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Sixup private student loans review

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Private student loans for low-income students based on grades rather than credit.

finder.com’s rating: 3.8 / 5.0

★★★★★

  • Best for students with good grades who can't find a cosigner.
  • Pick something else if you need to borrow more than $15,000 per year.

6.89% to 9.89%

APR

$60,000

Max. Loan Amount

600

Min. Credit Score

Details

Product NameSixup private student loans
Minimum Loan Amount$2,500
Max. Loan Amount$60,000
APR6.89% to 9.89%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Maximum Loan Term10 years
RequirementsLive in an eligible state, full-time student at a four-year Title IV school, GPA of 2.5+, have already applied for and accepted federal aid, US citizen or permanent resident, have age of majority in your state (18 in most)

Expert review

Anna Serio

Review by


Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 950 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.

Expert review

You’ve applied to scholarships, signed up for work-study and took out federal loans. But you don’t quite have enough to cover your full cost of attendance. You also don’t have a family member with good enough credit to help you qualify for a private student loan.

This is where Sixup comes in. It considers other factors like your grades to help you qualify for funding on your own. It’s not available in every state, however, and rates aren’t as competitive as some other private lenders. But it could be a huge help if you can’t qualify for funding anywhere else.

While you need good grades to qualify on your own, you can still get a loan with a cosigner if your credit score is above 600. It’s not meant to cover all your academic expenses, though — you can only borrow up to $15,000 a year.

Not sure Sixup is right for you? Check out our list of other lenders that might be a better fit.

First, am I eligible?

To qualify for a student loan from Sixup, you must:

  • Live in an eligible state
  • Be a full-time student at a four-year Title IV school
  • Have a high school or college GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Have already applied for and accepted federal aid
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Be the age of majority in your state (18 in most)

Having a credit score isn’t a requirement, but Sixup will take it into consideration if you have one. Some students might have grades that are good enough to qualify, but not high enough to get a loan on their own so they might need to apply with a cosigner.

Sixup is only available to residents of the following states

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Washington, DC
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

How do Sixup private student loans work?

Sixup provides private student loans geared toward high-achieving students who can’t afford to pay for college on their own, didn’t get enough federal aid and don’t have a cosigner to help them qualify for a private student loan. Basically, it’s designed to help students who can qualify for a Pell Grant, although that’s not a requirement.

Currently, Sixup only offers student loans of up to $15,000 per year and a total of $60,000 to undergraduate students. Most borrowers can take out as little as $2,500, though you’ll need to borrow at least $3,000 if you’re from Georgia and $5,000 if you’re from California.

What really sets Sixup apart is that it weighs your grades the way some lenders weigh credit scores: Get good grades and you won’t need a cosigner. Get mediocre grades and you might need a cosigner. Get bad grades and you won’t qualify at all.

How much do Sixup student loans cost?

Sixup doesn’t charge any fees related to applying, so the main cost to worry about is interest. Like most private student loan providers, Sixup offers two different types of interest rates: fixed and variable.

Fixed rates are what they sound like — they stay the same while you pay off your loan. Sixup offers fixed APRs ranging from 6.89% to 9.89%. Variable rates are a bit trickier — they can change while you pay off your loan. To protect borrowers from freak fluxes in the lending market, Sixup caps its variable APRs at 9.224%.

What are my repayment options?

Sixup offers two options for while your in school: Early nominal fixed payments and full deferment. Both of these options are limited to five years, so think twice before you take on those extra courses or a double major — you could be shortening your grace period.

Early nominal payments

With this option, students pay $20 a month while they’re in school and six months after they drop below half time. Sixup reports these payments to a credit bureau, so it can help build up your credit score before you even graduate.

It can also lower how much you end up paying in interest because of something called interest capitalization. Once your loan goes out of deferment or forbearance, lenders take the interest that added up while your payments were on hold and add it to the amount you owe — your loan’s principal. Not only will you owe more after your interest is capitalized, you’ll also pay more in interest.

Full deferment

If you really can’t swing $20 a month, then you have the option of holding off on all payments until six months after you graduate. You’ll end up owing more than before, but you also won’t risk hurting your credit if you can’t come up with the funds.

Full repayments

Sixup isn’t as flexible once your grace period is up. Each borrower has 10 years to pay off their loan and can’t apply for any more deferment or forbearance. Since these loans are relatively small, repayments shouldn’t be too unaffordable, but you won’t be able to get help if you lose your job or want to go back to school.

