My job or income has been impacted by COVID-19. What help is there for me?
As COVID-19 has been classified as a national disaster, it qualifies for natural disaster forbearance for CommonBond members.
This functions in much the same way as standard forbearance, but you can take advantage of this program through the end of the national emergency declaration. Any time that you are in natural disaster forbearance does not count towards your standard forbearance. As with any form of forbearance, be aware that interest will still accrue, but there are no fees to participate.
To apply for natural disaster forbearance, visit commonbond.co/forbearance.
What is CommonBond doing to help members impacted by COVID-19?
If you are unable to make payments during the COVID-19 outbreak, you can take advantage of CommonBond’s natural disaster forbearance, which allows payments to be paused, in one month increments, for the duration of the national emergency. As with any form of forbearance, be aware that interest will still accrue, but there are no fees to participate.
To apply for natural disaster forbearance, visit commonbond.co/forbearance.
CommonBond is also waiving all late fees for our members for the duration of this national emergency.
I heard New York has stopped collecting student loan debt. What does this mean?
On March 17th, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that the state would temporarily stop collection of outstanding student loan debt owed to State University of New York (SUNY) schools.
This does not mean you should stop paying your student loans if you live in the state of New York. This announcement only applies to student loan debt that is past due. This does not apply to private loans or federal loans for schools outside of the SUNY system.
What was the federal student loan interest waiver?
The federal student loan waiver program temporary set the interest rate on all Direct Student Loans held by the federal government to 0%.
What action has been taken by the federal government about student loans to date?
During a press conference on March 13th with respect to the United States’ response to COVID-19, President Trump announced that the government would “waive interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies.”
On March 20th, President Trump announced that the interest waiver would be in effect for “at least the next 60 days.” The interest waiver was extended on March 27th with passage of the CARES Act and all payments were suspended.
On August 8th, President Trump signed an Executive Order to extend the interest waiver and payment suspension until December 31st, 2020, and on December 4th, 2020, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos further extended student loan relief until January 31st, 2021.
Most recently, incoming President Joe Biden, extended it until September 31st, 2021.
Do federal student loan borrowers still have to make their monthly payments?
For student loans held by the US government (Direct Loans and Department of Education administered FFEL loans), all payments are suspended, and all interest is paused until September 31, 2021. If you are unsure if your loans qualify, you can use our interactive guide for help. https://go.commonbond.co/guide-to-student-loan-relief
I’ve already refinanced my loans, what does this mean for me?
If you refinanced your loans with a private company, your monthly payment and interest rates are not impacted by this announcement.
I understand interest rates are at all-time lows but I've already refinanced. Can I refinance again?
Yes, there is no limit to how many times you can refinance with CommonBond. If you have previously refinanced with CommonBond, there is no fee to refinance again and you can see your estimated rate in less than 2 minutes.
Who’s eligible to refinance?
Qualifying usually consists of meeting a few criteria: You have to be a U.S. citizen; permanent resident; or H1-B, J-1, L-1, E-2, and E-3 visa holder. That means if you’re an international student, we’re not (currently) able to lend to you, but we’re working to change that. You must have graduated from one of the schools in our eligible network. Our network has expanded to more than 2,000 Title IV accredited universities or graduate programs. After that, we’ll consider your credit history and other factors and will quickly make a decision on your application.
Are there loans available for international students?
Yes, the following visa types are eligible for CommonBond student loan refinancing: H1-B, J-1, L-1, E-2, and E-3. Applicants must also have graduated from a U.S. nonprofit undergraduate or graduate school.
Does my school have to certify my refinance loan?
Our refinance program does not require loan certification by your school's financial aid office. Our company and our refinance loan product are neither endorsed by nor affiliated with any educational institutions.
I don't see my school listed, can I still apply?
Refinance loans are currently offered to graduates of thousands of schools across the country. Please email email@example.com if you'd like us to expand our loan program to graduates of your school.
What’s refinancing and what type of loans can be refinanced?
When you refinance, your old loans are paid off and combined into one, simple loan. You might consider refinancing if you want to: get a lower interest rate, decrease your monthly payments, or switch from a fixed-rate loan to a variable-rate loan or vice versa. We can refinance federal, private, and previously consolidated loans.
How much can I refinance?
You can refinance up to $500,000 with us.
How much does the loan cost?
The interest rate for a refinance loan depends on the applicant's credit profile, the choice of a variable or fixed rate, and the term of repayment for the loan. Rates don’t depend on the school attended or the amount of the loan request. See more information here.
Are there any fees or penalties?
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties for refinancing! CommonBond does charge a late payment fee of 5.00% of the unpaid amount of the payment due or $10.00, whichever is less, and a return check fee of $5.00, subject to state law restrictions.
Can I restructure or consolidate my loans through CommonBond?
Our refinance products allow graduates to replace their existing student loans — whether federal or private — with loans provided by us. Read about all of the types of loans we can refinance here.
What’s the difference between student loan refinancing versus consolidation?
Good question! Check out this page for a more in-depth look at the differences between the two.
How do CommonBond loans differ from federal loans?
The federal government offers income-based repayment and special forgiveness programs for borrowers in public service professions. Graduates with federal loans working in such industries may therefore prefer to keep their federal loans to maintain these extra borrower protections.
How do you calculate my interest rate?
The interest rate for a refinance loan depends on several factors, like your credit profile, income, your choice of a variable or fixed rate, and the length of repayment for the loan.
What's the difference between a fixed-rate loan and a variable-rate loan?
An interest rate is "fixed" if it remains unchanged over time, while a "variable" interest rate changes over time based on fluctuations in a market benchmark rate. If that market benchmark rate increases, so too would your rate, and vice versa (as the market benchmark rate decreases, so too would your rate).
