FAQ

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General Questions

What is CommonBond?

Launched in 2011, CommonBond was founded by people just like you who felt the pain of the student loan process – high interest rates, poor service, and a confusing process – so they started CommonBond to provide affordable educational products with best in class customer service. We offer a variety of affordable loans, whether you are looking to refinance existing student loans or to pay for school. Plus, we believe business can and should be a force for good. With our 1-for-1 Social Promise, for every loan funded we support the education of a child in the developing world. In 2017 we launched CommonBond For Business, to empower companies with benefit solutions to address employee student debt challenges

How can CommonBond offer lower rates than other loan providers?

Our investors believe, as do we, that creditworthy borrowers deserve lower rates than traditional institutions tend to provide. We’re therefore able to provide funds to these creditworthy borrowers at more affordable terms. It's really a win-win for both parties.

What happens to my loan if CommonBond is no longer around?

Not to worry; you're good. The loan lives on and is tied to the servicer of that loan. You will continue to make payments as scheduled through your servicer.

Social Promise

What is CommonBond's Social Promise?

Inspired by companies like TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker, we have been committed since our launch to proving that business can and should be a positive force for change—we call it our "Social Promise."  It means that for every degree fully funded through us, we fund the tuition of a student in need for a full year through our partnership with Pencils of Promise. We’re the first-ever company to bring the "1-for-1" model to education and finance.

Why Pencils of Promise?

Pencils of Promise, or PoP, is a non-profit founded in 2008 to increase access to quality education for children in the developing world. Based in NYC, PoP has developed over 200 schools and educational programs across four countries already: Laos, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Ghana. We're excited to help new PoP students achieve their educational dreams.

What is the CommonBond Social Impact Award?

Our Social Impact Award is an annual prize awarded to the nation's top college entrepreneur with a business idea for social good. Nominees are assessed by our Selection Committee. Assessment criteria include: number of nominations, innovative nature of the idea, likelihood of long-term impact, and traction to date.

Is CommonBond a nonprofit?

We’re a for-profit company with a strong social mission.

Can I make a donation to CommonBond?

If you would like to make a direct donation, we'd like to point you to our non-profit partners. Click here to make a gift to Pencils of Promise.

Top Questions

Are there any fees or penalties?

There’s a 2% origination fee, but there are no other application fees or prepayment penalties of any kind. This origination fee is subject to state specific regulations. While origination fees are important, you should also be comparing APRs. APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate, which includes origination fees, and is the interest rate that you’ll pay on your student loan. The APR is the all-inclusive number that matters most.

What's the application process?

You can easily apply online in minutes. If you decide to move forward, there are just a few documents for you to upload in order to be approved.

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.

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:

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.

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.

Are there any protections offered?

Yes! There are no prepayment penalties, so you can pay off your loan early, or pay more in any given month, if you choose. We also offer the option to apply for forbearance if you’re experiencing economic hardship.

How much can I borrow? How much SHOULD I borrow?

You can borrow up to 100% of your school's cost of attendance. We encourage students to maximize scholarships, grants, and certain federal financial aid options with lower rates first (if applicable). Then, apply for a loan with us to cover the rest of your school’s cost of attendance.

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.

Eligibility

Who can apply for a CommonBond loan?

We lend to undergraduate or graduate students who are currently enrolled at least half-time, or will be enrolled at least half-time for the upcoming school year, at eligible Title IV or not-for-profit schools.

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.

The Application Process

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 CommonBond Student Loan 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.

How can I complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

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.

What happens after my loan is approved?

         1.  Once approved, select a loan product and e-sign your loan disclosures.
         2.  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).
         3.  Once your school certifies the loan, we’ll notify you by email and disburse the funds               directly to your school.

Can you check if I am approved without pulling my credit?

Our credit decision is based on your credit history and other factors. We need to pull your credit to determine if you are eligible.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Will the money be sent directly to me?

Loan funds are disbursed directly to the college you are attending.  They will apply funds to your direct costs and then refund the balance directly to you as required.

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.

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.

The Repayment Process

Do you offer forbearance?

CommonBond offers forbearance to students who encounter economic hardship after graduation.

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.

How is my payment applied to my loan?

Payments are applied based on the terms of your promissory note.

How can I request a deferment?

Please contact customer care at (800)-975-7812 for deferment 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 you are still in school.

How do I find out who is servicing my loan?

CommonBond Student Loans are serviced at FirstMark.

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.

What happens if I am having difficulty paying my loan back or if I lose my job?

CommonBond offers forbearance to students who encounter economic hardship after graduation. Please contact customer care at (800)-975-7812 for more details.

