While federal student loans should be the first stop for anyone looking to finance their education, private student loans can play an important role in filling the gap. If you are looking for a private student loan, you may have heard of CommonBond.
Below, we answer the most common questions about CommonBond, including who they are, what types of student loans they offer, and more so that you can make an informed decision when applying for a student loan.
Who is CommonBond?
Founded in 2012, CommonBond is one of the newer entrants into the student loan industry. Since then date, they have funded more than $3 billion in student loans and become a favorite amongst many borrowers.
CommonBond was founded to address some of the most common complaints that borrowers have about student loans: That they’re confusing, that the customer service is terrible, that interest rates are so high, etc. You can learn more by reading their mission here.
Types of Student Loans Offered by CommonBond?
CommonBond offers a large variety of private student loans, including:
- Undergraduate Student Loans: Private student loans for undergraduate students
- Graduate Student Loans: Private student loans for those pursuing their graduate education
- MBA Loans: Loans specifically designed for MBA students
- Dental School Loans: DDS loans for those attending dental school
- Medical School Loans: MD loans for individuals completing medical school
CommonBond also offers student loan refinancing for borrowers with existing student loans.
CommonBond Interest Rates
As a private lender, CommonBond can charge whatever they wish as an interest rate on student loans. That being said, they must remain competitive with other lenders, or risk losing out on business. While federal student loans carry an interest rate set by Congress each year, interest rates on CommonBond student loans can vary depending on the underlying credit market, as well as a number of factors including:
- The type of loan: CommonBond charges higher interest rates for certain types of loans (for example, undergraduate and graduate) and lower rates on other types of loans (for example, MBA, dental, and medical).
- Your income: Whether or not you have a source of income, and how much you make, can impact your interest rate.
- Credit history: Your credit history and credit score are designed to measure your creditworthiness, or how risky a borrower you are. The better your credit score, the less risky lenders see you to be, and the lower rates you can qualify for.
- Whether or not you apply with a cosigner: Because applying with a cosigner makes you a less risky borrower, this will impact interest rates. CommonBond requires a cosigner, as of July 2020.
Like all lenders, CommonBond typically advertises its absolute best rates. Though this is understandable, it’s important to note that these rates are typically reserved for variable rate loans (meaning the interest rate can change over time) and for borrowers with excellent credit scores.
How to Apply for a Student Loan Through CommonBond
Applying for a student loan through CommonBond is easy. Simply visit their website and click on “Apply Now” to begin. Then select the type of loan that you would like to apply for. You will then need to answer questions around:
- The school you will be attending
- Whether or not you will be applying with a cosigner
- Your name and contact information
- Other financial information
If you are pre-approved for a CommonBond student loan, they will offer you a range of interest rates and terms. Should you then decide to move forward with a formal application, you will need to agree to a hard credit pull. You may also need to provide additional documentation (including a government ID, proof of residency, etc.), as is typical of loan applications.
As of July 2020, CommonBond requires borrowers to apply with a cosigner. Without a cosigner, they will not consider your application. If you do not have a person willing to be your cosigner, CommonBond very generously informs you of other lenders who may be willing to work with you.
CommonBond Pros and Cons
Pros of Borrowing Through CommonBond
- Variety of loan options: CommonBond offers student loans for undergraduate, graduate, MBA, dental, and medical students.
- Competitive interest rates: CommonBond’s interest rates are known to be competitive within the industry, particularly for its MBA, Dental, and MD Loans.
- 6-month grace period: Undergraduate loans carry a 6-month grace period, comparable to what is offered by federal student loans.
- 12-month forbearance: CommonBond allows borrowers in certain circumstances to pause monthly payments for a total of 12 months over the life of a loan.
- Cosigner release: If you apply for you loan with a cosigner and make two years of on-time payments, you can release your cosigner from the loan.
- 0.25% auto pay discount: By signing up for auto pay, you can receive a quarter percent off of your interest rate.
Cons of Borrowing Through CommonBond
- Interest rates not set by law: CommonBond’s interest rates are not set by law, like federal student loans are, meaning that borrowers are subject to the whims of the company.
- Limited deferment options: Though CommonBond is unique in that the company offers up to 12 months of forbearance, this is still not as generous as what is offered by federal student loans.
- No forgiveness: Federal student loans are eligible under certain circumstances for forgiveness. As a private company, CommonBond does not offer forgiveness.
- No guaranteed acceptance: Federal student loans are made available to student regardless of their credit scores or financial situations. As a private company, CommonBond can decide who to approve and who to reject; there is no guarantee that you will be approved.
- No income-based repayment: While federal student loans offer income-based repayment options, CommonBond does not.
How to Contact CommonBond
You can also communicate with a representative via live chat by visiting the website.
524 Broadway, 6th Fl.
New York, NY 10012
Alternatives to CommonBond
Whether you are considering a private student loan from CommonBond or any other private lender, we recommend that you always start by first exhausting any federal student loans, state-based student loans, and institutional student loans that you may qualify for. These loans typically carry lower interest rates and greater borrower protections than private loans.
If, in the end, you decide that a private student loan makes sense for your unique situation, we recommend that you shop around to find the absolute best interest rate and terms. A student loan marketplace will allow you to quickly and easily compare offers from multiple lenders, including CommonBond.