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SunTrust Private Student Loans Review

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Dominique Broadway
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SunTrust in a Nutshell

Type of Loan
Private Student Loan
Loan Terms
Maximum 15 Years
Cosigner Release?
Yes
Refinance Option?
Yes
Grace Period
Six Months

Table of contents

    With the backing of one of the largest banks in the US, SunTrust student loans give you the stability and flexibility you need from a student loan. Our SunTrust review found that the company’s student loans are borrower-friendly thanks to generous deferment and competitive rates, and let you pay back your debt in the most favorable way. 

    The company’s loans are for both graduate and undergraduate students, and even give you the option of refinancing loans while you’re in school, something many competitors don’t offer. Additionally, we liked the company’s smaller, yet equally valuable perks such as interest and principal reduction incentives. Read more of our SunTrust student loans review to see if it’s the right fit for your borrowing needs.

    SunTrust

    SunTrust is one of the largest and most well-known financial services institutions in the US. Founded in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1891, the company has grown to one of the most respected banks in the country, with over 1,400 branches in 11 states and Washington DC. SunTrust manages roughly $216 billion in assets.

    Thanks to its status, SunTrust offers both private and federal student loans, and it can also handle borrowers’ banking needs. The company’s lending services are available across the US, though its physical footprint is focused on the southeastern US (with branches in Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and a few others).

    We appreciated that SunTrust has the ability to both originate and service its loans, so you’re always dealing with the same company, no matter the status of your repayment. In addition to lending, SunTrust offers more traditional banking services like personal checking and credit cards along with wealth management and investment services.

    Why Get a Loan from SunTrust?

    Perhaps the biggest benefit of getting a loan from SunTrust is the backing of a major company. Our SunTrust loan review found that the company offers flexible and competitive rates, as well as great repayment terms and options that let you responsibly and comfortably pay back your debt. You can choose from both variable and fixed rates, multiple repayment terms, and have the advantage of a grace period after you graduate. 

    Moreover, we liked to see that SunTrust gives you incentives to reduce both your interest and your principal over the life of your loan. You can shave off up to 0.50% from your interest rate by signing up for automated payments and for having a SunTrust account.

    Furthermore, you can see up to 2.00% of your principal amount reduced when you complete the degree you obtained the loan for. One more bonus our SunTrust review discovered was that the company's best student loans offers are also available for international students. 

    What Student Loans does SunTrust Offer?

    You can choose from one of four private student loan options when you apply with SunTrust, and each gives you its own benefits:

    • Custom Choice Student Loan: This is the company’s standard plan and gives you the option of refinancing existing debt while in school, as well as a nifty graduation reward of 2.00% reduced from your principal amount. This is available for both undergraduates and graduate students and is meant for cosigners.
    • Union Federal Private Student Loan: This option stands out for giving you up to 0.75% in interest reductions, as well as the in-school refinance option. These loans are also available to international students. 
    • Graduate Business School Loan: These loans are meant exclusively for MBA and advanced business degrees, and only supports 7 and 10-year repayment terms. You can also apply for this loan without a cosigner. 
    • Start Student Loan: This loan is available both to graduates and undergraduates. The offer is 0% for the first 6 months following the introductory period. 

    SunTrust Rates and Fees for April 2020

    A major plus in our SunTrust student loan review is the company’s accessible interest rate structure, alongside their many incentives and possible discounts. Their total loan limit is $150,000.

    Private Student LoansFeesVariable Rates APR rangeFixed Rates APR RangeBorrow Amount LimitsReductions on Interest Rates
    Custom ChoicenoneBetween

    2.250% APR to 9.300% APR

    Between

    4.299% APR to 11.050% APR

    Between $1,001 and $65,000 2% when you graduate*
    Union Federal Privatenone

    Between

    2.250% APR to 11.250% APR

    Between

    4.299% APR to 13.000% APR

    Between $1,001 and $65,0000.75%  when signing up automated on-time payments.
    Graduate Business Schoolnone

    Between

    2.250% APR to 7.330% APR

    Between

    4.299% APR to 8.888% APR

     Up to $95,000Up to 0.50% when signing up automated on-time payments. / 1.00% reduction when you graduate
    Start Student Loan none

    Between

    4.183% APR to 8.886% APR

    Between 

    5.762% APR to 10.353% APR

    Between $5,001 and $65,0000.25% interest rate reduction for automated on-time payments

    *You must be enrolled at least half-time in your degree program

    We were happy to see that none of the company’s loans feature application, origination, or prepayment fees, although you may encounter some fees for late or missed payments.

