Before You Apply

Key considerations before you take out a private student loan

Are you wondering if a private student loan is the right choice for you? Here are some important things to know before you apply:

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a private student loan?

A private student loan is an educational loan that’s used to pay for college expenses like tuition, room and board, books and essential living expenses; it fills in any funding gap that federal student loans, grants and scholarships don’t cover.

A private student loan is not a federal student loan by another name — there are important distinctions:

  • The interest rate — Private student loans have different rates than federal student loans, sometimes higher, sometimes lower (the rate difference generally depends on the specific loans being compared and the applicant's credit score).
  • Repayment features — Private loans usually have different repayment features than those offered by federal loans. Learn more about Private Student Loans vs. Federal Loans.

What are the eligibility requirements1 to apply for a SunTrust private student loan?

  • Go to an approved school, which typically includes most 4-year non-profit public or private colleges or universities
  • Attend your school at least half-time in a degree-seeking program
  • Be a U.S. citizen, resident alien or an international student2 with authorization to attend school in the U.S.
  • Not be a permanent resident of Wisconsin or Iowa
  • Be the age of majority in your state, or a student who is at least 17 years of age applying with a cosigner

Do you have the credit history to apply solo – or will you need a cosigner?

  • Lenders will review the credit history of both you and your cosigner (if applicable) as part of the private student loan application process, so it’s a good idea to know where you stand credit wise by reviewing your credit report and score in advance.
  • Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), all of the major credit reporting agencies must provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. Just go to www.annualcreditreport.com or 877.FACTACT (877.322.8228) to request your report. (It’s a good habit to check your report for inaccuracies and make sure there are no signs of identity theft.) For more information about how to develop good money habits, review our Financial Literacy Information for College Students.
  • College-age borrowers often have lower credit ratings because they are too young to have established credit. To qualify for a private student loan from SunTrust, most undergraduate students and many graduate students will need a creditworthy cosigner on the loan.
  • SunTrust offers the option to release a cosigner so the student is solely responsible for the loan; the cosigner can apply for a cosigner release if the student has made a specified number of consecutive on-time payments3 and the student’s credit profile qualifies the student for the loan without a cosigner.

Are there any fees to apply for a private student loan?

Since fees can significantly add to the total cost of a private student loan, it's important for borrowers to understand what, if any, fees are charged by the lender.

Origination Fees
Federal student loans typically come with an origination fee, a kind of processing fee that is added to the loan balance.

Some private student loans may also have origination fees. 

SunTrust does not charge any origination fee on its private student loans. 

Repayment Fees
Some lenders add a repayment fee to the loan balance once the loan enters repayment. SunTrust does not.

Other Fees
As with many types of loans and lenders, with a SunTrust private student loan, you may incur late fees if a payment is made after the due date.

Can you realistically repay the loan?

Probably the biggest "go or no-go" consideration in your decision to apply for a private student loan is "Can I afford it?" Even if you need the money, if you can't realistically repay it, you shouldn't apply. To know if you can afford a private student loan, try to create a repayment plan.

With all of this information in mind, we hope you can make an informed and confident decision about whether to apply for a SunTrust private student loan. Compare SunTrust private student loans.

See the 2017-18 Winners. The 2018-19 SunTrust Off to College Sweepstakes will begin again in mid-September 2018.

 

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How much do you need for school? Enter your tuition, expenses and financial aid and find out.

 

Calculate Your Loan

Important Information About These Products

Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. View and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans.

Union Federal is a federally registered trademark of Cognition Financial Corporation used by SunTrust Bank under license. The Union Federal Private Student Loan is funded by SunTrust Bank and is not offered in connection with any other lender or the federal government. Cognition Financial Corporation is not an affiliate of SunTrust Bank.

Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue these programs without notice. These loan programs are subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.

1

Eligibility Requirements and Age Limits: the student must be enrolled at least half‐time or more in a degree granting program at an approved school. The student must be the legal age of majority at the time of application, or at least 17 years of age if applying with a cosigner who meets the age of majority requirements in the cosigner's state of residence. The legal age for entering into contracts is 18 years of age in every state except Alabama (19 years old), Nebraska (19 years old, only for wards of the state), Mississippi and Puerto Rico (21 years old). Private student loans funded by SunTrust are not available to students or cosigners who are permanent residents of Iowa or Wisconsin. The Custom Choice Loan and Graduate Business Loan are available to applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens; it is not available to international students. International students can apply for the Union Federal Private Student Loan with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien.

2

International students can apply for the Union Federal Private Student Loan with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien.

3

A cosigner may be released from the loan upon request to the servicer, provided that the student borrower is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, has met credit criteria, and met either one of the following payment conditions: (a) the first 36 consecutive monthly principal and interest payments have been made on-time (received by the servicer within 10 calendar days after their due date) or (b) the loan has not had any late payments and has been prepaid prior to the end of the first 36 months of scheduled principal and interest payments in an amount equal to the first 36 months of scheduled principal and interest payments (based on the monthly payment amount in effect when you make the most recent payment). As an example, if you have made 30 months of consecutive on-time payments, and then, based on the monthly payment amount in effect on the due date of your 31st consecutive monthly payment, you pay a lump sum equal to 6 months of payments, you will have satisfied the payment condition. Cosigner release may not be available if a loan is in a forbearance status.

4

View payment examples for the Custom Choice Loan, the Union Federal Private Student Loan, or the Graduate Business School Loan. The 15 year term and Partial Interest Repayment option (paying $25 per month during in-school deferment) are only available for loan amounts of $5,000 or more. Making interest only or partial interest payments during in-school deferment (including the grace period) will not reduce the principal balance of the loan.

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Smart Tip

Before applying for a student loan, create a repayment plan

A SunTrust private student loan can last 7, 10 or 15 years.4
So before borrowing, try to develop a long-term, repayment plan. If you can do that, a student loan may be a good option. Remember, like a federal loan, a private student loan can't be easily discharged in bankruptcy.

Factor in potential unemployment after college.
Your job type and income can greatly affect your ability to repay your loan, as can plans for graduate school.

Not sure how you'll pay back the loan?
Give it more thought and look for other solutions before taking on the debt.

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