What’s an APR?
APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. The APR takes into account any fees and other charges over the life of the loan. APR allows you to compare rates for different loan products on an apples-to-apples basis, which can be helpful if you are comparing loans that have different fee structures.
Where will my loan money be sent?
If you’re approved and funded, all funds are directed to your existing lender(s).
Who exactly is originating my loan?
We underwrite and originate all refinance loans. We’re not affiliated with the school you attended.
What is the Hybrid Loan?
By “Hybrid,” we mean the interest rate is fixed for a portion of the repayment term and variable for the remainder:
1. The first five years of the loan are at a fixed interest rate.
2. For the remainder of the loan (last five years), the rate varies monthly along with the 1-month LIBOR
How do you come up with the rate for the variable portion of the Hybrid Loan?
The rate for the variable portion of the Hybrid Loan isn’t actually set until five years after the loan is disbursed. The rate at that time is the sum of:
1. A “margin” that is set based on your application when you apply for the loan.
2. Whatever 1-month LIBOR is five years after your loan is disbursed.
Who should choose the Hybrid Loan?
Our Hybrid Loan option balances the many competing tradeoffs of choosing a particular repayment term, helping to minimize: 1) interest rate, 2) size of required monthly payment, and 3) total interest paid. The Hybrid also helps reduce the uncertainty of a variable rate loan by fixing the interest rate for the first five years of repayment, and then switching to a variable rate for the remainder of the loan period. For members who intend to prepay, this period of interest rate uncertainty can be relatively short, allowing Hybrid loan holders to benefit from a fixed rate lower than our normal 10-year fixed rate loan.
Can I pay off the entire loan while the rate is fixed?
Yes, of course! We’d never hold it against you for being on the ball.
Does the Hybrid Loan offer a temporary forbearance for economic hardship?
It sure does. Similar to federal student loans, under certain circumstances, including for economic hardship, you can apply to defer your payments through our forbearance program.
What is the application process?
Applying for a CommonBond Student Loan is easy.
1. Fill out our online application and have a preliminary decision in minutes.
2. Upload supporting documentation after receiving your rate and e-sign loan documents.
3. If your application is approved, we’ll arrange with your lender(s) for your existing student loans to be paid off.
What documents will I need for my application?
We’ll try to automatically verify the information you provide, but we could need up to three types of documents to complete your application:
1. Proof of employment: a letter of acceptance from a future employer OR a recent pay stub OR two recent years of tax documents.
2. A recent loan statement for each loan you wish to refinance. Each statement must have your servicer’s name, your name, account number, loan balance, and physical address where you would mail a payment.
3. Proof of residency: a recent utility bill or a recent bank statement.
What types of credit inquiries does CommonBond do?
We perform what's known as a "soft credit pull" to estimate your rate, and this will not affect your credit score.
In order to provide you with your actual rate, we must perform a "hard" credit inquiry, which will show up on your credit report and may have an impact on your credit score. This allows us to review your credit profile and determine your actual rate.
How is my credit score affected?
A refinance loan looks and acts like any other loan on your credit report. When shopping around for refinancing options, it is best to do so in a shorter period of time. For example, if you do so within 30 days, there should be less impact on your credit score than if you did so beyond 30 days.
How do I enroll in autopay to receive the 0.25% discount?
As soon as we approve your loan application, you’ll be able to enroll in autopay and begin receiving the 0.25% discount.
What is cosigner release and when can I apply?
A borrower is eligible to apply for cosigner release after 36 consecutive months of full payment. They must be the age of majority (16-21 years old, depending on the state in which they live) and meet the current underwriting criteria under the loan program at the time of applying for cosigner release. Any period of forbearance interrupts consecutive payments.
What are the terms of the loan?
All of our refinance loans have these great things in common:
1. No origination fees.
2. Monthly payments start between 30 and 60 days after your refinance loan is disbursed.
3. No prepayment penalty.
4. All payments greater than the monthly minimum go straight to reducing the principal ofthe loan.
5. Grace period deferment is available if you graduated this year and your loans are currently in grace period deferment.
6. Academic deferment is available if you decide to go back to school, and forbearance is available in the event of financial hardship.
Is an income-based repayment plan currently available?
We don’t offer income-based repayment plans at the moment, but we fully recognize the importance of flexible repayment terms. As of right now, refinance loans carry standard terms around loan forbearance in case of financial hardship. Situations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If an income-based repayment plan is of interest to you, and you have existing federal loans, you may prefer to keep those loans to take advantage of special government programs such as income-based repayment.
Can I prepay my loan in full or partially, without incurring a penalty?
Of course! We’d never hold it against you for being on the ball. You’re welcome to prepay the loan or pay more than the minimum monthly payment amount if you wish, without incurring any penalty. You’re only responsible for the interest that has already accrued. If you would like to do so, please reach out to the Care Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 975-7812.
Where do I go to see the payments I have made? Can I make payments online?
CommonBond uses a company called Firstmark to accept payments for your loan. You can definitely pay online and you’ll receive all information regarding any other payment methods from Firstmark once you officially accept your loan. If you have any questions about servicing, please reach out to the Care Team at email@example.com or (800) 975-7812.
Are there ways to lower my interest rate or monthly payments?
CommonBond offers a .25% interest rate reduction for auto-draft payment enrollment. You can enroll in autopay during the loan application process! Once you sign your final documents you can fill out the autopay form and start receiving the .25% rate discount on your next payment. If you’ve already begun repayment you can apply in your account with your new servicer. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Care Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 975-7812.
Do you offer forbearance?
We do! Similar to federal student loans, under certain circumstances, including economic hardship, you can apply to defer your payments through our forbearance program.