If you’re searching for a private student loan to help you pay for college in addition to your federal student loans and other financial aid, then you may have heard of PNC. While not a super well-known private lender, they do offer some unique perks that make them popular among some borrowers.
But is PNC the right lender to help you pay for college? Here, we answer all of the most common questions that borrowers have about PNC so that you can feel confident in whatever decision you make.
Who is PNC?
PNC Financial Services Group is an American bank and financial services company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They offer a range of financial services to their customers, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgage, home loans, auto loans, and student loans, among others.
PNC was founded in 1845 as the Pittsburgh Trust and Savings Company, which became operational in 1852. In 1853, it was renamed the Pittsburgh Trust Company. It underwent a series of mergers over the years, finally becoming PNC after merging with Provident National Corporation.
The bank is now one of the largest in the entire country.
Types of Student Loans Offered by PNC
PNC offers multiple different types of student loans to borrowers, including:
- Undergraduate Student Loans: For borrowers pursuing an undergraduate degree
- Graduate and Professional Student Loans: For borrowers pursuing their general graduate or professional studies degree
- Health & Medical Professions Student Loans: For borrowers pursuing a graduate degree in a medical field
- Medical Residency Loans: For borrowers working through their medical school residency
- Bar Study Student Loans: For law school students studying to pass the Bar Exam
PNC also offers student loan refinancing for borrowers who are looking to change the terms of their loans or consolidate loans from multiple lenders. You should be aware of the pros and cons of refinancing before going down this route, especially if you have federal student loans.
PNC Interest Rates
Federal student loans carry interest rates that are set annually by Congress. They are designed by nature to be relatively low. PNC, as a private lender, does not need to offer loans with interest rates as low as federal loans. They are free to charge whatever they wish.
Private lenders can take many different factors into account when determining an interest rate that they will offer to a borrower. The most common and impactful of these factors include the underlying conditions of the credit market, as well as:
- Your credit score: Lenders use your credit score to gain a sense of how risky it will be to lend to you. The lower your credit score, the riskier you are seen to be, and the higher your interest rates will be; the higher your credit score, the less risky you are seen to be, and the lower your interest rates will be.
- Whether or not you apply with a cosigner: Applying for your student loan with a cosigner makes you a less risky borrower, and increases the chances that you will qualify for a lower interest rate.
- You employment status: Whether or not you are currently employed, and what your income level is, can both impact your interest rate.
Are you considering PNC because you saw them advertising a super low interest rate? It’s pretty common for private lenders to display their lowest rates to lure in potential borrowers, but it’s important that you understand that these rates are very difficult to qualify for. While it’s possible, these low rates are typically reserved for borrowers with excellent credit scores—not common among undergraduate borrowers, who tend not to have much of a credit history. Extremely low rates can also be tied to variable rate loans, which carry interest rates that vary depending on the credit market.
How to Apply for a Student Loan Through PNC
To apply for a PNC student loan, simply visit their website, navigate to the type of loan you want to apply for, and click “Apply Now.” To complete the application, PNC says you (and your cosigner, if you are applying with one) will need:
- Your Social Security Number
- Your driver’s license of State ID
- Your date of birth
- Your contact information and home address
- The name of the school you will be attending
- Your intended major or field of study
- The academic term you are requesting the loan for
- Your expected graduation month and year
- The name and contact information for your employer (if applicable)
- Your level of income
Unfortunately, unlike other lenders, PNC does not offer a pre-approval process. The only way to see if you qualify for a loan, and what your interest rates might be, is to submit the full application, which will involve a hard credit check.
PNC Student Loans Pros and Cons
Pros of Borrowing from PNC
- No fees: PNC does not charge application, origination, or prepayment fees.
- 0.50% auto pay interest rate reduction: While many private lenders offer a 0.25% auto pay reduction, PNC doubles that benefit.
- Cosigner release: Borrowers who apply for their loan with a cosigner can choose to release their cosigner after making 48 consecutive on-time monthly payments.
- A range of graduate student loan options: Multiple options for borrowers earning different graduate degrees gives flexibility and the ability for some borrowers to save money in the form of interest.
- Refinancing options for borrowers without a degree: Most lenders who refinance student loans require borrowers to have earned their degree in order to qualify. PNC will consider borrowers who did not finish school.
Cons of Borrowing from PNC
- No pre-approval process: Many lenders offer a pre-approval process so that you can quickly check whether or not you will qualify for a loan, and what your interest rates might look like, before submitting a full application. PNC doesn’t offer this.
- Interest rates not set by law: While federal student loans carry an interest rate set by law, private lenders like PNC can charge whatever they like. Most borrowers will pay a higher interest rate than they would on a federal student loan.
- Not eligible for forgiveness: While federal student loans are eligible for forgiveness, student loans offered by PNC (and other private lenders) are not.
- Limited forbearance options: While PNC may offer limited forbearance options for borrowers who are struggling to make their payments, they are not as generous as the deferment and forbearance options offered by federal student loans.
- No guaranteed acceptance: Unsubsidized undergraduate federal student loans are available to all students, regardless of their financial situation or credit score. This is not true of private lenders. PNC is free to determine their own eligibility requirements.
How to Contact PNC
If you need to contact PNC, you can do so through any of the options listed below. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm Eastern Standard Time. They are closed on the weekends.
PNC Student Loan Phone
PNC Student Loan Address
PNC operates physical locations in 37 states within the US. You can find a local branch by visiting this page.
You can also schedule an appointment by visiting this page.
Alternatives to PNC
Whether you are considering PNC or a different private lender, it’s important to realize that private student loans are typically much more costly and much less flexible than federal student loans. That’s why we always recommend that borrowers first exhaust federal student loans, state-based student loans, and institutional student loans before turning to a private lender.
Have you exhausted all of those options and still think you will need a private loan? If so, you should be sure to compare offers from multiple lenders so that you can be sure you are getting the lowest interest rate possible, paired with the most beneficial terms.
Using a student loan marketplace, which will allow you to compare multiple lenders side by side, is one of the quickest and easiest ways of accomplishing this.