Bank of America Student Loan Alternatives

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

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3.99% to 11.44% APR1

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3.98% to 11.35% APR2

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3.96% to 11.98% APR3

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  • Variable APR

The financial market has gone through ups and downs in recent years, and your student loans could be caught in the middle. For example, Bank of America once offered student loans — you might have even had one — but they have been discontinued.

When student loans are sold to another servicer, borrowers can be left with questions about how to handle their loans. Here’s everything you need to know if you had Bank of America student loans or if were looking to get a new loan from the banking giant.

Bank of America student loans

Bank of America is one of the “Big Four” consumer banks in the United States based on assets. It once serviced both private student loans and federal student loans, including Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, and those issued under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

After 2009, however, Bank of America stopped issuing school loans and divested itself of its student loan portfolio. If you had Bank of America student loans, you should have received information on your new lender or servicer.

If you’re not sure who’s servicing your former Bank of America student loans, find out by logging in to the National Student Loan Data System, the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for Title IV loans and grants. Or if you had private loans, order a credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com for information on all your debt.

Alternatives to Bank of America student loans

If you’re looking to take out a new loan for your education, you might not be able to borrow student loans from Bank of America anymore, but you do have a few other options:

1. Borrow federal student loans

Before turning to any private loans, you should probably max out your eligibility for federal student loans. Federal loans tend to have very competitive interest rates, especially for undergraduate students, and they don’t require a cosigner.

Federal student loans also come with borrower protections, such as lenient forbearance and deferment options, as well as income-driven repayment plans. Students with financial need might also qualify for subsidized loans, which don’t accrue interest until your grace period ends.

To access federal student loans (as well as grants, work study and other aid), you need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once you get accepted to college, your financial aid award letter will detail how much you can borrow in federal student loans.

Since these loans come with borrowing limits, you might still have a gap in funding. If you need additional money for college or graduate school, it could make sense to explore private lenders.

2. Compare your options for private student loans

Unlike federal student loans, private loans have varying rates and terms. Each lender sets its own policies, so your private student loan offer from one bank might be different from your offer from another.

That’s why it’s crucial to shop around for a private student loan to find the best rates and terms. Here are some alternatives to Bank of America student loans.

College Ave Student Loans

  • Provides variable rates at 3.96% – 11.98% and fixed rates at 4.72% – 12.94%
  • Offers loans that cover up to 100% of your cost of attendance
  • Lets you choose repayment terms of 5, 8, 10 or 15 years
  • Offers the option to defer payments while you’re in school and for six months after you graduate, or to make interest-only, flat or full payments while in school
  • Doesn’t charge an origination fee

Learn more about College Ave student loans in this review.

CommonBond

  • Provides variable rates at 3.66% – 9.64% and fixed rates at 5.45% – 9.74%
  • Offers loans from $2,000 and up to 100% of your cost of attendance
  • Has repayment terms of 5, 10, or 15 years
  • Offers four repayment options: no payments while in school or during your grace period, in-school monthly payments of $25, in-school interest-only payments, or in-school full payments
  • Has no origination fee

Check out our CommonBond review here.

Citizens Bank

  • Offers variable rates at 3.89% – 11.61% and fixed rates at 4.90% – 12.04%
  • Provides interest rate deductions for Citizens Bank customers
  • Has loans from $1,000 to $150,000 for undergraduates
  • Allows repayment terms of 5, 10 or 15 years
  • Doesn’t charge an origination fee
  • Offers multi-year approval so it’s easy to borrow in future semesters

Read our Citizens Bank review for more information.

LendKey

  • Provides a student loan marketplace that allows you to compare multiple offers from credit unions and community banks
  • Has variable rates at 4.40% – 9.37% and fixed rates at 5.36% – 9.07%

Check out our LendKey review for more details.

Along with exploring your student loan options from national lenders, you might also look to another local bank or credit union to see what it has to offer.

Several of these lenders offer instant rate quotes online, so you can see if you prequalify in a matter of minutes. Remember that once you choose a loan, you might get to select a fixed or variable interest rate, as well as loan terms between five and 15 years.

