CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three students of the MBA program at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. As students themselves, they saw a need for more transparency and better rates for student loan lending and refinancing. They have now funded over a billion dollars in loans. They say their borrowers save $24,046 on average by refinancing their student loans. Loans from CommonBond help fund the educations of children abroad through a partnership with nonprofit Pencils of Promise.
Student Loan Services at CommonBond
Here are the student loan services available at CommonBond:
- Get a private student loan to finance your undergraduate or graduate school education.
- Get a private loan to finance your MBA for selected schools. You can find approved programs in the FAQs of the CommonBond website.
- Refinance and consolidate your undergraduate and graduate student loans.
- Refinance Parent PLUS loans (link to our article on Parent PLUS loans) in the parent’s name or the student’s name. CommonBond will refinance for parents, but if the child qualifies, the child can refinance the loan and consolidate (if they wish) with their other loans in their own name. This means the parent would no longer be liable for the debt.
CommonBond Student Rates and Details
All rates mentioned in this article were during mid-January 2018.
If you are still in school, there are four repayment options:
- Fixed monthly payment of $25: Allows you to pay a nominal fixed payment of $25 each month while you are in school plus a six-month grace period.
- Full deferment: Defer all payments while in school plus a six-month grace period
- Interest-only payment: Pay only interest each month while you are in school plus a six-month grace period. This would mean very low monthly payments.
- Full monthly payment: Full monthly payment of the student loan (principal plus interest) begins while you are in school.
Student loans to fund an education have a 2% origination fee, but no application fee or prepayment penalty.
CommonBond offers variable rates, fixed rates and an innovative hybrid rate that is a mixture of the two. The rate you get will depend upon your credit and employment history. There are no origination fees or payment penalties for any of the refinancing loans. You can check the rate you would receive.
Variable rates start out with the lowest interest. However, your monthly payments may vary according to changes in the market. The risk, particularly on a long-term loan, is that variable rates could change substantially. Variable rates in mid-January 2018 ranged from 2.57% to 7.07%. Loans with variable rates are available for 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years.
Fixed rate loans start at a higher rate than variable loans, but your monthly payments remain the same, so you will have no surprises. This may be the safer bet for longer-term loans. Also, if your credit is not good enough to get one of the lower interest rates, it may not be worth the risk of taking out a loan with a variable rate. In mid-January 2018, fixed rates ranged from 3.18% to 7.25%. Loans with fixed rates are available for five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years.
CommonBond offers a hybrid rate where the rates are fixed for five years and then become variable for five years. These loans are only offered for a 10-year term. This option is meant for people who want to pay off their loans quickly but are not sure they can pay off their loan in five to seven years. The rates are a bit higher than five-year fixed loan rates, but they are lower than seven-year fixed loan rates. Rates in mid-January 2018 ranged from 3.86% to 6.22% APR.
Rates for loans for graduate school range from 3.40% to 9.26% APR for variable rates. Fixed rates range from 5.49% to 9.67% APR. Terms are available for five, 10 or 15 years. Use CommonBond’s graduate school student loan calculator to find out how much you could save.
Rates for loans to get your MBA range from 5.18% to 5.33 % APR for variable rates. Fixed rates range from 5.99% to 6.46 % APR. 10 and 15-year terms are available. MBA students can check how much they would save borrowing from CommonBond rather than the federal government. The maximum you can borrow per year from CommonBond for an MBA is $110,000. However, your school will set your maximum loan amount based on their published cost of attendance. MBA students are not required to have a cosigner if they meet the minimum credit criteria.
See CommonBond’s MBA student loan calculator to figure out how much school will cost, how much you need to borrow and how much you’ll save with CommonBond.
Borrow up to the cost of school with rates from 3.40% to 9.21% APR. Terms are available for five, 10 or 15 years. Use CommonBond’s undergraduate school student loan calculator to find out how much you could save
You can check your eligibility for student loans to fund your education or for refinancing on the CommonBond website.
- CommonBond lends to undergraduate or graduate students who are currently enrolled at least half-time, or will be enrolled at least half-time for the upcoming school year, at eligible Title IV or not-for-profit schools.
- You must have acceptable credit
- You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Your loan must be at least $5,000.
- Cosigners can be released after two years of payments if the primary borrower has adequate credit.
- Forbearance is available for students who face hardship after graduation.
- You can get a 0.25% discount if you use autopay.
- For every loan CommonBond funds, it funds the education of a child in need.
- CommonBond is one of the few lenders that permits refinancing Parent PLUS loans in the child’s name.
How to Apply for a CommonBond Student Loan
You can apply for a CommonBond loan directly on their website. It’s fast and easy. Start by checking your eligibility. You can have a credit decision in minutes, without any supporting documentation. Just answer a few questions about yourself, where you live and work and your current loans. They will do a soft credit pull which enables them to give you a preliminary rate without affecting your credit score. At that point, if you want to proceed, you can upload needed documents such as a photo ID and loan statements. A hard credit inquiry will be made, and you will receive your actual rate. You can accept online.
Some Things of Which You Should be Aware
- CommonBond requires undergraduate and graduate students to have a cosigner with acceptable credit. However, after two years of payments, the cosigner can be released as long as your credit is good. MBA students are not required to have a cosigner if their credit is approved.
- There is a 2% origination fee which is subject to state-specific regulations. Many lenders do not have an origination fee. You will, however, want to compare the entire package with that of other lenders.
- When you refinance a federal student loan and get any private loan, you give up some federal protections for which you might qualify such as income-driven repayment and loan forgiveness programs. These are normally used by those having trouble repaying their student loans. You will want to weigh their importance to your individual circumstances.
CommonBond prides themselves on their personalized customer service. They say, “Our award-winning Care Team is made up of experts who have walked in our members’ shoes.” You can email them from their website, call them at 1-800-975-7812 or contact them by live chat.
Loans from People Who Have Been There
CommonBond was founded by people who were all too familiar with accruing student loans to finish school. It was this experience that drove them to found the company. CommonBond’s commitment to customer service, it’s program to help poor children get an education, its protections in case of hardship, its flexible payment options and its willingness to refinance Parent PLUS loans in the name of the child all make this lender well worth considering.