Earnest student loan requirements
Eligibility requirements vary based on which type of loan you’re taking out. Generally, all borrowers must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Be at least the age of majority in their state.
- Live in Washington, D.C. or any state except Nevada (for any borrower) or Kentucky (for refinance borrowers).
- Have a minimum credit score of 650 (or have a co-signer with a minimum credit score of 650).
Independent undergraduate and graduate private student borrowers
If you’re a student with some credit history under your belt, you might be able to qualify for an Earnest student loan on your own. Keep in mind: Once you start attending school, you’ll need to be enrolled full time if you’re a freshman, sophomore or junior. Seniors and graduate students may enroll half time.
During the application process, Earnest will check that you have:
- At least three years of good credit history.
- A minimum annual income of $35,000.
- Zero bankruptcies on your credit reports.
- A history of making on-time payments on debt where you’re listed as the primary borrower. You also can’t have accounts in collections.
Co-signed loan borrowers
Many students don’t have enough credit history to qualify for private student loans — but you still have options. If you don’t meet the above qualifications, you can add a creditworthy co-signer to your loan. This person promises to make payments on your loan if you default later on.
They will need to meet the same eligibility requirements as independent borrowers. But Earnest may check more details about your co-signer’s financial situation, such as their savings account balance.
Refinance loan borrowers
Earnest has a unique underwriting system for refinance loan borrowers that looks at spending patterns, earning potential and education. There’s no minimum income requirement, but applicants must either be employed or have consistent income. You may qualify even if you’ve filed for bankruptcy as long as it’s dropped off of your credit reports and you don’t have accounts recently in collections.
Earnest also wants to know that you typically spend less than you earn every month, keep at least two months’ of expenses in savings and show a pattern of increasing bank account balances.
And if you’re still in school, you must be enrolled less than half time, with your student loans already in repayment.
Who is this loan good for?
Earnest’s private student loans are best for borrowers who either can qualify on their own or have a creditworthy co-signer. Because the lender offers several repayment protections, it’s also a good fit for borrowers who prefer a measure of financial security.