Review: Here’s Why College Students Are Borrowing From CommonBond

commonbond private student loans

Way back when, you had to go to a bank to take out a private student loan. But today, online lenders like CommonBond make it easy to borrow money right from your laptop — in the comfort of your PJs.

In addition to an easy application process, CommonBond also offers competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. Whether you’re going to college or grad school, CommonBond can help finance your education.

To learn more about CommonBond’s private student loans, check out this full review.

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CommonBond private student loans review

CommonBond has established itself as a leader in student loan refinancing. More recently, the company started lending private student loans to undergraduate and graduate students. Plus, it provides MBA loans to students of select business schools.

Pros of CommonBond private student loans

CommonBond’s private student loans have a number of advantages. First, these loans have competitive interest rates. You’ll be paying off your student loan for as long as 15 years; securing a low interest rate at the start could save you lots of money over the life of your loan.

Second, CommonBond offers flexible repayment terms, including a post-graduation grace period. Similar to federal student loans, you’ll have six months to secure a job before you have to start paying back your loans.

A third advantage has to do with co-signer release. If you make on-time payments for 24 consecutive months, CommonBond releases your co-signer from the loan. Your parent or friend will no longer be on the hook for your student debt.

Cons of CommonBond private student loans

Those are just a few of the benefits of CommonBond’s private student loans. However, you should also be aware of a few disadvantages that come with private student loans.

Even with its competitive interest rates, CommonBond can’t necessarily match the low rates of federal student loans. And although it provides some borrower protections, CommonBond doesn’t offer income-driven repayment plans. If possible, most people should opt for federal student loans before they take out private ones.

Another downside has to do with CommonBond’s co-signer requirement. Though you can release your co-signer after two years, borrowers — except for those taking out an MBA loan — must apply with a creditworthy co-signer. If you’re headed to graduate school, you might prefer a lender without this co-signer requirement.

Finally, CommonBond doesn’t offer a quick rate quote. You’ll need to fill out an entire application — and consent to a hard credit check — before seeing your interest rates. A hard credit check could impact your credit score, even if you don’t sign for a loan in the end.

Overall, CommonBond’s private student loans offer appealing terms to borrowers. But make sure you read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.

CommonBond’s private student loan products

CommonBond offers three types of private student loans:

  1. Student loans for undergraduate students
  2. Student loans for graduate students
  3. MBA loans for students of eligible business schools

Its undergraduate and graduate student loans work in similar ways. Both share the same application requirements, interest rates, and repayment terms. Plus, both types require that you apply with a creditworthy co-signer.

To borrow one of these loans, you must be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible Title IV or non-profit school. You can borrow up to 100 percent of your school’s cost of attendance.

CommonBond’s MBA student loans work a little differently. To borrow this type of loan, you must be enrolled at one of CommonBond’s 29 partner schools. Although these loans are more selective, they come with one particular advantage: You don’t need a co-signer to qualify.

CommonBond’s private student loans come with flexible repayment options, too. You can choose one of these terms:

  • Defer payments while you’re a student. You’ll have a six-month grace period before your first student loan payment is due.
  • Pay $25 each month while you’re in school. Unpaid interest will be capitalized onto your loan. (This option is not available for MBA loans.)
  • Make interest-only payments while you’re in school.
  • Start paying back the loan immediately with full monthly payments from the date of disbursement.

In addition to these approaches, CommonBond also offers forbearance for financial hardship. The company makes it easy to choose the approach that works best for you.

Using the CommonBond online platform

To take out a CommonBond private student loan, start by heading to the CommonBond website and clicking on “Get Your Rate.”

Next, you’ll choose your product. For this review, we’ll choose undergraduate and graduate student loans.

commonbond private student loans

CommonBond starts with a few basic eligibility questions. You’ll indicate whether you’re the borrower or co-signer. In this case, we’ll choose borrower. Then, enter some basic information about yourself and your co-signer.

commonbond private student loans

As long as you attend an eligible school and are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, CommonBond will give you the all-clear to apply.

commonbond private student loans

At this point, you’ll head to CommonBond’s partner company, Campus Door. Campus Door handles the paperwork for CommonBond, and it will contact your school to approve your loan request. CommonBond will still originate the loan and act as your lender.

After you click “Continue My Application,” CommonBond will direct you to Campus Door to create an account.

commonbond private student loans

Once you create your account, you’ll provide additional information about your school, housing situation, and employment (if applicable). You’ll also provide a reference and sign any disclosures.

In the final step of the process, Campus Door will verify your enrollment with your college or grad school. Once your paperwork goes through, the company will disburse your funds.

If you have any questions throughout the process, email a CommonBond customer care representative for help.

CommonBond student loan interest rates and fees

When you take out one of CommonBond’s private student loans, you can choose between a fixed and variable interest rate. Fixed rates stay the same over the life of the loan, while variable ones fluctuate with the market. Variable rates tend to start out lower than fixed ones, but they run the risk of increasing over time.

These are the APRs for CommonBond’s private student loans at time of writing:

  • Undergraduate and graduate student loans: Variable APR between 3.05% and 8.94%. Fixed APR between 5.50% and 9.67%. Repayment terms may be five, 10, or 15 years.
  • MBA student loans: Variable APR is 5.11% for a 10-year term or 5.26% for a 15-year term. Fixed rates are 6.25% for 10 years or 6.72% for 15 years.

All of CommonBond’s private student loans come with a 2 percent origination fee. But they don’t have any other application or prepayment fees.

Even if you choose a 10- or 15-year term, you can pay the loan off earlier with no penalty.

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CommonBond eligibility requirements

To borrow a student loan from CommonBond, you must meet a few eligibility requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. International applicants may be interested in CommonBond’s partner, Prodigy Finance. It assists international students looking for student loans.
  • You must be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. For general student loans, this probably means you’re at a Title IV school.
  • For an MBA loan, you have to be enrolled at one of CommonBond’s partner programs. These include Harvard Business School and Wharton. Check out the CommonBond website for the full list.
  • You need to apply with a creditworthy co-signer (unless you’re taking out an MBA loan). CommonBond will look at your financial profile, including your credit score and debt history, to approve you for a loan. The better your credit score, the lower interest rate you’ll get.

Again, your co-signer won’t be responsible for your loan forever. After two years of on-time payments, you could qualify for co-signer release. After that, it’s completely up to you to pay back your student loans on time — or better yet, ahead of schedule.

More about CommonBond

CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three graduates of the Wharton School of Business. The co-founders’ mission was to make student loans more manageable, transparent, and affordable.

The company initially made its mark in the student loan refinancing space. By refinancing your student loans with CommonBond, you can consolidate multiple loans into one. Plus, you could save thousands of dollars with a lower interest rate.

CommonBond has since expanded into the private student loan space. Beyond providing loans for borrowers, it also seeks to promote social change. For each loan CommonBond funds, it provides an educational grant to a child in need.

CommonBond has been recognized for its social work and excellent customer service. In 2017, its chief executive won the Corporate Citizenship Award. In that same year, CommonBond received the People’s Choice Stevie Award for Favorite Customer Service.

If you’re looking for a private student loan to finance your education, CommonBond might be just the lender you’re looking for.

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CommonBond contact info

If you have questions about CommonBond’s private student loans, call customer care at (800) 975-7812 or email them at care@commonbond.co.

You can also learn about company developments and events by following CommonBond on Facebook and Twitter.

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