Features

iHelp is a website owned by the Student Loan Finance Corporation (SLFC) and sponsored by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). The website helps borrowers connect with over 5,000 community banks and find the best terms available on student loans. The Student Loan Finance Corporation has its headquarters in Aberdeen, SD. It was founded in 1978 and has an A+ rating with the BBB.

How Do iHelp’s Student Loans Work?

iHelp offers two types of student loans: the iHelp student loan and the iHelp consolidation loan. The iHelp student loan is a private student loan for students and parents of students who need help paying for tuition and related costs. The iHelp Consolidation Loan is for graduates who want to consolidate their student loans into one loan with a lower interest rate. Borrowers can apply for student loans online or through a participating bank.

iHelp allows borrowers and cosigners to complete a pre-approval form to see if they qualify for a loan and a preliminary interest rate. iHelp does not perform a hard check with the pre-approval so there is no risk in seeing what rate you could get. To pre-qualify you must (or your cosigner) must have a $1,500/month income and three years of credit history.

What Are iHelp’s Interest Rates?

Interest rates vary depending on the income and credit of borrowers. As of 2015, variable rates for iHelp’s Private Student loans range from 2.82% APR to 7.49% APR. iHelp does not offer fixed rates on its private student loans.

iHelp consolidation loans have fixed APRs ranging from 6.22% to 7.99% for cosigned loans and 7.21% to 9.04% for non-cosigned loans. There is also a 2% supplemental fee added to the loan at the time of the disbursement.

How Much Money Can I Borrow from iHelp?

iHelp provides private student loans of $1,000 to $100,000 for undergraduates, and up to $150,000 for graduate students. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,000.

iHelp’s consolidation loans range from $25,000 to $100,00 for undergraduate borrowers and up to $150,000 for graduate borrowers.

Which States Does iHelp Operate In?

iHelp operates in all 50 states.

What Is iHelp’s Application Process Like?

Borrowers must complete an online application form. If they meet iHelp’s eligibility requirements they will be connected with a partner bank that will process and manage the loan.

To qualify, borrowers must be enrolled in an eligible school. iHelp provides a list of eligible schools on its website. See above for a direct link to iHelp’s website. Borrowers (or their cosigners) must:

  •    Be of legal age in their state of residence
  •    Have at least 3 years of positive credit history
  •    Have an income of $18,000 or more for the last two years
  •    Have a debt to income ratio of 45% or less.

Filling in the online application only takes a few minutes. Borrowers can also complete an even shorter pre-approval application to see whether they will be approved without it hurting their credit.

How Is iHelp Better than Other Lenders?

iHelp makes it easier to connect to thousands of community banks to see the best rates available. The application process is simple and the interest rates are competitive. Borrowers who use cosigners receive lower interest rates and they are released once 24 monthly payments have been made on time. iHelp also offers forbearance for up to 24 months for borrowers who are going through economic hardship.

Borrowers who make 24 monthly on-time payments receive a 0.3% rate reduction, which is great. However, there is no rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments as with other lenders. Another thing to consider is that although there is no origination fee there is a 2% supplemental fee that is added to the loan at the time of the disbursement.

iHelp makes it easier to connect to thousands of community banks to see the best rates available. The soft credit inquiry is an advantage for borrowers shopping around for the best rate who don't want another credit inquiry on their report. The application process is simple and the interest rates are competitive. Borrowers who use cosigners receive lower interest rates and they are released once 24 monthly payments have been made on time. iHelp also offers forbearance for up to 24 months for borrowers who are going through economic hardship.

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iHelp connects students with local community banks and nonprofit lenders. There are no origination fees and borrowers can take up to 20 years to repay. But unlike a lot of lenders there is no rate reduction for automatic payment. There is also no provision for borrowers who experience financial hardship.


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