CommonBond was founded in 2012 and has since loaned out more than $2 billion in student loans. It began on a simple premise: make student loans cheaper and easier to understand for everyone.

CommonBond

On top of simplifying and making student loans more affordable, CommonBond is committed to helping struggling schools, students, and teachers. Every time a new account is opened, aid is sent to a struggling school in Ghana.

Helping its own and those abroad, CommonBond is a lender committed to actually making a difference. Whether you’re just starting out in college, about to attend graduate school, or are ready to refinance, CommonBond could have a loan package for you.

Student Loan Application Requirements

CommonBond loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students who are currently enrolled or will be enrolling the next upcoming school year. The school must either be a Title IV or non-profit school.

Most applicants must co-sign with either a friend, parent, or family member. This cosigner is then committed to making payments on your behalf should you fail to make payments after the six-month grace period.

CommonBond suggests all applicants also submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before applying for private loans. This ensures that borrowers receive any potential free or subsidized financial aid from the government so they don’t take on more debt than they need.

Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or a valid visa holder. Either the applicant or the cosigner must have a minimum 660 credit score. You’ll also need to provide the following:

  • Proof of address
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Photo ID

Currently, CommonBond does not service borrowers in Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, or Vermont.

Types of Student Loans Available

CommonBond offers four types of student loans, each of which offers various loan term options, as well as fixed or variable interest rates. No matter which you choose, each loan comes with a six-month grace period after graduation or termination of enrollment. This means you have six months before any payments are due.

Undergraduate Loans

With a CommonBond undergraduate loan, you could potentially save money and have a stress-free college experience. They have a few loan terms to choose from, lasting either 5, 10, or 15 years. You can also pick whether you want a variable or fixed rate undergraduate loan.

If you’re fresh out of high school, it’s likely you have little to no credit history. This means you’ll probably have to cosign with someone close to you. Once you do, CommonBond will contact your school’s financial aid office to make sure that you are or will soon be a student with the college or university.

Graduate Loans

If you’re ready to take your education to the next level, CommonBond can help you get there. The MBA loan program has school restrictions (more on that soon), but non-MBA graduate loans do not. Attend any graduate school you want knowing you have a great rate.

MBA Loans

Currently, CommonBond’s rates for MBA loans may actually be lower than rates offered by the government. For a ten-year $150,000 loan, borrowers who go through CommonBond could save about $27,775, as opposed to borrowing from the federal government. Loan terms are 10 or 15 years and you must attend one of the eligible schools below:

  • Brigham Young University-Provo – Marriott
  • Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper
  • Columbia University – CBS
  • Cornell University – Johnson
  • Dartmouth College – Tuck
  • Duke University – Fuqua
  • Emory University – Goizueta
  • Georgetown University – McDonough
  • Harvard University – HBS
  • Indiana University Bloomington – Kelley
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan
  • New York University – Stern
  • Northwestern University – Kellogg
  • Rice University – Jones
  • Stanford University – GSB
  • The University of Texas at Austin – McCombs
  • University of California, Berkeley – Haas
  • University of California, Los Angeles – Anderson
  • University of Chicago – Booth
  • University of Michigan – Ross
  • University of Minnesota – Carlson
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Kenan-Flagler
  • University of Notre Dame – Mendoza
  • University of Pennsylvania – Wharton
  • University of Southern California – Marshall
  • University of Virginia – Darden
  • University of Washington – Foster
  • Vanderbilt University – Owen
  • Yale University – SOM

Student Loan Refinancing

If you want to simplify your payments and pay off your existing student loans more quickly, CommonBond also offers refinancing. Borrowers who choose to refinance with CommonBond save on average about $323 a month. Should you need to put off payments through forbearance, qualifying borrowers can defer payments for up to 24 months throughout the entire life of the loan.

Fees and Rates

With CommonBond, there is a 2% origination fee. However, there aren’t any application fees or prepayment penalties.

The rate you receive depends upon your unique financial situation, credit history, loan term, and whether you select fixed, variable, or hybrid (only available for refinance borrowers).

Undergraduate Loan Rates

Undergraduate loan rates for fixed loan vary from 5.30% to 9.82%. For variable loans, rates start at 3.72% and can fluctuate to 9.68%.

Graduate Loan Rates

For both fixed and variable rate loans, loan terms are offered in either 5, 10, or 15 years. The current rates are:

Fixed: 5.30% to 9.79%
Variable: 3.72% to 9.63%

MBA Loan Rates

MBA Loan rates vary depending on the loan term and credit history of the borrower and cosigner if needed. Currently, MBA rates are:

  • 10-year fixed: 5.16 to 6.36%
  • 10-year variable: 5.01% to 6.26%
  • 15-year fixed: 5.57% to 7.11%
  • 15-year variable: 5.47% to 7.02%

Refinance Loan Rates

CommonBond’s refinance loan rates vary with the type of loan term you choose, and whether you select fixed, variable, or hybrid.

  • Fixed: 3.2% to 7.25%
  • Variable: 2.48% to 7%
  • Hybrid: 4.3% to 6.25%

CommonBond Student Loan Process

The application process is fast and takes only a few minutes. There is a minimal amount of paperwork you have to submit in order for CommonBond to approve your loan request.

It bears repeating that you should always submit a FAFSA application first before you apply to CommonBond. Free money is never anything you should walk away from. While you’re at it, also strive to receive as many scholarships as you can. Once this is done, then you’re ready to apply with CommonBond.

If you’re just starting out on your educational career straight out of high school, you’re going to need a cosigner. While applying, make sure your cosigner is with you during the application process and that you both understand the terms and conditions.

If you’re approved for a loan, you must e-sign your loan disclosures. CommonBond then confirms that you’re enrolled at your stated school and your school will certify your loan.

Once that’s done, CommonBond takes it from there. The money is sent directly to your school, who then distributes the rest of the money to you once tuition and other fees are paid.

Make sure you only request what you need. Whatever amount you take out is what you’ll have to pay back.

Special Features

Forbearance Request – If for any reason you are unable to make your monthly payments, you can contact CommonBond and request forbearance. With forbearance, you can pause all payments for up to 12 months.

However, keep in mind that you’ll only be able to do this for 12 months for the entire life of the loan. This means if you stay in forbearance for a year at one time, you won’t be able to go into forbearance again. Also, know that interest will continue to accrue during this time, so it may be better to make interest-only payments so your loan balance doesn’t grow. For refinance loans, the maximum forbearance period is 24 months.

Cosigner Release – It’s possible to get a cosigner release with CommonBond if you needed to cosign to get approved. When you get yourself to a more solid financial footing and have made on-time payments for two years or more, you can apply to release your cosigner. This can give both of you peace of mind because you’ll know that if something happens to you, your cosigner won’t have to pick up the ball.

No Prepayment Penalty – Want to pay off your loan early? With CommonBond there are no prepayment penalties. Feel free to pay off your loan sooner and move on with your life.

Social Responsibility – CommonBond has partnered with Pencils of Promise to cover the costs of children’s educations in Ghana. Every time a loan is taken out or refinanced with CommonBond, the lender equips schools, children, and teachers with the materials they need to have a strong educational experience.

Referral Incentives – If you refer a friend, CommonBond will deposit $200 into your PayPal account. All you have to do is give them your email address and they’ll send you a referral link. You then share that link with your friends, and every time one of them takes out a loan, you get $200.

Bottom Line

CommonBond is a lender equipped with a wide range of borrowers. Its loans are varied, rates are low, and it’s also a philanthropic organization. Although the process is efficient, high-tech, and fast-paced, there’s a very human element to this lender that’s largely missing in today’s world.