CommonBond was founded in 2012 and has since loaned out more than $2 billion in private student loans. It began on a simple premise: make student loans cheaper and easier to understand for everyone.
On top of simplifying and making private 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 student loan package for you.
Student Loan Application Requirements
CommonBond offers undergraduate and graduate students loans to 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 cosign 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 student loans. This ensures that borrowers receive any potential free or subsidized financial aid from the government, so they don’t take on more student loan debt than they need.
Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or 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 serve borrowers in Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, or Vermont.
Types of Student Loans Available from CommonBond
CommonBond offers four types of student loans, each of which offers various loan term options, as well as a fixed or variable interest rate. No matter which you choose, each private student 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.
With a CommonBond undergraduate loan, you could potentially save money and have a stress-free college experience. You can potentially get a private student loan from CommonBond that covers up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance. They have a few loans to choose from, lasting either 5, 10, or 15 years. You can also pick whether you want a variable rate or fixed-rate 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 who has a good credit score. 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 Student 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 interest rate.
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, compared to taking out federal loans. 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 monthly payments and pay off your existing student loans more quickly, CommonBond also offers student loan refinancing. You can refinance private or federal student loans up to $500,000 for 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years.
Borrowers who choose to refinance student loans with CommonBond save on average about $323 a month. Should you need to put off monthly payments through forbearance, qualifying borrowers can defer payments for up to 24 months throughout the entire life of the student loan.
Interest rates for refinancing student loans are lower than federal student loans but don’t share the robust protections that federal loans offer. While you will be forfeiting student loan forgiveness, Commonbond does allow forbearance during economic hardship.
If you’re a graduate student who wants to take responsibility for Parent PLUS loans and become the primary borrower, you can do that with student loan refinancing.
Fees and Rates
With CommonBond, there are no origination fees, application fees, or prepayment penalty fees for co-signed undergraduate loans. However, for MBA, medical school, and dental school loans, there is a 2% origination fee.
The interest rate you receive depends upon your unique financial situation, credit history, loan term, and whether you select fixed, variable, or hybrid (only available for student loan refinance borrowers).
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 them to approve your private student loan request.
It bears repeating that you should always submit a FAFSA application first before you apply for CommonBond student loans. 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 student 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 student loan.
Once that’s done, CommonBond takes it from there. The money is sent directly to your school, which 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.
CommonBond Student Loan Special Features
Forbearance Request – If for any reason you are unable to make your monthly payment, 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, the 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 student loans there are no prepayment penalties. You are welcome to pay it off as early as you want 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.
CommonBond is a lender equipped with a wide range of borrowers. Its private student loans are varied, interest 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.