SunTrust Student Loans and Refinancing Review in 2020

Advertising Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We may get paid when you click a link. We strive to introduce you only to unbiased and honest recommendations; however, any opinions, analyses or reviews that may be presented are those of the author’s alone, and have not been approved or otherwise endorsed by FutureFuel.io.

SunTrust Student Loans and Refinancing Review in 2020

SunTrust student loans are a product of the SunTrust Bank based in Atlanta. They offer four different types of private student loans, four different repayment plans, and an in-school student loan refinancing option.

Usually, financial aid packages tend to not cover the entire college fee and expenses. That’s where different private student loan lenders can help you. It has now become rule number one when it comes to wondering how to pay for college.

Continue reading to get more details on SunTrust’s private student loans and refinancing.

SunTrust Private Student Loans

SunTrust student loans are offered to both undergraduate and graduate students.

They also provide a loan to international students, provided that they have a co-signer who’s a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Typically, the company doesn’t have any outstanding credit or income requirements.

SunTrust Student Loans Details and Interest Rates

SunTrust provides a plethora of benefits on private loans and provides the option of both fixed interest rates and variable interest rates.

Here is a summary of the loan details:

  • Loan Terms: You can opt for loan terms of 7, 10, or 15 years.
  • Loan Amounts: The minimum loan amount you can borrow is $1,001 and the maximum loan amount is $65,000. However, for graduate business school students, the maximum is $95,000.
  • Discounts: You receive a 0.25% discount on all loans when you set up auto-pay. You can also get an additional 0.25% interest rate discount with automatic payments if you’re a BB&T or SunTrust Bank customer.
  • Enrollment: You should be enrolled in a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree program at least half-time. It should also be at an approved school which consists of most 4-year private and public colleges and universities.
  • Co-signer Release: You have a co-signer release option, but you can only apply for it if you have made 36 on-time, consecutive payments. The loan payments should be both principal and interest payments.
  • Loan Servicer: The loan servicer is American Education Services (AES).
  • Fees: There are no disbursement, application, or origination fees.
  • Penalties: There are no outstanding penalties such as prepayment penalties.

You also get a lot of perks with SunTrust student loans. You can already get a 0.50% interest rate deduction for making automatic payments (if you have a bank account with the approved parties), which is more than what’s offered by other companies.

If you keep making on-time payments, you will get a principal reduction of 0.25% as a graduation reward. Student borrowers also have the option to refinance during their studies. 

SunTrust Student Loans Review

SunTrust offers four different kinds of private student loans to students. Each is catered to different kinds of students with different backgrounds. Keep an eye out on your credit history, credit score, loan limits, and loan terms and then look at the student loan options.

You should, however, keep in mind that SunTrust does not offer these loans in Wisconsin or Iowa.

SunTrust Bank’s Custom Choice Loan

The Custom Choice Student Loan is available for both graduate and undergraduate students and awards you with a 2% principal reduction upon completing your degree. You have to provide proof of graduation.

You have to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident to apply for it. If you’re applying with a co-signer, their proof of income is required.

The loan terms for the Custom Choice Loan are 7, 10, or 15 years and you can borrow between $1,001 to $65,000 – but there’s a student loan limit of $150,000. Additionally, the minimum credit score requirement is 600.

Start Student Loan

The Start Student Loan is also available for both graduate and undergraduate students. It’s supposed to be a starter loan that helps students get comfortable with the idea of private loans. This is especially for students who have applied for or have federal student loans.

The Starter Student Loan offers a 0% variable APR for up to 6 months after the first disbursement of the loan. This means that there will be no interest accrued in the first 6 months.

You can borrow anywhere between $5,001 to $65,000 and the maximum student loan limit is $150,000. However, there is only one repayment term of 15 years you can opt for, and the minimum credit score required is 625.

Union Federal Private Student Loan

The Union Federal Private Student Loan is for graduate, undergraduate, and international students. It’s mostly known to provide a 0.25% partial interest rate reduction after you’ve made 36 consecutive on-time monthly payments.

You can borrow anywhere between $1,001 to $65,000, but the maximum student loan limit is $150,000. The loan terms you can opt for are 7, 10, and 15 years.

Graduate Business School Loan

The Graduate Business School Loan is designed to cater to students opting for a graduate degree in the business field, such as an MBA.

If you qualify for the loan, you can get up to a 1% principal reduction upon completion of your degree.

The borrowing amount ranges between $1,001 to $95,000 and the maximum student loan limit is capped at $175,000. However, you only have two loan terms to choose from, 7 or 10 years.

Application Process and Eligibility Criteria

The loan application can be found online and you can also submit all necessary documents online. Keep in mind that you will have to show any outstanding federal loans or private loans.

Furthermore, you will most likely need a co-signer if you want to be approved for any of the loans. The co-signer will have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a good credit score and history.

