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The financial market has gone through ups and downs in recent years, and your student loans could be caught in the middle. Some lenders, such as Bank of America, once offered student loans but no longer do.
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 are looking to get a new loan from the banking giant.
Bank of America student loans
Bank of America is one of the largest banks in the United States based on assets. It once serviced private student loans and federal student loans, including Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, and other loans under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).
Applying for a new Bank of America student loan is no longer possible, but there are other student aid options to consider.
Options instead of a Bank of America student loan
Before you explore other private student loan lenders, it’s important to ensure you’ve completed a couple of key financial aid steps:
- Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA will determine the federal financial aid you’re eligible for, such as grants, work-study, and federal loans.
- Identify your financial gap. After you receive your financial aid award, determine if you need additional funds. If you do, private student loans might be an option. Eligibility for private student loans is determined by the lender and based on factors such as income and credit score.
Here are examples of other private student loan options:
|Citizens Bank||4.45% – 12.32%||5, 10, or 15 years||Citizens Bank issues private student loans from $1,000 to $295,000. You also have the option to pay immediately, pay interest only, or defer your payment.|
|LendKey||4.50% – 9.47%||10 years||You won’t pay any fees with LendKey, and not-for-profit lenders fund all loans. It also offers co-signer release to creditworthy borrowers who have made consecutive, full on-time payments.|
For more, check out our private student loan marketplace.
What to do with existing Bank of America student loans
If you already have a student loan originally issued by Bank of America, you can check the loan’s status using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), which is the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for Title IV loans and grants.
You should be able to log in if you already have an FSA ID. If you don’t have an FSA ID, you can create a new one online.
Once you know your current student loan status and servicer, you can continue making loan payments through your servicer or look into refinancing options.
Refinancing Bank of America student loans
Regardless of your original lender, when you refinance, a new lender will pay off the amount owed and issue you a new loan with new terms. This process might help you get lower interest rates or monthly payments.
Different servicers have different eligibility requirements, interest rates, and terms, which is why it’s important to compare your options.
Since Bank of America no longer refinances student loans, you could consider some other lenders, including the following:
|CommonBond||2.49% – 8.07%||5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years||There’s no minimum income requirement, and CommonBond will pause your loan payments if you’re unemployed. It also will help eligible graduates find new jobs and hire them for short-term consulting projects.|
|Laurel Road||2.50% – 7.02%||5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years||Laurel Road also helps parents who took out student loans to finance their children’s education. There’s no minimum income requirement, and, according to the Laurel Road website, customers can save more than $20,000 on their student loans with refinancing.|
|PenFed||3.10% – 7.84%||5, 8, 12, or 15 years||PenFed is the only lender to offer couple loan refinancing for spouses who want to refinance their student loans together. Bonus: An advisor is assigned to every applicant.|
Whether you had a Bank of America student loan or were considering getting one, there are plenty of options for funding your education or adjusting your repayment plan.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
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 an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7% variable Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 96 monthly payments of $179.28 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $17,211.20. 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 5/22/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
* 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.
3 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
4 Important Disclosures for Discover.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
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.
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 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 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.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|3.99% – 11.32%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.50% – 11.35%*,3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.84% – 13.49%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 11.30%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 9.47%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.74% – 9.72%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.32%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|