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3 alternatives to American Express student loans

Find exclusive benefits and low rates with these top picks.

Amex isn't in the student loan game. While it does have personal and business options, they won't work for college education expenses. But there are plenty of other private student lenders out there to choose from — and you can start comparing with three of our top picks.

Why doesn’t American Express offer student loans?

Student loans have never been an option with Amex. While it has a personal loan product and a selection of business loans, it's never been in the student loan space. 

Its personal loan offers a competitive minimum APR, but you're not allowed to use funds from it on post-secondary education expenses. Not to mention, you can't even apply for one unless you're already an Amex cardholder.

3 alternatives to American Express student loans

We chose three lenders by comparing a number of factors. Low APRs similar to Amex's low personal loan APRs were weighed more heavily. But we also compared overall quality, terms, amounts and repayment programs.

Best for students who want to make payments in school

College Ave undergraduate student loans

Four repayment options, including three different in-school plans, make College Ave an easy pick for students who want to start paying down their loans as soon as possible. But its extremely low rates are what earned it a spot on this list.
Outside of undergraduate loans, College Ave also offers graduate, parent and career loans. And you can prequalify before you apply, so you can see the rates and terms you might be eligible for without taking a hit to your credit score.

  • Prequalify with no hard credit check
  • Four repayment options
  • Low rates starting at 0.94%
  • Forbearance is on a case-by-case basis
  • Deferment is only in school
Minimum Loan Amount$1,000
Max. Loan AmountCost of attendance
APR0.94% to 12.99%
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Fixed rate3.39% to 13.95%
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term15 years
RequirementsUS citizen or permanent resident, enrolled in a degree program at eligible school, maintain satisfactory academic progress, meet additional eligibility and credit requirements — or have a cosigner who does

Best online student loans

SoFi Student Loans

SoFi has both low starting rates and decently capped maximum rates for a private student loan. But there’s more than simply low rates — SoFi also offers similar exclusivity that Amex offers: When you borrow from SoFi, you become a member of its online community. It gives you access to events, a personal career coach, financial advice and more

  • Online community available to borrowers
  • Max rates top out at 11.76%
  • Career coaching and financial advice available
  • Newer to the student lending scene
  • Credit score of 680 required
  • Up to 30 days to get funding
Minimum Loan Amount$5,000
Max. Loan AmountFull cost of attendance
APR1.89% to 11.98% with autopay
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term15 years
Requirements650+ credit score, employed or receive income from other sources, enrolled at least half time at an eligible degree-granting program, use funds for qualifying higher education expenses, maintain satisfactory academic progress, US citizen, age of majority in your state — or bring on a cosigner who’s a US citizen to help you meet age, credit and income requirements

Best for no fees

Discover undergraduate student loans

Low rates, cashback rewards for good grades, funding up to 100% of the cost of attendance and a quick, 15-minute application make Discover's undergraduate student loans a strong contender in the space. But it also comes with absolutely zero fees: no origination, application or late fees — ever.

And with its multiyear option, Discover makes it easy to keep qualifying for loans after you take out your first one. Plus, Discover doesn't stop at only undergrad loans. It also offers graduate, MBA, law, parent, consolidation and various other professional student loans.

  • No fees
  • Payment assistance options
  • International students can qualify
  • No cosigner release available
  • Checking rates requires a hard credit pull
Minimum Loan Amount$1,000
Max. Loan AmountCost of attendance
APRVariable APRs: 1.79% to 11.09%
Fixed APRs: 3.99% to 11.59%
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Fixed rate3.99% to 11.59%
Maximum Loan Term15 years
RequirementsMust be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school with satisfactory academic progress and seeking a degree. Must be a US citizen, permanent resident or international student.

Federal student loans

Before you dive into private loans, check out options from the government. Federal loans offer a number of benefits that you often can't get from private loans. These include income-driven repayment plans, deferment and forbearance for unexpected emergencies. You can apply for federal loans by filling out the FAFSA.

See more student loan providers

For more options in the private sector, use our table to compare lenders and get an idea of what you might qualify for.

1 – 3 of 3
Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
College Ave undergraduate student loans
0.94% to 12.99%
Not stated
Starting at $1,000
5 to 15 years
Rates start at 2.84% for residents of all 50 states.
Sallie Mae® Smart Option Student Loan for Undergraduates
1.87% to 11.97%
Not stated
Starting at $1,000
5 to 15 years
Choose from over 8 different options for undergraduates, law students and more.
SoFi Student Loans
1.89% to 11.98% with autopay
Starting at $5,000
5 to 15 years
Undergraduate financing with no late fees to US citizens with good credit.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Just because American Express doesn’t offer student loans — and its personal loans can’t be used to pay for school — doesn’t mean you're out of luck. Federal options can get you low-cost funding with great benefits, or you can check out other private options.

Before making a decision, read our student loans guide. You’ll learn out how student loans work and find even more lenders to compare.

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