What we like:
2% principal reduction at graduation
|Fixed APR||5.251% – 12.000%1,2|
|Variable APR||4.251% – 11.300%1,2|
|Loan Terms||7, 10, or 15 years6|
|Loan Amounts||$1,000 to $65k total for Undergraduate and Graduate, up to $95k for Grad Business9|
There are several different SunTrust student loan options available for borrowers. These include:
- Custom Choice Loan®
- Union Federal Private Student Loan
- Graduate Business School/MBA Loan
- In-School Refinance Option
Here’s how SunTrust’s student loans compare for interest rates, borrowing limits, repayment options, rate reduction, cosigner release, and more.
An Overview of SunTrust Student Loans
SunTrust is one of the nation’s major banks. It is headquartered in Atlanta and it has a particularly significant presence in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
SunTrust private student loan products are varied in terms of what they offer, the terms and conditions, and who is eligible. Private student loans from SunTrust are an alternative to federal student loans, or they can be used to fill in funding gaps left by financial aid and federal loans.
Note that borrowers and cosigners who are permanent residents of Iowa or Wisconsin are not eligible for any SunTrust private student loans. The following is an overview of each SunTrust private student loan.
Custom Choice Student Loan
The Custom Choice Student Loan is one of the most popular SunTrust student loans available and was rated as one of our best student loans for 2019.
This loan is available to both undergraduate and graduate students and can be used to cover tuition and fees, room and board, and school supplies. The Custom Choice Loan allows for a sense of flexibility in repayment terms as well as interest rates and the length of the loan.
For a new Summer Savings Program running through August 31, 2019, SunTrust is offering 0.50% off interest rates on new Custom Choice Loans.3
To be eligible, applicants must be enrolled at least half-time in a bachelor’s degree program or a graduate degree program at an approved school.11 This usually means a four-year public or private college or university. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
SunTrust does point out that most students who apply for this Custom Choice loan will need a cosigner with a good credit history, so this can be something to think about. If you complete a student-only application, you need an income source. For cosigned applications, the cosigner needs an income source, but the student doesn’t.
Rates, Terms, & Fees
The repayment terms offered with this loan are 7, 10, or 15 years.6
There are several in-school repayment options with the Custom Choice loan including in-school deferment (no payments made until after you leave school), immediate repayment, partial interest payments, and interest-only payments.7
The variable annual percentage rate (APR) range is 4.251% to 11.300%.1,2 The fixed-rate APR range is 4.07% to 11.30%.1,2 The APR is based on application information and credit history.
There is an available 0.50% interest rate reduction for borrowers who enroll in automatic payments4 and a 2% principal reduction per loan at graduation.5
The Custom Choice loan offers a minimum loan amount of $1,001 and an annual loan maximum of $65,000. The total student loan debt allowed is $150,000.9
The application process can be done online and it only takes 15 minutes or so. Documents can be submitted online and the loan packet can also be signed online.
Effective February 2019, SunTrust applicants can apply as early as 6 months prior to their academic start date, and the applicant’s initial credit approval is valid for 180 days.12 (If the loan is not scheduled for disbursement within this time period, the application will be withdrawn.)
SunTrust also allows applicants to apply, up to three months beyond the earlier of their graduation or academic period end date, for a loan to cover a past-due balance owed to a school.
In-School Refinancing Option
The Custom Choice loan includes a unique option to refinance existing private student loans8 into a new loan. You will need to have information about your existing private student loans on-hand when you start the application to take advantage of this.
See the In-School Refinance Option section of this page to learn more about how this works.
Union Federal Private Student Loan
The Union Federal Private Student loan is another option available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Union Federal is a federally registered trademark of the Cognition Financial Corporation used by SunTrust under license. SunTrust Bank funds the Union Federal Private Student Loan. The loan can be used to cover Qualified Higher Education Expenses including tuition and fees, room and board, and supplies.
