Compare car loans for students

Student-friendly options for new credit and low income.

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Full-time students can have a difficult time qualifying for your typical car loan — especially if you don’t have a job or credit. But you don’t necessarily have to put off buying that car till graduation. You have several choices, that include applying with a cosigner or getting a car loan specifically made for students.

Our top pick: car.Loan.com Car Loans

  • Requirements: Must be a US citizen with a current US address and employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income.
  • Easy online application
  • Fast response time
  • Bad credit, no credit OK

Our top pick: car.Loan.com Car Loans

Apply with a simple online application to get paired with a local auto lender. No credit and bad credit accepted.

  • Requirements: Must be a US citizen with a current US address and employed full-time or have guaranteed fixed income.
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Compare car loans for students

Updated October 20th, 2019
Name Product Filter Values Minimum credit score Loan term Requirements
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.
300
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.
600
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.
300
Varies by lender
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.
Good to excellent credit
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.
550
24 to 84 months
Must have a Social Security number; make $24,000+/year; have no open bankruptcies.
Get up to four offers in minutes through one simple application. Multiple financing types available including new cars, used cars and refinancing.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated October 20th, 2019
Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
15.9% (starting at)
$3,000
Get help paying for college or other expenses while you’re still in school.
7.99% to 15.99%
$25,000
No green card? No problem. You could still qualify for a personal loan.
5.99% to 29.99%
620
$40,000
Consolidate debt and more with these low-interest loans. Cosigners welcome.

Compare up to 4 providers

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

  • 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 (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.

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
BoroNone$5,000None
Go to Boro's site
Auto Credit ExpressNoneVaries by lenderVaries by lender
Go to Auto Credit Express's site
car.Loan.comVaries by lenderVaries by lenderVaries by lender
Go to car.Loan.com's site
myAutoloan.com10 years old$100,000
Go to myAutoloan.com's site
LendingTreeVaries by lenderVaries by lenderVaries by lender
Go to LendingTree, LLC's site
CarsDirectVaries by lenderVaries by lenderVaries by lender
Springboardauto8 years old
Bluesky auto finance8 years oldQuotes available after you apply$30,000
RoadLoansNone$5,000$75,000
carfinance.com8 years old$7,500$45,000

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.

6 helpful tips for applying

If you’re a student you may be working part time, be on a lower income or have a limited credit history. This can make it difficult to get a car loan. Use the guide below to find out how to get approved for a car loan.

Compare car loans for students

How to find a competitive deal on a student car loan

  • 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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