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Charles Schwab student loan alternatives
This bank may not offer financing to pay for school, but you still have options.
Why doesn’t Charles Schwab offer student loans?
Rather than offering a variety of loans, Charles Schwab is focused on providing investment products and financial advice to customers. So while it lacks a student loan option, it does have specialized accounts that can be used to help pay for college in a different way — provided you have the money to invest.
3 alternatives to Charles Schwab student loans
These alternatives provide a variety of services to help meet your needs at every stage of the borrowing process.
Best for borrowing from a bank: Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is one of the few larger banks that actually offers student loans. And it has a variety of options, including loans for graduate school and community college on top of traditional undergraduate financing. It has fairly low rates — stretching up to just 11.26% — and multiple discounts that can take up to 0.5% off your loan’s APR. You can also apply with a cosigner if you don’t meet Wells Fargo’s credit or income requirements on your own.
However, some of its options limit how much you can borrow to $25,000 — making it less than ideal if you’re attending an expensive school.
- How much you can borrow. Up to $120,000
- APRs.4.8% to 11.26%
- Terms. N/A
- Eligibility requirements. Good to excellent credit or creditworthy cosigner, ages 18+, US citizen or permanent resident
Best for making quick comparisons: LendingTree
If you’re not attached to borrowing from a bank and aren’t sure where to start with a private lender, you may want to consider LendingTree. You can compare a slew of private lenders at one time without having to fill out multiple applications. And its rates start at 3%, though you’ll need to have excellent credit and a strong income to qualify for the lowest rates.
However, other borrowers have complained about fielding multiple emails and phone calls from lenders in its network— even after they’ve accepted a loan.
- How much you can borrow. Not stated
- APRs. As low as 3%
- Terms. Varies by lender
- Eligibility requirements. Eligible expenses from accredited school, US citizen, good to excellent credit or creditworthy cosigner
Best for refinancing: SoFi
SoFi is one of the top options for graduates looking to refinance their student loans, and it’s not just because of the low APR. It offers a number of other membership perks that banks lack, like access to wealth advisers and unemployment protection. There’s also special financing available for medical and dental residents who are currently enrolled in a residency program.
While you can apply with a cosigner if you don’t have the best credit, it doesn’t offer cosigner release. This means you’ll have to refinance your student loan again if you want to take your cosigner off the loan later on.
- How much you can borrow. From $5,000
- APRs. 1.74% to 7.99%
- Terms. 60 to 240 months
- Eligibility requirements. Must be an employed US citizen not living in Vermont with a minimum loan balance of at least $5,000.
Does Charles Schwab offer similar loans?
No, Charles Schwab doesn’t offer many loans. The only one parents might be able to use to pay for schooling is its secured Pledged Asset Line (PAL). However, with amounts starting at $100,000, this won’t be helpful if they don’t have the collateral to back it. It also has two credit card options that could be used for smaller expenses, like books and supplies, while you’re in school.
On top of this, Charles Schwab offers 529 plans and education savings accounts (ESAs) that can help parents build up savings to pay for their children’s education. But this won’t be much help if you’re planning on attending college in the next year or two.
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Unless you’re a parent looking to fund your child’s education years down the road, the investment products and savings accounts offered by Charles Schwab likely won’t be helpful. Instead, you might want to compare your student loan options to find the one that best meets your needs.
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