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LendingTree Review

Thursday, September 28th

2023 Student Loan Provider Reviews

LendingTree Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • Loan referral service
  • Good way to do research prior to choosing a lender for student loans

For 25+ years, LendingTree has served as an online loan marketplace for everything from credit cards to personal loans. They've connected over 100 million customers with more than $50 billion in funds. With respect to student loans, this service can help you get an idea of which lenders might be available for the school you attend, but you'll have to go to each lender's site to determine if you actually prequalify.

Does your school qualify?

You'll start by entering your school name, because that determines which LendingTree partners will show up in your list of possibilities. For example, a popular large university in Florida matched with eight lenders, while a small liberal arts college in Michigan came up with none (and neither did the state's largest university). That's far from ideal, but at least LendingTree lets you know right away if you're not going to be eligible for a loan with their partners, instead of making you walk through a multi-step prequalification application first.

Find your matches

Let's say your school qualifies for LendingTree's service. What can you expect next? First, you'll get a list of lenders that might be a good match. For the school in Florida we entered, we were given eight to consider: College Ave, Sallie Mae, Ascent, Earnest, Funding U, Education Loan Finance, SoFi, and Citizens Bank. You'll find in-depth reviews for all but one of those lenders in our other evaluations.

Best Student Loan Providers

More information, please

Unfortunately, LendingTree doesn't take that extra step of offering borrower feedback or even expert reviews of those financial institutions. All you get is a "see more details" button that tells you some of the highlights, like whether or not there are fees and if they offer interest rate discounts. If you click the "Apply Now" button, you're taken directly to the lender website to begin the application process.

Good reputation overall

That's really the extent of what you'll get with LendingTree for student loans. Yes, this company is "A+" rated and accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and over 8200 people give LendingTree a 5-star rating too (across all products, not just educational loans). And yes, you can learn a lot about student loans on their website, which has everything from a payment calculator to helpful blog articles to help you understand how loans work, the differences between federal and private loans, and much more.

You'll still have to apply directly with a lender

But to earn a higher ranking among student loan providers, LendingTree would have to expand what they offer: at a minimum, maybe a rating and analysis for the lenders they include, and ideally a way to prequalify for those preferred lending partners without having to go to each website individually. After all, that's what their competitors do! You could use LendingTree to do some research, but ultimately you'll get your loan somewhere else - because that's how this service is designed.

Where Can You Find the Best Student Loans?

With 45% of high school graduates finding it necessary to take on student debt to finance their higher learning, that's an important question to answer. While most student loan debt comes from federal loans, some people discover that their government loans just aren't enough to cover the full costs of tuition, room and board, expensive textbooks, and everything else necessary for their college education.

If you find yourself in that situation - for your studies or your children's - you might get overwhelmed trying to figure out where the money will come from. And even once you've selected a lender, you still need to decide what repayment terms are best. Fixed- or variable-rate? Interest-only or small fixed repayments while still in school or fully deferred for 6-9 months after graduation? Repaying over five years or twenty? There are a lot of factors to consider that are unique to you.

The Best Student Loan Providers Compare Student Loan Providers Compare Student Loan Provider Reviews What are the best Student Loan Providers Best Student Loan Provider Reviews

Student Loan Provider FAQ

Most students need a loan to fund the full cost of their college education. While the majority of student loans in the United States come through federal programs, there are also private loans available. You usually have to start making repayments on student loans six months after your last semester, though you can start sooner if you wish. Student loans often have repayment terms of at least 10 years.
Yes, very easily. If you're applying for federal student loans, you'll complete the FAFSA online. For private student loans, there are several ways to apply: either directly with a financial institution, like Discover or Wells Fargo, or using a platform that connects you with multiple lenders using a single quote request or application.
Unlike many other types of borrowing, student loans are designed to be affordable - it's rare to be charged an application or origination fee, and you should be able to pay off your loan early with no penalties. Interest rates are also much lower than credit cards and personal loans, and you'll usually have very long repayment terms: starting 6 months after your last semester and often stretching 10 years into the future. Expect interest rates between 1% and 6%, but watch out for fixed vs. variable APRs.
Your student loan will probably be disbursed directly to your school, not deposited to your personal bank account. That's a good thing if you want to ensure that your loan money actually gets used for your education! Because the process requires your school to certify the loan amount, the process can take a few days or more. It's a wise idea to start the loan application process early, to make sure there's plenty of time to meet your school's payment deadlines.
If you have a financial hardship or other eligible circumstance, you can request to defer your student loan repayments. Most lenders allow you to suspend your payments for up to three years if you qualify. Contact the servicer of your student loan to find out what requirements you need to meet to defer your loan.
Forbearance is similar to deferring your student loan payments. If you don't qualify for a deferral but still can't pay your student loan, you might be able to get your payments reduced or suspended temporarily, for up to 12 months. You'll need to get in touch with the servicer of your student loan to see if you're eligible for a forbearance arrangement.
In limited circumstances, yes. It usually depends on the type of student loan you have, the lender, and your situation. Student loans may be forgiven (or, essentially, written off) in the event of the disability or death of the borrower; issues with the school, like closure, error or fraud; income-driven repayment plans or employment-based forgiveness programs.
Yes, most of the time. Tax laws are changing constantly, but in the past students have been able to reduce taxable income by as much as $2,500 based on student loan interest paid, as long as they meet eligibility criteria (like having a qualified student loan that was used exclusively for educational expenses).
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Continued from above...

Fortunately, there are quite a few providers of student loans that can help you not only figure out those answers but also connect you with the money you need to pay for school. Many of them can even prequalify you for a loan with just your name, address and birthdate, with no impact on your credit report. Rest assured that millions of students (and many of their parents) have successfully navigated this process - and you can too.

Here are several aspects of student loan providers to keep in mind as you decide which ones merit further consideration:

  • Referral service or direct lender: Some sites serve as a comparison shopping platform, allowing you to get preliminary information about what loans might be available to you. These referral services may or may not use your information to complete some of the first steps of the application process. Other student loan sites directly connect you with the funding you need.
  • Interest rates. Don't be overly impressed by the super-low interest rates posted by any student loan provider: they almost always come with the caveat that only the "most qualified" candidates qualify for the best rates (and we've yet to find anyone that actually got a loan with rates that low). Just make sure that the rate you're offered is reasonable and competitive with other loans.
  • Repayment options. There are so many different ways to configure a student loan, like repayment terms ranging from 5-20 years, fixed and variable rates, and repayments either while still in school or deferred until after graduation. The more choices available to you, the more likely it is that you'll get loan terms you can afford.
  • Loan servicing. Getting a student loan is just the beginning. Take into account what other students have said about the experience after the application has been approved. Are funds disbursed quickly? Does the customer service team handle issues well? Can you expect any unpleasant surprises (like payments not being recorded accurately or not being able to reach support)?

To help you get the funds you need for your education, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best options for student loans today. We're confident that this information will make it possible to find the right way to cover the costs of your tuition, books and more!

The Best Reviews of Student Loan Providers