PNC Bank Student Loan Review

 April 29, 2022
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PNC student loans
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Pros

  • Bachelor’s degree not required
  • Loan terms as long as 20 years
  • Cosigner releases available

Cons

  • No prequalification tool
  • Relatively low loan maximums
  • Two years of completed payments and employment history required

Refinancing rating 3.6

Accessibility
3.2 out of 5
Rates & Terms
4.2 out of 5
Repayment Experience
3.8 out of 5

Pros

  • Competitive APRs
  • Multiple in-school repayment options
  • High autopay discount
  • Cosigner releases available

Cons

  • Strict loan limits
  • Limited information about forbearance policies
  • International students and part-time students aren’t eligible
  • No loan prequalification

Private student loan rating 3.6

Accessibility
2.5 out of 5
Rates & Terms
4.2 out of 5
Repayment Experience
4.1 out of 5

PNC Bank is the result of a 1983 merger of two prominent Pennsylvania banks (Pittsburgh National Corporation and Provident National Corporation), though its history dates as far back as 1852. It offers private student loans and student loan refinancing, as well as a wide range of checking accounts, mortgages, auto loans and the like. Its refinancing loans are available to borrowers without bachelor’s degrees — a rarity in the student loan refinancing industry — and it has a range of loan options for undergraduate and graduate students.

PNC student loan refinance review

PNC has a range of refinancing options for undergraduate and graduate students, but it also allows borrowers with associate degrees, and even those who didn’t graduate from college, to refinance their loans, too. It offers both fixed and variable interest rates, and has repayment terms as long as 20 years.

PNC Bank student loan refinancing is a good fit for borrowers that didn’t graduate or have an associate degree rather than a bachelor’s.

What to like: What to keep in mind:
Bachelor’s degree not required
Loan terms as long as 20 years
Cosigner releases available
No prequalification tool
Relatively low loan maximums
Two years of completed payments and proof of income is required to qualify

PNC Bank student loan refinance review: The basics

PNC Bank stands out for its student loan refinancing product: It accepts borrowers that don’t have a four-year degree, and offers a higher interest rate discount for enrolling in automatic payments than other lenders typically provide.

APRs “Didn’t Graduate” refinancing:
Fixed: 3.59% to 7.19%
Variable: 2.89% to 6.39%
Associate refinancing:
Fixed: 2.84% to 6.44%
Variable: 2.14% to 5.64%
Undergraduate refinancing:
Fixed: 2.59% to 6.24%
Variable: 1.89% to 5.74%
Graduate refinancing:
Fixed: 2.59% to 6.24%
Variable: 1.89% to 5.74%
*Rates include 0.50 percentage point autopay discount
Basics Must submit an application and submit to a hard credit check to view rates
Borrow between $10,000 and $200,000 (maximum amount is dependent on your degree level)
Fixed and variable rates available
Eligibility Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
Must have two years of steady income or employment history
If you didn’t earn an associate degree or higher, you must make 24 monthly payments on time before you can refinance
Applying No prequalification tool
No origination or disbursement fees
Late payments are subject to a late fee of 5.00% of the late payment amount or $5, whichever is lower
Repayment Loan term options are 5, 10, 15 or 20 years (20-year loans require balances over $75,000)
Lower interest rate 0.50 percentage point by enrolling in autopay
Cosigner releases available after 48 timely monthly payments
Support Some forbearance options, including a modified graduated repayment schedule if the borrower is unable to make payments
Forgiveness is available if the borrower dies, but not if they are permanently disabled

What to like about PNC refinance for student loans

Whether you left college before graduation to take care of a family member or graduated with a master’s degree, PNC refinancing loans could help you secure a lower rate, pay off your debt faster or reduce your monthly payments.

Bachelor’s degree not required

While most lenders require borrowers to graduate with a bachelor’s degree to qualify for student loan refinancing, PNC Bank is more lenient. You can qualify for a loan with an associate degree — or no degree at all.

Loan terms as long as 20 years

With some student loan refinancing companies, the maximum loan term you can choose is 15 years. If your goal is to reduce your monthly payments, you may want an even longer term to get more breathing room in your budget.

With PNC Bank, you can select a loan term as long as 20 years if you have an undergraduate or graduate degree and a loan balance of $75,000 or higher.

Cosigner releases available

If you add a cosigner to your refinancing application, you can increase your chances of getting a loan and qualifying for a lower interest rate. However, there may be a time when you want to remove the cosigner from the loan. Some refinancing lenders prohibit cosigner releases, but PNC Bank allows you to request a cosigner release after making 48 monthly payments on time.