Are there ways to lower my interest rate or monthly payments?

CommonBond offers a .25% interest rate reduction for auto-draft payment enrollment.

Top Questions

Are there any fees or penalties?

There’s a 2% origination fee, but there are no other application fees or prepayment penalties of any kind. This origination fee is subject to state specific regulations. While origination fees are important, you should also be comparing APRs. APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate, which includes origination fees, and is the interest rate that you’ll pay on your student loan. The APR is the all-inclusive number that matters most.

What's the application process?

You can easily apply online in minutes. If you decide to move forward, there are just a few documents for you to upload in order to be approved.

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.

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: 

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.

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.

Are there any protections offered?

Yes! There are no prepayment penalties, so you can pay off your loan early, or pay more in any given month, if you choose. We also offer the option to apply for forbearance if you’re experiencing economic hardship.

How much can I borrow? How much SHOULD I borrow?

You can borrow up to 100% of your school's cost of attendance. We encourage students to maximize scholarships, grants, and certain federal financial aid options with lower rates first (if applicable). Then, apply for a loan with us to cover the rest of your school’s cost of attendance.

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.

Eligibility

Who can apply for a CommonBond loan?

We lend to undergraduate or graduate students who are currently enrolled at least half-time, or will be enrolled at least half-time for the upcoming school year, at eligible Title IV or not-for-profit schools.

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.

Understanding Your Loan Terms

How do I apply for a CommonBond Student Loan?

Applying for a CommonBond Student Loan is easy.

         1.  Fill out our online application.
         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.

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.

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.

How much am I allowed to borrow?

CommonBond allows students to borrow up to their 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.

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.

The Application Process

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 CommonBond Student Loan 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.

How can I complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Will the money be sent directly to me?

Loan funds are disbursed directly to the college you are attending. They will apply funds to your direct costs and then refund the balance directly to you as required.

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.

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.

The Repayment Process

Do you offer forbearance?

CommonBond offers forbearance to students who encounter economic hardship after graduation.

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.

How is my payment applied to my loan?

Payments are applied based on the terms of your promissory note.

How can I request a deferment?

Please contact customer care at (800)-975-7812 for deferment 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.

How do I find out who is servicing my loan?

CommonBond Student Loans are serviced at FirstMark.

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.

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.

Are there ways to lower my interest rate or monthly payments?

CommonBond offers a .25% interest rate reduction for auto-draft payment enrollment.

Top Questions

What’s the maximum amount I can borrow?

Your school will set your maximum borrow amount based on their published cost of attendance minus scholarships and other forms of assistance such as grants, fellowships, and financial aid. This total cost of attendance is sometimes referred to as your "financial need.” Our maximum loan amount per academic year is $110,000.

What are your interest rates? How do you determine my specific interest rate?

We offer both fixed and variable rate terms. Everyone who is approved will receive one of two rates, depending on the loan product (fixed or variable) and repayment term you choose. Click here to see our current rates.

Get started here

Are there any fees or penalties?

We have a 2% origination fee on our MBA student loans, subject to state law. However, we have no other application or prepayment penalties at any time.

Where do you send the funds? How do they get to me?

Once you are approved, all funds will be sent directly to your school. You will receive any funds above the cost of tuition and fees directly from your school. The timing is determined by your school’s billing cycle.

What’s the application process like?

It takes just a couple minutes to approve your application and we work hard to make the process straightforward and simple.

How are your loans different from those of the federal government?

The federal government offers income-based repayment and special forgiveness programs for borrowers in public service professions. Students with federal loans working in such industries may therefore prefer to keep their federal loans to maintain these extra borrower protections. For more information on Federal Student Loans, please click here.

What are my repayment options? Which one should I choose?

We offer a couple different payment options while in school:

Full deferment: You can defer your interest payments (i.e. not having to pay) while enrolled in school, plus a six-month grace period following graduation or termination of enrollment (up to a maximum of 32 months). You can always make one-time payments while in deferment.  

Interest-only payment: You can choose to pay only interest each month while you’re in the deferment period. This can be a great alternative to the full repayment option if you do want to start making regular payments, and start making a dent in your interest while you’re in school.

Full principal and interest payment plan: You can pay the full principal and interest payment every month while in school. Some students choose this option so that they don't have to pay full tuition all at once, but they can start spreading those payments out from the moment they are offered the loan.

Once I start my application and confirm my rate, do I have to take out a loan with CommonBond?

While we hope you will choose us, you can still decide whether or not to borrow from us after you complete your hard credit inquiry. You’re not obligated to take out a student loan with us until the final paperwork where you accept or reject.

Is a hard credit pull actually required?

