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Student loan options to borrow $10,000

Find the right mix of private and federal funding to pay for the next academic year.

Nearly all options are open to you if you need to borrow $10,000 to pay for your next year of school. You can likely cover your expenses with federal or private loans.

But for a relatively low student loan amount, federal perks like income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness might not be so beneficial — you might want to see if you can qualify for a better deal with a private lender.

Can I get federal student loans to borrow $10,000?

You might. It depends on several factors such as your year in school, whether the Department of Education (DoE) considers you a dependent, what type of loan you’re applying for and how much you already have in student debt.

Year in schoolIndependent federal loan limitDependent federal loan limitPrivate student loan amount needed
First-year undergraduate$9,500$5,500
  • Independent: $500
  • Dependent: $4,500
Second-year undergraduate$10,500$6,500
  • Independent: $0
  • Dependent: $3,500
Third-year undergraduate and beyond$12,500$7,500
  • Independent: $0
  • Dependent: $2,500
Graduate or professional student$20,500N/A
  • Independent: $0
  • Dependent: N/A

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans come with lifetime aggregate limits, depending on your degree. You can only borrow up to $57,500 as an undergraduate and $138,500 as a graduate student — including your undergraduate student debt.

With interest rates fixed at 2.75% for undergraduates and 4.3% for graduate students, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are often the best deal you can qualify for.

What about PLUS loans?

One option if you’re unable to borrow $10,000 is to apply for a PLUS Loan — these come with no limits other than your school-certified cost of attendance. Undergraduate students will have to have their parents apply for a PLUS Loan while graduate students must apply on their own.

To qualify, you need to pass a credit check or bring on a creditworthy endorser. And with interest rates fixed at 5.3% , you might find a better deal with a private lender.

Private student loan providers that offer $10,000

ProviderMinimum loan amountRatesEligibility
EdvestinU$1,0001.83% to 4.2% with autopay$30,000+ annual income for balances under $100,000, $50,000+ for balances over $100,000, US citizen or permanent resident, attended at a degree-granting school
Go to EDvestinU's site
CommonBond$5,0003.74% to 10.74%You must be an American citizen or a permanent resident of the US and have good to excellent credit or a creditworthy cosigner. Education requirements: You must be enrolled at or graduated from an approved Title IV undergraduate, graduate or MBA program
Go to site
Credible$1,000Starting at 0.99% with autopayEnrolled at least half time in qualifying US educational program, ages 18+ or apply with cosigner
Go to site
Mpower$2,0017.52% to 14.98%F-1 student visa, attendance at partner university and in last two years of degree programRead review
Raise$2,0017.52% to 14.98%F-1 student visa, attendance at partner university and in last two years of degree programRead review

Almost all private providers offer $10,000 student loans. While these come with fewer perks than federal loans, for loan amounts as low as $10,000, you might not be able to benefit much from income-driven repayments or federal forgiveness programs anyway.

But they can be more expensive and might require a cosigner. Private loans also typically have lifetime limits, though they’re generally higher than federal student loans.

How to pay off $10,000 in student debt

Sure, you can pay off your student loans by signing up for autopay and not thinking twice about it. But there are several ways you can save on interest and get out of debt quicker.

  • Refinance for a shorter term. A shorter term means less time for interest to add up. Refinancing your student loans for a shorter term makes it easy to pay off your loan quicker without taking the effort to make extra repayments.
  • Apply for a loan repayment assistance program (LRAP). Both federal and local agencies offer partial forgiveness through LRAPs designed for specific professions — including healthcare and law. Often, you can have more than $10,000 forgiven.
  • Make extra repayments. Whenever you can afford to, make an additional repayment toward your loan. Reach out to your servicer to make sure those funds are going toward your loan principal first to get out of debt even faster.

How your loan term affects monthly repayments

How long you take to pay back your loan affects both how much you pay each month and how much you pay in total interest. The longer your loan term, the lower your monthly repayments — but the more you’ll pay overall.

Say you had a $10,000 loan with a 5.8% APR — the national average. Here’s how much you’d pay per month and in interest with different loan terms.

Loan termMonthly repaymentsTotal interest paid
5 years$192.40$1,543.96
7 years$145.13$2,190.81
10 years$110.02$3,202.26
15 years$83.31$4,995.62
20 years$70.49$6,918.58

As you can see, lengthening your term can cut your monthly repayments down by nearly a third. But it also increases the total cost of your loan nearly 4.5 times. To save the most on interest, go for the shortest loan term with monthly repayments you can comfortably afford.

Bottom line

You might be able to cover a $10,000 student loan with federal loans only, depending on your year in school and how much you’ve already borrowed. But there’s a chance you’ll have to take out a private loan to cover the additional costs.

Learn more about how borrowing for school works in our guide to student loans.

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