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Best car loans for students

Student-friendly options for new credit and low income.

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Editor's choice: Carvana

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Full-time students can have a difficult time qualifying for your typical car loan, but you don’t necessarily have to put off buying one till graduation. You have several choices, that include applying with a cosigner or getting a car loan specifically made for students. Or, you can use a personal loan to buy a car.

How we picked these providers

We only included providers would either accept students directly or allow them to find a good deal with a cosigner. We also made sure to include options for international students, who often don’t have a cosigner or a US credit score. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options for full-time students without a cosigner.

3 best car loan providers for students

  • Best student car loan without a cosigner: Boro
  • Best for comparing lenders: LendingTree
  • Best personal loan to buy a car with no cosigner: Stilt
    Boro Auto Loans for Students logo
    Apply now
    on Boro's secure site

    Best car loan for students without a cosigner: Boro Auto Loans for Students

    $5,000 – $3,000,000
    Loan amount
    Starting at 6%
    APR
    Starting at 12 months
    Term
    Boro is one of the only providers that offers car loans to full-time students — including international students. It considers factors like your grades and major, rather than your credit score. But it's not available in all states and requires a down payment of at least 25% to 35%, depending on your loan size.
    • No credit or income requirements
    • Accepts international students
    • Loans as high as $3 million
    • Down payment of 25% to 35%
    • Potentially high APRs
    • Not available in 18 states
    Loan amount $5,000 – $3,000,000
    APR Starting at 6%
    Term Starting at 12 months
    Interest Rate Type Variable
    LendingTree logo
    Apply now
    on LendingTree, LLC's secure site

    Best for same-day funding: LendingTree

    N/A
    Loan amount
    Starting at 3.09%
    APR
    Starting at 12 months
    Term
    LendingTree is a loan connection service that can help you quickly compare multiple options. Its partners offer rates starting at relatively low rates. But most will require you to apply a cosigner with good credit — typically a credit score of 670 or higher.
    • Compare multiple offers
    • Large network of car loan providers
    • Options for new and used cars
    • Good to excellent credit typically required
    • No option without cosigner
    Loan amount N/A
    APR Starting at 3.09%
    Term Starting at 12 months
    Interest Rate Type Fixed
    Min. Credit Score 670
    Turnaround Time Varies by lender
    Stilt personal loans logo
    Finder Rating: 4 / 5

    ★★★★★

    Check my rate
    at Stilt personal loans's secure site

    Best for personal loans without a cosigner: Stilt personal loans

    Not required
    Min. Credit Score
    7.99%
    Starting APR
    $25,000
    Loan Amount
    Stilt specializes in personal loans for nonresidents, including international students, that you can use to buy a car. Instead of looking at your credit score, it considers factors like your past financial behavior, level of education and GPA. But like with Boro, this comes at a cost — its rates are higher than your typical car loan on average
    • Accepts international students
    • Loans start at a low $1,000
    • No credit requirements
    • High rates from 7.99% to 15.99%
    • Doesn't accept cosigners
    Loan Amount $1,000 – $25,000
    Interest Rate Type Fixed
    Min term 6 months
    Max term 36 months
    Turnaround Time 2 to 3 business days

    Compare more car loans for students

    Use the tables to find lenders for both auto and personal loans. Select your credit score range and state you live in to see personalized options.

    Data indicated here is updated regularly
    Name Product Filter Values Minimum credit score APR Loan term Requirements
    Boro Auto Loans for Students
    Starting at 6%
    None
    US citizen, permanent resident or F-1, OPT, H-1B, J-1, L, O-1, G, A5 or C8 visa holder, minimum GPA, dealer in eligible state
    Car loans for international and college students with @pl_product_var_rate@ APR.
    car.Loan.com Car Loans
    300
    Varies by network lender
    Varies by lender
    Must be a US citizen with a current US address and employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income.
    Apply with a simple online application to get paired with a local auto lender. No credit and bad credit accepted.
    SuperMoney Auto Purchase Loans Marketplace
    600
    Varies by lender
    Varies by lender
    Fair to excellent credit, an income source, US citizen or permanent resident, 18+ years old
    Find an offer and get rates from competing lenders without affecting your credit score.
    Auto Credit Express Car Loans
    300
    Varies
    Varies
    Must be employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income of at least $1,500/month and be a current resident of the US or Canada.
    Get connected with an auto lender near you, even if you have bad credit.
    LendingTree
    Good to excellent credit
    Starting at 3.09%
    Varies by lender
    18+ years old, good to excellent credit, US citizen
    Compare multiple financing options for auto refinance, new car purchase, used car purchase and lease buy out.
    myAutoloan.com Car Loans
    550
    1.79% to 27%
    550+ credit score, no open bankruptcies, $24,000+ annual income, US citizen or permanent resident, 18+ years old
    Get up to four offers in minutes through one simple application. Multiple financing types available including new cars, used cars and refinancing.
    loading