Yes, we do need to perform a hard pull to fully review your credit profile and determine if we can offer you a rate. This "hard" inquiry will show up on your credit report.

Is there an origination fee?

For new loan originations, there is a 2% origination fee, subject to state law, which is added to the principal balance of the loan at the time the loan proceeds are disbursed, and will be repayable as part of the repayment term of the loan. (The Federal Government's Direct PLUS loan program for graduate students currently charges a 4.3% origination fee.)

Eligibility

Can I take out a student loan for my MBA?

You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and you must be 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.

What programs meet your eligibility requirements for your MBA loan?

As of now, the following schools are in our network for loans without a cosigner required, though we're planning to expand both beyond MBA programs and our current schools in the future: 

Brigham Young University-Provo - Marriott
Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper
Columbia University - CBS
Cornell University - Johnson
Dartmouth College - Tuck
Duke University - Fuqua
Emory University - Goizueta
Georgetown University - McDonough
Harvard University - HBS
Indiana University Bloomington - Kelley
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Sloan
New York University - Stern
Northwestern University - Kellogg
Rice University - Jones
Stanford University - GSB
The University of Texas at Austin - McCombs
University of California, Berkeley - Haas
University of California, Los Angeles - Anderson
University of Chicago - Booth
University of Michigan - Ross
University of Minnesota - Carlson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler
University of Notre Dame - Mendoza
University of Pennsylvania - Wharton
University of Southern California - Marshall
University of Virginia - Darden
University of Washington - Foster
Vanderbilt University - Owen
Yale University - SOM

If my school isn’t listed, can I still apply?

Yes. Currently, we only offer MBA loans without a cosigner to students of the schools in our network. But we offer affordable graduate loans to students enrolled in any of our 2,000+ accredited non-profit universities.  Find out more here.

Is the CommonBond program certified at my school?

Yes, the loans are certified by each of the schools in our network. We’re not endorsed by or affiliated with any educational institutions.

Do I need to fill out a FAFSA or will I need to provide other forms?

We don’t require your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) since it’s for requesting federal loans only. You just need to fill out our online application to get started. However, we encourage you to check in with your financial aid office as they can have forms you need to complete with them. You won’t need to send these forms to us, but your school may require them in order to approve your private student loan with us.

What if I’ve already applied for a federal loan for this year? Can I switch to CommonBond?

Most lenders have cancellation policies that may allow you to replace your existing loan. For example, the federal government allows you to cancel your loan up to 120 days after disbursement without penalty, and without paying accrued interest. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Care Team if you need help! We’ll work with you to see if we can replace your current federal loans. Please click here for a note on federal loans.

What if I already have federal loans outstanding? Am I still eligible for an MBA Student Loan?

Yes! Having outstanding graduate and/or undergraduate student loans will not prevent you from taking out a graduate-level MBA Student Loan from us, provided you meet our underwriting criteria.

Do I need a cosigner?

We don’t require a cosigner for our application, even if you have a cosigner on your current loans. However, we may ask you to add a cosigner to move forward with your application if you don’t meet our underwriting criteria and you may be eligible for a lower rate with a cosigner. Feel free to reach out to our care team to determine the best option for your unique situation.

Are there loans available for international students?

Our student loan product is currently for US citizens or permanent residents. However, we’re now working with Prodigy Finance to assist international postgraduate students in financing their education.

Interested international students that complete our eligibility form, and are attending a school with which Prodigy Finance is associated, will be provided information on how to start a loan application on Prodigy Finance’s website.

We’re unaffiliated with Prodigy Finance and will not be involved in the making of the loan. You can also check them out here.

How is my credit score affected?

MBA Student Loans look and act like any other loan on your credit report. When shopping around for student loans, it’s 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.

Another benefit of our loans is that since we have consistent terms for our loan products, you already know the loan rate at which you would borrow. By comparison, banks will typically only quote applicants a loan rate after first running a credit check on the applicant.

When are the deadlines for applications and when will I know by?

Our application process can be completed in a matter of days. If you want extra comfort in meeting your school's specific loan application deadlines, we recommend filling out a FAFSA for federal funding in the meantime. Government loans have a 120-day cancellation policy, which allows borrowers to cancel federal loans within 120 days of disbursement, without paying any fees or penalties.

Can I change the amount of funding I have requested?

Yes, you sure can. Reach out to our Care Team, and we’ll walk you through your specific request.

Understanding Your Loan Terms

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.

The Repayment Process

What are the repayment terms of the loan?

MBA student loans have three repayment options and two repayment terms.

