5 Student Loan Companies That Help You Pay for Grad School

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Attending graduate school can increase your earning power, but programs can be expensive. Average costs of tuition and fees for graduate degree programs is typically around $30,000 at public colleges and universities and almost $40,000 at private universities, according to Peterson’s. And this doesn’t even factor in books, supplies, transportation costs, and living expenses while you’re attending school.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and Grad PLUS Loans are available from the Department of Education to cover up to the full cost of attending graduate school. However, you are limited in the amount of Stafford Loan funding available, while Grad PLUS Loans work differently from the federal loans you may have taken to fund your undergraduate education. Your credit score matters in determining your approval, there’s a loan origination fee, and interest begins accruing immediately from the time the loan is disbursed, unlike with subsidized undergraduate loans.

Because federal loans aren’t always an option or aren’t always the best deal for every borrower looking to finance a grad school education, it’s important to compare loans offered by the Department of Education with private loans available from student loan companies that provide grad school loans.

Many different companies have targeted loans for grad school students. This list of companies that provide grad school loans will give you a great starting point when shopping for financing.

Student loan companies for grad students

Each of the following student loan companies offers dedicated grad school loans available to eligible students who meet qualifying requirements.

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank offers fixed-rate loans for grad students with rates between 6.79% and 20.89%. It also offers variable rate loans with rates between 2.90% and 11.16%.

  • Borrow the lesser of $150,000 or the total cost of attendance
  • Three options for in-school repayment: deferment, interest-only payments, and immediate payments of principal and interest
  • Five, 10, and 15-year repayment periods
  • No loan origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Rate discounts of 0.25% for enrolling in autopay
  • Discounts of 0.25% if you have another account with Citizens Bank
  • Cosigners may be released after three years of on-time payments

You can read our review of Citizens Bank to find out more about whether this loan option is right for you.

College Ave

College Ave offers fixed-rate loans for grad students with rates between 2.84% and 11.98% and offers variable rate loans with rates between 2.84% and 10.97%.

  • Borrow between $2,000 and the total cost of attendance
  • Four options for in-school repayment: deferment, $25 monthly payments, interest-only payments, and immediate repayment of principal and interest
  • Eight, 10, 12, and 15-year repayment periods
  • No loan origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Rate discounts of 0.25% for enrolling in autopay
  • Apply online and get a decision is as little as three minutes

You can read our review of College Ave to learn more about this private loan servicer.

CommonBond

CommonBond offers fixed-rate loans with rates between 5.45% and 9.74% and offers variable rate loans with rates between 3.52% and 9.50%.

  • Borrow up to the total cost of attendance
  • Four options for in-school repayment: deferment, $25 monthly payments, interest-only payments, and immediate repayment of principal and interest
  • Five, 10, and 15-year repayment periods
  • A 2% loan origination fee
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Rate discount of 0.25% for enrolling in autopay
  • Cosigner release after two years of on-time payments

You can read our review of CommonBond to find out more.

Discover

Discover offers fixed-rate loans with rates between 4.99% APR to 12.49% APR³ and offers variable rate loans with rates between 3.74% APR to 11.62% APR³ (as of October 2019).

  • Lowest rates shown include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.
  • Borrow between $1,000 and the cost of attendance
  • Three options for repayment: deferred repayment, interest-only, or $25 fixed monthly payments while in school and during the grace period
  • Twenty year repayment period
  • No loan origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • One-time per loan cash reward equal to 1% of the loan balance if you maintain a GPA of 3.0 or equivalent

You can read our review of Discover student loans to get more information about this student loan provider.

Comparing student loan companies for grad students

As you compare the loan companies on this list, you’ll want to consider a few key factors including:

  • Interest rates: Interest is the cost you pay for borrowing. If your rates are lower, your payments will be lower and the total amount you must pay back will be lower.
  • Loan terms: Longer repayment terms allow you to make lower payments, but you pay more in interest over time.
  • Repayment options: Does the lender provide a flexible repayment schedule, such as the opportunity to defer payments?
  • Discounts: Do you get any special discounts on your interest rate for enrolling in autopay?
  • Fees: Do you have to pay an origination fee or a prepayment penalty?

By shopping around carefully, you can find make sure you get the possible terms for the loans you need to afford your degree.

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* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.

1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

(1)All rates shown include the auto-pay discount.  The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

(2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.

Information advertised valid as of 11/4/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.


2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

3 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  2. View Auto Reward Debit Reward Terms and Conditions at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/AutoDebitReward.
  3. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  4. Lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest interest rate offered on the Discover Undergraduate Loan and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including Undergraduate, Graduate, Health Professions, Law and MBA Loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable Margin percentage. The margin is based on your credit evaluation at the time of application and does not change. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 2.50% as of July 1, 2019. Discover Student Loans will adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Please visit discover.com/student-loans/interest-rates for more information about interest rates.
Discover's lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

4 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restrictions. Loans are offered through CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS #1175900).

  1.  Rates are as of July 1, 2019 and include auto-pay discount. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

5 Important Disclosures for Citizens.

Citizens Disclosures

Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of November 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.80%. Variable interest rates range from 2.90% – 11.16% (2.90% – 11.01% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 4.72% – 12.19% (4.72% – 12.04% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown requires application with a co-signer, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan.

Citizens Bank Student Loan Eligibility: Borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution. Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or an international borrower/eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For borrowers who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank- participating school. 

Please Note: International Students are not eligible for the multi-year approval feature.

2.84%
10.97%
1
Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

3.12% – 10.54%*,2Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

3.37%
11.87%
3
Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

3.52% – 9.50%4Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit CommonBond

2.90% – 11.16%5Undergraduate and Graduate

VISIT CITIZENS

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Published in Paying for College, Student Loan Repayment, Student Loans

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