A Comprehensive Comparison of Education Loans from Banks

Embarking on higher education often encounters financial hurdles for students and their families. Education loans from diverse banks in India play a pivotal role, acting as a lifeline to empower aspiring scholars in achieving their academic aspirations. This article delves into a detailed comparison of education loans from different banks, shedding light on eligibility criteria, interest rates, repayment options, and additional benefits.

 Subas Tiwari

In India, education loans are tailored financial products aimed at aiding students and their families in funding the expenses associated with higher education. These loans, offered by banks, financial institutions, and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), extend support to students pursuing various courses, both domestically and internationally. Covering a spectrum of educational costs such as tuition fees, accommodation, books, travel, and related expenses, education loans come with diverse features and benefits.

 Common Features and Benefits of Education Loans

  1. Loan Coverage:
    • Encompasses a wide array of expenses, including tuition fees, examination fees, library fees, accommodation, travel, and related costs.
  2. Varied Courses and Institutions:
    • Available for undergraduate, postgraduate, vocational, and professional programs at recognized institutions in India and abroad.
  3. Loan Amount:
    • Varies based on the course, institution, and estimated expenses, subject to the policies of the lending institution.
  4. Interest Rates:
    • Competitive rates with options for fixed and floating interest rates based on borrower preferences.
  5. Moratorium Period:
    • Offers a grace period covering the course duration and a few months afterward before the commencement of repayment.
  6. Repayment Tenure:
    • Flexible tenure options allowing borrowers to choose plans aligning with their financial capabilities.
  7. Collateral and Security:
    • Requirement varies with the loan amount; some loans may be offered without collateral up to a specific threshold.
  8. Tax Benefits:
    • Interest paid on education loans is eligible for tax deductions under Section 80E of the Income Tax Act.
  9. Repayment Options:
    • Various options such as equated monthly instalments (EMIs), step-up EMIs, and flexible repayment plans.
  10. Prepayment Option:
    • Some loans permit prepayments without penalties, facilitating a reduction in the overall interest burden.
  11. Online Application:
    • Many lenders offer convenient online application facilities, streamlining the process.
  12. Skill Development Loans:
    • Specific loans cater to skill development courses to meet the growing demand for vocational training.
  13. Co-Borrower Option:
    • Including a co-borrower, such as parents or guardians, can enhance loan approval chances and lead to better terms.
  14. Insurance Options:
    • Certain lenders provide insurance plans covering borrowers in unexpected events, adding an extra layer of financial security.
  15. Government Initiatives:
    • Government-sponsored schemes and subsidy programs may offer additional benefits, making education loans more accessible.
  16. Loan Counselling:
    • Lenders may provide counselling sessions to guide borrowers through the application process and address queries.
  17. Bridge Financing:
    • Education loans serve as a bridge financing option, ensuring financial constraints don’t hinder academic aspirations.
  18. Competitive Atmosphere:
    • The competitive landscape in the education loan market often leads to improved features and benefits.
  19. Networking Opportunities:
    • Some lenders may offer networking opportunities, connecting borrowers with alumni or industry professionals for guidance.

Understanding these features and benefits is crucial for students and their families to make informed decisions when considering education loans. It’s recommended to thoroughly compare offerings from different lenders to find the most suitable option based on individual needs and circumstances.

Eligibility Criteria and Documentation

Eligibility criteria and documentation requirements for education loans in India may slightly differ among lenders. However, common criteria and documents include:

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Nationality:
    • Generally open to Indian citizens, with some lenders extending loans to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs).
  2. Age:
    • Typically falls within a specific range, often between 16 and 35 years.
  3. Academic Qualifications:
    • Admission to a recognized course in a recognized institution, either in India or abroad.
  4. Admission Confirmation:
    • Proof of admission or a confirmation letter from the educational institution.
  5. Co-Borrower:
    • Preferably a co-borrower, usually a parent or guardian, with stable income and good credit history.
  6. Creditworthiness:
    • A good credit score is often crucial for loan approval.
  7. Collateral:
    • Depending on the loan amount, lenders may require collateral in the form of property, fixed deposits, or other acceptable assets.