Repayment options:

Full deferment: Under the full deferment payment plan, interest and principal will be deferred while you are in school, and for an additional grace period of up to six months (allowing for a combined maximum deferment of 32 months), after which there will be a ten-year (120 months) or fifteen-year (180 months) repayment period.

Interest-only payments: On this plan you will make monthly payments to cover the full amount of interest that accrues over the course of the each month. This prevents interest from capitalizing and increasing your loan balance. These payments are only applied to the interest, not the principle.

Full principal and interest payment (Immediate Repayment): There is also a full principal and interest payment plan, in which case repayment will begin immediately and will continue over either a ten-year (120 months) or fifteen-year (180 months) repayment period.

Repayment terms:

         Ten-year (120 months) repayment period
         Fifteen-year (180 months) repayment period

You can also make one-time payments at any time during the deferment or repayment period.

How do I enroll in autopay to receive the 0.25% rate discount?

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 care@commonbond.co or (800) 975-7812.

Does a grace period exist, and if so, what is it?

Yes. Depending on the repayment option that you select and your anticipated graduation date, there’s a grace period for MBA student loans of up to six months following graduation. During this grace period, you’re not required to make loan payments, although you can elect a repayment option in which you make principal and/or interest payments immediately.

Does interest accrue during a grace period?

Yes. You can choose from a couple different payment options while in school, including in-school deferment. Each deferred payment option includes a six-month grace period following graduation or termination of enrollment (up to a maximum of 32 months).

Where do I go to see the payments I have made?

All information regarding the various payment options and your transaction history will be provided by your new servicer once you officially accept your loan through CommonBond. If you have any questions about servicing, please reach out to The Care Team at care@commonbond.co or (800) 975-7812.

Can I prepay my loan in full or partially, without incurring a penalty?

Yes! You are welcome to prepay the loan or pay more than the minimum monthly payment amount if you wish, without incurring any penalty. You are only responsible for the interest that has already accrued. You can make or schedule a payment at anytime. If you would like to do so, please reach out to The Care Team at care@commonbond.co or (800) 975-7812.

What happens if I can't pay my loan?

First, if you are eligible, you can apply to our forbearance program. It’s designed as a protection for you if you encounter economic hardship. If you remain unable to pay your loan, we'll work with you and our community to attempt to find a solution. If you ultimately choose not to pay or are unable to, then the loan will be subject to default as provided in the promissory note. (This process is similar for federal government loans and other private loans). For more information on our forbearance eligibility requirements, please reach out to the Care Team at care@commonbond.co or (800) 975-7812.

Is an income-based repayment plan currently available?

Not at the moment, but we fully recognize the importance of flexible repayment terms. As of right now, MBA student loans carry standard terms around loan forbearance in case of financial hardship and are resolved on a case-by-case basis.

Prodigy Finance

Who is Prodigy Finance?

Prodigy Finance is the global leader in postgraduate student loans for international students looking to study in the US and Europe, and has already processed loans for students from 92 countries.*

*Prodigy Finance is incorporated in the United Kingdom (“UK”), and its loans are made in the UK and are governed by UK law. The terms and conditions of such loans, including the amount of the loan and the applicable interest rate, are determined by Prodigy Finance in its discretion at the time a legally binding loan commitment is issued.

How is CommonBond working with Prodigy Finance?

We work with Prodigy Finance to assist international postgraduate students in financing their education. Interested international students that complete the our eligibility form, and are attending a school with which Prodigy Finance is associated, will be provided with information on how to start an application for funding on Prodigy Finance’s website.*

*We’re unaffiliated with Prodigy Finance and will not be involved in the making of the loan.

Why Prodigy Finance?

We’ve long wanted to be able to support non-US citizens in their pursuit of postgraduate education. In choosing to work with Prodigy Finance, we’re thrilled to see more international students get access to the funding that they need for business school. Prodigy Finance offers competitive rates, an easy online application process, and does not require a co-signer.

Which schools are eligible?

We’re happy to be helping non-US Citizens attending these schools to finance their student loans by introducing them to Prodigy Finance:

Babson College
Boston College - Carroll
Boston University - Questrom
CEIBS
Cambridge Judge Business School
Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper
Cass Business School
Columbia University - CBS
Cornell University - Johnson
Cranfield School of Management
Dartmouth College - Tuck
Duke University - Fuqua
ESADE
European School of Management and Technology
Georgetown University - McDonough
Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller
HEC Paris
Harvard University - HBS
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, HKUST, Business School
IE Business School
IESE Business School
IMD Business School
INSEAD
Ivey Business School
London Business School
Manchester Business School
McGill Desautels Faculty of Management
NUS Singapore
New York University - Stern
Northwestern University - Kellogg
Ohio State University - Fisher
Oxford University Said Business School
Queens School of Business
Rice University - Jones
Rotman School of Management
Rotterdam School of Management
SDA Bocconi School of Management
Sauder School of Business
Schulich School of Business
Stanford University - GSB
University of California, Berkeley - Haas
University of California, Los Angeles - Anderson
University of Chicago - Booth
University of Michigan - Ross
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler
University of Notre Dame - Mendoza
University of Pennsylvania - Wharton
University of Rochester - Simon
University of Southern California - Marshall
University of Texas, Austin - McCombs
University of Washington - Foster Vanderbilt
University - Owen Vlerick Business School Washington
University in St. Louis - Olin
Yale University - SOM

