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Rating by Finanso®

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Apply for a Earnest's loan


How to Apply


The main requirements to apply for a private student loan with Earnest are:

  • Being a US citizen or having a green card,

  • Being of legal age if you are a borrower or a co-signer,

  • Being enrolled at school full-time.

Earnest issues its student loans for borrowers with a minimum credit score of 650 for student loan refinance and private loans and 700 for Parent PLUS loans. There is no income requirement. However, you will need to provide a job offer or have a consistent income source. You will need to connect your checking account to Earnest so that the lender can verify your income. The minimum debt-to-income ratio (DTI) you need to meet is 65%.

There is an option for international students to take a private student loan. They need to provide a co-signer who meets all the above-mentioned criteria.

The requirements for taking a private student loan with Earnest and taking a student loan refinancing are different. You will need to decide on the option first. It is also good to pre-qualify to see if you are eligible and what terms the company can offer you.

Application details

The information Earnest requires you to provide while submitting an application is:

  • Your permanent address,

  • Loan amount,

  • Employment,

  • Income,

  • School details and the graduation date.

Take notice that Kentucky and Nevada's residents are not eligible for taking a student loan refinancing. You can't opt for variable rates if you are a resident of Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, or Texas. Kentucky residents can't take a private student loan.

How to apply for a loan

You will need to complete an application on the Earnest website. Provide all the required information and get a response from the company.

Earnest will send a request to your school and verify all the information. This takes a few weeks to process, so you need to apply at least a month before your school starts.

If you take a student loan refinance, Earnest will contact your lender to make payments towards your existing debt.


Does Earnest require a co-signer?

Earnest doesn't require you to provide a co-signer. However, if you cannot qualify for a loan yourself, you can get an eligible co-signer, and Earnest will issue you a loan.

What credit bureau does Earnest use?

Earnest uses Experian to pull credit reports. If you apply for an Earnest student loan, your credit history will be verified using this credit bureau.

Does Earnest do a hard pull?

Earnest reviews your information in a soft credit check to make a decision if you pre-qualify. Once you decide to actually apply for a loan, Earnest will pull a hard credit check.

Calculate loan payments in Earnest

Earnest calculator will allow you to calculate an approximate payment schedule for the loan

Loan amount

Enter the desired loan amount

5000 $
500000 $
Loan term

Specify the loan term for the calculation


What to focus on before applying for a loan with Earnest

To ensure the lender is legitimate, check if it meets the following criteria:

How do you know if a loan company is registered?

The lending company is registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and has a tax identification number (EIN). Note that tribal lending companies operate under the jurisdiction of tribal laws, and they don't have to register with the SEC. But still, tribes must act under federal consumer protection laws enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

According to the FTC requirement, the lending company is registered in your state, excluding tribal lenders abiding by tribal and federal laws only. That is why tribal lending companies can charge interest rates exceeding your state's maximum.

Finally, the State Attorney General can verify the registration of the lending company if you need additional proof of whether it is legitimate.

If a US lending company scams you, please report to local law enforcement, your state attorney general, CFPB, or FTC.

Finanso® also recommends

Learn the total cost of a loan, including:

It will be best to read a loan agreement carefully before signing it. If any part of the agreement seems incomprehensible, do not hesitate to ask the lender about particulars.

Remember that you don’t have to make an immediate decision when considering getting a loan. However, you must be sure that you are ready to repay following your loan documents. If the lender’s terms and conditions are uncomfortable for you, you are free to search for another proposal, as there are about 780 lending companies in the US.

What’s the difference between Earnest and a bank?

  1. You need to have a good credit history to qualify for a credit card with a bank. In contrast, even bad credit history debtors can borrow money from US lenders with personal or payday loans. 
  2. Interest rates and annual percentage rate for a loan with an online lending company are significantly higher than with a credit card released by a bank.
  3. Applying for an online loan with a lending company doesn’t require paperwork or even visiting their office. Instead, a borrower can apply entirely online and receive money via direct deposit on the next business day.
  4. The online lending business is high-risk for investors, and their capital is not protected from unfair borrowers.
  5. A loan with legitimate loan companies for bad credit is a simple but expensive form of borrowing to resolve financial hardship.
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