SunTrust Student Loans Review

UPDATE: As of May 30, 2020, SunTrust, now Truist, is no longer offering private student loans. Check out some other private student loan lenders here.

If you’re about to head off to college, you’ve likely looked at a lot of student loans. Don’t let yourself get too confused. SunTrust has three great loan programs available to qualified applicants, and each one of them has some pretty significant special features. And if you need to refinance existing student loans, you can do that with SunTrust as well.


Ultimately loans are about money, and with SunTrust, you can save some serious cash by choosing them as your student loan lender. In addition, competitive rates and terms make them truly stand out from competitors. Keep reading to learn more about SunTrust’s student loans for bachelor’s, graduate, and professional degrees.

SunTrust Student Loan Application Requirements

Before you begin the application process, make sure your school is a SunTrust-approved school. You should also be enrolled at least half-time (or will be) and must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

SunTrust breaks down its online application into two categories: Standard Required Information and Possible Required Information. If they require non-standard information from you, they’ll let you know, but every possible documentation is listed below, so you know what to potentially expect.

Standard Required Information

Below is a complete list of all the information that you’ll need to submit to SunTrust. Note: You’ll likely need a cosigner if you don’t have any information to put under income information. A cosigner can be anyone with a qualifying credit score willing to cosign the student loan with you.

Personal Info:

  • Full legal name
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Email

School Info:

  • Name of school
  • Total cost of attendance
  • Estimated need
  • Expected graduation date
  • Grade level

Reference Info:

  • Full legal name of reference
  • Address
  • Contact Info

Employment Info (if employed):

  • Phone number of employer
  • Employer name

Income Info (if applicable):

  • Total annual gross income

Loan Amount Info:

  • Total loan amount you’ll request each semester

Possible Required Information

Depending on the information entered above, you may be required to submit information for some categories below.

Proof of Identity (may include):

  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • State issued identification

Permanent Residency (may include):

  • Alien registration card
  • Unexpired passport
  • Conditional alien registration receipt card

Income Verification (may include):

  • Pension statement
  • Federal personal income tax returns
  • Paystub (within the past 60 days)
  • W-2 statement
  • Proof of GI Bill payments
  • 1099-Misc
  • Award letters, policy agreements, account statements

Applicant Self-Certification

  • Applicant self-certification form, which is a form required by the DOE and federal regulation. May also be referred to as a borrower self-certification form.

Payoff Documentation

  • This form is only required for borrowers looking to refinance existing student loans.

International Students

  • Passport
  • USPS domestic mailing address
  • One of the following:
    • Stamped I-20 form showing F-1 status
    • I-94 form
    • I-551 form
    • I-20 form showing eligibility for F-1 status

Types of SuntTrust Private Student Loans Available

SunTrust currently offers four types of student loans to qualified borrowers. If you’re looking to refinance, you can do so through either Custom Choice, Start, Graduate Business, or Union Federal, detailed below.

Custom Choice Loan

Use it to cover all of your college expenses, such as room and board, school supplies, fees, and tuition. This private student loan option has great loan terms, as well as some unusual features we’ll talk about soon.

Rates and Terms

Loan terms currently offered are 7, 10, or 15 years.

Fixed Rates: 5.349% to 14.050%
Variable Rates: 3.874% to 12.875%

Loan Limitations:

Minimum: $1,001
Annual loan limit: $65,000
Total maximum: $150,000

Start Student Loan

This private student loan is also for undergraduate and graduate students. With this loan, there is no accruing interest for the first six months after borrowing.

Rates and Terms

The loan term currently offered is 15 years.

Fixed Rates: 5.349% to 14.050%
Variable Rates: 3.874% to 12.875%

Loan Limitations:

Minimum: $5,001
Annual loan limit: $65,000
Total maximum: $150,000

MBA and Graduate Business School Loan

If you need to move your career forward but don’t have enough money to pay for all of the schooling on your own, SunTrust can help. Still, apply for federal aid, but even if you qualify for free money, you’ll likely still have a bit left that you’ll need to be covered (especially if you are pursuing an MBA). For this, SunTrust has a loan geared towards people like you.