Documentation Required:

  1. Identity Proof:
    • Passport, Aadhar card, Voter ID, or any government-issued identity document.
  2. Address Proof:
    • Aadhar card, utility bills, or documents indicating permanent and current addresses.
  3. Admission Letter:
    • Confirmation of admission to the chosen course and institution.
  4. Academic Records:
    • Mark sheets and certificates of qualifying exams.
  5. Co-Borrower’s Proof:
    • Identity and address proof of the co-borrower (usually a parent or guardian).
  6. Income Proof of Co-Borrower:
    • Salary slips, income tax returns, or documents verifying the co-borrower’s income.
  7. Bank Statements:
    • Typically, the latest six months’ bank statements for both the borrower and co-borrower.
  8. Photographs:
    • Passport-sized photographs of the borrower and co-borrower.
  9. Collateral Documents:
    • If collateral is required, documents related to the pledged property or assets.
  10. Loan Application Form:
    • Complete and signed application form provided by the lender.
  11. Educational Documents:
    • Previous academic records, certificates, and proof of qualifying exams.
  12. Any Other Documents:
    • Lenders may request additional documents based on their specific requirements.

It’s important to note that documentation and eligibility criteria may vary among lenders. Applicants are advised to check with the respective financial institution for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Maintaining clear and organized documentation can streamline the loan application process. 

Government Initiatives for Education Loans

Several government initiatives in India aim to promote education and facilitate access to education loans. Key initiatives include:

  1. Vidya Lakshmi Portal:

An initiative by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Higher Education, it provides a common platform for students to apply for education loans from multiple banks. Features include a single-window platform, information on loan schemes, a common application form, and online document upload.

Key Features:

  • Single-Window Platform: Vidya Lakshmi serves as a one-stop platform for students seeking education loans, providing access to multiple loan schemes from various banks through a single interface.
  • Information on Loan Schemes: The portal offers comprehensive information about different education loan schemes provided by participating banks, including details on interest rates, repayment options, and eligibility criteria.
  • Common Application Form: Students can fill out a common education loan application form on the Vidya Lakshmi Portal, simplifying the application process.
  • Tracking Application Status: Applicants can track the status of their loan application in real-time through the portal.
  • Facility for Co-Borrower: The portal allows students to include co-borrowers (usually parents or guardians) in the application, enhancing the chances of loan approval.
  • Dashboard for Banks: Participating banks have access to a dashboard where they can view, and process loan applications received through the portal.
  • Upload Documents Online: Applicants can upload necessary documents directly to the portal, making the application process more convenient.
  • Educational Loan Calculator: Vidya Lakshmi provides an online calculator to help students estimate the EMI (Equated Monthly Instalment) for their education loans.

Steps to Apply on Vidya Lakshmi Portal:

  1. Registration: Students need to register on the Vidya Lakshmi Portal by providing basic details such as name, email address, and mobile number.
  2. Login: Once registered, students can log in to the portal using their credentials.
  3. Create a Student Profile: Students need to create a profile by entering personal, academic, and loan-related details.
  4. Search for Loan Schemes: Students can search for education loan schemes offered by various banks on the portal.
  5. Fill Common Application Form (CAF): After selecting a loan scheme, students can fill out the Common Application Form (CAF) with necessary details.
  6. Upload Documents: Applicants can upload the required documents directly to the portal.
  7. Submit Application: Once all details are entered and documents uploaded, students can submit their loan application through the portal.
  8. Track Application Status: Students can track the status of their loan application on the portal.

Participating Banks: The Vidya Lakshmi Portal collaborates with various banks and financial institutions across India, including State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB), Axis Bank, Canara Bank, and more.


