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 can apply for a CommonBond loan?
We lend to U.S. citizens and permanent resident undergraduate or graduate students who are currently enrolled at least half-time at one of the schools in our network. We’ll review your credit profile to quickly make a decision on your application.
Do I need a cosigner to apply?
Yes, we require students to apply with a creditworthy cosigner. A creditworthy cosigner could be a parent, family member, or friend. A cosigner commits to paying the balance of the loan in the event that you cannot. However, after two years of consecutive, on-time payments, you can apply to release your cosigner from your loan.
What is the difference between federal and private student loans?
Federal student loans are available through the US Department of Education, feature fixed interest rates and fees, and offer several repayment options. Private student loans are education loans offered by banks or other lenders, are credit-based, and have fixed or variable interest rates, often offering lower fees.
Are there any fees or penalties?
There is no origination fee. CommonBond charges a late 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.
How much can I borrow?
You can borrow up to 100% of your school's cost of attendance, as determined by the financial aid office. The cost of attendance is the average cost to attend a school for one academic year (fall through spring). It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. Colleges adjust the COA yearly to reflect changes to these costs. Cost of attendance is typically communicated to students via the financial aid award letter and is different from direct costs incurred by students. The lifetime borrowing limit is $500,000.
What is the loan minimum?
The minimum for a CommonBond loan is $2,000, subject to state law restriction.
What will my interest rate be?
The interest rate for a CommonBond student loan depends on your credit profile and your cosigner’s credit profile, your choice of a variable or fixed rate, and the length of repayment for the loan.
What’s the difference between rate and 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.
What is a Money Mentor?
Money Mentors are real people with real answers that can help borrowers become smart financial consumers as they enter college and beyond. Our Money Mentors are able to deliver customized guidance to CommonBond Borrowers on topics such as creating a budget, submitting the FAFSA, finding internships, mapping majors to career pathways, responsibly building credit, and more! And it’s all over text message, for free.
All undergraduate borrowers are automatically enrolled in the Money Mentors program. Grad students may elect to opt-in and be paired with a Money Mentor. Questions about Money Mentors? Learn more here.
What is school certification?
We contact your school to verify if you are eligible for your requested loan amount and to get the disbursement dates. This ensures that the funds arrive on time and you do not borrow more than what you need.
What's the application process?
Applying for a CommonBond Student Loan is easy.
2. Once approved, select a loan product and e-sign your loan disclosures.
3. We’ll confirm your enrollment and loan amount. (This can take anywhere from five days to three weeks, depending on your school and the time of year).
4. Once your school certifies the loan, we’ll notify you by email and disburse the funds directly to your school.
Can I apply for multiple years at once?
Students should apply for the amount they need to cover the full academic year in which they are enrolled. The college financial aid office will certify your loan application based upon the costs for this year. Applying for multiple years at once is not possible.
Can you check if I am approved without pulling my credit?
Our decision is based on your credit history and other factors. We need to pull your credit to determine if you are eligible.
How do I choose between your different product options?
We offer loan terms of 5, 10, and 15 years, available at both fixed and variable rates. Depending on your personal financial preference, one option may be more attractive than the others.
Do I need to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for a CommonBond Student Loan?
No. Private student loan borrowers DO NOT need to submit a FAFSA. Simply complete the online application to apply.
However, students are encouraged to exhaust all “free” Federal and State Financial Aid options before taking a private student loan to pay for college. The FAFSA is an essential application for federal financial aid and is typically a student's first step in applying for financial aid. You can fill out the form online at fafsa.ed.gov. Students are strongly encouraged to apply online.
Do you send the money to me or directly to my school?
Loan proceeds are delivered directly to your college or university.
When will the funds be disbursed?
The college or university financial aid office will certify your loan and will confirm or update the disbursement dates that you indicated on your application. The financial aid office will assign the dates based upon their internal policy for distribution of funds.
Can I still apply for a loan if I’m studying abroad this semester?
Yes, as long as your school's main campus is based in the US and is on our approved list.
Can I increase my loan if my school certified it for an amount lower that what I requested?
Your school certifies the amount you qualify for to ensure you do not borrow more than you need. If you think your school certified a lower amount in error, please speak to your financial aid office. If needed and allowable, you may be able to increase the amount.
I recently submitted documentation for my application, why hasn’t my loan been updated?
It may take 24 hours for documents to come through and for your account to be updated.
My loan application was denied, how can I pay for school now?
The best thing to do is talk to your financial aid office. They will be able to give you more information about scholarships and other financial aid options available to you.
When do I repay my loans and what are the options?
Everyone has their own personal budget to manage, so we offer 4 different repayment options, subject to state law restriction.
Deferment: Allows you to completely postpone making your student loan payments until graduation. Keep in mind that interest will accrue during deferment and will be capitalized at the end of the deferment period.
Fixed monthly payment of $25: Allows you to make fixed payments of $25 each month while you are in school. Any unpaid interest will be capitalized at the end of the fixed monthly payment period.
Interest-only payment: Allows you to make interest-only payments each month while you are in school.
Full monthly payment: Full monthly payment of the student loan (principal plus interest) begins while you are in school.
I elected to make in-school payments. When is my first payment due?
Your first required in-school payment will be due the month following your first disbursement. You will receive a notice with the payment due date.
Is there a grace period?
Each repayment option comes with a six-month grace period following graduation or termination of enrollment. During that grace period, you’re not required to make any payments, but interest will continue to accrue.
How is my payment applied to my loan?
Payments are applied based on the terms of your promissory note.
Are there ways to lower my interest rate or monthly payments?
CommonBond offers a .25% interest rate reduction for auto-draft payment enrollment.
What is cosigner release and when can I apply?
A student is eligible to apply for cosigner release after graduation and 24 consecutive months of full payment. The student must be the age of majority (16-21 years old, depending on the state in which you 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.
How can I request a deferment?
Please contact customer care at (800)-975-7812 for deferment details.
Do you offer forbearance?
CommonBond offers forbearance to students who encounter economic hardship after graduation.
What happens if I am having difficulty paying my loan back or if I lose my job?
CommonBond offer forbearance to students who encounter economic hardship after graduation. Please contact customer care at (800)-975-7812 for more details.
I’m still in school. Why is my loan in repayment?
If you selected an interest‐only or fixed repayment option, or full payment while in school, you’ll make payments while in school.
If I mail in my payment, how do I make sure it goes where I want?
Borrowers have a specific address to which payments should be sent. For more information on paying by mail, check the back of your billing statement for ways to make your student loan payments. We strongly encourage borrowers to pay via electronic payments.
Who is servicing my loan?
CommonBond Student Loans are serviced at FirstMark.