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Leaving graduate school with six-figure student loan debt can be daunting. But by earning a professional degree, you invested in your career and your future, and that can pay dividends for the rest of your life. Still, there is no denying the burden of student loan debt. Now there’s a company that wants to invest in you and lower the cost of your student loans by refinancing.
Brooklyn-based startup CommonBond raised over $100 million in September 2013 to give graduates a lower rate on their student loans. This week, CommonBond has expanded its platform to graduates of select Law, Medical, and Engineering programs, in addition to MBA programs. Moreover, the company now offers both 10-year and 15-year refinance loans to equip graduates with a wider range of options to manage their student debt.
Student Loan Hero sat down with CommonBond CEO and Co-Founder David Klein to find out more about the company:
Student Loan Hero (SLH): What exactly is CommonBond, and what are you doing to make student loans more affordable for borrowers?
David Klein (DK): CommonBond is a student lending platform that provides a better student loan experience through lower rates, exceptional customer service, and a commitment to community. Our core mission is to lower the cost of higher education in the U.S.
Since we launched our student loan refinance product to MBA graduates, professionals from numerous fields have approached us to ask when they too could refinance and consolidate their loans through CommonBond. We also had requests from customers for more loan options to help them more flexibly manage their monthly payments.
I’m proud to share that this week marks CommonBond’s expansion to new degree programs across the U.S., in the fields of law, medicine, and engineering, in addition to the MBA programs we’re already in. I’m excited to be expanding to more MBA programs as well, at schools including Vanderbilt, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of Texas.
The new 15-year student loan through CommonBond is another exciting addition. Graduates can now choose to pay off their debt faster with the 10-year loan, or lower their monthly payments further with the 15-year loan. Either way, you can save thousands of dollars over the life of your student loan.
SLH: Can you explain what makes CommonBond different from a traditional lender?
DK: It’s really our emphasis on three things: savings, simplicity, and social good. Savings and simplicity are built right into our loans. We offer all borrowers one low, fixed rate for their student loans – you know exactly what rate you are going to get, even before you apply. You also know that once you get approved for a fixed rate loan, your rate stays at that level even as interest rates rise.
We take simplicity even further by letting you consolidate multiple graduate and undergrad student loans – federal and private – into a single loan, with one monthly bill to manage. As a bonus, we give you a 0.25% deduction on your rate when you set up automatic payments.
We also have a strong emphasis on community. Once you’re a CommonBond borrower, you’re part of the CommonBond Family – a community of students, graduates, alumni, and accomplished professionals. Through our events, outreach, and online resources, we help our borrowers with their loans as well as their professional and personal goals.
SLH: What is the CommonBond “Social Promise”?
DK: Our Social Promise is that for every degree fully funded on the CommonBond platform, we fund the education of a student in need abroad for a full year through our partner, Pencils of Promise. We also sponsor financial literacy programs across the U.S. As more graduates refinance through CommonBond, more children across the globe gain access to a great education.
SLH: What’s the thinking behind CommonBond’s Social Promise?
DK: Social good has been a part of CommonBond’s DNA from day one. We believe that business can and should be a positive force for change. That’s why we created our Social Promise to promote access to high quality education worldwide. We’re super proud to be the first company to ever bring the ”1-for-1” model to education and finance. We’ve been inspired by the likes of TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker.
SLH: So now that you’ve expanded, who is eligible to refinance and consolidate student loans through CommonBond?
DK: We have more than 100 programs in our network now. If you graduated from one of our network schools, and you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can apply to refinance and consolidate your student loans through CommonBond. (You can learn more about how to consolidate your student loans here.) Current MBA students can also continue to benefit from the low cost MBA Student LoanTM through CommonBond.
SLH: What does the rest of 2014 look like for CommonBond?
DK: Great question – and one I’m really excited about. We remain focused on having the broadest impact possible for those looking to minimize their student debt. More to come as the year develops.
Want to Learn More? Visit Commonbond.co to see if your eligible.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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|2.57% – 5.87%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.80% – 6.38%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
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|2.47% – 7.99%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.57% – 6.65%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.17%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|