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Data indicated here is updated regularly
    Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
    Stilt personal loans
    7.99% to 15.99%
    Not required
    $25,000
    No green card? No problem. You could still qualify for a personal loan.
    Payoff personal loans
    5.99% to 24.99%
    640
    $40,000
    Pay down your debt with a fixed APR and predictable monthly payments.
    Upgrade personal loans
    7.99% to 35.97%
    600
    $35,000
    Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
    Even Financial personal loans
    4.99% to 35.99%
    550
    $100,000
    Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
    Monevo personal loans
    3.49% to 35.99%
    None
    $100,000
    Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
    LendingClub personal loans
    10.68% to 35.89%
    640
    $40,000
    A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
    OneMain Financial personal loans
    18% to 35.99%
    Varies
    $20,000
    An established online and in-store lender with quick turnaround times. Poor credit is OK.
    loading

    Compare up to 4 providers

    What type of car loan can I get as a student?

    Your options can be broken down into four basic types.

    • Car loans for students. Some lenders offer special financing options for students. These consider your GPA and field of study rather than your income and credit score.
    • Car loan with a cosigner. Have a parent or other trusted individual apply for the loan with you and share the responsibility for repayments. They’ll need strong credit and a high enough monthly income to qualify for the loan.
    • Personal loan with a cosigner. If your cosigner can qualify for better rates on a personal loan than car loan, you can use those funds to pay for your new vehicle.
    • New or used auto loan. Taking night classes while working full-time? You might be able to qualify for a good deal on a car loan by yourself.

    Can I use a student loan to buy a car?

    It’s possible. Student loans are only meant to cover educational expenses. However, many schools consider transportation to be a part of the cost of attendance, which student loans cover. If a car is essential for you to get to and from class, you might be able to get away with using those funds to buy a vehicle.

    Talk to your financial aid office or student loan provider to find out if buying a car with your loan is a valid use of funds.

    How to apply for a student car loan

    Finding a car loan is pretty straightforward. Here’s how it works:

    1. Consider getting preapproved. Before deciding which car you want to buy, see how much you can borrow by applying for preapproved loan. This can give you more bargaining power at the dealership or an auction.
    2. Find a car. For private sales, look on car sales sites and the newspaper, or head to a dealership. Find a car that’s within your budget and in good condition.
    3. Compare your loan options. Start comparing your loan options once you’ve found the car you want or have an idea of what you’re looking for. Consider the interest rate, fees and features of the loan to find one that’s right for you.
    4. Check the eligibility criteria. Even if the loan sounds right, you may not meet its eligibility criteria. Lenders usually require you to be older than 18, earn a regular income and be employed. Your car will also have to meet eligibility criteria.
    5. Get your documents in order. Gather all the required documents that include a form of ID, pay stubs and information regarding your employment and finances — including income, expenses and debts. Once you choose your car, submit the make, model and year, VIN number, registration number and purchase price.
    6. Submit your application. Depending on the lender, you may receive an instant response. Other lenders may take a few days to review your application and fund your loan.
    7. Buy your car. This can happen in a few ways. The lender may pay the dealer or private seller on your behalf or you’ll get funds to pay the seller directly.

    6 tips to get a car loan as a student

    Use some or all of these tips to increase your chances of approval and make it easier to pay it off.

