Students can finance their education through federal and private loans if they lack funds. Federal student loans are desirable as they are usually more affordable. Besides, such loans can provide forgiveness opportunities. However, not all borrowers will qualify for federal loans. In such cases, private lenders come to the rescue. One of the popular online private lenders is College Ave. College Ave is well known for its flexible payment options. College Ave student loans allows borrowers to choose among several repayment plans and periods. It is possible to get the student, the parent, or refinancing loans through College Ave.
Yet, there also exist many other lenders in the market, such as Navy Federal Credit Union, Earnest, or Elastic student loans. Hence, borrowers can have a difficult time comparing loans of various lenders and choose the most suitable one.
For this reason, this guide will elaborate on the loan offerings of College Ave, including their eligibility conditions, the application process, advantageous features, and overall pros-cons analysis. If you also want to get information about other lenders, you can check our blogs.
College Ave Student Loans
College Ave provides different loan types for borrowers. Graduate, undergraduate, parent loans, as well as loans based on the field of study, are available.
1. Undergraduate Loans
Undergraduate College Ave student loans can cover the whole cost of education, including tuition fees, books, supplies, accommodation, etc. The minimum cost should be $1,000, and the school must certify these costs.
College Ave offers both fixed and variable rate APR (Annual Percentage Rate). When the loan has a fixed APR, the payment usually does not change over time. When the change is necessary, the lender informs the borrower. However, with variable APR, the payment level might change because such rates usually depend on another index. If that index moves, the rate also varies.
The rate for variable and fixed College Ave student loans start at 1.04% and 3.34%, respectively. However, the exact rate depends on the borrower’s qualifications, loan amount, etc. keep in mind that the mentioned minimum APRs include the interest reduction from the Auto-pay feature. This feature allows borrowers to get a 0.25% interest reduction if they authorize automatic payments from valid bank accounts.
Fixed vs. Variable Rate
Once the borrower applies for College Ave student loans, the lender will ask him/her to choose either fixed or variable rate options. These rates- interest rates- are the indicators of how much the borrower will pay in return for the loan, so it is necessary to make the right selection. In this section, we will discuss the fixed and variable-rate loans to create realistic expectations of their options for borrowers.
Variable interest rates can decrease or increase as time passes. The variable interest rate has two components- fixed margin and variable rate. Meanwhile, a fixed interest rate requires borrowers to repay the debt with one specific, non-changing rate.
When the loan has a fixed interest rate, it does not change based on an index. The lender decides on the fixed-rate beforehand and usually sticks to it. Hence, the lender needs to make a thorough analysis because the rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the borrower.
If the borrower has high credit performance, stable income, and reliable cosigner, there is less risk involved in loan repayment. Therefore, the fixed rate can be lower. However, when there exists a risk of non-payment for the borrower, the required rate will be much higher.
Variable Interest Rate
One of the benefits of College Ave student loans is that it offers both fixed and variable-rate debt. Hence, borrowers can freely decide which one to choose for their student loans. However, debtors need to be cautious about variable rates.
As its name suggests, variable loans can have changing interest rates because its rate usually depends on an external index. Lenders choose which index to base the loan on. For example, some lenders utilize the LIBOR index – London Interbank Offered Rate- to determine the variable interest rate.
Which Option to Choose?
It is extremely hard to advise choosing one side. Both types of College Ave student loans provide their advantages and disadvantages. It is up to the borrowers’ expectations to decide on the type of interest.
If the index from which the variable interest rate is determined decreases, it will be cheaper to repay the student debt. Hence, variable-rate loan borrowers will enjoy such a decrease. However, fixed-rate loans will not provide this benefit, and borrowers will miss the chance.
On the other hand, if the index increases, it will be more costly to return the variable-rated loan. In such a case, fixed-loan borrowers will be better off.
Another great benefit of College Ave student loans is that they provide flexible repayment. The lender offers multiple repayment plans that can be suitable for the borrowers.
Principal and Interest Payment
This repayment plan allows borrowers to make both principal and interest payments. Sure, it requires the highest repayment while the borrowers still study. However, as they start repaying early and fast, the overall cost of loans decreases. In this way, borrowers can save the most.
Yet, it is understandable that not all borrowers will be able to repay such a huge amount offered in the Principal and Interest payment method while they study. Hence, Interest-only repayment plans let the borrower repay only the interest charges, as its name suggests.
Interest-only payment can be attractive, but there is another option-flat payment- which is most desired by low-income borrowers. This payment plan requires only $25 (typically) to pay during school. In this way, borrowers try to reduce their interest charges accrued while making the lowest contribution.
