CommonBond Student Loans Review: Discover Flexible Repayment Options

commonbond student loans

College students and parents looking for a great deal on in-school student loans have a new option to consider. As of April 2017, CommonBond student loans offer benefits such as affordable student loan rates, flexible terms, and repayment protections.

“We want to bring what we’ve become known for to in-school lending ― competitive rates and very strong customer service,” CommonBond CEO and co-founder David Klein told Student Loan Hero in an interview following the announcement of this new product.

We wanted to see if CommonBond student loans for undergraduate and graduate students live up to that promise. This comprehensive CommonBond student loans review looks at key features and fees to see what borrowers can expect.

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CommonBond student loans review

CommonBond student loans are designed to help both undergraduate and graduate students finance their education. CommonBond offers three types of student loans:

  • Undergraduate student loans
  • Graduate student loans
  • MBA student loans

This review will focus primarily on the undergraduate and graduate student loans. These CommonBond student loans share many terms and conditions, but there’s less overlap with MBA loans. If you’re in an MBA program or enrolling in one soon, check out those products for comparison.

Here’s a brief overview of the pros and cons of CommonBond student loans.

Pros of CommonBond student loans

Cons of CommonBond student loans

  • Cosigner required: Students must apply for CommonBond’s undergraduate and graduate student loans with a creditworthy cosigner.
  • Longer online application process: Applicants should be prepared for a multistep process to submit a CommonBond student loan application.

About CommonBond student loans for undergraduates

Klein said CommonBond’s undergraduate student loans provide low-cost financing for many students.

“If somebody is going to school and finds that they need to cover the cost in part with student loans, they should consider CommonBond,” he said.

CommonBond student loans could be a good fit for the following borrowers:

  • Undergraduate students who have reached the cap on federal student loan borrowing but still have additional educational costs to cover (you can borrow up to 100 percent of your school’s cost of attendance with CommonBond student loans)
  • Graduate students looking for private student loans with lower interest rates than federal options (such as Grad PLUS Loans, which are currently at 7.00%)
  • Parents interested in cosigning private student loans at potentially lower rates than federal Parent PLUS Loans, which carry the same 7.00% rate

CommonBond student loans deferment and protections

CommonBond offers undergraduate and graduate student loans with repayment terms of five, 10, and 15 years.

Additionally, these private student loans offer a variety of in-school repayment options. You can:

  • Fully defer payments until six months after graduation, during which time interest will accrue
  • Make smaller payments while in school, choosing between fixed payments of $25 per month or interest-only payments
  • Begin making full payments immediately, which can be a great option for parents planning to repay the student loans

This flexibility gives you the power to select the option that makes sense for your situation. You can choose the right balance between the payments you’ll make today and the interest charges and costs you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

CommonBond even has its own student loan repayment calculator you can use to see how different repayment options will affect your loans.

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Applying for a CommonBond student loan

You can complete your CommonBond student loan application online. Student loan applications are more involved than, say, credit card applications. Plan on a longer, multistep process to apply for a CommonBond student loan.

1. Set up a CommonBond account

The first step is selecting the CommonBond student loan you want. Then, you’ll provide some basic information and create your CommonBond account.

commonbond student loans

Image credit: CommonBond

The form includes fields for your full legal name, your email, and a unique password. CommonBond also asks how you heard about its site and requires that you agree to its privacy policy.

2. Enter your college information

Once you’ve created an account, CommonBond refers you to loan processor CampusDoor. CampusDoor just processes your loan application; CommonBond will be your lender.

You’ll see a form that collects information about your college, your citizenship or residency status, and your enrollment status.

commonbond student loans

Image credit: CommonBond

Based on your answers, the site will evaluate whether you’re eligible for CommonBond student loans.

3. Create a CampusDoor account

If you are, you’ll need to create an account with CampusDoor. To do so, you’ll provide an email address and a password and select a security question along with an answer.

Note that CampusDoor has strict requirements for its passwords, so read them carefully. When I went through the process, it took me a few tries to make a password because I didn’t realize a special character was required.

4. Complete the student loan application

Next, the form will walk you through the application process. It suggests having your Social Security number and a driver’s license (or other government-issued ID) on hand to expedite the application process.

The steps below outline the additional information you’ll need. If you hover over a field on the application, a window will appear that provides more details on the information being requested.

Image credit: CommonBond

You’ll be prompted to complete several sections of the application:

  • School and loan information: Enter your school year, the credential you’re pursuing, and your expected graduation date. Cost of attendance will be estimated, and the application will provide a suggest loan amount. But you’ll still need to enter your requested loan amount.
  • Borrower details: The form asks for your legal name, Social Security number, and contact information, including email address, mailing address, and phone number.
  • Housing status: You’ll be asked to indicate where you live, such as on campus, in a rental, or with your parents. You might be prompted to enter your monthly housing costs.
  • Employment status: From a drop-down menu, select your current employment situation. Depending on your selection, you might need to provide addition information, including employer name and contact information, length of employment, and annual gross income.

Once you’ve filled out the application, you can submit it. CampusDoor and CommonBond will process your application and might reach out to you to request further documentation of financial information for you or your cosigner.

CommonBond student loan interest rates and fees

CommonBond student loan rates are competitive, starting at 2.93% with a 0.25% rate discount for enrollment in autopay. Rates depend on your creditworthiness and the loan term you select.

CommonBond private student loans do carry an origination fee of 2 percent. That’s higher than the 1.066 percent loan fee for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans and less than the 4.264 percent loan fee for Grad PLUS Loans. This fee is included in the APR, not added on top of it.

Lastly, CommonBond student loans carry no prepayment penalties. Borrowers can pay ahead on their student loans or pay them off ahead of schedule without incurring any additional costs.

CommonBond student loan eligibility requirements

To apply for a CommonBond student loan, you’ll need to meet some basic eligibility requirements. You must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be enrolled at least half time at an eligible Title IV or nonprofit school
  • Apply with a creditworthy cosigner

Many students in need of financing might not have the income or credit to qualify for a CommonBond loan. The lender requires that you add a cosigner to your loan application, which improves your chances of approval. Plus, you’ll qualify for lower student loan rates by applying with a creditworthy cosigner.

These benefits do come with some drawbacks, however. The cosigner’s credit is at risk if the borrower fails to make payments, and students who don’t have someone willing and qualified to cosign are ineligible for this product.

CommonBond also offers cosigner release. After graduating and making 24 on-time monthly payments uninterrupted by forbearance, the primary borrower can apply to have their cosigner removed from the loan.

Lastly, there’s the “creditworthy” requirement. There isn’t much information available regarding CommonBond’s specific application evaluation and approval criteria. But CommonBond likely will weigh the credit score and borrowing history of both the student and the cosigner. At least one applicant will need to have a positive credit history to get approved.

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CommonBond customer service

CommonBond has award-winning customer service, according to Klein, which might be especially important to people who prefer over-the-phone assistance.

You can contact CommonBond customer service in the following ways:

CommonBond’s mailing address is 524 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10012.

CommonBond student loans are a competitive option

Overall, CommonBond student loans could be a useful solution for student loan borrowers who are figuring out how to get money for college.

Klein said CommonBond strives to help borrowers and cosigners understand their options. “It’s the responsible thing to do for us as a lender to provide information to the borrower to help them understand their options and how different options affect their finances,” he explained.

However, the responsibility is also on borrowers to do their homework and learn how a new student loan will impact their financial situation. Students and cosigners should research and understand the loan products they’re choosing and limit their borrowing to keep student debt affordable.

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