CommonBond Student Loans Review: Flexible Repayment Options

 April 6, 2020
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commonbond student loan review

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Private Student Loan rates starting at 0.99% APR

0.99% to 11.98% 1

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1.13% to 11.23% 2

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0.99% to 11.44% 3

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  • Variable APR

If you’re looking for a low-rate private student loan, CommonBond student loans could be right for you. Currently, CommonBond offers undergraduate, graduate, MBA, dental and medical loans. In this review, we’ll look at key features of this online lender’s options to see how it stacks up against its rivals.

Among the topics we’ll cover:

CommonBond student loans review

CommonBond helps both undergraduate and graduate students finance their education with four types of student loans:

  • Undergraduate student loans
  • Graduate student loans
  • MBA student loans
  • Dental student loans
  • Medical student loans

You’re eligible for CommonBond student loans if you are enrolled at least half-time in a Title IV school. Note, however, that the lender’s MBA, dental and medical loans are limited to a network of schools that CommonBond works with — if you’re in a program at another school, you’ll have to use CommonBond’s graduate loans instead.

CommonBond reviews student loan applications carefully. The lender generally works with borrowers sporting good to excellent credit, and it requires cosigners for its undergraduate and graduate loans. That said, it also allows you to release your cosigner from the loan if you make two full years of consecutive, on-time monthly payments.

Terms and features of CommonBond student loans

Here’s an overview of the general terms and features offered for CommonBond student loans, as of March 2020:

CommonBond student loan Undergraduate Graduate MBA Dental Medical
Variable rates 3.80% – 9.36% APR 3.87% – 9.40% APR 5.48% – 6.32% APR 4.98% – 6.62%* 5.21% – 6.39%*
Fixed Rates 3.74% – 10.74% APR 3.74% – 10.74% APR 5.51% – 6.36% APR 5.33% – 6.98%* 5.56% – 6.76%*
Loan terms 5, 10, or 15 years 5, 10, or 15 years 10 or 15 years 10, 15 or 20 years 10, 15 or 20 years
Loan amounts Up to 100% of cost of attendance Up to 100% of cost of attendance The lesser of 100% of cost of attendance, or $110,000 per academic year Up to 100% of cost of attendance with a lifetime limit of $500,000 Up to 100% of cost of attendance with a lifetime limit of $500,000
Origination fee 0% 0% 2% 2% 2%
Cosigner required Yes Yes No No No

*Rates accurate as of April 1, 2020

In addition to these terms and features, CommonBond offers some additional benefits across all of its student loans:

  • Choose an in-school deferment option that matches your needs: immediate full repayment, interest-only payments, fixed $25 monthly payments or full deferment.
  • Take advantage of the grace period, which gives you six months following the end of enrollment to resume repayment on CommonBond student loans, just as you would get with a federal student loan.
  • Pause student loan repayment through forbearance for up to 24 months total over the life of the loan.

What we like about CommonBond student loans

Overall, CommonBond student loans offer a solid option to pay college costs, thanks in large part to its very competitive pricing. The lender also has some perks, like cosigner release, that aren’t always easy to find among private student loans.

Competitive student loan rates

For CommonBond student loans, you can choose between fixed or variable interest rates, which start at an annual percentage rate of 3.80% for undergraduate loans, along with a 0.25% rate discount for enrollment in autopay.

That’s low enough to compete with federal student loan rates for undergraduates. Savings are even greater if you’re a graduate student, since the equivalent federal loans generally have higher rates — as of July 1, 2018, Direct loans had a rate of 6.60% and as of July 1, 2019, Grad PLUS loans had a rate of 7.08%.

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

  • Undergraduate students who have reached their federal student loan limits but still have additional educational costs to cover. CommonBond student loans allow you to borrow up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance.
  • Graduate students looking for private student loans with better interest rates than federal options, since the lower end of its rates are currently below those of similar federal loans.
  • Parents interested in cosigning private student loans at potentially lower rates than federal parent PLUS loans, which carry a 7.08% rate as of July 1, 2019.

Besides its low costs, CommonBond student loans provide additional benefits that help them stand out.

Option of cosigner release

As mentioned, although you’ll need a cosigner to get a CommonBond undergraduate or graduate student loan, the lender lets you remove your cosigner from the loan down the road.

Borrowers can apply to release a cosigner from their CommonBond student loans after making payments for two years. These 24 monthly payments must be made promptly and consecutively, uninterrupted by forbearance.

Flexible repayment, deferment and forbearance options

CommonBond student loans’ flexible in-school deferment options let you find a solution tailored to your specific situation. You can select the repayment plan that provides the optimal balance between the payments you’ll make today, and the interest charges and costs you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

There are four CommonBond in-school deferment and repayment options:

  • Entirely defer payments until six months after graduation, during which time interest will accrue.
  • Make interest-only payments while in school, paying interest as you go so it won’t accrue and capitalize (get added to) your balance.
  • Make fixed $25 payments that are affordable now and can save even more over the life of your loan.
  • Begin making full payments immediately, which can be an excellent option for parents planning to repay the student loans.

As noted above, CommonBond extends a student loan grace period to borrowers, which allows them to further defer repayment for up to six months after enrollment ends.

Beyond the in-school options, CommonBond also offers financial hardship forbearance. If you become unable to repay your student loans, you can reach out to CommonBond to request a pause on your repayment. CommonBond forbearance is handled on a case-by-case basis and is limited to 24 months total over the life of the loan.

What to watch for with CommonBond student loans

While our CommonBond student loan reviews (including our review of its refinancing loans) peg this lender as an affordable, flexible and accessible option, there are also a couple of details that might give some applicants pause.

Strict cosigner requirements

First, CommonBond student loans for undergraduates and graduates always require a creditworthy cosigner. Only CommonBond MBA, dental and medical loans lack this prerequisite.

While not every lender demands that applicants have a cosigner, it’s very common that students have to get one anyway, as many can’t qualify on their own.

Having a cosigner could be a benefit, since it can improve your chances of qualifying for lower rates. However, some students might struggle to find a student loan cosigner who is willing and qualified to apply with them, making them ineligible for the loan.

For those who do get a cosigner, signing on to these loans can put the cosigner’s credit at risk if the borrower fails to make payments. CommonBond’s cosigner release option can be a solution to this potential issue, so consider that too.

CommonBond student loans are a competitive option

The main takeaway of our CommonBond student loan review is that this lender is worth considering as a solution for borrowers who are figuring out how to get money for college. Its loans are competitively priced and it offers some flexible repayment options.

Of course, if you’re looking at how to fund your education, you’ll first want to seek out free aid, like scholarships and grants. Work-study programs and personal savings are also better than loans since they don’t come with interest.

After that, you’ll also want to look at federal loans, though as noted above, CommonBond’s interest rates rival those of federal options when it comes to graduate student loans.

But if you still have a funding gap for your college costs and need to turn to private student loans, CommonBond probably deserves a place on your short-list of possibilities. Of course, be sure to check out other private student loan options to compare rates and other features that can help you save money in the long run.

Rebecca Safier and Andrew Pentis contributed to this article.

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