What to keep in mind about PNC Bank refinance for student loans

For borrowers researching their refinancing options, PNC Bank could be a useful option. Still, there are some drawbacks to consider when comparing PNC to other lenders.

No prequalification tool

While it’s always a good idea to shop around and compare rates from multiple lenders, you should be aware that hard credit inquiries can lower your credit score. Many refinancing lenders have prequalification tools that allow you to check your eligibility and view loan rates with only a soft credit check, which doesn’t impact your credit.

Unfortunately, PNC doesn’t have that option. The only way to find out if you’d qualify for a loan — and see what rates are available — is to complete an application and submit to a hard credit check.

Relatively low loan maximums

PNC Bank allows you to refinance between $10,000 and $200,000. How much you can refinance is dependent on your degree level:

  • Didn’t graduate: $10,000 to $25,000
  • Associate: $10,000 to $75,000
  • Undergraduate: $10,000 to $175,000
  • Graduate/professional: $10,000 to $200,000

PNC’s loan limits are relatively low, particularly for students that have completed medical school or law school. Your combined loan balance may exceed PNC’s limits, so you may not be able to refinance all of your debt with this lender.

Two years of completed payments and proof of income is required to qualify

Although some lenders allow borrowers to refinance soon after graduation or even while they’re still in college, PNC’s eligibility criteria is more stringent. You can only refinance your debt after you’ve made 24 monthly payments toward your federal or private student loans. Plus, you’ll need two years of continuous income or employment history.

How PNC Bank student loan refinance compares

If you’re thinking of refinancing your loans with PNC Bank, it’s a good idea to compare it to other lenders. Here’s how PNC stacks up against two other leading lenders:

PNC Citizens Bank SoFi
SLH rating 3.6/5 4.56/5 Not yet rated
Products Student loan refinancing Student loan refinancing
Parent loan refinancing
Medical resident refinancing
Student loan refinancing
Parent PLUS loan refinancing
Medical resident and professional refinancing
Law and MBA refinancing
Eligibility requirements U.S. citizen or permanent resident
At least 18 or age of majority in your state
24 monthly payments completed toward loans
Continuous steady source of income
700 credit score
$24,000 income
U.S. citizen, permanent resident or nonresident with Social Security number
Nongraduates and associate degree students must make 12 monthly payments before applying
Good to excellent credit
No minimum income
Nonpermanent U.S. residents without eligible visas can apply with a cosigner that is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
Associate’s degree or higher
APRs Variable starting at 1.46% and fixed starting at 3.44% Fixed starting at 6.58% Variable starting at 3.24% and fixed starting at 3.99%
Minimum loan amount $10,000 $10,000 $5,000
Repayment terms available 10,30 years Up to 20 years Up to 20 years
Apply with a cosigner Yes Yes Yes

Is refinancing student loans with PNC right for you?

If you have high-interest student loan debt, refinancing can help you save money and get out of debt faster. PNCs refinancing loans have competitive interest rates, valuable autopay discounts and several term options to choose from.

Because PNC allows you to refinance your loans even if you didn’t earn a bachelor’s degree — or didn’t finish school at all — it’s a good option if you’ve struggled to find a refinancing lender willing to work with you in the past.

Still, as you compare refinancing lenders, keep in mind that PNC doesn’t have a prequalification tool, and it doesn’t post its minimum credit score or income requirements. Submitting an application will require a hard credit inquiry, so it’s likely best for someone with good to excellent credit and reliable income — or a cosigner that meets that criteria — and is confident that they can qualify for a loan.

Best student loan refinancing options for…
Parent PLUS Loan consolidation Refinancing with a credit union
Job loss protection Refinancing without a college degree
Consolidating six figures of student loan debt

How to apply for refinancing with PNC Bank

PNC Bank doesn’t offer a prequalification tool, so you’ll have to complete a full application to view your loan options and rates. PNC allows potential borrowers to apply online or by calling 800-762-1001.

When you apply, PNC will request your personal information, including your Social Security number, employer details, annual salary and gross income. You’ll also need to provide your college’s information and details about your current loans, including your account numbers, current balance and interest rate types.

PNC will prompt you to consent to a credit check and to review and accept the application’s terms and conditions.

PNC student loans review

If you’ve exhausted all available federal aid and need additional help financing your degree, a private student loan from PNC Bank is an option you might consider. PNC offers loans for undergraduate students, graduate students and borrowers completing their medical residency or preparing for the bar exam.

PNC student loans are a good fit for borrowers that have reached the federal loan annual or aggregate limits.

