8 student loans for an engineering degree

Federal and private student loans can help cover the cost of your engineering education, and you have several repayment options

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Engineering student loans can help you pay for your education. Learn more about your loan options and different repayment methods. (Shutterstock)

Getting an engineering degree isn’t cheap. As an in-state undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder, for example, you’ll pay an estimated $17,152 for tuition, fees, and books and supplies per year in the engineering program. Over four years, that’s nearly $69,000. 

Fortunately, engineering student loans can help you cover these costs and work toward your goal of becoming an engineer. Read on to learn more about engineering student loans and how to repay them. 

With Credible, you can compare private student loan rates from various lenders, all in one place.

8 student loans for an engineering degree

The following eight Credible partner lenders offer private engineering student loans:

Ascent

Ascent offers three types of student loans for engineering students: cosigned credit-based loans, non-cosigned credit-based loans, and non-cosigned outcomes-based loans for juniors and seniors that are based on your academic performance. 

If you take out an Ascent student loan, you won’t have to pay any application, origination, or disbursement fees. The lender also offers a 1% cash back graduation reward. With this perk, you’ll receive a one-time payment equal to 1% of your original principal loan balance as long as you earn your degree within five years and enroll in automatic payments. 

  • Loan amounts: $2,001 to $200,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Discounts: Autopay, cash back graduation reward
  • Cosigner release: After 24 on-time principal and interest payments

Citizens

With Citizens, you can borrow up to 100% of the cost of your engineering degree. Since the lender offers a number of loan terms and repayment plans, you’ll be able to choose the best option for your unique budget and needs.  

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15
  • Discounts: Autopay, loyalty
  • Cosigner release: After 36 consecutive on-time payments

College Ave

College Ave’s student loans for engineering degrees come with a variety of loan terms and repayment plans. Plus, the lender offers $150 cash back for completing your course of study. And with its parent loan, parents can receive $2,500 of the loan directly so they can manage spending on books and supplies. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of school-certified cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 8, 10, 15
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Cosigner release: After more than half of the scheduled repayment period has elapsed

Custom Choice

If you choose Custom Choice for a student loan, you can secure a 0.25% autopay discount and a 2% principal reduction if you graduate with at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering or another area of study. Since you may borrow as little as $1,000, Custom Choice might be a good option if you need to pay for textbooks, fees, or other small expenses. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $180,000
  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15
  • Discounts: Autopay, principal reduction with proof of graduation
  • Cosigner release: After 36 consecutive on-time payments

HOW MUCH CAN YOU BORROW IN STUDENT LOANS?

EDvestinU 

With an EDvestinU student loan, you can choose from a fixed or variable interest rate and several repayment terms. Plus, you don’t have to pay any origination, disbursement, or prepayment fees when you borrow money for your engineering degree. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $200,000
  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Cosigner release: After 36 consecutive on-time payments

INvestEd 

INvestEd may be worth considering if you’re earning your engineering degree at a college in Indiana. You can receive funding for the total cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you receive. INvestEd also allows you to choose a fixed or variable interest rate and offers three different repayment plans.

  • Loan amounts: $1,001 up to 100% of cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Cosigner release: After 48 consecutive on-time payments

MEFA

Even though the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) is based in Massachusetts, you may take advantage of its student loans regardless of where you live. As an engineering undergraduate student, you can opt for a MEFA student loan with a repayment term of 10 or 15 years and borrow as much money as you need to fund your education. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 up to 100% of certified cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 10, 15
  • Discounts: None
  • Cosigner release: After 48 consecutive on-time payments

Sallie Mae

If you’re studying engineering part-time, a Sallie Mae student loan might be a good option. The lender offers fixed- and variable-rate loans to both full-time and part-time students. You can defer payments until six months after you leave school, but you also have the option to make interest-only or fixed payments while you’re still in school.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of certified cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 10 to 15
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Cosigner release: After 12 consecutive on-time payments

Visit Credible to compare private student loan rates from multiple lenders in minutes.

