College Ave Private Student Loans: Pros, Cons, and Reviews

Written by: Kristyn Pilgrim
Updated: 10/29/20

CollegeFinance Score: ★★★★☆

 

College Ave is one of the top-rated private student loan companies for borrowers. In fact, it received an A+ rating from the BBB and has roughly 450 five-star reviews online. College Ave private student loans are best for borrowers who want a simple application process and straightforward terms and conditions. With flexible repayment options, positive customer reviews, and other benefits, College Ave private student loans are hard to beat. 

Pros:

  • Simple application process 
  • Personalized loan options
  • Variable and fixed interest rate options
  • Four types of in-school repayment options
  • Customize the length of your loan

Cons:

  • Large difference between annual percentage rates 
  • Only a six-month grace period
  • Lacks cosigner release provision

College Ave: What You Need to Know

College Ave is dedicated to providing students and parents with simple and clear student loan options for each individual’s needs. They offer a straightforward way to apply for private student loans and provide individuals with the information they need to ensure they know what they are getting into with this private student loan option. All in all, College Ave strives to give individuals a better student loan experience by offering private student loan options that fit everyone’s goals and budget. 

College Ave’s BBB Rating: A+

College Ave private student loans have an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, which includes points between 97 and 100.  Having an A+ BBB rating is the highest BBB rating that a business can have. Although a BBB rating doesn’t guarantee a business’s performance, it does show how highly customers have considered their experience with College Ave. 

BBB ratings are based on this information: 

  • Business’s complaint history with BBB
  • Business type
  • Length of time in which the business has been operating 
  • Transparency of business practices 
  • Failure to honor commitments to BBB
  • Licensing and government actions 
  • Advertising issues 

In addition to the BBB ratings, College Ave’s website provides customer reviews. On a scale of one to five stars, the average customer review is a 3.2. Their ratings include customer reviews from students, co-signers, and parents. Currently, there are about 450 five-star customer reviews that boast how easy and clear the loan process was with College Ave.  

According to the reviews, College Ave student loans: 

  • Are easy to apply for 
  • Offer clear choices 
  • Have quick approval times 
  • Provide straightforward instructions to accept and process the loan
  • Have professional, polite, and friendly employees

College Ave: Potential Benefits for Borrowers

College Ave has received many great reviews for a good reason. They offer private loans for undergraduate, graduate, and parent borrowers and career loans to fit a multitude of needs. Their application process is quick and straightforward, allowing applicants to receive their credit decision within just three minutes. Plus, you can use their prequalification tool to find out if you qualify – and what interest rates you can anticipate before you apply. 

  • Cover expenses: College Ave private student loans can cover up to 100% of school-certified costs, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, transportation, and more. 
  • Simple application process: College Ave provides a straightforward application process that can be completed within minutes. Within just three minutes, you can find out if your loan has been approved.
  • Personal: College Ave private student loans enable borrowers to tailor their student loans to their needs. Unlike other private student loan companies, College Ave doesn’t provide a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they help you build a private student loan that is personal and fits your unique needs. For example, you can select your length of repayment from five to fifteen years.
  • Fixed and variable rates: With College Ave private student loans, there are both fixed and variable options. Fixed rates have the same interest rate for the lifetime of the loan, while variable rates can fluctuate.
  • Multiple in-school payment options: College Ave provides borrowers with four payment options to fit their individual needs. Borrowers have the option to make full monthly payments, interest-only, or $25 payments while in school. Additionally, they offer the option to defer payments until after graduation.  

College Ave: Potential Drawbacks for Borrowers 

College Ave private student loans have many potential benefits for borrowers, but with all lenders, there are some potential drawbacks. Below are some potential drawbacks of College Ave private student loans. Although most of these drawbacks will not be drawbacks for every borrower, they are important to keep in mind when making your decision. 

  • Minimum loan amount: With College Ave private student loans, there is a minimum loan amount of $1,000. Although this might not be a drawback for many, it can be for those who require a smaller loan. 
  • APR: Even though College Ave private student loans have both fixed and variable rates, there is a large difference between the annual percentage rate (APR). For instance, you could have a variable APR as low as 1.24% or as high as 11.98%.
  • Co-signer Release: College Ave does not offer an option to “release” a co-signer from the loan. Many competing private student loans do offer Co-signer Release (after a certain number of months of repayment and following a full credit and income test of the borrower).
  • Grace period: Like most private student loans, College Ave offers borrowers a six-month grace period. This is not necessarily a drawback, as it gives many students enough time, but it can put pressure on students to have their finances set to begin loan payments in half a year. 

College Ave: The Details

Loan Amounts and Term Lengths

Minimum loan amount: $1,000

Loan term options: Option to customize your preferred loan term from five to 15 years

Multi-year approval available: Not disclosed 

Interest Rate Ranges

Fixed and variable rates available: Yes

Fixed low APR: 4.29%

Fixed high APR: 16.39%

Variable low APR: 5.59%

Variable high APR: 16.85%

(0.25% autopay discount factored in)

 

Repayment Options

In-school payment options: Choose from four payment options, which include: 

  • Full monthly payments (interest and principal) 
  • Interest-only monthly payments 
  • Fixed monthly payments of $25
  • No payments while in school 

Grace period: 6 months

Co-signer release available: No, College Ave does not provide a co-signer release. 