  1. Interest Subsidy on Education Loans:
    • The Central Government provides interest subsidies for specific categories of students, such as the Central Sector Interest Subsidy (CSIS) Scheme.
  2. Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram (PMVLK):
    • A scheme aimed at providing education loans to students from economically weaker sections, encouraging collateral-free loans up to Rs. 7.5 lakh.
  3. Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Education Loans (CGFSEL):
    • Initiated by the Ministry of Education, it provides a guarantee for education loans, reducing the risk for banks and encouraging collateral-free loans.
  4. Model Education Loan Scheme:
    • Formulated by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), this model aims to standardize the terms and conditions of education loans.
  5. Skill Development Loan Scheme:
    • Launched by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), it provides loans for individuals seeking to enhance their skills through vocational training programs.
  6. National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC):
    • Offers education loans to students belonging to minority communities at concessional interest rates.
  7. Padho Pardes:
    • Targeted at students from minority communities pursuing higher education abroad, providing interest subsidies on loans for overseas education.
  8. Dr. Ambedkar Central Sector Scheme of Interest Subsidy on Educational Loans for Overseas Studies:
    • Provides interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies to students belonging to scheduled castes, other backward classes, economically backward classes, and de-notified tribes.
  9. Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme (PMSS):
    • Provides financial assistance for education to the dependent wards and widows of ex-servicemen and ex-coast guard personnel, including education loans.

Students interested in these benefits should check specific eligibility criteria and guidelines for each scheme. Staying updated with government initiatives is crucial for accessing the latest support measures.



Compare Education Loan Interest Rates & Processing Fees


Interest Rates

Processing Fees

Union Bank of India 

8.15% p.a. to 12.55% p.a.


State Bank of India

8.15% to 11.15% p.a.

No charged required for loan amount below Rs.20 lakh

Loan amount above Rs.20 lakh: Rs.10,000 (plus taxes)


Punjab National Bank

4% p.a. to 11.25% p.a.



10% p.a. to 15% p.a.

Up to 1.5% of the loan amount

Bank of Baroda

8.55% p.a. to 12.50% p.a.

No processing charges up to Rs.7.50 lakh

1% of loan amount up to Rs.10,000


Canara Bank

8.60% p.a. to 11.35% p.a. 

0.50% of sanctioned limit (Max. Rs.20,000)

Bank of Maharashtra 

9.45% p.a. to 11.30% p.a.



9.50% p.a. onwards

Not specified

Indian Overseas Bank

9.75% p.a. to 13.3% p.a. 

Not specified


9.50% p.a. to 14.75% p.a.

Up to 2% plus GST

Karnataka Bank

10.02% p.a. to 12.92% p.a.

Not specified

Tamilnad Mercantile Bank

11.60% p.a. to 12.85% p.a.

No processing charge for studies in India

1% of the loan amount for studies in abroad


Karur Vysya Bank

9.99% p.a. to 13.98% p.a.


Axis Bank

13.70% p.a. to 15.20% p.a.

2% of the loan amount plus GST


8.50% p.a. to 11.10% p.a.

Not specified

Bank of India

10.95% p.a. to 11.75% p.a. 

Study in India: Nil

Study in abroad: Rs.5,000


UCO Bank

9.7% p.a. to 13.10% p.a.

Not specified

Federal Bank

12.55% p.a. onwards

Not specified

Kotak Mahindra Bank

Up to 16% p.a.


Interest Rates & Processing Fees are sourced from https://www.bankbazaar.com as on 05th February 2024

Here are the steps you can follow to apply for an education loan online:

Step 1: Research and Compare

Research Lenders:

    • Explore different banks, financial institutions, and NBFCs offering education loans. Compare interest rates, repayment options, and additional benefits.



Eligibility Check:

    • Check the eligibility criteria of various lenders to ensure you meet the requirements.

Step 2: Choose the Right Loan

Select the Course and Institution:

    • Identify the course and institution you want to pursue, as this will influence the loan amount and eligibility.

Loan Amount Calculation:

    • Calculate the approximate loan amount you need, considering tuition fees, living expenses, and other related costs.

Step 3: Collect Documents

Gather Necessary Documents:

    • Collect all required documents, including identity proof, address proof, admission letter, academic records, co-borrower details, income proof, and any other documents specified by the lender.

Step 4: Online Application

Visit the Lender’s Website:

    • Go to the official website of the chosen lender.

Navigate to the Education Loan Section:

    • Look for the education loan section on the website.

Fill in the Online Application Form:

    • Complete the online application form with accurate details. Provide all required information, including personal details, academic details, and financial information.

Upload Documents:

    • Scan and upload the necessary documents as per the lender’s requirements.

Co-Borrower Details:

    • Enter details of the co-borrower, if applicable.

Review and Submit:

    • Review the information provided and submit the online application form.