How to pay for engineering school

Follow these steps to pay for engineering school:

  1. Fill out the FAFSA. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for any financial aid, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Once you submit it, you can find out if you’re eligible for student loans, grants, and work-study opportunities. Since some colleges award money on a first-come, first-served basis, fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can.
  2. Apply for scholarships and grants. Plenty of scholarships and grants are available, some of which are specifically geared toward engineering students. Unlike student loans, you don’t have to repay these types of aid, so they’re definitely worth applying for. A scholarship or grant search tool can help you narrow down your options.
  3. Explore employer tuition assistance. Employer tuition assistance is when an employer pays for all or part of an employee’s cost to attend college. If you don’t mind working while you’re in school, you can find employers that’ll help you pay for your engineering education.
  4. Take out federal student loans. If you need to borrow money to pay for engineering school, start with federal student loans. Federal loans offer benefits that private student loans don’t, like income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness.
  5. Use private student loans to fill in the gaps. Private student loans can come in handy if you’re unable to cover all your education expenses with federal loans. But before you commit to a private student loan, shop around to find lenders that offer the best rates and terms for your situation. 

PARENT PLUS LOANS VS. PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS: WHICH HAS BETTER RATES?

Student loan repayment for engineers

After you graduate with your engineering degree, you have a few options to help you pay off your engineering student loans:

Income-driven repayment plans

If you have federal student loans, your best repayment option may be an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. These plans base your monthly payment on your income and family size. The Department of Education offers four IDR plans:

  • Pay As You Earn Plan (PAYE Plan) — Your monthly payment is typically 10% of your discretionary income (and always less than what you’d pay on the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan), and your repayment term is 20 years.
  • Revised Pay As You Earn Plan (REPAYE Plan) — Your monthly payment is typically 10% of your discretionary income, and your repayment term is 20 years for undergraduate loans or 25 years for graduate loans.
  • Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR Plan) — Your monthly payment is typically 10% of your discretionary income if you’re a new borrower on or after July 1, 2014 (and always less than what you’d pay on the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan), or 15% of your discretionary income if you’re not a new borrower on or after that date. Your repayment term is 20 years if you’re a new borrower or 25 years if you’re not a new borrower.
  • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR Plan) — Your monthly payment is either 20% of your discretionary income, or what you’d pay over 12 years on a fixed repayment plan, whichever is less. Your repayment term is 25 years.

Keep in mind that while an IDR plan can make your student loan payments more manageable, lowering your monthly payments or extending your repayment term will likely cost you more in interest over the life of your loan. 

Student loan refinancing  

You can also refinance your engineering student loans — with refinancing, you combine your loans into one new loan with a private lender. Refinancing can make repayment more manageable, since you’ll only have one payment to keep track of. You can potentially get a lower interest rate with refinancing, and you may be able to pay off your loans faster, since more of your money will go toward the principal rather than interest. 

While you can refinance private student loans or a mixture of private and federal loans, refinancing your federal loans into a private loan may not be the best idea — you’ll lose benefits like access to income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness. 

Student loan repayment assistance

Some states and local organizations offer student loan repayment assistance specifically for engineers. For example, the Alfond Leaders Student Debt Reduction Program offers student loan repayment assistance to Maine residents who work for a Maine-based employer in a STEM occupation. You can qualify for repayment of up to half your outstanding student loan balance (up to $60,000) if you meet the eligibility requirements. Consider researching similar programs in your state. 

In addition, some employers offer student loan repayment assistance as a company perk. For example, Natixis, an asset management company that employs engineers, provides $1,000 in student loan repayment assistance each year, whether you have federal or private student loans. The company will send $83.33 to your student loan servicer each month for the life of the loan, or up to $10,000 over a 10-year period, as long as you’re employed by Natixis.

You can use a student loan interest calculator to estimate what your monthly payments would be with a lower total loan balance.  

STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAMS: WHICH ONE IS BEST FOR YOU?

Student loan forgiveness for engineers

If you land an engineering job with a government agency, you might qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). This program forgives your remaining balance on federal Direct Loans if you meet the following requirements: 

  • You work full-time for a qualifying not-for-profit or government organization.
  • You’re repaying your student loans with an IDR plan.
  • You make a total of 120 qualifying payments on your loans.

With Credible, you can compare private student loans rates without affecting your credit score.

Is engineering school worth it?

Engineering is a growing field with an average salary of $91,010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As long as you’re interested in any type of engineering, such as computer, mechanical, or electrical, engineering school is likely worth it. You’ll open the doors to a fulfilling, stable career with lucrative pay and benefits. And your engineering salary — which is more than twice the average salary for all fields in the U.S. — can help you repay your education costs.