Unfortunately, again, even paying $25 can be challenging for some borrowers if they study. In such a case, borrowers can choose a Deferred payment plan. This plan requires no payments during the studies, similar to federal loans. However, as no payment is made, the overall loan cost becomes the highest among the four repayment options.
Borrowers can defer their payments as long as they remain undergraduate students. Their studies should not be less than half-time to qualify for loan deferment. The repayment of full principal and interest will start six months after the graduation or the borrower’s study becomes less than half-time.
College Ave prides itself on the flexibility of repayment, as mentioned before. However, the flexibility does not only cover multiple repayment options. The College Ave student loans also provide several repayment periods- 5,8,10,15 years.
Sure, if the borrower wants to repay the debt fast, such as in 5 years, the monthly loan payment amount will be high. On the other hand, if a borrower is able to afford only small payments, the repayment can take up to 15 years.
In general, it is hard for a student to meet credit and income requirements for loans. Hence, a cosigner can be required. In fact, 98% of College Ave student loans for undergraduates are with cosigners.
A cosigner can be a family member or another third-party individual who takes responsibility in case of the borrower’s non-payment. Hence, cosigners and borrowers share equal responsibility.
Releasing a cosigner from the responsibility can be possible if more than half of the repayment period has passed. In this case, the lender will check the most recent 24 months’ worth of payments. These payments should be consecutive, in full amount, and paid on time.
Applying for loans and getting rejections can impact credit history or performance. Hence, borrowers can hesitate to apply multiple times if they get a negative response. However, some lenders provide pre-qualification tests on their official websites. This tool collects information about the borrower and suggests a rate.
Keep in mind that this rate is only a recommendation, and the actual rate after application can be different. However, it is a good tool to create some expectations about the borrowers. Additionally, qualifying for College Ave student loans with this tool does not impact credit performance.
For International Students
College Ave student loans can be accessible to international students if they have a valid Social Security Number. Besides, it is necessary for international students to apply with an eligible cosigner.
2. Graduate Student Loans
If you are a postgraduate, master, doctoral or professional degree student, you can qualify to graduate student loans of College Ave. Qualifying graduate students can cover up to 100% of their education costs with College Ave student loans. Graduate loans can include tuition fees, expenses for books, supplies, or transportation. However, the school you attend should certify all costs. The minimum amount a borrower can get is $1,000.
Both international and local students can apply for these loans. However, as mentioned before, international students should have a cosigner and a valid Social Security Number.
Having a cosigner is strongly encouraged for graduate students because they can still lack income or reliable credit history. If they convince a family member or other third-party individual to cosign the loan, their chance to receive approval can increase.
The rate of graduate student loans starts at 1.89% and 4.24% for variable and fixed loans, respectively. However, the exact rate depends on borrowers’ creditworthiness, repayment options, etc.
The four repayment plans mentioned in the undergraduate loan section, as well as repayment periods, still apply to these loans, too.
The Recommended Timeline
College Ave recommends a five-step timeline to those in need of private student loans. In more details, the lender advises starting thinking about the total money needed and cosigner possibility 90 days before the school’s start date.
When there are only 60 days left, the applicants need to pre-qualify to get preliminary rates from different lenders and evaluate their options. It is necessary to apply for a chosen student loan with around 30 days left to the start of the academic period.
Once the borrower gets approval, the lender will contact the school to certify the costs. Around ten days before the school starts, the borrower should ensure that the school’s payment is scheduled. Finally, 30 days after the money is sent, the borrower will receive the loan statement.
Keep in mind that you can start making payments right away or defer payments during the study period. Sure, it is advisable to defer if you cannot afford payments. However, deferred repayment plans will lead to the loan with the highest total cost.
It usually takes 3 minutes to apply and get a credit decision. If the decision is positive, the borrower will need to accept the terms, sign documents, etc. Once the borrower meets the requirements, the lender will send the school’s request.
The school should certify the costs, as mentioned before. The time required for this process is uncertain because each school has its operational speed. Sometimes certification can be done in a few days, while it can take weeks in other cases.
Once the lender receives the school documents, it will schedule the payment. Usually, the entire application and money transfer process takes around ten days, but again, it can be longer or shorter for your case.
As College Ave student loans are private, it is not surprising that they do not offer many forgiveness opportunities. Forgiveness and student loan discharge programs are typical for federal loans; hence, many private lenders avoid providing such options. In other words, there is usually no way of getting rid of private debt except paying it out.
However, College Ave again differs in this point. It forgives the debt under two conditions; if the borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled, the debt will be eliminated. These options resemble the death and total and permanent disability discharge programs of federal loans.
