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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Check out our top picks below or learn more about other ways to pay for college.
3.70% to 11.98% APR1

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3.25% to 10.65% APR2

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3.52% to 9.50% 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 3.70% – 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 3.52% – 9.50% 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 3.24% – 11.50% and fixed rates at 4.72% – 12.19%
  • 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 4.10% – 10.61% and fixed rates at 5.36% – 10.49%

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 2.14% – 7.71% and fixed rates at 3.48% – 7.94%
  • CommonBond
    • Offers variable rates at 2.14% – 8.01% and fixed rates at 3.46%– 8.24%
  • Citizens Bank
    • Offers variable rates at 2.34% – 9.12% and fixed rates at 3.45% – 9.62%
  • Earnest
    • Offers variable rates at 2.14% – 6.79% and fixed rates at 3.45% – 7.49%

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.

1 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 9/3/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.


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

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restrictions. Loans are offered through CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS #1175900).

  1.  Rates are as of July 1, 2019 and include auto-pay discount. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

4 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 discover.com/student-loans/interest-rates for more information about interest rates.
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.

5 Important Disclosures for Citizens.

Citizens Disclosures

  1. Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of September 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.14%. Variable interest rates range from 3.24% – 11.50% (3.24% – 11.35% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 4.72% – 12.19% (4.72% – 12.04% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown requires application with a co-signer, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan.
  2. Citizens Bank Student Loan Eligibility: Borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution. Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or an international borrower/eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For borrowers who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank- participating school. 

    Please Note: International Students are not eligible for the multi-year approval feature.

  3. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply. Borrowers whose loans were funded prior to reaching the age of majority may not be eligible for co-signer release. Note: co-signer release is not available on the Student Loan for Parents or Education Refinance Loan for Parents.
3.70%
11.98%
1
Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

3.25% – 10.65%*,2Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

3.52% – 9.50%3Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit CommonBond

3.37%
11.87%
4
Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

3.24% – 11.50%5Undergraduate and Graduate

VISIT CITIZENS

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
3.70% – 11.98%1 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit College Ave

3.25% – 10.65%2 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit SallieMae

3.52% – 9.50%3 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit CommonBond

3.37% – 11.87%4 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Discover

3.24% – 11.50%5 Undergraduate
Graduate

VISIT CITIZENS