Bank Lender of Record: Firstrust Bank or M.Y. Safra Bank

Other Perks and Options

Interest rate discounts: 0.25% autopay discount

Other rewards or services: Monthly sweepstakes of $1,000 in scholarship money 

College Ave: Eligibility and Application Requirements

Eligibility Details

In most cases, undergraduate borrowers do not have sufficient credit history or meet the income requirement to qualify for private student loans. In fact, 98% of undergraduate loans are co-signed. College Ave offers borrowers the option to have a co-signer for their loan so that they can qualify for private loans to cover their education. 

Income requirements: Not disclosed

Credit score requirements: According to the College Ave website, exact credit criteria are proprietary, but they offer a free credit prequalification tool to tell students and their co-signers if their credit scores qualify. 

Eligibility for international borrowers: All international students are required to have a valid U.S. Social Security number to apply for a College Ave private student loan. They will also need to apply with a qualified co-signer.

Application Details

Application or origination fees: None. It is free to apply for a College Ave private student loan. 

Soft pull rate check availability: Yes, College Ave offers a free credit prequalification tool, an example of a soft inquiry. 

Private Student Loans: Understanding Your Options

Federal student loans offer individuals the money they need to pay for school, without the less attractive terms private student loans sometimes offer. About 20% of student loans come from private student loan lenders, while the majority of student loans come from the federal government. Federal student loans typically have fixed and often lower interest rates than private student loans. 

Perks of federal student loans: 

  • You do not need a co-signer to get most federal student loans 
  • There is no credit check for most federal student loans 
  • The government can pay the interest on some loan types while you are in school, depending on your financial need 
  • Flexible repayment plans 
  • Repayment starts after you leave college or your enrollment drops below half-time 
  • Certain jobs are eligible for student loan forgiveness 
  • Income-based repayment

Although federal student loans are often the better financial decision for borrowers, sometimes students will need a private student loan. For instance, if your tuition bill and other costs of attending college surpass your federal student loan amount and any financial aid, you may need to borrow the remainder through private student loans. Even though federal loans should be a student’s first choice, reputable private student loans, such as College Ave, can be great options for student loan borrowers. 

While federal student loans are funded through the federal government, private student loans are nonfederal. This means that the loans are made through a lender, like a bank, credit union, school, or state agency. Private student loans are a great option for students who have exhausted their federal funding options

Many students choose private student loans to: 

  • Cover costs that their federal student loans don’t cover 
  • Pay for summer classes and expenses 
  • Handle a sudden change in expenses

When determining if a private student loan from College Ave is a good idea for your circumstances, consider the following: 

  • When are payments due? Many private student loans require payment while borrowers are still in school. In some cases, a private student loan company might allow borrowers to defer payment while attending school. With College Ave private student loans, you can defer payment until after you finish school. 
  • What are the interest rates? Private student loans can have variable or fixed interest rates, which means they can have interest rates that change or are fixed like federal student loans. It’s important to make sure that the interest rate of a private student loan is something you are/will be able to handle. College Ave offers both variable and fixed interest rates. In addition, since private student loans are unsubsidized, you will be responsible for all the interest that is accrued on your loan. 
  • Do you have enough credit history for a credit check? Private student loans typically require an established credit history. If you do not have a credit history yet and need a private student loan, you may need a co-signer. 
  • Are there any tax benefits? You may be able to deduct the interest from your annual taxes. 
  • Can you consolidate the loans? Unfortunately, private student loans cannot be consolidated, which is only applicable to federal student loans. However, you may be able to refinance your loans. 

Is College Ave Right for You?

College Ave private student loans are among the best private student loan options. Before you consider a private student loan, ensure that you have exhausted all federal funding options because even though College Ave loans can be a great choice for borrowers, federal student loans offer amazing benefits that private loans just can’t. 

Even though College Ave student loans have many benefits, there are also some drawbacks. For instance, there is a minimum loan amount of $1,000, a large disparity between the lowest and highest APR, your private loans will be serviced by outside companies, and you will only have a grace period of six months. 

College Ave Could Be a Good Option for You If:

  • You have a co-signer with a good credit history. 
  • You want to be able to choose the length of your loan and the monthly payments. 
  • You need an affordable in-school payment option. 

As far as private student loans go, College Ave can be a great fit for borrowers. That being said, it’s important to know all of your private student loan options and additional ways to fund your education

CollegeFinance.com provides students and parents with reviews of federal and private student loans, helping prepare students for this next step. 

In addition, we offer a variety of guides to help you plan, borrow, and repay student loans so that you can make informed decisions to get the most out of your college education. With the right data, we believe you can make the best decision for your future and get the most out of your investment in college education.