3. Parent Loans
Parents can either cosign College Ave student loans or get parent loans for their children’s education. The benefit of parent loans is that a portion of debt can be directly delivered to the borrower instead of the school. In this way, the parents can control the spendings and extra costs of education.
Parent loans are usually up to $2,500, and at least $1,000 should be certified by the school. Besides, a valid bank account is necessary to receive the money.
The parent loans can also be variable or fixed-rate. The variable rates start from 1.04%, while the fixed rates start from 3.34%.
Like College Ave student loans, parent loans also provide flexible repayment options and payment periods. Sure, the repayment plan’s choice will determine the total cost of the loan. If the parent starts to repay the debt immediately and pays higher amounts, the total debt cost will be lower. Small payments will not help borrowers to save money in the long term. However, such repayment can be more affordable for the parents.
Unlike student loans, parent loans do not provide deferred repayment options. There exist three repayment plans.
1. Interest-Only Payment
This payment type is available to parents when their children still study at school. During the in-school period, the borrower only pays the interest. Such repayment is more manageable, but it ends up being the most expensive in the long run as the total cost of debt increases.
2. Interest-Plus Payment
It is also possible to set the monthly payments in the desired amount, in increments of 20, as long as the borrower meets the interest-only payment. This option is accessible during the in-school period, and it ends up being moderately cheaper than the interest-only plan.
3. Principal and Interest Payment
This option requires the highest monthly payments among all repayment plans because it involves both principal and interest. However, in the long run, this repayment becomes the cheapest as the loan’s total cost decreases.
The repayment period for parent loans changes between 5-15 years. If you choose a short period, the monthly payments will be high. However, longer periods will bring small monthly payments.
Cosigning vs. Taking Loans
If you are a parent, you have two options; either cosign a College Ave student loan or get a parent a loan. Sure, you want the best for your child’s education. However, you might be confused by the two available options and wonder which one can bring the most benefit.
College students usually lack credit history or stable income to qualify for private loans. Therefore, they mostly need a cosigner to support the repayment claims. The cosigner should be creditworthy, and he/she is usually a parent or close family member.
Cosigning the loan means that the parent takes equal responsibility as the borrower to repay the debt. The loan will appear on the parent’s credit loan, and any non-repayment will negatively impact both the borrower and the consigner. Cosigning usually brings a positive credit rating for the child when the parent helps make payments on time.
If you want to cosign your child’s loan, there are a few points to keep in mind. If the child is expected to make payments, you have to ensure that he/she understands the responsibility and consequences of not meeting the obligations. Otherwise, the child’s irresponsibility will hurt your credit report, too.
Is Release Possible?
Cosigner release can be accessible. Some lenders allow releasing the cosigner after some time if the borrower meets the requirements like credit performance, income level, etc. However, each lender has specific conditions, so it is advisable to get more information on cosigner release.
If the release is not offered, another way to eliminate the loan responsibility is through refinancing. When the child has sufficient income and qualifies for refinancing, he/she can refinance the loan. When refinancing, it is possible to choose a loan without a cosigner. In such a way, the parent will be removed from cosigning.
Features of Loans with Cosigner
Student loans with cosigners carry the features of College Ave student loans, not parent loans. Hence, there are different conditions that the loan will provide. For example, with student loans, it is possible to fund only the costs certified by the school. Meanwhile, parent loans allow receiving more funds to manage additional expenses.
Another difference is that parent loan repayment is between 5-15 years, while student loans can be repaid in 5,8,10,15 years. There are four different repayment plans for College Ave student loans and only three repayment plans for parent loans.
Taking Parent Loan
If the parent wishes to solely take responsibility, then it is better to get a parent loan than consigning. In such a case, the child- the student- will not have any responsibility in the repayment process.
The parent will be the only party who should pay off the debt. Hence, if you want the child to make repayments after some point, getting the parent loan might not be a good idea as the child will have no legal obligation to repay.
4. Student Loan Refinancing
Another great offer by College Ave is a refinancing loan. Student loan refinancing involves getting a new loan to cover all existing loans. In this way, it is possible to get a single payment per month rather than dealing with multiple loans at a time. The new loan usually has better terms, such as a reduced interest rate. Therefore, it is possible to save money in the long run, thanks to refinancing loans.
Yet, keep in mind that you need to think twice before applying for refinancing. As attractive as it might seem, refinancing will still bring downsides if you have federal loans. Federal loans mostly provide federal aid to borrowers through forgiveness programs, affordable repayment plans, etc.
When there is an unexpected situation, such as a pandemic, the government takes care of federal borrowers and offers loan forbearance periods. However, when refinancing a federal loan, it can no longer qualify for such benefits.
