CommonBond Student Loan Review

It has a social mission, but CommonBond student loan rates exceed some

Male Student Raises His Hand to Answer a Question in Class
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CommonBond was started in 2012 and has funded more than $3 billion in student loans. The founders of the company were hoping to provide a simpler process for getting financing for college and graduate school, along with better customer service. On top of that, CommonBond offers a social mission: Each student loan funded results in benefits for the Pencils of Promise program, supporting education in Ghana.

Who Is a CommonBond Student Loan Best For?

CommonBond offers undergraduate, graduate, and various professional student loans, including medical school loans, but requires creditworthy co-signers for most. The exception to this requirement is medical school loans with partner schools that meet certain criteria. A CommonBond student loan may be a good fit if you:

  • Can find a creditworthy co-signer
  • Plan to attend medical school with one of CommonBond’s partner schools
  • Want to advance a social mission while borrowing
  • Are seeking a good rate to refinance your student loans
What We Like
  • Co-signer release after two years of payments

  • Social mission

  • Forbearance for students facing hardship

  • Competitive refinancing rates

What We Don't Like
  • Requires a co-signer for most loans

  • Not available in all states

  • Rates are a little higher than competitors

Pros Explained

  • Co-signer release: CommonBond offers a co-signer release on its loans. After making 24 consecutive, on-time payments, it’s possible to have the co-signer removed from the loan.
  • Social mission: CommonBond partners with Pencils of Promise, an organization that supports education in Ghana. Each student loan funded helps provide resources for students and teachers in Ghana.
  • Forbearance for students facing hardship: Any borrower facing economic hardship or having difficulty getting a job after graduation can take advantage of the forbearance program by contacting CommonBond.
  • Competitive refinancing rates: CommonBond pulls ahead of the competition with some of the best interest rates for student loan refinancing.

Cons Explained

  • Requires a co-signer for most loans: Regardless of your credit situation, you need a co-signer with CommonBond student loans. The exception is certain medical school loans. Adding a co-signer potentially burdens that person with your student debt, if you can’t pay it off for some reason.
  • Not available in all states: While CommonBond student loans are available in most states, they aren’t available in all. Mississippi and Nevada residents can’t get a CommonBond student loan.
  • Rates are a little higher than competitors': On some loans, especially those with fixed interest rates, CommonBond rates—even with an autopay discount—are still higher than those you might see from other lenders.

What Does CommonBond Offer?

CommonBond offers a variety of student loan products, including:

  • Undergraduate student loans
  • Graduate student loans
  • MBA student loans
  • Dental student loans
  • Medical school student loans
  • Student loan refinancing

CommonBond also administers a customizable benefits program designed to let companies help their employees pay down their student loans.

CommonBond Student Loan Rates & Terms

For the most part, what sets CommonBond apart is its social mission to help support educational efforts in Ghana. CommonBond also offers “Money Mentors” who can help students navigate financial issues beyond their student loans.

Undergraduate Student Loans

  • Loan amount: $2,000 to a lifetime borrowing limit of $500,000
  • Fixed APR: 5.45% to 9.74% (with autopay discount)
  • Variable APR: 1.43% to 7.41% (with autopay discount)
  • Terms available: 5,10, and 15 years
  • Recommended minimum credit score: Not disclosed
  • Grace period: 6 months
  • Origination fee: None

CommonBond’s undergraduate student loans are pretty standard. Borrowers can choose from three different repayment periods and the minimum loan amount is lower than some competitors. While there’s no origination fee, CommonBond will charge a late payment fee of 5% or $10, whichever is less, and a returned check fee of $5, if that is the case.

Graduate Loans

  • Loan amount: $2,000 to a lifetime borrowing limit of $500,000
  • Fixed APR: 5.40% to 9.74% (with autopay discount)
  • Variable APR: 1.33% to 7.41% (with autopay discount)
  • Terms available: 5,10, and 15 years
  • Recommended minimum credit score: Not disclosed
  • Grace period: 6 months
  • Origination fee: None

While some lenders allow for multi-year approval, CommonBond does not. Students must apply for the loan amount they need to cover the academic year for which they’re enrolled.  