If you don’t have a co-signer, you will need to show a good source of income and good credit history yourself.

However, if you’re opting for the Graduate Business School Loan, you don’t need to show a source of income if you’re applying without a co-signer.

Repayment Options

SunTrust provides a wide variety of repayment options, however, they can be boiled down to 4 different choices.

Here are details on all 4 repayment options.

  • Partial Interest Repayment: You can take advantage of this repayment option if you’re borrowing at least $5,000. You start making partial interest payments of $25 every month while you’re in school. This stops the accrual of interest at an exorbitant rate and therefore, makes sure that your overall loan balance doesn’t grow too much while you complete your studies.
  • Interest Only: This option can be used by anyone in any case. You just pay the interest amount on your principal loan every month while you’re in school. This completely stops the accrual of interest and your loan balance remains the same throughout.
  • In-School Deferment: This option can also be utilized by anyone. When you opt for full deferment, you don’t have to pay anything during your studies and six months after you’ve completed your degree. Those 6 months are known as a grace period. You can further increase the deferment period if you can show proof of economic hardship. However, in this case, the rate of accrual of interest will be high, making it the costliest repayment option.
  • Immediate Repayment: This option is also for everyone (who can keep up with the payments). Immediately after taking the loan out, you start making full principal and interest payments. This ends up being the cheapest repayment option because there is no accrual of interest and you’re starting to reduce the principal amount. With a variable interest rate, you’ll eventually have to make smaller monthly payments.

Some third-party companies like FutureFuel can also help you get an income-driven repayment plan where your income determines your monthly payments.

SunTrust Student Loan Competitors

Here are a couple of SunTrust private student loan competitors and how they hold up against the company.

Ascent: Best for students who don’t want or need a co-signer. However, you can also opt for Ascent if you want a co-signer.  You (or your co-signer) will need a minimum credit score of 540 to be eligible for their loan.

Sallie Mae: Best for students looking for lower variable interest rates.  The company doesn’t disclose the minimum credit score required to be eligible for a loan.

SunTrust Student Loan Refinance Option

Student loan refinancing helps you combine your existing federal loans and private loans into one larger loan. It’s done to get an overall lower interest rate on your loan and so that you only have to make one monthly payment for all your loans.

SunTrust is one of the few companies that let you refinance your loans while you’re in school, but you can’t do so after graduation. You consolidate student loans into one big loan and often get a lower interest rate that relaxes monthly payments.

Furthermore, most competitors only let you refinance your loans (if you don’t have a current degree or diploma) if you’re only one semester away from graduation. Or you have to de-enroll and make 12 consecutive on-time payments to be eligible for refinancing. SunTrust, on the other hand, provides refinancing regardless of all these conditions.

Pros and Cons of SunTrust

Like all other loan programs, SunTrust has pros and cons that you should consider before making a decision.

Pros of SunTrust

The following are some reasons why you should consider SunTrust.

  • SunTrust provides a principal reduction of 2% when you provide proof of graduation.
  • The 0.50% interest rate discount with auto-pay is twice the amount most companies give you.
  • If you can show proof of economic hardship, you can make interest-only payments for up to 36 months after graduating. You can also extend your grace period (if you’ve opted for it).
  • If you opt for the Start Student Loan, you get 0% APR for the first six months after loan disbursement.
  • The company provides the option to refinance your student loans while you’re in school without any outstanding conditions.
  • The co-signer release option lets you release your co-signer after you make 36 consecutive on-time payments.

The company also helps find grants to pay off student loans.

Cons of SunTrust

The following are some reasons you might want to consider looking at alternatives.

  • SunTrust doesn’t provide loans to the residents of Wisconsin and Iowa. If international students have their co-signers residing in these two states, they can’t apply for a loan.
  • The loans are not available to any students or borrowers who are studying on a student visa.
  • The company doesn’t provide much information on its credit requirements, so you can’t see beforehand whether you’ll qualify for a loan or what interest rate you’ll get.
  • With the Start Student Loan, you can only get one loan term of 15 years.
  • The Start Student Loan has higher interest rates and fewer repayment options compared to other loans.

While the company allows you to refinance student loans, the details on the process are not well-known.

Should You Go with SunTrust?

SunTrust has a lot of loan options that cater to different types of students with different backgrounds. The loan limits usually cover the cost of attendance and the auto-pay option provides a good interest rate discount.

The student loan refinancing option is relatively unique. The fact that you can refinance your student loans while in school does provide an attractive opportunity over SunTrust’s competitors.

All in all, SunTrust does prove to be a good option for student loans, but you should also take a closer look at the alternatives. You might find that you’re getting a better deal elsewhere.

If you’re still unclear on any of the information or have trouble making a decision, you can get FutureFuel’s help to figure out how to pay off student loans and to determine which option works best for you.

[reviewform]