SunTrust Student Loans Review

Graduate Business School Loan Terms and Rates
Variable Rates1.750% to 6.853%
Fixed Rates4.301% to 8.890%
Loan Amounts$1,001 up to $95,000 (lifetime limit of $175,000)
Loan TermsSeven or 10 years
(As of April 10, 2020)

Loan Eligibility

To qualify for a private student loan from SunTrust, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be enrolled at least half time at an eligible school.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a Social Security number.
  • If applying for a Union Federal Student Loan, international students can qualify if they have a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must be the age of majority in your state, or be at least 17 if applying with a cosigner who meets the age-of-majority requirement.
  • Either the cosigner or the student must have an income source.
  • You and your cosigner, if applicable, will undergo a hard credit inquiry.
  • Applicants cannot be permanent residents of Iowa or Wisconsin.


Is Loan Prequalification Available?

Unfortunately, SunTrust does not offer a prequalification tool. To find out if you qualify for a loan, you have to complete the application and go through a hard credit inquiry, which will temporarily affect your credit score.


Loan Fees

SunTrust does not charge application or origination fees, and there are no prepayment penalties if you decide to pay off your loan ahead of schedule. However, SunTrust does charge a late fee if you miss your payment due date.


Loan Discounts

SunTrust offers two discounts to all loan borrowers:

  • Automatic Payment Discount When you sign up for automatic payments, you can reduce your interest rate by 0.25%.
  • SunTrust Payment Discount If you make automatic payments from a SunTrust bank account, you can qualify for an additional 0.25% reduction.

The Union Federal Private Student Loan is also eligible for an on-time payment discount. If you make all of your payments on time for 36 months, you’ll lower your interest rate by another 0.25%. If you take advantage of all three discounts, you could lower your rate by 0.75%.


Repayment Options

The repayment options available to you are dependent on what type of loan you have. Custom Choice, Union Federal, and Graduate Business loans provide these four repayment options:

  • In-School Deferment – Your loan payments are deferred until after you graduate or leave school.
  • Immediate Repayment – You begin making payments right after the loan is disbursed.
  • Partial Interest You pay $25 per month while you’re in school.
  • Interest Only – You make payments only toward the interest on your loans while you’re in school.

The Start Student Loan, however, only has the in-school deferment option.


Rewards

Some of SunTrust’s loans offer special rewards.

  • Principal Reduction With Custom Choice and Graduate Business School loans, your loan principal will be reduced when you graduate. With Custom Choice, the principal is reduced by 2%. With Graduate Business School it’s reduced by 1%.
  • 0% APR With the Start Student Loan, you get a 0% APR on the first six months after your loan is disbursed. No interest will accrue on your loan during this period.


Are Co-signers Required?

SunTrust does not require borrowers to have a co-signer when they apply. However, if you don’t meet the income or credit requirements on your own, you may not get approved for a loan. You better your chances of qualifying for a loan—and securing a competitive interest rate—by adding a co-signer to your application. Depending on the type of loan you have, you can apply for a co-signer release after making 36 to 48 monthly payments on time.


Forbearance and Loan Discharge Options

On its website, Suntrust encourages borrowers who experience financial hardships to call its loan servicer—American Education Services—to discuss repayment options. You may be eligible for an alternative payment plan, where you only make payments on the interest on your loan for 12 to 24 months. You may also be eligible for a temporary deferment, which allows you to postpone payments altogether. You can call the loan servicer at 800-233-0557.

If the student borrower dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled, SunTrust will forgive the remaining balance of the loan.


Length of Time for Loan Approval and Disbursement

The application itself only takes about 15 minutes to complete. Once finished, you’ll receive an instant credit decision. Then you’ll have to submit additional documentation online, by fax, or through the mail. You’ll be prompted to sign a loan packet, and SunTrust will reach out to your school to certify the loan.

Once the school certifies the loan, SunTrust will contact you with a final loan disclosure. You have three days to cancel if you no longer want the loan. If you miss that deadline, the loan will be disbursed to the school. The entire process can take several weeks, so be sure to apply well in advance.


Is Student Loan Refinancing Available?

SunTrust only offers in-school refinancingand it’s only for existing private student loans. If you have federal student loans or have already graduated, you are not eligible for refinancing through SunTrust. If you’d like to refinance your loans, check out our best student loan refinancing companies.


Customer Service

SunTrust’s student loans are serviced by American Education Services (AES). Unfortunately, many borrowers have had issues with AES.

In the 2019 Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Private Education Loan Ombudsman, the CFPB listed the number of complaints it received about different private lenders. From Sept. 1, 2018, to Aug. 31, 2019, it received 2,900 complaints about private student loan lenders. Of those, 180—or about 7%—were about AES.

However, you can reach customer support by phone. Which number you should call is dependent on the type of loan you’re interested in.

  • For Custom Choice and Graduate Business School loanscall 866-232-3889
  • For the Start Student Loancall 877-808-4852
  • For the Union Federal Private Student Loancall 866-513-8445


Apply for a SunTrust Student Loan

Before applying for any private student loan, make sure you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s what the federal government and your school use to determine your eligibility for financial aid, including grants and federal student loans. If you need additional funding, then you can proceed with your SunTrust student loan application.

To apply, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Permanent Address
  • Employer Name and Address (if applicable)
  • Loan Amount Requested
  • School Information (including cost of attendance)
  • Estimated Financial Aid
  • Income Information

Final Verdict

SunTrust was previously an excellent choice for people looking for supplemental loans for their education. However, the lender ended its loan program, so it’s no longer an option for private student loans, and you’ll have to find another lender.


Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of student loan lenders. We collected over 45 data points across more than 15 lenders—including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms—to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their education needs.

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