SunTrust Student Loans Review: Knock 1% off Your Balance When You Graduate

suntrust student loans

With competitive interest rates and a one-time 1 percent balance reduction when you graduate, SunTrust student loans are a great option for both undergraduate and graduate students. Find out why SunTrust student loans are worth considering as you get ready to pay for college.

SunTrust review

If you need private student loans, SunTrust offers some appealing features. Here are a few pros and cons you should consider:

Pros

  • Competitive interest rates
  • Interest rate and principal reduction offers
  • Co-signer release

Cons

  • Unable to get pre-qualified with a soft credit check
  • Must be a SunTrust customer to maximize benefits
  • No income-based repayment plans

SunTrust student loans review

SunTrust offers a comprehensive set of financial products and services, including:

  • Personal banking
  • Credit cards and loans
  • Investments and retirement
  • Wealth management and insurance
  • Small-business banking
  • Commercial and corporate banking

If you’re looking for private student loans, SunTrust has three options:

  1. Custom Choice Loan
  2. Union Federal Private Student Loan
  3. Graduate Business Loan

Both undergraduate and graduate students can apply for the Custom Choice Loan and the Union Federal Private Student Loan. For the most part, the terms of these two loans are identical.

However, the Union Federal Private Student Loan differs in two ways:

  • The loan is available to international students.
  • You can earn a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction after you’ve made your first 36 consecutive on-time payments or total payments in the amount equal to the first 36 monthly payments and no prior late payments.

If you’re a graduate student, you also can opt for the Graduate Business Loan. This loan is designed specifically for students who enroll in a business program.

SunTrust student loans interest rates and terms

Here are all the main features you need to know about SunTrust student loans:

Custom Choice Loan Union Federal Private Student Loan Graduate Business Loan
Variable APR range* 3.001% APR to 10.051% APR 3.001% APR to 10.051% APR 3.001% APR to 8.046% APR
Fixed APR range* 4.751% APR to 11.501% APR 4.751% APR to 11.501% APR 4.751% APR to 9.314% APR
Rate discount Up to 0.50 percent Up to 0.75 percent Up to 0.50 percent
Application, origination, or prepayment fees None None None
Loan amount $1,001 to $65,000 $1,001 to $65,000 $1,001 to $95,000
Total student loan limit $150,000 $150,000 $175,000
Repayment terms Seven, 10, or 15 years Seven, 10, or 15 years Seven or 10 years
Graduation reward Yes Yes Yes
Co-signer release After 36 or 48 on-time payments After 36 on-time payments After 36 or 48 on-time payments

*APRs as of Nov. 8, 2017

When you get your SunTrust student loans, you can choose between four repayment options:

  • Immediate repayment: The first payment of principal and interest is due within 30 to 60 days of the final disbursement. This is the only option if you apply for the loan the month before, the month of, or the month after your graduation date.
  • Partial-interest repayment: You’ll pay $25 per month while in school, which goes toward interest and lowers your capitalized interest amount. This option is available only on loans of $5,000 or more, and you must be enrolled in school at least half time.
  • Interest-only repayment: You’ll pay the amount of interest due each month while in school, which prevents your loan balance from increasing through interest capitalization. You must be enrolled in school at least half time to be eligible.
  • Full deferment: This option defers your monthly payments until after you graduate or are no longer enrolled at least half time for six months. Your deferment cannot exceed 66 months from the first disbursement date, and accrued interest will be capitalized.

Interest rate and principal reductions

All three types of SunTrust student loans offer a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction if you set up autopay for your monthly payments. You’ll get an extra 0.25 percent discount if those automatic payments come from a SunTrust bank account.

With the Union Federal Private Student Loan, you can earn another 0.25 percent interest rate reduction after you’ve made your first 36 consecutive on-time payments. Alternatively, you can make total payments in the amount equal to the first 36 monthly payments and no prior late payments.

Plus, all three loans offer a reward for graduating. You’ll get a 1 percent reduction of your principal balance when you show proof that you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher. You can get this reward only once.

SunTrust student loans eligibility requirements

To qualify for a SunTrust student loan, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be enrolled at least half time in a degree-seeking program at an eligible school.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must be the age of majority in your state or at least 17 years old at the time of application if applying with a co-signer who is the age of majority in their state of residence.

Additionally, the Graduate Business Loan requires that you be enrolled at least half time as a graduate-level business student in a degree-seeking program at an eligible school.

The Union Federal Private Student Loan also will be available to you if:

  • You are an eligible international student applying with an eligible co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien.
  • You have a good credit history with no previous student loan defaults or bankruptcies.
  • You have positive income or a co-signer with positive income.

None of the loans are available to students or co-signers whose permanent residency state is Iowa or Wisconsin.

SunTrust doesn’t share minimum credit score requirements publicly. Also, the lender doesn’t allow you to see potential offers with a soft credit check, so you have to fill out an application to know your chances of getting approved.

Using the SunTrust student loans online platform

If you’re interested in applying for a SunTrust student loan, start by picking the loan you want on the SunTrust website.

suntrust student loans

Image credit: SunTrust

On the first page of the application, you’ll share the following information:

  • Your school’s name and state
  • Type of program, year of school, and major
  • Your state of residence and your co-signer’s state of residence
  • The period for which you’re requesting funds
  • Graduation date
  • Cost of attendance and financial aid available
  • Your requested loan amount

On the second page, you’ll share information about yourself, including your:

  • Name
  • Citizenship status
  • Date of birth and Social Security number
  • Phone number and email address
  • Permanent and mailing addresses
  • Residency status (e.g., own, rent, etc.)

SunTrust will then ask you to read and agree to a few disclosures. You’ll also share contact information for a reference and provide the same information for your co-signer if you have one.

SunTrust will ask you to create an account and review your application and then submit. The application process takes about 15 minutes if you’re prepared.

SunTrust customer service

If you have any questions about the Custom Choice Loan or Graduate Business Loan, you can reach SunTrust’s customer support team at 866-232-3889. If you have questions about the Union Federal Private Student Loan, you can call 866-513-8445.

Alternatively, you can contact SunTrust on Facebook or Twitter.

SunTrust student loans review: Is the bank right for you?

The best thing about SunTrust student loans is the principal reduction you get when you graduate from college. The lender also offers a few options to lower your interest rate.

To make sure you’re getting the best deal on the interest rate, though, you’ll want to compare several lenders to see which offers you qualify for. Other lenders such as CommonBond and College Ave allow you to see potential offers with a soft credit check, giving you vital information before you apply.

As you do your research, consider all the features each lender offers to determine which option is best for you.

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