How long does the Prodigy Finance application process take?

Once the online application is complete, Prodigy Finance offers a preliminary loan decision within five working days.

Who should I contact if I have a question about Prodigy Finance?

Email info@prodigyfinance.com or head to Prodigy Finance for more information. You may also contact our Care Team and we’ll be happy to assist you. Email care@commonbond.co or you can call us at 800-975-7812.

Top Questions

How much can I refinance?

You can refinance up to $500,000 with us.

Do we have an origination fee?

Nope, we don’t have an origination fee for refinance loans.

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.

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.

Who’s eligible to refinance?

U.S. citizens and permanent residents who graduated from a selection of more than 2,000 Title IV accredited universities or graduate programs are eligible to refinance with us.

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 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).

Are there any fees or penalties?

Nope! There are no fees or penalties associated with refinance loans. That means there’s no origination fees and no prepayment penalties.

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.

Do you offer temporary forbearance for economic hardship?

We do! Similar to federal student loans, under certain circumstances, including economic hardship, you can apply to defer your payments through our forbearance program.

How long does the borrowing process take and what do I need to get started?

It doesn’t take long. You can have a credit decision in minutes, without any supporting documentation. Just give us a bit of information about yourself, like where you live and work, and details about your current loan situation.

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.

Is the application process straightforward?

We think so. Here are the steps:
          1.   Apply online. You can get started here on our site 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

Who exactly is originating my loan?

We underwrite and originate all refinance loans. We’re not affiliated with the school you attended.

Where will my loan money be sent?

If you’re approved and funded, all funds are directed to your existing lender(s).

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.

Is CommonBond the right choice for everyone?

It depends! The federal government has special forgiveness programs for employees in specific industries (e.g., public service). Graduates with federal loans working in such industries may therefore prefer to keep their federal loans to maintain these extra borrower protections.

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.

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 of               the 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.

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, such as 1-month LIBOR. The interest rate for a variable-rate loan is typically based off of a calculation that adds a percentage spread to 1-month LIBOR. For example, let's assume an applicant is quoted the following interest rate for a variable rate loan: 1-month LIBOR + 2.00%. If LIBOR is currently at 1.00%, then the effective loan interest rate would start at 3.00%. If LIBOR increases, so too would your rate, and vice versa (as LIBOR decreases, so too would your rate).

Some variable-rate loans have a "cap" - a rate the variable interest rate cannot exceed. A cap is included to protect borrowers from excessively high interest rate environments. Interest rate caps on CommonBond loans vary between 8.99% and 12.99%, depending on the length of the repayment term.

Are the terms of refinance loans the same for all graduates or do they vary based on one's credit score?

The interest rate of refinance loans depends on the credit profile of each applicant, as well as other criteria.

Repayment Terms

When are the timelines for applications and when will I know by?

The online application process can be completed in minutes and the entire process in just a few business 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. If you have any questions, please reach out to our Care Team at care@commonbond.co 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 care@commonbond.co or (800) 975-7812.

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 care@commonbond.co or (800) 975-7812.

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.

Eligibility

Where is CommonBond able to lend?

We’re able to lend to U.S. citizens and permanent residents with a current address in these states:
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Do I qualify for a refinance loan?

Qualifying usually consists of meeting a few criteria: You have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. 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.

What schools are currently in our network for refinance loans?

More than 2,000 Title IV accredited universities or graduate programs are eligible to refinance with us.

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.

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.

What is the purpose of a soft credit pull?

A soft credit inquiry allows us to provide you with a preliminary rate without affecting your credit score.

Is a hard pull also required?

Yes, we need to perform a hard pull to review your credit profile and determine your actual rate. This "hard" inquiry will show up on your credit report.

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 care@commonbond.co if you'd like us to expand our loan program to graduates of your school.

Are there loans available for international students?

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.

Understanding Your Refinance Terms

What is an origination fee?

A fee charged by a lender on entering into a loan agreement to cover the cost of processing the loan.

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.

The Hybrid Loan

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.