CommonBond Student Loans and Refinancing Review in 2020

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CommonBond Student Loans and Refinancing Review in 2020

CommonBond is an American online private lender that offers private student loans and student loan refinancing. Founded in 2012, the organization has provided over $3 billion in private student loans to college, undergraduate, and graduate students to combat the student debt issue. CommonBond student loans are backed by dedicated customer support and a number of benefits directed towards students who are applying with a co-signer.

CommonBond has two primary offerings, namely the CommonBond Private Student Loans and Student Loan Refinancing. Both are available to various types of students (college and above).

CommonBond Student Loans: Private Student Loans Review

The CommonBond Private Student Loan is available to all undergraduate students who are currently studying for a bachelor’s degree. While the loan does have a lot going for it in terms of customer support, it is only available if you have a co-signer.

Aside from being limited to co-signed student loans, CommonBond is also only viable for students who have already spent all their subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loan options. Basically, it’s the option you should go for if your only choice is to take out a co-signed loan.

Each private student loan from CommonBond comes with a Money Mentor (an actual financial advisor who communicates with borrowers and offers advice and assistance via text message).

CommonBond Student Loan Details

The CommonBond Private Student Loan needs a soft credit check to determine the potential borrower’s eligibility and the interest rate they’ll get. However, a credit check is necessary to qualify.

The loan terms are 5, 10, and 15 years, depending on the amount borrowed and repayment terms. The loan amounts range between $2,000 and $500,000, with the upper limit being decided after considering the cost of attendance at the borrower’s school. There is also no origination fee, no application fee, and no penalty for prepayment. There is, however, a late payment penalty (5% of the total monthly payment or $10, whichever is lesser).

CommonBond Student Loan Eligibility Criteria

Here are the requirements for the Earnest Private Student Loan:

  • Minimum Income: Not specified (regular monthly income is preferred).
  • Minimum Credit Score: 660 (higher in certain cases).
  • Typical Approved Borrower Income: Undisclosed (typically decided on a case by case basis).
  • Qualification Despite Bankruptcy: Applicants can qualify after 7 years of signing for bankruptcy.
  • Maximum Debt-to-Income Ratio: Undisclosed (typically 65%).
  • Citizenship: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Loan Availability Location: Currently, the loan is not available in Nevada and Mississippi.

In addition, applicants will need to be enrolled in an eligible nonprofit school or a Title IV school. They also need to be pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the time of application.

CommonBond Student Loan Repayment Options

For in-school applicants, the repayment period starts as soon as the loan amount is disbursed to the borrower after the application process.

In case of deferred payments, borrowers don’t need to start repaying while they are still in school. There is a fixed repayment option that requires applicants to pay $25 during the grace period, while enrolled in school. Furthermore, students can make interest-only repayments during the entirety of the grace period.

For post-school applicants, the repayment period starts 6 months after the loan has been disbursed. The interval is to accommodate a 6-month grace period, during which applicants are under no obligation to start repayment.

Post-school borrowers have a number of deferment options at their disposal. There is a military deferment for active members of the armed forces (deployed and domestic). The total deferment period depends on the total service duration. There is also an academic deferment that allows students to defer loan payments while they are returning to school to complete a degree. Additionally, there is an internship, residency, or fellowship deferment that allows applicants to defer payments if they have a signed job offer letter.

Borrowers are eligible for a year’s worth of forbearance, in increments of 3 months, over the total life of the loan. Since the private loan option is only available to co-signed borrowers, there is a co-signer release option that requires 24 full payments and various other eligibility criteria.

CommonBond Student Loans Pros and Cons

Here are some of the positives and negatives of the CommonBond Private Student Loan:


  • Applicants (with a less than ideal credit history) can qualify with a soft credit check.
  • A free Money Mentor (financial advisor).
  • Dedicated customer support for all applicants.


  • Loans are not available all over the country.
  • Borrowers require a co-signer for all loan types.

Earnest offers a lot of flexibility in terms of repayment, plus great customer support.

The Verdict

CommonBond has managed to provide a massive amount in terms of student loans. Borrowers can get their personalized rate estimates after undergoing a soft credit check, saving them from intrusive financial inquiries. Overall, it’s a good option for students with qualified co-signers and less than excellent credit.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing Review

In addition to regular student loans, CommonBond also offers student loan refinancing. This is a great option for students who have already taken out one or more student loans.

CommonBond is known for its extended forbearance period, which is longer than the industry average, at a full 24 months. This provides borrowers, especially fresh graduates, some time to look for a good job right after they graduate.

While CommonBond’s refinancing plan is not based on income-based repayment, they do require regular payments, to keep eligibility for other loan services.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing Details

CommonBond only requires a soft credit check for applicants to see if they qualify for refinancing. This is good for borrowers who may be declared ineligible if they undergo a hard credit check.

The refinancing terms are 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years for both variable-rate and fixed-rate loans. The loan amounts vary between $5,000 and $500,000, depending on the cost of attending the applicant’s school. An additional hybrid model (between fixed and variable-rate loans) is also available, with a 10-year repayment period.

Parents can transfer their loans to their children. However, the transfers are decided on a case-by-case basis, and can be rejected in some circumstances.

There is no origination or application fee, or a prepayment penalty. Finally, there is a late fee of 5% of the monthly payment, or $10, whichever is lower. The penalty is charged 15 days after the missed payment date.

CommonBond Student Loan Eligibility Criteria

Here are the requirements for CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing:

  • Minimum Income: Undisclosed (Applicants should have a steady monthly income).
  • Minimum Credit Score: 660 (slightly higher for bigger refinancing amounts).
  • Typical Approved Borrower Income: Undisclosed (typically decided on a case by case basis).
  • Qualification Despite Bankruptcy: Applicants can qualify after 7 years of signing for bankruptcy.
  • Maximum Debt-to-Income Ratio: Undisclosed (typically 50%).
  • Citizenship: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or a J-1, E-2, L-1, H1-B, or E-3 visa holder.
  • Loan Availability Location: Currently, the loan is available in all states except Nevada and Mississippi.

In addition, borrowers must be graduates (from an authorized school) with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing Repayment Options

CommonBond provides a number of deferment options, including military deferment (during active military duty), academic deferment (when returning to school), and extended forbearance.

There is also internship, residency, and fellowship forbearance, which allows borrowers to delay payments for the duration of their service.

Additionally, there is a co-signer release option, which lets co-signers out of the agreement after 36 consecutive monthly payments.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing Pros and Cons

Here are some of the reasons why you should and shouldn’t apply for CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing:


  • Borrowers can apply to refinance parent PLUS loans in their own names.
  • Longer forbearance period than any other lender.


  • Student loan refinance is not available in Nevada and Mississippi.

CommonBond has quite a few benefits for borrowers with a co-signer and those looking for a lot of repayment flexibility.

The Verdict

The organization has one of the most generous forbearance options in the private federal loans market. This, combined with their parent PLUS refinancing allowance, as well as, low cost and flexible repayment plans, makes them ideal for people who cannot afford to pay right after the amount is disbursed.

Like other five-star private lenders, CommonBond has a number of areas it could improve in. However, at the moment, it is still one of the best options for a Millennial student looking to refinance loans and explore the job landscape for a few months after graduating.