Rates and Terms

SunTrust currently offers 7- or 10-year loan terms.

Fixed Rates: 5.349% to 9.880%
Variable Rates: 3.874% to 8.877%

Loan Limitations:

Minimum: $1001
Annual loan limit: $95,000
Total maximum: $175,000

Union Federal Private Student Loan

Available for both undergraduate and graduate students, the Union Federal loan has some great perks and rates. You can use this loan to cover all of your higher education expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, fees, and supplies.

Rates and Terms

7, 10, or 15 years.

Fixed Rates: 5.349% to 14.050%
Variable Rates: 3.874% to 12.875%

Loan Limitations:

Minimum: $1001
Annual loan limit: $65,000
Total maximum: $150,000

In-School Refinance

Already have a loan from another lender? You can still qualify for any of the loans mentioned above. Simply apply for the loan you want, and you can refinance your current loan into either the Custom Choice, Graduate Business, or Union Federal. This is a great way to take advantage of SunTrust’s lower rates, special features, and consolidate all of your loans into one. Do this well before you graduate to take advantage of the principal reduction.


SunTrust does not charge an application or origination fee. It also doesn’t charge any prepayment penalty fees should you want to pay off your loan early.

Suntrust Student Loan Application Process

SunTrust breaks down its private student loan application process into five steps. First, go through the online application. It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll know immediately afterward whether SunTrust will lend to you.

Second, submit any required documents SunTrust needs to verify your application. You can do this either online, by mail, or by fax.

Third, sign the required forms in the loan packet, which includes the credit agreement. Once again, you can do this either online, by mail, or by fax.

The fourth step doesn’t require you to do anything. During this part of the loan application process, SunTrust contacts your school and verifies your submitted information.

Lastly, SunTrust will send you a final set of forms to review and sign. If you have second thoughts, you’ll have three days to cancel should you decide to do so. Otherwise, they will send the funds to your school, which then disburses any remaining money to you after classes and fees have been paid for.

Repayment Options

SunTrust currently offers four repayment options for each loan option.

  1. Immediate Repayment: Make full payments of both interest and principal while you’re still actively enrolled in school.
  2. Interest-Only Repayment: While you’re enrolled in school, you can opt to only pay interest until you graduate.
  3. In-School Deferment: Delay all payments until you’ve graduated or are no longer enrolled.
  4. Partial Interest: So interest doesn’t accrue, you can also opt for partial interest payments of $25 a month.

SunTrust Special Features

Lower Interest Rate: Sign up for automatic payments and SunTrust will give you a discount on your interest rate. The total reduction varies depending on which loan you get.

  • Custom Choice Student Loan: 0.25% for just signing up with autopay, and an additional 0.25% reduction for paying from a SunTrust account.
  • Graduate Business/MBA Loan: As with Custom Choice, you get a 0.25% for signing up with autopay, plus you’ll get an additional 0.25% for paying from a SunTrust account.
  • Union Federal Private Student Loan: 0.50% off for signing up with autopay, plus another 0.25% for paying on-time.

Graduation Reward: Depending on which loan you take, SunTrust may lower your loan principal as soon as you graduate. Combine this with the autopay interest rate reduction, and the savings really start to add up.

  • Custom Choice Student Loan: 2% principal loan reduction
  • Graduate Business/ MBA Loan: 1% student loan reduction

Cosigner Release: Once you’ve made 36 on-time payments, you can release your cosigner from loan responsibility. This is an excellent perk if the only way you could get approved was by getting a loan cosigner. Also, with a cosigner release, you won’t have to worry about other people potentially sharing your financial burden.

Bottom Line

With their graduation reward, cosigner release, and lower interest rate perks, it’s easy to understand why SunTrust distributes millions of dollars to borrowers every year. Their interest rates are already low compared to other private student lenders, but they’re clearly at the top with the extra perks.

Of course, you should still shop around and don’t forget to apply for financial aid through FAFSA. But you’ll definitely want to include SunTrust when comparing all of your private loan options.

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