What to like: What to keep in mind:
Competitive APRs
Multiple in-school repayment options
High autopay discount
Cosigner releases available
Strict loan limits
Limited information about forbearance options
International students and part-time students aren’t eligible
No loan prequalification

PNC student loans reviews: The basics

Whether you’re attending college as a first-year student or completing a medical residency, PNC has a range of loan options to suit your school’s program. However, the lender has strict loan maximums — and an aggregate limit that includes your other federal or private student loans — and not everyone is eligible for a loan.

APRs Undergraduate
Fixed: 4.44% to 9.59%
Variable: 1.98% to 7.13%
Graduate/professional
Fixed: 2.99% to 9.89%
Variable: 1.09% to 8.19%
Medical residency
Fixed: 2.99% to 9.89%
Variable: 1.09% to 8.19%
Bar study
Fixed: 2.99% to 9.89%
Variable: 1.09% to 8.19%
*Lowest rates include a 0.50 percentage point autopay discount
Basics No prequalification tool
Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $65,000 per year, based on degree type
Fixed and variable rate loans available
Eligibility Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
Must have two years of continuous income or employment history (or a cosigner that meets that criteria)
Must have an established credit history (or a cosigner that does)
Applying Option to apply with a cosigner
No application or origination fees
Late payment fee of 5.00% of the late payment amount or $5.00, whichever is lower
Repayment Three repayment options: immediate, interest-only and deferred
Deferred repayment plans have a six-month grace period
Reduce your interest rate by 0.50 percentage points if you enroll in autopay
Loan terms are 5, 10 or 15 years
Release cosigner after 48 months of timely payments
Support Loans are originated by CampusDoor and serviced by AES Success

What to like about PNC student loans

As you research your private student loan options, there are some distinct benefits to PNC loans.

Competitive APRs

PNC offers competitive APRs. Rates for undergraduate students are as low as 1.09% on variable-rate loans and 2.99% for fixed-rate loans (inclusive of a 0.50 percentage point autopay discount) — lower than the current rates on federal student loans.

Multiple in-school repayment options

With some private student loans, you’ll have to begin repaying the loan’s principal and interest right away, even when you’re still in college — with PNC, you have more options.

The lender has three repayment options:

  • Immediate: As soon as the loan is disbursed, you are required to make payments against the interest and principal.
  • Interest-only: With this option, you pay only the interest that accrues. PNC has a $25 payment minimum for this option.
  • Fully deferred: The most expensive option, fully deferred repayment allows you to postpone payments until six months after you graduate or leave college.

High autopay discount

Most lenders will reduce your interest rate if you enroll in automatic payments. However, the discount is often limited to 0.25 percentage points — in contrast, PNC offers a 0.50 percentage point interest rate reduction.

Cosigner releases available

Adding a cosigner is necessary for most college students applying for private student loans. However, PNC allows you to apply for a cosigner release after making 48 monthly payments on time. If you meet the lender’s criteria at that time, the cosigner is removed from the loan.

Can’t find a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or permanent resident cosigner? Prodigy Finance is among lenders assisting international student borrowers
Not attending an eligible degree-granting school? Check out options for nondegree-seeking student loans
Not attending classes at least-half time? There are lenders with part-time student loan options

What to keep in mind about PNC student loans

Although PNC could be a good lender for some borrowers, there are still some downsides.

Strict loan limits

PNC Bank has strict loan limits, with the amount you can borrow varying based on your degree or program type:

  • Undergraduate: $1,000 to $50,000 per year ($225,000 aggregate limit)
  • Graduate: $1,000 to $65,000 per year ($225,000 aggregate limit)
  • Medical professions: $1,000 to $65,000 per year ($225,000 aggregate limit)
  • Medical residency: $1,000 to $15,000 ($225,000 aggregate limit)
  • Bar study: $1,000 to $15,000 ($225,000 aggregate limit)

PNC’s aggregate limit includes all federal and private student loans you take out for your education. For students in high-cost programs, such as a medical or law degree program, they may reach the aggregate limit before completing their studies.

Limited information about forbearance options

There may be times when you’re unable to afford your payments due to an illness or job loss. PNC has a modified graduated repayment plan for borrowers in those situations, but you’ll need to check with PNC for the details.

International students and part-time students aren’t eligible

To qualify for a loan, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be enrolled at least half time. Part-time students and international students aren’t eligible for PNC student loans, even if they have a cosigner.

No loan prequalification

While you should always compare private student loan lenders and rates, PNC makes it a little harder to do so. It doesn’t have a prequalification option, so you’d have to consent to a hard credit check to view your rates.

