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 2022!
      LenderVariable APREligibility 
      2.49% – 13.85%1Undergraduate

      Visit College Ave

      2.55% – 11.44%2Undergraduate

      Visit Earnest

      3.25% – 13.59%3Undergraduate

      Visit SallieMae

      0.00% – 23.00%4Undergraduate

      Visit Edly

      3.25% – 9.69%6Undergraduate



      Visit FundingU

      * 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 Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community 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. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.
      2. 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.
      3. 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.

      Information advertised valid as of 9/15/2022. 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 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.

      Earnest Disclosures

      Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 3.47% APR to 13.03% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 2.80% APR to 11.69% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.

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

      4 Important Disclosures for Edly.

      Edly Disclosures

      1. Loan Example:

      • Loans from $5,000 – $20,000
      • Example: $10,000 IBR Loan with a 7% gross income payment percentage for a Senior student making $65,000 annually throughout the life of the loan.
        • Payments deferred for the first 12 months during final year of education.
        • After which, $270 Monthly payment for 12 months.
        • Then $379 Monthly payment for 44 months.
        • Followed by one final payment of $137 for a total of $20,610 paid over the life of the loan.

      About this example

      The initial payment schedule is set upon receiving final terms and upon confirmation by your school of the loan amount. You may repay this loan at any time by paying an effective APR of 23%. The maximum amount you will pay is $22,500 (not including Late Fees and Returned Check Fees, if any). The maximum number of regularly scheduled payments you will make is 60. You will not pay more than 23% APR. No payment is required if your gross earned income is below $30,000 annually or if you lose your job and cannot find employment.

      2. Edly Student IBR Loans are unsecured personal student loans issued by FinWise Bank, a Utah chartered commercial bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to eligibility criteria and review of creditworthiness and history. Terms and conditions apply.

      5 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

      Citizens Bank Disclosures

      • Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates are based on the 30-day average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) index, as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As of September 1, 2022, the 30-day average SOFR index is 2.23%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the SOFR index, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable interest rate is the greater of 21.00% or the 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 are only available for the most creditworthy applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, immediate repayment, a graduate or medical 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.


        Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.25%-10.35% (3.25% – 9.69% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.24% – 10.59% (4.24% – 9.93% APR). 

        Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.75%-9.90% (3.75% – 9.68% APR). Fixed interest rates range from  5.22% – 10.14% (5.22% – 9.91% APR). 

        Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.75%-9.35% (3.75% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 5.20% – 9.59% (5.20% – 9.39% APR).

        Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.75%-9.02% (3.75% -8.98% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 5.18% – 9.26% (5.18% – 9.22% APR). 

        Parent Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.25%-9.21% (3.25% – 9.21% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 3.96%-9.50% (3.96%-9.50% APR).

        Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 6.58%-11.72% (6.58% – 11.62% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.40% – 12.82% APR). 

        Medical Residency Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 5.67%-9.17% (5.67% – 8.76% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.99% – 10.49% (6.97% – 10.08% APR).

      6 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.

      Published in Review, Student Loans