Alternatives to BB&T Student Loans

 September 9, 2020
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BB&T Bank is a solid choice for college students who need to store and access their money. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as BB&T student loans, so this lender isn’t an option for students looking to fund their education.

But if you were seeking BB&T student loans, know that there are many other options, both in terms of federal loans, as well as private lenders with competitive interest rates. Here’s a look at some of the possibilities.

Alternatives to BB&T student loans

Borrowing should only be necessary if you still need funding after you’ve already applied for scholarships, state grants and other gift aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. You could also diminish your school’s cost of attendance by crowdfunding, working a summer job and tapping savings.

Once you do turn to loans, you have two types of debt to choose from: You can borrow from the Department of Education or you can seek out a private entity such as a bank, credit union, online company or state agency.

Federal student loans

It’s generally best to favor federal student loans, since they come with protections that private student loans lack. They also don’t require extensive credit checks, with every federal loan borrower receiving the same interest rate.

You main federal loan choices are:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans: Undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need can receive this loan type, which is interest-free while you’re in school, during your grace period, and anytime you enter deferment.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Undergraduate and graduate students can borrow this type of loan regardless of financial need. Unlike Subsidized loans, these begin to accrue interest as soon as you get the money.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: Graduate and professional students, as well as parents borrowing on behalf of their child, can access PLUS Loans. Unlike the other types above, they can cover up to the entire cost of attendance, but borrowers can’t have an adverse credit history.

Private student loans from BB&T-like lenders

Unlike federal student loans, private student loan interest rates depend on you or your cosigner’s credit history. In some cases, especially with a creditworthy cosigner, you might be able to score a lower interest rate with your local bank than you could via Uncle Sam.

Just remember that private loans generally don’t offer government-exclusive protections, such as income-driven repayment and clear paths to payment postponements and loan forgiveness. With that in mind, you might wait to borrow a private loan until you hit your federal loan borrowing limit.

If you’re seeking a BB&T-like bank for a private student loan, consider what drew you to BB&T in the first place. It’s a one-stop-shop for other financial products, it includes online education tools, and it has 1,700 branches across 15 states and Washington, D.C.

Here are three more lenders with similar features:

1. SunTrust

BB&T announced plans to merge with student loan lender SunTrust Bank in February 2019. The merger is pending regulatory approval, so it’s currently unclear whether BB&T customers would receive any special perks for borrowing for college via SunTrust.

Still, SunTrust could be appealing in and of itself. It offers student-centric checking and up to 0.50% in interest rate discounts on its student loans.

  • Borrow from $1,001 to $65,000 (for undergraduates)
  • Repayment term options: 7, 10 and 15 years
  • Cosigner release available after three to four years of timely payments

2. PNC

Some big banks have a reputation for excessive fees. But although PNC is a major financial institution, it charges no extra costs to apply for, receive or repay student loans.

  • Borrow from $1,000 to $50,000 (for undergraduates)
  • Repayment terms options: 5, 10 and 15 years
  • Cosigner release available after four years of timely payments

3. Citizens Bank

Citizens stands out for its accessible eligibility rules. Even international students with U.S. resident cosigners can borrow. If you’re a parent comparing banks for students, keep in mind that moms and dads are also eligible. The bank also offers multi-year approval to ease the application process for additional years of borrowing.

  • Borrow from $1,000 to $150,000 (for undergraduates)
  • Repayment terms options: 5, 10 and 15 years
  • Cosigner release available after three years of timely payments

      Find the best alternative for BB&T loans

      Although BB&T student loans don’t exist, plenty of suitable alternatives do.

      When borrowing for your education, it’s usually wise to choose a federal loan first. If you hit your borrowing limits or could score a lower interest rate elsewhere (and don’t mind giving up government-exclusive safeguards), then a private loan could be a good choice.

      As you shop around, consider more than the interest rate. Ensure the lender’s repayment term options, cosigner release policy and customer service performance all meet your preferences. To start, you could check out the list of our favorite private student loans available.

      Need a student loan?

      Here are our top student loan lenders of 2021!
      LenderVariable APREligibility 
      0.99% – 11.98%1Undergraduate
      Graduate

      Visit College Ave

      1.13% – 11.23%*,2Undergraduate
      Graduate

      Visit SallieMae

      0.99% – 11.44%3Undergraduate
      Graduate

      Visit Earnest

      1.50% – 11.33%4Undergraduate
      Graduate

      Visit Ascent

      1.12% – 11.23%5Undergraduate
      Graduate

      Visit SoFi

      1.15% – 11.01%6Undergraduate
      Graduate

      VISIT CITIZENS

      N/A7Undergraduate
      Graduate

      Visit FundingU

      3.80% – 9.36%8Undergraduate
      Graduate

      Visit CommonBond

      * 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.

      Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay 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.

      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. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a first year graduate student 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 7.10% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $141.66 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $16,699.21. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

      Information advertised valid as of 8/9/2021. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.


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

      3 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. 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).


      4 Important Disclosures for Ascent.

      Ascent Disclosures

      Ascent loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs.

      Rates are effective as of 10/01/2021 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes income-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates.

      1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions, please visit AscentFunding.com/Cashback. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student borrowers must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs are available for the most creditworthy applicants and may require a cosigner.


      5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

      Sofi Disclosures

      UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 10.66% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.12% to 11.23% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 10.90% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.10% to 11.34% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.08% to 10.86% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.05% to 11.29% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 10.66% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.20% to 11.23% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 4/1/2021. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (>www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).


      6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

      Citizens Bank Disclosures

      Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.15% – 11.01% (1.15% – 10.24 APR)Fixed interest rates range from 4.18% – 11.70% (4.18% – 10.83% APR).

      Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 10.66% (1.89% – 10.41% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.64% – 11.23%% (4.64% – 10.95% APR).

      Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 9.22% (1.89% – 8.50% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.38% – 10.44% (4.38% – 9.72% APR).

      Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 8.02% (1.89% – 7.72% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.28% – 9.24% (4.28% – 8.94% APR).

      Parent Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.97% – 7.06% (1.97% – 7.06% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.94% – 8.58% (4.94% – 8.58% APR).

      Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 4.44% – 9.58% (4.44% – 9.52% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.40% – 12.83% APR).

      Medical Residency Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.53% – 7.03% (3.53% – 6.76% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.99% – 10.49% (6.98% – 10.09% APR).

      Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable Rates are 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 June 1, 2021, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.09%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. 

      Fixed Rate Disclosure: Fixed rate ranges are based on applicable terms, level of degree, and presence of a co-signer.

      Lowest Rate Disclosure: Lowest rates require a 5-year repayment term, immediate repayment, a graduate degree (where applicable), 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. Rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.

      Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer.  Borrowers should carefully review federal benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are considering possible loan forgiveness options, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision on our website including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.

      Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For applicants 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 any time. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/Promissory Note, 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.

      Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.

      Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.


      7 Important Disclosures for Funding U.

      Funding U Disclosures

      Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are made by Funding University which is a for-profit enterprise. Funding University is not affiliated with the school you are attending or any other learning institution. None of the information contained in Funding University’s website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by Funding University or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.


      8 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

      CommonBond Disclosures

      Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.  If you choose to complete an application, we will conduct a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit score. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.

      Published in Review, Student Loans