    1. Get a part-time job. Having some regular source of income can help your chances of getting approved for a low rate, even with a cosigner. Plus it’ll help you start shouldering the repayments on your own.
    2. Build your credit. If you don’t already have a credit score and can wait to buy a car, sign up for a student credit card or take out a credit builder loan to establish a credit history. This can also open you up to more options even with a cosigner.
    3. Negotiate with the dealership. You might have more wiggle room than you expect on the price of the car and the down payment. If you go with dealership financing, you can also often negotiate the rates and terms of your loan.
    4. Set a budget. Stick to what you can afford — not what you’re offered — to stay on top of repayments after you get the car loan.
    5. Consider your student debt. If you already have student loans, factor in how much those repayments might overlap with your car loan when choosing a loan term repayment. Try to minimize the number of months you’ll owe money toward both.
    6. Plan on refinancing. You’ll likely have a higher credit score and income after you graduate — and eligible for a better deal by refinancing.

    How much does a student car loan cost?

    Student car loans typically come with rates that start around 5% — or around 3% if you apply with a cosigner. While typical car loans tend to require a down payment of around 20%, many student car loan providers ask for more money upfront.

    The cost depends on the type of car loan you apply for, the type of car and the type of car you’re interested in. Student car loans without a cosigner are often the most expensive option. Used cars typically cost less but come with higher interest rates and fees.

    What criteria do car lenders have for used cars?

    Loan ProviderMax. age of carMinimum loan amountMaximum loan amount
    Boro9 years old$5,000None
    Get your rate
    Auto Credit ExpressNoneVariesVaries
    Get your rate
    Car.Loan.comVaries by lenderVaries by lenderVaries by lender
    Get your rate
    MyAutoloan.com10 years oldVaries$100,000
    Get your rate
    LendingTreeVaries by lenderVaries by lenderVaries by lender
    Get your rate
    CarsDirectVaries by lenderVaries by lenderVaries by lender
    Get your rate
    BlueSky auto finance8 years oldVaries$30,000
    RoadLoans9 years$5,000$75,000

    Car loans for international students

    Finding a car loan as an international student can be particularly tough: You likely can’t meet the income, credit or permanent resident requirements for most lenders. Luckily there are a few lenders out there like Boro that specialize in financing for people in your situation.

    You might also want to look into your personal loan options as an international student — often these don’t require a US citizen cosigner and can be used to buy a new car. And if you do get a car, make sure you get insurance you can qualify for.

    Compare car loans for students

    How to find a competitive deal on a student car loan

    These strategies can help you save on rates and get more favorable terms when comparing providers.

    • Compare rates at the same term. Comparing APRs at different terms doesn’t tell you much about the cost. A longer-term loan with a low APR might actually be cheaper than a higher-APR short-term loan.
    • Research options with your cosigner. If your cosigner has more experience with financing, they might be able to help you spot a good deal.
    • Factor in fees. While APR typically includes fees, considering them separately can tell you how much you need to pay upfront.
    • Consider your student loan repayments. Chances are you won’t have your car loan paid off by graduation. Consider your student loan repayments when budgeting for your car loan.
    • Ask about features. Some car loan providers might offer features that sweeten the deal, like online account management, a car-buying service to help you find your car or discounts on other products and services.

    Transportation alternatives for college students

    Unless you absolutely need it to get around, buying a new car might not be the smartest financial move while you’re in school. Here are some other options you might want to get around:

    • Public transportation. Taking the bus or train might not be as much of a hassle as you think — and most will lead to campus if you live in a college town. Plus it’ll give you extra time to do readings or cram for a test last-minute.
    • Car pooling. Got a friend (or friends) who already have a car? Consider tagging along with them instead of buying a car. You might want to offer to pay for gas to avoid over-staying your welcome.
    • Ride-sharing. Getting around with Lyft or Uber might actually be less expensive than buying a car, especially if you only occasionally go long distances.
    • Bikes and scooters. These smaller, less-expensive vehicles can help you get around campus and nearby areas on the cheap. Plus if you bike most places, you won’t have to pay for gas. Many cities with college towns also have bikes and scooters that you can rent by the hour.

    Bottom line

    You might have trouble getting a car loan on your own while you’re still in college. But it’s not totally impossible. By working with a lender that accepts students or allows you to apply with a cosigner, you could be on the road with a new set of wheels in no time.

    Want to learn more about how car loans work? Check out our comprehensive guide.

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