MBA Student Loans

  • Loan amount: Up to $110,000 per year
  • Fixed APR: 5.37% to 7.20% (with autopay discount)
  • Variable APR: 3.15% to 4.87% (with autopay discount)
  • Terms available: 10 or 15 years
  • Recommended minimum credit score: Not disclosed
  • Grace period: 6 months
  • Origination fee: 2%

Like the medical school student loan, CommonBond’s MBA student loan program does not require a co-signer if the borrower is enrolled in a partner school. Non-U.S. students can also qualify for MBA student loans through CommonBond’s Prodigy Finance program. As with undergraduate student loans, CommonBond may charge a late fee and returned check fee, if needed.

Dental Student Loans

  • Loan amount: $5,000 up to a lifetime limit of $500,000
  • Fixed APR: 5.33% to 6.98% (with autopay discount)
  • Variable APR: 3.23% to 4.87% (with autopay discount)
  • Terms available: 10, 15, and 20 years
  • Recommended minimum credit score: Not disclosed
  • Grace period: 6 months
  • Origination fee: 2%

Students in residency can defer their payments until they’re finished their program. Another perk for dental students is that they can postpone their payments for up to 12 months over the life of their loan.

Medical School Loans

  • Loan amount: $5,000 to a lifetime limit of $500,000
  • Fixed APR: 5.56% to 6.76% (with autopay discount)
  • Variable APR: 3.46% to 4.64% (with autopay discount)
  • Terms available: 10, 15, and 20 years
  • Recommended minimum credit score: Not disclosed
  • Grace period: 6 months
  • Origination fee: 2%

Borrowers may be able to qualify for a CommonBond medical student loan without a co-signer if they attend one of the 59 partner medical schools in the U.S.

Student Loan Refinancing

  • Loan amount: Up to $500,000
  • Fixed APR: 3.21% to 6.45% (with autopay discount)
  • Variable APR: 3.20% to 6.08% (with autopay discount)
  • Hybrid APR: 4.25% to 6.10% (with autopay discount)
  • Terms available: 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
  • Recommended minimum credit score: Not disclosed
  • Grace period: Not disclosed
  • Origination fee: None

As with other CommonBond loans, there may be a late payment charge or returned check fee if needed. Borrowers can also enjoy up to 24 months of forbearance over the life of their loan if they undergo economic hardship. Monthly payments start between 30 and 60 days after the loan funds are disbursed.

How to Get a Student Loan From CommonBond

CommonBond offers an online application for student loans, and it’s also possible to submit accompanying paperwork online. Additionally, there are some financing options for international students attending a U.S. school.

You’re required to have a co-signer for most CommonBond student loans or to be attending medical school at one of CommonBond’s partners, if you don’t want a co-signer. 

Repaying Your CommonBond Student Loans

Undergraduate and graduate student loans are serviced by FirstMark. You can set up repayment online, and manage your repayment that way. There is a six-month grace period on most student loans. However, CommonBond offers various in-school payment options, including interest-only, nominal, and full payments. 

The Bottom Line

For student borrowers who are looking for a supportive lender, CommonBond can be a good choice. The Money Mentor program can help you get a handle on managing your finances, even beyond student loan payments. Plus, for those who are socially minded and want to give back, the fact that CommonBond supports education in Ghana may be attractive. 

However, most students need to find a co-signer to get a loan with CommonBond, and that can present problems if you’re having difficulty finding someone who will agree. In that case, it may be best to consider other lenders with whom you may qualify on your own.

Article Sources

  1. CommonBond. "Our Story." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  2. CommonBond. "Do I Need a Cosigner to Apply?" Accessed June 2, 2020.

  3. CommonBond. "Refinance Student Loans." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  4. Federal Trade Commission. "Co-Signing a Loan." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  5. CommonBond. "Eligibility." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  6. CommonBond. "Put Your Employees First." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  7. CommonBond. "What is a Money Mentor?" Accessed June 2 2020.

  8. CommonBond. "Loan Terms." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  9. CommonBond. "Prodigy Finance." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  10. CommonBond. "Make the Smart Choice." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  11. CommonBond. "Making It Better." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  12. CommonBond. "Student Loan Refinancing." Accessed June 2, 2020.

  13. CommonBond. "Repayment." Accessed June 2, 2020.