The Union Federal Private Student Loan is available to students who are enrolled at least half-time in a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree program at an approved school.11
This loan has a feature that’s different from the Custom Choice loan because it’s available to international students applying with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, in addition to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.11
Rates, Terms, & Fees
The minimum amount of the Union Federal Private Student Loan is $1,001, and the annual loan maximum is $65,000.9 Loan terms include 7, 10, or 15 years.6
In-school repayment options include deferment, partial interest payments, interest-only payments, and immediate repayment.7
The SunTrust student loans interest rates are similar across all loans. The variable APRs range from 4.25% to 13.25%.1 The fixed APR range is 4.57% to 13.75% APR.1
A 0.50% interest rate reduction for auto pay4 and a 0.25% interest rate reduction for consistently making on-time payments are available.13
As with other SunTrust student loans, there are no application fees, no origination fees, and no prepayment penalties.
What Else to Know and How to Apply
Students can apply quickly and completely online on their own (if they have an income source) or they can apply with a cosigner.
A cosigner release option is available after 36 consecutive on-time principal-and-interest payments have been made.10 SunTrust is unique in that it allows borrowers to fulfill this requirement by counting lump-sum payments as the number of individual monthly principal-and-interest payments it equates to.
Like the other SunTrust private student loan products, this loan includes the in-school refinance option.
Graduate Business/MBA Loans
SunTrust MBA and graduate school business loans are available as well. The annual loan maximum is $95,000,9 which is significantly higher than other student loans offered by SunTrust, making this option beneficial for the high expenses of graduate school.
The SunTrust Graduate Business Loan is available to graduate business students who are enrolled at least half-time in a graduate or professional degree program. The school the student is attending must be approved and accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Students do not need income to apply, but they may need a cosigner to qualify.
Like other SunTrust loans, a cosigner release is available after 36 consecutive on-time principal-and-interest payments have been made.10 One of the great benefits of SunTrust’s cosigner release policy is that they will count any lump sum payments as individual monthly payments. So, if you make one large payment that equates to four full principal and interest payments, it will count as four.
These loans are only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Rates, Terms, & Fees
The variable APR range for SunTrust student loan payments on graduate loans is anywhere from 4.251% to 9.233%.1 The fixed APR range for graduate student loans is 4.07% to 9.13%.1
Repayment terms are 7 or 10 years, and as with the other private student loan options from SunTrust, there are no fees including application, origination, or prepayment fees. Borrowers can receive a 0.50% interest rate reduction for using auto pay4 and a 1% principal reduction per loan with proof of graduation.5
The application process for the SunTrust Graduate Business School Loan is the same as the process with other SunTrust loans. It can all be done quickly online, including taking advantage of the in-school refinance option.
In-School Refinance Option
SunTrust’s in-school refinance option for private student loans is actually an add-on option for student borrowers with existing private student loans.6 With this option, students can combine debt they already have with a new SunTrust loan which takes effect during the following semester.
The in-school refinance option is available for both private student loans and private consolidation loans, as long as they are used for postsecondary education and they are not currently past due.
There are certain loans SunTrust specifically outlines as not being eligible for student loan refinancing. These include private student loans where the student who is applying isn’t the primary borrower, loans that are in past due status, and federal student loans.
Student loans made by a particular school or institution are also ineligible.
Rates, Terms, & Fees
The refinancing limits and loan terms vary depending on the product.
With the Custom Choice and Union Federal Private Student Loans, the maximum amount that you can refinance is subject to the aggregate maximum student loan debt limit of $150,0009, minus the amount that you are applying for with your new SunTrust loan.
With the Graduate Business School Loan, the maximum amount you can refinance is subject to the aggregate maximum student loan debt limit of $175,0009, minus the amount that you are applying for.
Those considering the in-school refinance option from SunTrust should carefully compare interest rates, repayment terms, and monthly payment amounts to make sure they’re making the best financial decision.
There are no application or origination fees with the in-school refinancing option from SunTrust.
What Else to Know and How to Apply
The application process to refinance private student loans with SunTrust is done online and is the same as applying for other loans. It’s done as an add-on option when someone is applying for another private student loan from SunTrust.
SunTrust student loans offer varied options and often the terms, fees, and interest rates are competitive with other private student loan lenders. However, there are downsides to consider, as well.
First, private student loans, in general, are going to have higher interest rates than federal loans and fewer flexible repayment options. Also, with private student loans, you will almost always need a cosigner unless you have a source of income on your own. Private student loans from SunTrust are also subject to credit checks, so you might have difficulty qualifying if you do not have a good credit score.
4.55 SunTrust Student Loans
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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