Step 5: Application Processing

Application Processing:

    • Once the application is submitted, the lender will process the application and may contact you for additional information if needed.

Step 6: Loan Approval

Loan Approval and Offer Letter:

    • If your application is approved, the lender will provide an offer letter specifying the loan amount, interest rate, terms, and conditions.

Step 7: Acceptance and Disbursement

Accept the Offer:

    • After reviewing the offer, accept it if you find the terms favourable.

Verification and Disbursement:

    • The lender will verify the details and disburse the loan amount directly to the educational institution or to your account, as per their process.

Step 8: Repayment

Moratorium Period:

    • Make note of the moratorium period during which you are not required to make repayments.

Start Repayment:

    • Repayment typically begins after the completion of the course or a specified moratorium period.

Additional Tips:

  • Stay Informed:
    • Keep track of your application status by logging into the lender’s portal or contacting their customer service.
  • Read Terms and Conditions:
    • Thoroughly read and understand the terms and conditions outlined in the loan agreement before accepting the offer.
  • Seek Guidance:
    • If you have any doubts or concerns, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from the lender’s customer service or visit the nearest branch.

Remember that the process may vary slightly among different lenders, and it’s crucial to follow the specific instructions provided by the chosen financial institution.

30 Tips for Education Loan Applicants in India

  1. Research Lenders:
    • Explore offerings from banks, financial institutions, and NBFCs; compare interest rates and benefits.
  2. Understand Eligibility:
    • Review eligibility criteria to ensure alignment.
  3. Check Course and Institution:
    • Confirm coverage for your specific course and institution.
  4. Loan Amount Assessment:
    • Borrow only what’s necessary for tuition, accommodation, and essential expenses.
  5. Explore Government Schemes:
    • Investigate government-sponsored schemes and interest subsidies.
  6. Compare Interest Rates:
    • Understand fixed vs. floating rates and choose based on financial strategy.
  7. Repayment Tenure:
    • Consider tenure impact on EMIs and overall interest payments.
  8. Explore Collateral Options:
    • Assess collateral requirements and options for loans without collateral.
  9. Moratorium Period:
    • Be aware of the grace period before repayment begins.
  10. Evaluate Repayment Plans:
    • Explore different plans and choose based on future financial expectations.
  11. Check for Prepayment Penalties:
    • Inquire about penalties for early repayment.
  12. Interest-Only Repayment:
    • Check if interest-only payments are allowed during the moratorium.
  13. Research Tax Benefits:
    • Understand tax benefits under Section 80E of the Income Tax Act.
  14. Check Processing Fees:
    • Inquire about processing fees and compare among lenders.
  15. Maintain Good Credit Score:
    • A good credit score enhances approval chances and may result in lower rates.
  16. Apply for Scholarships:
    • Explore scholarship options to reduce financial burden.
  17. Keep Academic Records Ready:
    • Have all academic records and admission letters ready.
  18. Evaluate Co-Borrower Options:
    • Consider including a co-borrower for a stronger application.
  19. Read Loan Agreement Thoroughly:
    • Understand terms and conditions before signing.
  20. Stay Informed on Interest Rate Changes:
    • Be aware of interest rate changes and their impact.
  21. Establish Communication Channels:
    • Maintain open communication with the lender.
  22. Attend Loan Counselling Sessions:
    • Attend sessions to clarify doubts and gain insights.
  23. Build Financial Literacy:
    • Understand financial concepts and investment options.
  24. Have a Contingency Plan:
    • Plan for unforeseen circumstances affecting repayment.
  25. Explore Insurance Options:
    • Evaluate insurance plans offered by lenders.
  26. Use Online Loan Calculators:
    • Estimate EMIs and assess financial impact using online calculators.
  27. Build a Budget:
    • Create a budget for all expenses to manage finances effectively.
  28. Network with Alumni:
    • Connect with alumni for insights into managing finances during studies.
  29. Plan for Job Placement:
    • Have a plan for job placement post-education.
  30. Seek Financial Counselling:
    • Seek counselling for well-informed decisions.

Remember, each student’s financial situation is unique, so tailor these tips to suit your specific needs and circumstances. Always seek advice from financial experts if needed.

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