CommonBond Student Loans: Interest Rates and Reviews

Written by: Kristyn Pilgrim
Updated: 12/19/19

On average, college students have just four hours per weekday to spend on sports and leisure activities, researchers say. The rest of the time, they’re studying, working, attending classes, and trying to sleep. Who has time to search for the perfect student loan?

CommonBond offers a complete suite of student loans, including both undergraduate and graduate versions. You can even consolidate your loans with the company.

But is it the best choice for you? Let’s dig deep and find out more. 

Types of CommonBond Loans 

When CommonBond was founded, the company focused on refinancing. If you had an existing loan, this organization could help you bundle it into a new product. Now, the founders have branched out, and the company offers an entire menu of loans that might be right for you. 

CommonBond provides loans for:

  • Undergraduate students. Interest rates vary between 5.45% and 9.5% APR. Fixed- and variable-rate versions are available. Pay off your loan in five, 10, or 15 years.

    Start payments while in school, or wait until up to six months after you graduate.
  • Graduate students. Interest rates vary between 3.2% and 9.5% APR. You can choose a fixed-rate loan, or select a variable-rate version. Pay back the balance in five, 10, or 15 years. Pay the balance off early with no penalty.

    You can postpone payments for up to 12 months over the life of the loan. Make on-time payments for two years, and you can release your co-signer from financial obligation.
  • MBA students. Interest rates vary between 5.37% and 7.2% APR. Choose between fixed and variable rates. Pay back the balance in 10 or 15 years, and you won’t get charged for paying off early.

    Tap into special programs, including an internship, that could help you find a job after graduation. Pause payments for up to 12 months during your entire loan agreement.
  • Dental students. Interest rates vary between 5.33% and 6.98% APR. Pay back the balance between 10 and 20 years.

    Defer payments while you’re enrolled in a qualified residency program. Access six more months of deferred payments while you start your working career. You can even delay payments for 12 more months during the life of the loan.
  • Medical students. Interest rates vary between 5.56% and 6.76% APR. Fixed- and variable-rate versions are available. Pay back the loan between 10 and 20 years.

    Make monthly payments as small as $100 while you’re in a qualified residency program. Postpone payments for up to 12 months during the life of the loan.
  • Struggling students. If you have plenty of loans or one big one that worries you, consider refinancing. Interest rates vary between 2.14% and 8.24% APR. Choose between standard loan options of fixed-rate interest or variable rates, or get creative with a hybrid loan that combines the two.

    Pay back your loan within five and 20 years. Stop your payments for up to 24 months during the life of the loan. If you’re flush and can pay the balance early, you won’t pay a penalty fee. 

This is a wide selection of products. Few competitors offer such a robust suite of different loan types with varying terms.

CommonBond promises to help students who can’t decide which product is right for them. If you’re enrolling in business school, for example, would a graduate loan or an MBA loan be better? Counselors can help you compare the programs. 

Shared CommonBond Details 

While CommonBond specializes in offering a full suite of loans – and each one works a little differently – some details remain the same. No matter which product you choose, these conditions might apply. 

Most CommonBond loans:

  • Require a co-signer. There are exceptions, especially for graduate students. But to get the best rate, or qualify for approval at all, you’ll need to lean on the high credit score of someone else.
  • Aren’t serviced by CommonBond. Think of this company as a broker. It connects you with a bank and a great rate, and you’ll make your payments to the company that owns your loan. That’s not CommonBond.
  • Don’t have fees. There are a few exceptions, especially in the MBA sector. But most CommonBond products don’t come with fees for opening an account, making a payment, or getting a check.
  • Demand online applications. You can’t walk into a bank or a credit union and fill out paperwork. You’ll need to go to the company’s website and fill out the forms you see there. 

In most cases, you’ll need a good credit score to get a CommonBond loan. The company needs a FICO score of 660 or higher, and you’ll need at least two years of credit history. You’ll also need to be enrolled at least half-time in a qualified program. 

Analysts also point out that you’ll need to be enrolled in the right kind of school. If you’re working toward a degree from a for-profit university, you might not get the loan. Similarly, if you’re enrolled in a certification program that doesn’t end with a degree, you might not qualify.

What Makes CommonBond Different?

You might spot subtle differences in APR and terms when comparing CommonBond to competitors. But the company claims they have a few special attributes that really set their products apart from the rest. 

The company claims to focus on:

  • Philanthropy. Every loan the company offers helps to fund the education of children in need.
  • Customer service. Few students want to be treated like account numbers. The company hopes to offer exceptional care through phone calls and rapid response to emails.
  • Counseling. Student debt is serious. Many loan products come with access to a CommonBond Money Mentor who can help you understand how to make better financial decisions.

Published CommonBond Reviews 

Nearly every page on the CommonBond website features a quote and a photo from a happy customer. Reading through all these notes could convince you that every loan ends with a smiling face. That isn’t always true. 

On a review site, CommonBond gets 2.1 stars out of 5 from customers. Complaints about speed are common. People claim their checks took too long to arrive or that administrators needed weeks to review loan documents. Writers also suggest that the website, while attractive, offers a poor user experience. 

It’s not uncommon to see a handful of negative reviews from a company this large, but it’s still wise to read through the notes before making a decision to work with CommonBond. 

You could also put the commitment to customer service to the test and call the company to discuss the reviews. You might discover that the unhappy people don’t have valid points.