Refinancing loans can save you money in the long run and decrease the loan’s total cost. However, the borrower should make the calculations before refinancing. In general, College Ave student loans for refinancing offer variable and fixed rates. Their starting interest rates are similar- 3.24% and 3.34% for variable and fixed-rate loans. Using a pre-qualification tool makes it possible to get an idea about the rates.
However, note that this tool does not provide the exact rate. The rate after the application process can still vary. Yet, the pre-qualification tool does not impact credit performance. Hence, the borrowers do not need to worry about using this opportunity to get some idea about the refinancing loan rates.
The Repayment Options
College Ave recognizes that one size repayment plan does not fit every borrower. Hence, the lender provides different repayment options. Loan refinancing requires a minimum $5,000 loan. The maximum amount can be either $150,000 or $300,000, depending on the study field. The high – $300,000- the limit is for medical, pharmacy, dental, or veterinary doctorate degrees. All other undergraduate and graduate students can get refinancing services up to $150,000 worth of loans.
Additionally, note that the Auto-pay benefit of 0.25% interest reduction is also applicable to refinancing loans.
1. Fixed Repayment
Under a fixed payment option, the borrower pays the same interest rate during the repayment period. The rate does not change as time passes. Therefore, the borrower can clearly understand the total cost beforehand.
2. Variable Repayment
With variable repayment, the interest rate depends on an external index. Hence, it can increase or decrease as time passes. Usually, the variable rate is more affordable at the start. If the index stays the same or decreases, the debt becomes cheaper for the borrower.
It is possible to repay the College Ave student loans for refinancing in 5 to 20 years. If the borrower can make high payments, then the debt will be repaid in a short period. However, if the borrower can only make minimum monthly payments, it can take up to 20 years to get rid of the debt.
Student loan refinancing can be an attractive option to save money. However, not all borrowers will qualify for this opportunity. A well-paid job, stable income, and great credit performance are some of the main refinancing requirements. Besides, the debt should be from an accredited school. Some lenders also have their list of qualifying schools for refinancing.
Private lenders are looking for reliable debtors with sound credit performance who do not delay or miss payments. Most refinancing companies require a minimum 600 credit score. However, if you want lower interest rates, you need to have an even better credit rating.
We understand that not all borrowers can meet such high expectations for credit performance. Hence, if you lack a credit score or a stable income, you will need a cosigner to support your repayment claims. Private lenders sometimes make a cosigner mandatory for refinancing.
College Ave Loans: Pros and Cons
As we already discussed details of College Ave private loans, it helps summarize the features in this section as pros and cons.
On the bright side, flexibility can be the single best feature of College Ave student loans. The borrowers can choose among flexible terms- fixed/variable interest, different repayment periods, various repayment plans, etc. Besides, the application process is simple. It takes around 3 minutes and requires no fees. Lastly, the lender forgives the debt if the borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled.
On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to apply for student loans without a cosigner. Having a cosigner can be necessary for getting approval. Plus, the conditions for cosigner release are tough. At least half of the repayment period should pass before the borrower can release the cosigner, in addition to all other requirements of qualified payments for release.
Lastly, College Ave does not provide enough information about the eligibility conditions. Eligibility requirements are generally mentioned without disclosing the exact details on the website.
Which Lender to Choose?
This guide presented College Ave student loans to readers. We tried to share all the student, parent and refinancing loans to help people in need to evaluate College Ave properly. However, there exist many other lenders in the market. Hence, it can be hard to see if College Ave’s offerings are better or worse than the other private loan market players.
Therefore, we recommend checking other student loan providers’ details before making a final decision. Sure, you should first start with the federal loan options because they are almost always better than the private loans. Federal loans qualify for different discharge and forgiveness programs, helping you eliminate the debt quickly.
However, if you do not qualify for the federal loan, start researching private lenders. You can check their official websites and third-party reviews, like those we present in our blogs. After collecting enough information about the private lenders, you can compare the options and choose the most suitable option.
Contact Us for Guidance
We recognize that many students lack financial knowledge. You might be unable to understand the technical terms or the implications of offerings on your debt. Hence, you might end up with the wrong choice.
It is advisable to get third-party help from debt specialists to make an informed decision. At Student Loans Resolved, we gathered the most experienced debt experts under our roof. You can contact the specialists to ask for more information about College Ave student loans or get recommendations about debt management strategies. We can analyze your financials and choose the most affordable lender for you. Keep in mind that debt repayment periods can be as long as 20 years. Any wrong decision will cost you overpaying a student loan for such a long period. Therefore, ensure the right decision by getting expert help.