Advantage Education Loan private student loans review
No-fee student loans for all 50 states and extra-low rates if you live in Kentucky.
finder.com’s rating: 4.5 / 5.0
- Best for Kentucky residents looking for competitive rates.
- Pick something else if you want flexible loan terms.
3.8% to 6.99%
Min. Credit Score
|Product Name||Advantage Education Loan private student loan|
|Minimum Loan Amount||$1,000|
|APR||3.8% to 6.99%|
|Interest Rate Type||Fixed|
|Maximum Loan Term||10 years|
|Requirements||Make at least $2,000 a month, have a credit score of 670 or higher and a debt-to-income ratio of 38% or lower.|
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
Advantage Education Loan could be an affordable alternative to federal loans for most American students, but it’s the best deal for Kentucky residents. The competitive rates offered are comparable to federal loans, and you won’t have to worry about getting hit with any hidden fees.
However, it only offers a 10-year loan term, so you could end up with unaffordable high repayments if you only rely on these loans to pay for school. And its availability is heavily limited by state, so there’s a chance you might not qualify unless you live and go to school in Kentucky.
Need a minute? Check out our list of other lenders that might be a better fit for you.
First, am I eligible?
To qualify for an Advantage Education Loan student loan, you must:
- Go to an eligible school
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident
- Be the age of majority in your state (18 in most)
- Have a credit score of 670 or higher
- Make at least $2,000 a month
- Have a debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of 38% or lower
- Have no bankruptcies or student loan defaults in the last seven years
You can apply with a cosigner if you can’t meet the credit score and income requirements on your own.
While there are eligible schools in all states and all states are eligible, some have limits to where you can attend school. For example, if you live in New Jersey, you can go to school in Kentucky or Texas, however, you can’t go to a school in New Jersey.
You can find out if you have the right state and school combination on the first page of the application, which checks your other eligibility requirements.
How do Advantage Education Loan student loans work?
Advantage Education Loan private student loans are designed to help pay your educational costs after you’ve received federal aid. It’s a part of the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC), which aims to help Kentucky residents access higher education, though you might be eligible if you live outside of Kentucky.
Students can borrow anywhere from $1,000 up to your school-certified cost of attendance, which includes transportation, textbooks, housing and other school-related expenses. You can complete the entire application online in about 10 or 20 minutes, though you don’t have the option to save and come back to the application later.
Advantage Education Loan parent loans
Instead of signing on as a cosigner, your parent or stepparent has the option of taking out a parent loan in their name instead. The same rates, terms and eligibility requirements apply as with its student loans, you just won’t be on the hook for repayments. And unlike other parent loans, they also have the option of making interest-only or deferred repayments until six months after you leave school.
Maybe your parents don’t have the best credit or a high enough salary? They have the option to take on a cosigner who does to help them qualify for more competitive rates.
How much does it cost?
Advantage Education Loan offers no-fee student loans, meaning that you won’t have to pay anything to apply. The main cost to consider is the interest rate. Advantage Education Loan only has fixed interest rates, which stay the same while you pay back your loan.
For most students, these rates range from 3.8% to 6.99%, depending on factors like your or your cosigner’s creditworthiness, DTI and income. Kentucky residents, however, can qualify for rates starting at 4.26%.
Does Advantage Education Loan offer any discounts?
It does. Aside from the discounted interest rates for Kentucky residents, any borrower can get 0.25% knocked off their interest by signing up for autopay.
What are my repayment options?
Advantage Education Loan offers three different repayment options for while you’re in school.
- Postponed repayment. Hold off on making any repayments until six months after you’ve dropped below half time or graduated.
- Immediate repayment with interest only. Only make payments on interest each month while you’re in school and start making full repayments six months after you graduate.
- Immediate repayment with principle plus interest. Start making full repayments right away. This is your only option if you’re enrolled less than half time and are a student, but it’s also the least expensive option.
Postponing your loans until after you graduate might seem like a no-brainer, but it’ll actually make your loan more expensive. That’s because Advantage Education Loan capitalizes your interest before you start making full repayments. What does this mean? It adds all of those interest charges from when you were in school to your loan balance, meaning you’re repaying a larger amount of money. Since interest is calculated based on your loan balance, you’ll also make higher interest payments.
After you graduate, your options are much more limited. Advantage Education Loan only offers one loan term of 10 years, meaning you can’t lengthen or shorten it to adjust your monthly repayments. It also has a minimum monthly payment of $50. There are forbearance options in extreme situations, though you’ll have to contact your loan servicer Student Loan Corporation to get full details on how much you’re eligible for.
Top reasons to consider Advantage Education Loan
- Competitive rates, especially if you live in Kentucky. Kentucky’s APRs start only slightly higher than what you’d get with federal loans and have the potential to even be lower if you sign up for autopay.
- No fees. Advantage Education Loan doesn’t charge any fees to apply or prepay your loan.
- Less than half time OK. Federal funds won’t cover the cost of one or two courses, but Advantage Education Loan will.
- Can cover last semester’s costs. You can use an Advantage Education Loan student loan to cover unpaid costs from last semester as long as it ended less than 60 days ago and you’re enrolled for another term.
Why you might want to look elsewhere
- Limited by state. Your school and state might be eligible separately, but you still might not qualify for a loan depending on your specific combination of school and state of residence.
- Only one loan term. Advantage Education Loan only offers a 10-year loan term — unaffordably short for large student loans.
- No cosigner release. If you apply with a cosigner, you’ll have to refinance your loan to take them off the hook for your debt. You won’t be able to simply release a cosigner on an Advantage Education Loan.
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What do customers say about Advantage Education Loan?
You won’t find much online about Advantage Education Loan from past customers — it has no Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trustpilot pages and we couldn’t find any mention of it on forums. KHESLC, however, does have a small online presence — though no Trustpilot page.
KHESLC isn’t accredited by the BBB, but it gets an A+ rating based on factors like transparency and advertising practices. As of July 2018, six customers have filed complaints against it, with most citing issues with payments. One borrower said their repayments were mistakenly being reported as late. A couple others had difficulty getting out of default. And another said they were being harassed at work after they were late on a repayment.
The only other mention we could find on KHESLC also involved late repayments and may have been a repeat of one of the BBB customers.
What to expect when signing up
The only way to be absolutely sure you qualify is by starting the application — it begins with an eligibility check. Advantage Education Loan requires borrowers to apply on a laptop or desktop computer using either Chrome, Safari or Firefox. If you’re applying with a cosigner, make sure you have financial information like their income and credit score ready before you start the application.
Follow these steps to get started:
- Go to the Advantage Education Loan website, scroll down and click Apply as Student.
- Fill out the eligibility form with information about your school, state of residency and whether you’ve declared bankruptcy or have defaulted on student loans in the last seven years. Then hit Check Eligibility.
- Create an an account by entering your name, email and creating a password before hitting Register Account.
- Log in and fill out the required fields. Double check your answers to make sure there are no mistakes — once you submit it you can’t go back and change it.
- Wait to hear back from Advantage Education Loan for your conditional approval. If you get the green light, it’ll also give you your potential rates and ask for documentation.
- Select a repayment plan and submit your documentation.
- Review and sign your loan documents.
Advantage Education Loan verifies the loan costs with your school and picks a date to disburse the funds. Once your tuition and fees are covered, your school’s financial aid office will give you whatever’s left over.
Not totally sold or still have questions? Check out our student loans guide to compare other lenders or learn more about how student loans work in general.
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