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Capital One student loan alternatives

So you can't get a student loan from your bank? Here are your options.

You have Capital One savings account, and your family’s added up enough miles for a trip to Japan on a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Rewards Card.

It seems natural to want to go to your trusted bank to get a student loan. Unfortunately, you can’t. Capital One doesn’t offer student loans — and you’ll have a hard time finding other types of financing to pay for school.

That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to foot your college bill, however.

3 best Capital One student loan alternatives

Most schools and private lenders alike recommend that students start their search for funding by applying for federal aid — it’s cheaper than private financing.

But federal loans don’t always cover everything and they can’t help you if you want to refinance your student debt for a lower rate. If you still need help paying for school, you might want to check out one of these lenders.

LendingTree: Best for making a fast comparison

LendingTree might not be a lender, but it can seriously help you cut down on the time you need to find the right student loan for you. That’s because it’s a connection service.

How does it work? Simply fill out a simple form and you’ll get several potential rate quotes from lenders you might qualify with.

This site can be particularly useful for students looking for a larger amount of funds than most providers offer. Many of its lenders also come with a cosigner option, meaning that you don’t need to have credit or an income to be eligible.

The downside: You’re limited to its network, meaning that you could be missing out on a source of funds that makes more sense for you.

  • Loan amounts: Varies by lender
  • APR: Starting at 3%
  • Fees: None to use LendingTree’s service
  • Loan term: Varies by lender
  • Cosigner: Varies by lender

LendKey: Best for local bank or credit union loans

LendKey works a little like LendingTree. It has a network of over 275 nonprofit community banks and credit unions that offer refinancing and some private student loans, which tend to have lower rates than for-profit lenders.

Like LendingTree, you can also find higher loan amounts and more flexible terms than you might be able to find on your own. You generally won’t be able to qualify if you don’t have an undergraduate or graduate degree, however.

  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $300,000
  • APR: 1.9% to 5.25%
  • Fees: No cost to apply
  • Loan term: 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
  • Cosigner: Yes
Go to LendKey's site

SoFi: Best for refinancing with career support

SoFi is the closest thing to a household name when it comes to student loan refinancing. You’ll need good to excellent credit to get a competitive rate. But if you qualify, you’ll be able to take advantage of several unique perks including access to personalized financial advice, training on how to succeed in your career path and unemployment protection.

One drawback is that if you apply with a cosigner, you won’t be able to take them off your loan unless you refinance it again in your name alone. It also isn’t great for stay-at-home parents who rely on their spouse’s salary — SoFi only considers individual income.

  • Loan amounts: Starting at $5,000
  • APR: Fixed rates from 2.49% to 6.94%, and variable rates from 2.49% to 6.94%
  • Fees: No application-related fees
  • Loan term: 5 to 20 years
  • Cosigner: Yes, but no cosigner release
Go to SoFi's site

Why doesn’t Capital One offer student loans?

Capital One has never offered student loans and has been moving away from lending in general. It shut down its home loans division, saying the market was too competitive. It also no longer offers personal loans.

There’s another reason Capital One might not offer student loans: They just haven’t been profitable for private lenders. This is especially true since the 2008 recession and a government move to offer student loans themselves rather than using third-party lenders like Sallie Mae. After Congress passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act in 2010, which started the federal student loans program as we know it today, banks actually started losing money on student debt.

The simple reason for this is that banks couldn’t compete with the low interest rates, flexible repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs that the federal government offered. Several large banks like Chase left the student loan market because loans weren’t making them enough money. Now, private student loans are treated as a federal loan complement, not a way to pay for college on your own.

What similar loans does Capital One offer?

The only loan Capital One offers to individuals is a car loan — not exactly helpful when it comes to paying for school. It does have financial products that can indirectly help.

Its Journey Student Rewards Card can help students build up their credit so they can qualify for a more competitive refinancing rate after they graduate. For students who already have a solid credit history, its Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can help you save up miles to cover school-related travel costs. And both will help you save on foreign transaction fees if you spend a semester abroad.

Compare more student loan options

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
1.88% to 5.54%
$5,000 - $300,000
5 to 20 years
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
1.80% to 7.74%
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $5,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
1.74% to 6.59%
Starting at $5,000
5 to 20 years
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
1.74% to 6.15%
Starting at $7,500
5 to 25 years
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
1.86% to 6.01%
Starting at $15,000
5 to 20 years
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
1.74% to 5.74% APR with autopay
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 20 years
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
Supermoney student loan refinancing
Starting at 1.9%
No minimum credit score
$5,000 - $300,000
5 to 20 years
Compare options to combine both private and federal debts into one monthly payment.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Capital One might not have any student loan options, but there are plenty of other lenders out there. If you’d prefer working with a more traditional institution, LendKey might be the way to go since it can connect you with a bank or credit union. But you might want to explore even more options by visiting our student loans guide.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get a student loan from another big bank?

A few big banks, like Discover and SunTrust, offer some of the best student loans on the market. However, your options are limited — the few banks that offered student loans have pulled out after it stopped being profitable.

How do I get a student loan if I don’t have a credit score?

You don’t need to have a credit score to qualify for a federal loan. And if you need a private student loan, you can typically qualify if you apply with a creditworthy cosigner. Most lenders understand that students haven’t had time to build their credit yet and almost all allow you to apply with a cosigner.

How can I qualify for federal loans as a student?

Most US citizens and permanent residents can qualify. However, you might be disqualified if your grades drop, you get arrested, drop below half-time at school or for several other reasons.

Ways you could lose federal student loan eligibility

Image: Shutterstock

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