PROS / iHelp offers the longest maximum term of any student loan company we reviewed.
CONS / iHelp does not include a rate-reduction offer for automatic payments.
VERDICT / iHelp connects borrowers to local banks to house their private student loans.
iHelp is a company that helps connect you, as you are looking to supplement your federal student loans, with local banks that offer private college loans. iHelp is owned by the Student Loan Finance Corporation (SLFC) in association with the Independent Community Bankers of America, which is an organization that represents almost 5,000 banks from 23,000 locations across the United States. This partnership helps you take advantage of local banks with their college loans. The local banks house the loan, and SLFC services the loan on behalf of the originating institution. This wider lending net helps you to find a local bank that is associated with your school.
iHelp offers a full complement of loan types. You can use iHelp to obtain an undergraduate, graduate or consolidated private student loan. The loan limits offered by iHelp for all three varieties of loans are among the best for private student loan companies. The maximum loan term offered by iHelp is the longest of any private student loan company we reviewed. There is no prepayment penalty, so you can use this longer loan term to lower your monthly payments over the life of the loan. The grace period for this lender is six months after you graduate or are no longer enrolled in school fulltime.
To qualify for these loans, you must be a U.S. citizen and have three years of established credit history. You must also meet certain income requirements.
iHelp offers competitive rates for both fixed-rate and variable-rate loans, with a variable-rate APR cap that falls within the standard range for private student loans. There is no origination or application fee associated with iHelp. One feature not included with iHelp that other student loan companies offer is a cost calculator that assists students in budgeting for college. This helpful tool helps to limit total debt accrued by students. Though it is missing this key feature, it provides other tools, like scholarship matching and college-comparison charts.
iHelp doesn't offer rate reduction for setting up automatic monthly payments. All other student loans offer this reduction, which is a nice feature because it is an easy way to get a lower APR by simply setting up automatic payments from your account. iHelp also has other rate-reduction offers, including one for making 24 months of on-time payments.
iHelp offers a full range of help and support options comparable to the best private student loan companies. There is a great FAQs section on iHelp's website to help answer questions. The phone and email support is ideal for quick responses to specific questions not found on the FAQs section. iHelp also has live chat on its website, which is a feature included by the best student loan companies.
iHelp is a creative company that matches students with local banks for private student loan borrowing. iHelp offers competitive rates and features but doesn't offer a standard rate reduction for automatic payments. However, if you are looking for a local bank to house your student debt, iHelp is a viable option.