Bank of America Mortgage Review 2019

College Ave Private Student Loans and Refinancing: 2020 Review — NerdWallet

Full Review

The underlying terms of all College Ave graduate student loans are similar. But the individual loans have different interest rate ranges, and the following features also vary:

  • How long you have to repay. All graduate students can choose a repayment term of 5, 8, 10, or 15 years. But if you’re in medical, dental or law school, you also have access to a 20-year repayment term.

  • When payments start. College Ave graduate, business and law school loans receive a 9-month grace period before payments are due. Dental school loans have a 12-month grace period, and medical school loans get 36 months before payments start.

All graduate students can also receive a 6-month grace period extension after leaving school, while longer deferments are available for law students during clerkships (12 months) and dental and medical students during residency (12 months and 48 months, respectively).

These grace periods are longer than many lenders offer — especially the 9 months for non-health professional students. That makes College Ave a good option if you’re a graduate student who’ll need extra time before starting repayment.

College Ave graduate student loans at a glance

  • Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

  • Interest rates vary by graduate school product.

  • International students are eligible if they apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

How College Ave could improve

College Ave could improve by offering additional programs such as:

  • Letting borrowers qualify for co-signer release faster.

  • Allowing borrowers who have previously filed for bankruptcy to qualify.

College Ave graduate student loan details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.

  • Loan terms: 5, 8, 10 or 15 years. Law, dental and medical students can also choose a 20-year term.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to cost of attendance.

  • Application or origination fee: No.

  • Late fees: Yes; 5% of the unpaid amount of the monthly payment or $25, whichever is less, if payment isn’t made within 15 days of the due date.

Compare College Ave’s range of interest rates with other graduate student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate College Ave will offer you, apply on its website.


  • Minimum credit score: Mid-600s.

  • Minimum income: $35,000 per year.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Mid-700s.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: About $125,000 to more than $150,000, depending on the graduate loan type.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: No more than 80% with FICO credit score above 750; 50% if your credit score is below 750.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: No.


  • Citizenship: International students are eligible if they apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Location: Available in all 50 states.

  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: No.

  • Types of schools served: Borrowers must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at an eligible school.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Varies by loan type.

In-school repayment options:

  • Immediate: Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school.

  • Deferred: Don’t make any payments while you’re in school.

  • Fixed: Pay $25 every month while enrolled in school.

  • Interest-only: Pay interest every month you’re in school.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 9 months for graduate, law and MBA students; 12 months for dental students; 36 months for medical students.

  • In-school deferment: Yes, borrowers can request to defer payments when returning to school.

  • Clerkship deferment: Yes, law students can request to defer payments up to 12 months during a clerkship.

  • Residency deferment: Yes. During residency, dental students can request to defer payments an additional 12 months and medical students can defer payments up to 48 months.

  • Grace period extension: Yes, up to an additional 6 months.

  • Forbearance: Up to 12 months of forbearance is available, in 3- or 6-month increments.

  • Natural disaster forbearance: Borrowers can postpone payments if they’re involved in a natural disaster, as determined by FEMA.

  • Co-signer release: Yes, if the borrower has finished more than half of the scheduled repayment period and meets additional eligibility criteria.

  • Death or disability discharge: Yes, if the primary borrower dies or suffers a permanent disability.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Loan servicer: College Ave.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes; call center staffed by third-party company.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Average time from application to approval: Credit decision in three minutes.

  • College Ave offers various promotions throughout the year for college students. These have included sweepstakes to win college textbooks for a year and a $1,000 monthly scholarship giveaway. Visit the College Ave website for a list of current opportunities.

Before applying for a College Ave graduate loan

Before taking out a College Ave graduate student loan or any other private student loan, you’ll generally want to exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

Compare your graduate student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible for a College Ave graduate student loan

If College Ave denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other graduate loan options or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

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