Top reasons to consider Sixup

  • No cosigner with good grades. As long as you keep those grades up, you won’t need a cosigner to qualify.
  • Rewards for grades. You can also adjust your interest rate if your GPA increases.
  • Option to build your credit. If you choose to make $20 repayments while you’re in school, you could have good enough credit to qualify for other types of loans or a credit card when you graduate.
  • Low variable APR cap. Your interest rate won’t ever go into the double digits, no matter how weird the economy gets.

Why you might want to look somewhere else

  • Low amounts. Sixup makes it clear that this loan isn’t designed to cover all of your school costs. If you need full funding, this lender is not for you.
  • Not for underachieving students. Think you’ll party more than you study? You might want to look at other private student loan options.
  • Limited availability. You can only qualify for a Sixup loan if you’re a resident of one of the 18 eligible states.
  • Only for undergrads. Graduate students, medical students and other professional students can’t qualify for this student loan.

Compare more private student loan options

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Ascent private student loans
540
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2.71% to 12.99%
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
675
$200,000
4.07% to 9%
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
LendKey Private Student Loans
Varies by lender
4.99% to 11.06%
This connection service partners with Sallie Mae and WSFS Bank to offer competitive rates.
 Advantage Education Loan Refinance Loan
670
Starting at 3.74%
Refinance to a more flexible repayment plan with this nonprofit lender.
Alliant Credit Union Traditional Student Loan
680
$60,000
Starting at 4.56%
All-purpose personal loans from @pl_product_min_loan_amount@ to @pl_product_max_loan_amount@ with rates that stop at @pl_product_var_rate@.
ChangEd student loan payment app
Securely connect all of your student loans and bank accounts to one place for a painless repayment experience.
Chicago student loans
None
Cost of attendance, up to $50,000
7.53% to 8.85%
No cosigner needed for this fixed-rate financing option.
Citizens Bank Private Student Loans
700
$295,000
1.25% to 10.57%
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Compare up to 4 providers

What do customers say about Sixup student loans?

Sixup has a very small web presence, which makes sense for such a small, young company. It has no Better Business Bureau page and doesn’t show up on Trustpilot either. In fact, we were unable to find any comments on Sixup from former customers that weren’t part of a Sixup marketing campaign.

This might ring some alarm bells if it were a larger or more established company, but at this point it’s not surprising that it doesn’t come up on business rating websites or online forums.

What to expect when signing up

Before you sign up, make sure you meet Sixup’s eligibility requirements. If you’re not sure about your grades — maybe you just make the cutoff — you might want to find someone willing to cosign your loan before starting your application.

You’ll also need to have your financial aid award letter stating what federal aid and other scholarships you’ll receive from your school and your most recent academic transcript on hand.

Steps to apply for a Sixup student loan

Once you’re ready, follow these directions to start your application.

  1. Go to Sixup’s site and click Apply at the top of the page.
  2. Make sure that Sixup is accepting applications for the semester you need funding for. If it’s too early, reach out to Sixup and ask when the application you need will be available. Otherwise, create a profile, read the terms of service and click Sign me up.
  3. Follow the directions to fill out the application. This step shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.
  4. Wait for Sixup to send you an email with instructions to fill out a more detailed application if you look like you might qualify. At this point, Sixup will also conduct a hard credit check that can affect your credit score.
  5. Sixup notifies you if you qualify or if you need to apply with a cosigner as soon as you submit the detailed application.
  6. Wait for Sixup to reach out to your school to check if you’re enrolled and verify your expenses. This step can take a couple of days.
  7. Review and sign your loan documents.

The whole process can take up to a week — fast for a private student loan. You can theoretically reach out to customer service between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET by calling 866-669-9750. We weren’t able to get ahold of them the first couple of times we called, but a customer service representative called us back a few hours later.

You might have more luck reaching out through social media. We were able to get a quick response through Facebook chat, and you might also have luck using Twitter.

More about Sixup

Sixup was founded in 2015 with the purpose of helping children of underserved, immigrant communities excel in college in a way that goes beyond providing financing. Aside from providing student loans, Sixup helps students take care of their finances by helping them develop healthy spending habits.

It also provides academic support like online tutoring to borrowers who are struggling with their course load. And once you’re out of school, Sixup’s team will help you discuss your career path and even help you build your resume.

Visit our guide to student loans to look into other options or learn about how student loans work.

Frequently asked questions

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We rate student loan providers on a scale of 1 to 5 stars based on factors like transparency, costs and customer experience. We don’t take into account elements like eligibility criteria, state availability or payment frequency — we save that for our reviews.

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