, or promissory note may provide repayment options. Some plans may require a review of the borrower's and any cosigner's financial situation and ability to pay.

Be sure to contact us at 888-272-5543 so we can help you select the right program for your situation.


Interest-Only plans reduce the Monthly Payment Amount for a limited time to as low as the amount of interest that accrues each month.

The interest-only period is typically offered in six month increments. Depending on eligibility, long-term interest-only periods may also be available. Your Monthly Payment Amount will increase after the interest-only period ends.

By making reduced payments over a longer period of time, your total loan cost may be higher compared to a standard repayment schedule.

Rate Reduction Program

The Rate Reduction Program is an alternative payment program for private student loan borrowers experiencing difficulty but who can afford to pay a reduced amount. The program provides a reduced interest rate for a 6-month period. As a result, the Monthly Payment Amount is also temporarily reduced.

By making reduced payments for a period of time, your total loan cost may be higher compared to a level repayment schedule. That's because during the program, your principal balance may be paid down at a slower rate compared to a level repayment schedule.

Eligibility for the program is dependent upon your and your cosigner's financial information. Proof of income may be required. Three (3) qualifying payments may be required prior to enrollment in the program.

Extended Repayment

The Extended Repayment plan reduces the Monthly Payment Amount by extending the repayment period. By making reduced payments over a longer period of time, your total loan cost may be higher compared to a standard repayment schedule.

Term and Rate Modification Program

The Term and Rate Modification program combines the Extended Repayment plan and the Rate Reduction Program.

Postponing Payments

In School, A Training Program, Or the Military?

If you're going back to school at least half-time, or you're receiving training through an internship, residency, or fellowship program, you may be eligible to defer – that is, postpone – making your full student loan payments for a period of time. Depending on your promissory note or lender discretion, a deferment may allow you to postpone your payments entirely or you may be required to make reduced monthly payments during the deferment period. Keep in mind that postponing payments usually costs more as unpaid interest is capitalized (added to the principal balance) at the end of the deferment period.

If you're in the military, there are also deferment or forbearance options that may be available to you.

Please call us at 888-272-5543 so we can help you request the right program for your situation.


Forbearance temporarily suspends or reduces your monthly payments. Although payments can be postponed, interest will accrue during the forbearance period.

Unpaid interest may be capitalized (added to the principal balance), which will increase your total loan cost. See your promissory note for details relating to capitalization of interest.

NOTE: Using forbearance may cause you to lose other borrower benefits – such as repayment incentives that can lower your interest rate.

Forbearance may require a review of your and your cosigner’s financial situation and ability to pay, and if approved is typically limited for a specific period of time. For instance, a forbearance may be used on a limited basis to bring an account current or to reduce delinquency. Additionally, you may be required to demonstrate your intent to repay your loan by making one or more payments prior to approval of a forbearance.

Be sure to contact us at 888-272-5543 so we can help you select the right program for your situation.

Role of a Cosigner

Many private student loans were granted because a creditworthy cosigner also agreed to repay the loan.

It's a good idea to talk about repayment options with your cosigner since eligibility may be based on both parties' financial circumstances. Additionally, the loan may appear on the cosigner's credit report.

Releasing a Cosigner

Interested in a Cosigner Release?

The terms and conditions of private student loans provide for the potential release of a cosigner. This is contingent on the satisfaction of certain criteria and submission of a completed Application to Request Release of Cosigner(s) from Private Education Loans form which is available for download.

Please note, only the primary borrower can apply. Additionally, approval is at the discretion of Navient and our evaluation of a borrower’s credit history and ability to repay before granting cosigner release.

The borrower must satisfy these qualifications for cosigner release eligibility:

  • Loans must be current and cannot have been more than 15 days past due during the previous 12 months.
  • The borrower must have made 12 consecutive on-time principal and interest payments (or an amount equal thereto) prior to applying.
  1. Check your payment history to determine whether you’ve met the consecutive on-time payment requirement.
  2. Payments that are interest-only or less than a payment amount under a Standard (Level) Repayment plan do not count toward cosigner release eligibility. If you would like to resume a Standard Repayment plan, please call us.
  3. Payments must be made by the borrower. Payments made by the borrower’s employer, cosigner, or other third party do not count towards cosigner release eligibility.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and meet the age of majority in their state.
  • Must satisfy a credit history check, as evaluated by Navient.
  • Must provide income verification and demonstrate an ability to repay the loan, as evaluated by Navient. Acceptable proof of income includes:
  1. current year W-2 or 1099-MISC,
  2. copy of a paystub issued within the last 60 days,
  3. SSI/disability award letters issued within the current calendar year,
  4. current year statement of retirement income or annuities, or
  5. most recent Federal tax return.
  • Must provide proof of graduation or successful completion of a course of study.

We may ask for additional information necessary in evaluating a cosigner release request. See the instructions contained in the Application to Request Release of Cosigner(s) from Private Education Loans for details. Instructions for submitting this form are also contained within the application.

If you have any questions about our cosigner release process, call us at 888-272-5543.

NOTE: College Ave refinance loans and National Education Servicing (NES) loans are not eligible for cosigner release.


We work with borrowers and families in the event of disability, loss of life, and certain other circumstances. Please call us at 888-272-5543 if you meet the requirements for potential discharge (or forgiveness) of private student loans described below.


If you have a total and permanent disability, you may qualify for a total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge of certain private student loans. TPD means the inability to work in any occupation due to a condition that began or deteriorated after the date of the final Truth in Lending disclosure and the disability is expected to be permanent. If you receive a TPD discharge, you will no longer be required to repay your loans.

To apply for TPD, you must provide one of the following:

  • A completed TPD application and physician's certification that you are totally and permanently disabled.
  • If you are a veteran, you can submit documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs showing that you've been determined to be unemployable due to a service-connected disability.

NOTE: TPD discharge is available for Smart Option Student Loans and College Ave refinance loans. For other private student loan products, please call us to discuss eligibility.


Many private student loans can be discharged due to the death of the primary borrower. Documentation is required.

Private student loans with multiple parties may be eligible for release of one party's obligation upon that person's death. The surviving borrower would remain responsible for repayment of the loan. Documentation is required.

Please call us to discuss eligibility.

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