How PNC student loans compare

Is a PNC student loan right for you? See how it compares to other major lenders.

PNC College Ave Sallie Mae
SLH rating 3.6/5 4.6/5 4.4/5
Loans for… Undergraduate and graduate students
Health profession students
Medical residency loans
Bar study loans
Undergraduates and graduate students
Career school students
Business, law, medical and dental school
Parents
Undergraduate and graduate students
Career training
Dental school, residency
Graduate students
Health professions
Law school, bar study
MBA
Medical school, residency
APRs Variable starting at 1.09% and fixed starting at 2.99% Variable starting at 2.49% and fixed starting at 3.22% Variable starting at 3.37% and fixed starting at 3.75%
Ability to prequalify without affecting credit No Yes Yes
Borrowing amount $1,000 $1,000 $1,000
In-school repayment options 3 4 1-2
Repayment terms 5, 10, 15 years 5, 8, 10, 15 years 5, 10, 15 years
Cosigner release available Yes — after 48 months of timely payments (and meeting other criteria) Yes — after half the repayment term has elapsed Yes — after 12 months of timely payments (and meeting other criteria)

You’ll very likely be better off if you shop around beyond a few lenders. Make sure you learn all about the best options for your specific needs.

Borrower Programs Other degrees Personal situation Lender feature
Part-time students Community college Associate degree Applying without a cosigner Credit unions
International students Trade school Nondegree programs Bad or no credit Cosigner release
Adults returning to school Nursing school Economic hardship forbearance
Graduate students Medical school Hybrid interest rate
Parents Law school
Dental school
Business school

Are PNC student loans right for you?

PNC student loans have low borrowing minimums, so you can borrow only what you need, making it a good choice for when you’ve used up all of the available aid and just need a little money to cover the remaining costs.

PNC is also a good choice for those pursuing postgraduate degrees in medicine or law. PNC offers medical residency and bar study loans, so you can get funding for the final stage before you start your career.

However, PNC is only available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents enrolled as half-time or full-time students. If you don’t meet that criteria, you’ll need to work with another private student loan lender.

How to apply with PNC

PNC doesn’t have a prequalification tool for its private student loans, so you’ll jump right into filling out a full application. You can apply online on PNC’s site, or call its student loan lending department and apply over the phone at 800-762-1001.

During the application process, you’ll be asked to submit your personal information, income, Social Security number and information about the college you’re attending. If you have a cosigner, they’ll have to submit their information as well.

After filling in the application, PNC will ask you to consent to a hard credit inquiry and accept its terms and conditions.

How to contact PNC

You can reach PNC’s customer support team through a secure online message or phone.

Email Secure form
Phone 800-762-1001

Frequently asked questions about PNC student loans

If you didn’t find your question answered in our PNC reviews, see the following FAQs:

Do you need a cosigner for a PNC student loan?

Most student loan borrowers will need to add a cosigner to their applications to qualify for a loan. The only time a student wouldn’t need a cosigner is if they have an established credit history and a substantial source of income.

Does PNC offer student loans or student loan refinancing for international students?

No, PNC does not issue student loans or refinancing loans to international students. Borrowers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Can I qualify for a PNC student loan with poor credit?

Although PNC doesn’t specify a minimum credit score, it does look at your credit when making a decision. Borrowers with poor to fair credit are unlikely to qualify for either private student loans or student loan refinancing unless they add a cosigner to their applications.

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Methodology for ratings

To come up with our star ratings for student loan refinancing lenders and companies/private student loan lenders and companies, Student Loan Hero asks hard questions — 20 of them, in fact. These questions span three categories: Accessibility, Rates & Terms and Repayment Experience. That’s because we want to judge financial institutions on their products and services from start to finish: when our users are shopping around, filing applications and paying down their debt. A top-rated lender, for instance, has inclusive eligibility criteria, allows you to prequalify and check rates without harming your credit score and is supportive as you face monthly payments.

The answers that we get to our 20 questions — either from the lenders themselves or by combing through their fine print — determine their overall rating. We score answers consistently, sometimes awarding partial points, to ensure that you can make equal comparisons between all lenders that we put under the microscope.

Student Loan Hero isn’t paid for conducting these reviews, and lenders don’t have a say in their content. The goal with our reviews and ratings, along with everything else we do, is to give our users the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available to make the best decisions according to their borrowing needs.

Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to PNC Bank student loans, which is current as of April 6, 2022, unless otherwise noted. None of the financial institutions named have either provided or reviewed the information shared in this article.