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Sparrow Review

Katy Ward
Jul. 19, 2023
4 min read
Katy Ward
Sparrow Summary
Founded in 2020, Sparrow is a free-to-use online marketplace that allows you to search for undergraduate and graduate loans from its partner lenders without affecting your credit score. Offering borrowers access to more than a million pre-qualified loans per year, the service allows you to compare providers in just 3 minutes. For accessing potentially more attractive rates, you could consider adding a cosigner to your pre-qualification request.

Pros

  • No impact on credit score
  • Vetted by university partners
  • Search for loans in just three minutes

Cons

  • 24/7 customer service not available
  • App not available

Sparrow at a glance

9.2
Editorial score

Online experience

Good online resources, but no access to rates
8.0

Customer services and support

Multiple ways of reaching lender, wide range of hours
8.0

Repayment flexibility

Offers flexible repayment plans & the option for special repayment programs
10.0

Eligibility

Loans available to all credit types, income levels, and students
10.0

Variety of Loan Types

Offers all loan types
10.0

Overview

Sparrow describes itself as “the world’s most powerful student loan search,” offering access to private funding through its partner lenders. In 2022, the company’s users searched for loans worth more than $220 million.

As it’s vetted by many of the universities it works with, Sparrow has strong relationships with several partner schools, including:

  • Boise State University

  • Southern Oregon University

  • University of San Diego

  • Chapman University

  • Mercer University

Unlike its competitors, the company focuses entirely on student loans and markets itself as doing “one thing [...] really, really well.”

Sparrow is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has a rating of A+ with the organization. The company currently has a rating of 4/5 on Trustpilot, based on 14 reviews.

Note, the company also offers refinancing products. 

Suitable For?

Thanks to its intuitive layout and use of jargon-free language, Sparrow could be an attractive option if you’d like to compare a range of loan options quickly and with minimal hassle. 

As Sparrow will allow you to add a cosigner to your pre-qualification request, it could also be a good choice if you have a low income or poor credit history. A relative, parent, friend, or guardian can act as your cosigner. 

Loan Features 

Sparrow provides access to private funding for both undergraduates and graduates, with its panel of lenders offering fixed- and variable-rate APRs.

Because the company integrates directly with the lenders on its panel, it can provide you with personalized rates and repayment options based on your circumstances.

The maximum amount you can borrow is based on your school’s certified costs, less any additional funding for which you are eligible, such as scholarships or government support. As all schools' costs will vary, it’s a good idea to check these with your university before you apply.

The Pre-Qualification Process

Sparrow is entirely online and doesn’t have any physical offices. If you’d like to find a loan through Sparrow, you’ll need to fill in the pre-qualification form on the website. In most cases, this process takes just three minutes.

Sparrow will also allow you to pre-qualify for a loan. To do so, you’ll need to provide:

  • Your name

  • Your date of birth

  • Your citizenship status

  • Your address

  • Your email address

  • The amount you wish to borrow

  • Your expenses

  • The name of your school and your graduation date

You’ll only need to provide your information at this stage (even if you live with your parents). If you’re adding a cosigner, they’ll need to provide their details in a separate cosigner profile. 

Sparrow will then perform a soft search on your credit, which won’t affect your credit score. It’s important to note, however, that the lender you select will perform its own checks to establish your creditworthiness. 

The documents you’ll need to submit will vary according to the lender you choose. However, most companies will require you to upload a pay stub (W-2s, 1099s) and proof of identity, such as your driver’s license or passport. Some lenders may also require you to submit copies of your transcript to verify your GPA.

Eligibility Requirements

As Sparrow isn’t itself a lender, it doesn’t have a minimum credit score or income requirement to use its service. However, it states you’ll generally need a credit score in the mid-600s to pre-qualify for a loan.

You won’t need to complete the FAFSA to use Sparrow.

Loan Rates

The rate you receive for your loan will depend on the individual lender. You’ll also be able to access lower rates if you have a strong credit score or a cosigner. 

It’s pleasing to see that Sparrow displays all its lenders’ rates clearly and transparently on its website. At the time of writing (June 2023), Sparrow’s partners offered fixed rates of between 0.25% - 23%, and variable rates of between 3.37% - 16.20%.

Repayment Terms

When using the service, you can also choose between the following repayment types.

Immediate: Full repayments are due soon after you receive your funds.

Interest-only: You’ll only make repayments towards the interest while you’re in school.

Fixed payment: You’ll make a flat repayment while you’re studying, with full repayments beginning after graduation.

Full deferral: You won’t begin making repayments until after your graduation (often with a six-month grace period). Interest will begin accruing as soon as you receive your funds.

Note, the types of repayment plans available will vary by lender.

How Safe Is It? 

Sparrow includes SSL encryption on its website, which will establish a secure connection between your device and its servers. This should ensure that any confidential information you enter remains safe.

Customer Service

You can contact Sparrow through phone, email, live chat, WhatsApp, Twitter, or Facebook. Customer support hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-7pm (ET). 

Sparrow also has a detailed selection of FAQs on its website, which provide a great deal of information about the company and the pre-qualification process.

How Sparrow Compares 


Sparrow
College Ave
Sallie Mae

APR

Varies by provider

5.09%-15.99% (variable APR)

4.44%-15.99% (fixed APR)

5.49%-15.83% (variable APR)

4.50-14.83% (fixed APR)

Minimum credit score

Varies by provider

Score of mid-600s 
generally required for pre-qualification

640

None published on site

Loan amounts

Full cost of school, minus other funding

From $1,000 up to full cost of degree

Minimum of $1,000 per year

Accepts cosigners 

Yes


Yes

Yes

Suitable for

Borrowers looking to compare a range of lending options

Those with a solid credit score or cosigner

Students seeking repayment flexibility

Summary

Sparrow could be a great choice if you’re looking to compare your lending options, as it allows you to quickly and easily compare a range of providers. The company is accredited by the BBB with an A+ rating, and using its comparison service won’t impact your credit score. Although it doesn’t currently offer an app, the pre-qualification process is simple, intuitive, and takes just three minutes.

Methodology

This review was compiled by visiting Sparrow’s website, contacting its customer service team over email, and reading online reviews.

Katy Ward
Written by
Katy Ward
Oxford graduate Katy Ward is a seasoned journalist and editor covering personal finance for Eleven Writing and Top10. Over a 15-year career, Katy has worked with several finance titans, including Barclays, Tandem Bank, and Yahoo! Finance. She enjoys identifying complex financial trends that make for interesting article topics.
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