You can use our student loan calculator to estimate your future monthly payments so you understand exactly what you’re getting into before finalizing your loan application.

Refinancing Bank of America student loans

If you took out Bank of America student loans before 2009, you can still refinance them with a new lender. Through refinancing, you could potentially snag a lower interest and save money on your debt.

Plus, you can combine multiple loans into one, thereby simplifying repayment. And if you want to choose a longer or shorter term to adjust your payments, you can usually do that, too.

Some solid options for student loan refinancing providers include:

  • SoFi
    • Offers variable rates at 2.41% – 7.89% and fixed rates at 3.49% – 8.14%
  • CommonBond
    • Offers variable rates at 2.41% – 8.19% and fixed rates at 3.48%– 8.44%
  • Citizens Bank
    • Offers variable rates at 2.60% – 9.60% and fixed rates at 3.59% – 9.85%
  • Earnest
    • Offers variable rates at 2.41% – 6.99% and fixed rates at 3.47% – 7.72%

For the full list, head to our student loan refinancing marketplace. If you have the credit and income to qualify, refinancing could help you strategically manage your student loans from Bank of America or wherever else.

But if you’re relying on federal programs, be careful — refinancing with a private lender means you lose access to income-driven plans, certain forgiveness programs and other federal perks. Because of this, you should only pursue this path if you’re comfortable turning your debt private.

Whether you’re looking to borrow a new private student loan or refinance an existing one, make sure to shop around to find the best offer. After all, borrowing or refinancing debt is a big decision.

Need a student loan?

Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
LenderVariable APREligibility 
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
** Discover's lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Rates include 0.25% Auto Pay Discount
  2. Explanation of Rates “With Autopay” (APD)
    Rates shown include 0.25% APR discount when client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.

    Available Terms
    For Cosigned loans – 5, 7, 10, 12, 15 years. 
    Primary Only – 10, 12, 15 years

    In school deferred payment is not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NY, PA, and WA).


2 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

3 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

(1)All rates shown include the auto-pay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

(2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.

Information advertised valid as of 7/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.


4 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.

Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.

Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
If you are unable to pay your government loan, the government can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount. In addition, the government has special powers to collect the loan, such as taking your tax refund and applying it to your loan balance.

A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If you refinance your government loan, your new lender will use the proceeds of your new loan to pay off your government loan. Private student loan lenders do not have to honor any of the benefits that apply to government loans. Because your government loan will be gone after refinancing, you will lose any benefits that apply to that loan. If you are an active-duty service member, your new loan will not be eligible for service member benefits. Most importantly, once you refinance your government loan, you will not able to reinstate your government loan if you become dissatisfied with the terms of your private student loan.

If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you are a borrower with a secure job, emergency savings, strong credit and are unlikely to need any of the options available to distressed borrowers of government loans, a refinance of your government loans into a private student loan may be attractive to you. You should consider the costs and benefits of refinancing carefully before you refinance.

If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.

Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.


5 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  2. View Auto Reward Debit Reward Terms and Conditions at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/AutoDebitReward.
  3. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  4. Lowest rates shown ARE FOR THE UNDERGRADUATE LOAN AND include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest INTEREST RATE OFFERED ON THE DISCOVER UNDERGRADUATE LOAN and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including Undergraduate, Graduate, Health Professions, Law and MBA Loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable Margin percentage. The margin is based on your credit evaluation at the time of application and does not change. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 2.50% as of July 1, 2019. Discover Student Loans will adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Please visit https://www.discover.com/student-loans/interest-rates.html for more information about interest rates.
3.99% – 11.44%1Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Earnest

3.98% – 11.35%*,2Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

3.96%
11.98%
3
Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

3.66% – 9.64%4Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit CommonBond

3.87%
11.87%
**,5
Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Need a student loan?

Check out our top picks below or learn more about other ways to pay for college.
Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Variable APRDegrees That QualifyMore Info
3.99% – 11.44%1 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Earnest

3.98% – 11.35%2 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit SallieMae

3.96% – 11.98%3 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit College Ave

3.66% – 9.64%4 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit CommonBond

3.87% – 11.87%5 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Discover