    Terms and Repayment Options 2020

    We were happy to see that SunTrust gives you several options when it comes to repaying your loan. Start Student Loans only offer in-school deferment, but the other available loans all include immediate repayment, partial interest, and interest-only repayments. 

    • In-school deferment - you won’t pay interest or principal while you’re in school and until your grace period ends. Your interest still accrues during this time, however, and is added to your principal at graduation. Payment starts after six months after school
    • Immediate repayment - if you have the means, SunTrust lets you start making payments one to two months later after the final disbursed to reduce your principal and interest when you graduate. The minimum payment is %50
    • Partial interest repayment - While you’re enrolled in school and for your grace period, you only make $25 monthly payments on your interest amount. Available only for loans of $5000 or more.
    • Interest-only repayment - if you choose this option, you’ll be required to pay your monthly interest in full every month, although it will save you in total interest once you graduate. Starts six months after you leave school. 

    SunTrust terms at a glance:

    Custom Choice

    Start Student Loan

    Union Federal Private

    Graduate Business School

    Terms 

    7, 10 or 15 years

    15 years

    7, 10 or 15 years

    7 or 10 years

    Cosigner Release Option?

     Yes, after 36 on-time paymentsYes, after 36 on-time paymentsYes, after 36 on-time payments Yes, after 36 on-time payments

    Grace Period

    6 months 6 months6 months 6 months 

    Student Loan Refinancing with SunTrust

    One unique feature of our SunTrust loan review uncovered is the company’s in-school refinancing option, which is somewhat unique within the industry. While many lenders give you the option of refinancing loans once you’ve left school, SunTrust loans can be used to refinance existing debt even if you’re still a student. 

    You can only refinance private student loans, but fairly large amounts are applicable for potentially lower interest rates. SunTrust allows up to $150,000 of loan refinancing (including the amount of the new loan) for its Custom Choice and Union Federal private loans and up to $175,000 for its graduate business school loans. To refinance, you can simply click that option in your application for your standard loans.

    Customer Support

    One of the bigger advantages of SunTrust student loans is that they are backed by a major bank. This means you can probably find a physical branch near you, as well as call regional branches for quick questions. If you need more information or help, the company’s Support Center offers deeper answers for almost any issue you may have. You can also call the company’s support team if you need to speak with someone. 

    What are the Pros and Cons of SunTrust?

    Pros: 

    • Get up to 2.00% of your principal reduced when you graduate, and up to 0.75% of your interest rate dropped with various discounts 
    • Release your cosigner from responsibility after 36 months of on-time payments 
    • Refinance your loans while in school, instead of waiting until after to strategically reduce your outstanding borrowings
    • Choose the best repayment option for you from full payments, interest-only, and flat monthly payments 
    • Defer your repayment until 6 months after you graduate for some breathing room
    • Apply for free and avoid any pesky fees throughout your loan
    • Pay early without worrying thanks to no prepayment fees

    Cons: 

    • Maximum amounts are a little lower than the industry average
    • Some discounts are only available to SunTrust clients 
    • Loans are not as accessible if you have lower credit scores

    How to Apply for a SunTrust Student Loan?

    Before you apply for a SunTrust loan, make sure you have the following ready: 

    • Personal and school information 
    • Your reference’s details 
    • Employment and income information (if applicable)
    • Your loan preferences

    You may also be required to provide proof of identity, permanent residency, income, and more upon request. Additionally, make sure you meet the following requirements:

    • Your school is on the approved school list
    • Be enrolled at least half-time in school 
    • Not be a permanent resident of Iowa or Wisconsin
    • Be over the legal age in your state

    Once you complete your initial application, you’ll be asked to provide some additional documentation and be subject to a credit check. If your application is approved, you’ll have funds disbursed shortly thereafter. 

    Conclusion

    Overall, our SunTrust loan review highlighted a reliable and flexible solution to fund your higher education. The company’s many incentives, its in-school refinance option, and even its accessibility for international students, help it stand out from the crowd in a big way. 

    With up to 2.00% in principal reductions and 0.75% in interest rate discounts, you can access the loan you want at very favorable rates and choose the payment model and term that works best for your financial circumstances. This is also a great private student loan solution if you are seeking to refinance your loans or simply want to supplement your existing financial aid. 

    Check Rate for SUNTRUST