College Ave, a student loan company founded by former Sallie Mae executives Joe Depaulo and Tim Staley in 2014, provides loan options for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as parents.
Focusing only on providing student loan services and resources, College Ave differs from some other lenders that provide an array of loan options. Therefore, College Ave knows and understands the industry, and seeks to provide borrowers with the best college loan in a way that is easy to understand and manage.
Continue reading for pros and cons, and College Ave reviews.
College Ave claims to provide a fast and simple application process. The application process takes approximately three minutes to complete and can be done on a mobile device or tablet. College Ave also does not charge a fee for applications and claims to give potential borrowers an instant decision on credit.
The College Ave student loan process itself can be broken down into five easy steps that can help borrowers consider their needs and financial circumstances before applying, ensuring that they know what they are getting into when they apply for a student loan. These steps to apply include:
1. Review your financial aid options. College Ave recognizes that a private student loan may not be the best option for everyone, thus they encourage borrowers to look into all available options, especially federal student loan options, scholarships, and grants. These financing options can offset much of the cost of your education, but they may not cover everything. Therefore, it is important to consider your circumstances and all options available to you.
2. Consider how much you'll need to borrow. The cost of college will be different for everyone, and College Ave encourages borrowers to do their research on the cost of tuition and fees, while also considering their own financial circumstances.
3. Know when to apply for your loan. College Ave encourages borrowers to map out their "college timeline", ensuring that they will apply in time for school and important college payment deadlines.
4. Find out if you're qualified. College Ave offers a prequalification tool that allows borrowers to see if they will qualify on their own, or if they should consider finding a creditworthy cosigner that can help them qualify and be approved.
5. Apply. As mentioned above, College Ave's application is quick and easy and should not take more than three minutes.
College Ave strives to make the student loan process and experience easy, and the company understands that there are multiple factors that play a role in applying for a student loan and making subsequent repayments.
Most undergraduate students may not have an established credit history, which can make it difficult to be approved for a private student loan, as lenders generally require a good credit score (upper 600s) for loan approval. College Ave understands that this could be a roadblock for some borrowers and provides the option to apply with a cosigner. Doing so can increase your chances of approval, as well as get you a lower interest rate and better loan terms, as the cosigner's credit score will be taken into consideration instead.
It is important to note that this is a common practice in the student loan industry, as most private student loan lenders allow borrowers to apply with a cosigner.
When it comes to repayment, College Ave strays away from the "one size fits all" policy. Instead, the company focuses on borrowers choosing how they wish to repay. College Ave provides four different repayment options that borrowers may choose:
College Ave also allows borrowers to choose how many years they would like to take to repay the loan. The four options here include 8 years, 10 years, 12 years, or 15 years. According to their website, borrowers could likely save more if they choose 8-year terms and will get smaller monthly payments with a higher overall cost if they choose 15 years.
In addition to student loans, College Ave also offers student loan refinancing services. Refinancing an existing student loan, private or federal, can lower your monthly payments and save you more money than otherwise.
Learn more about College Ave's refinancing services, including rates and fees.
The College Ave website has a helpful undergraduate loan calculator to help borrowers figure out which student loan will work best for them. The calculator shows specific numbers and give borrowers an idea of how much they will receive and repay. Another tool that College Ave provides is the "how we compare" chart. This chart shows potential borrowers how College Ave compares to other student loan companies in number of repayment options, choice of loan terms, fees to apply, and selection of fixed or variable rates.
College Ave only offers 12 months of loan forbearance. If you are in need of a longer forbearance period, you may want to look into other student loan lenders.
A cosigner on a College Ave student loan can be released, but it is not a fast process. A cosigner can be released after more than half of the scheduled repayment period has taken place. An added stipulation is that the last 24 consecutive payments had to have been made on-time without including any forbearance.
These stipulations can make it a long time before a cosigner can be released from a loan, which may not be the case with other student loan lenders.
Although College Ave does not charge a prepayment penalty fee, allowing borrowers to pay off their loan early if feasible for them, it does charge a loan origination fee, as well as a late fee.
The College Ave origination fee will range from 1.068 percent to 4.276 percent of the amount borrowed. In addition, a late fee of 5 percent of the unpaid monthly amount or $25, whichever is less, will be charged if a payment is missed or not made within 15 days of the monthly payment due date.
Many student loan lenders have late fees, but not all charge origination fees.
Although College Ave claims that borrowers can apply for a loan in three minutes, the entire process of actually getting the loan can be lengthy. According to the company's website, the process after the application to when the money gets sent to the borrower’s school can take up to 10 business days or longer. Another downside is that people cannot apply for a loan over the phone.
Because College Ave began in 2014, it lacks experience and reliability that comes with time. Though this relatively short period of time is business is something for borrowers should be aware of, it should not be the only factor determining what company they borrow from.
Overall, College Ave provides many good features such as a free and relatively quick online application, a variety of four repayment options, and multiple tools to help borrowers find the right loan for them, whether that be an undergraduate loan, a graduate loan, a career loan, or a parent loan. Although the application only takes minutes, the time it takes to actually obtain the loan could be a drawback for borrowers. It is also important to keep in mind that while College Ave does not charge a prepayment penalty fee, it does charge a loan origination fee, which other lenders may not charge.
Although College Ave is a relatively young company in comparison to some of its competitors, it only offers student loans and is committed to making the student loan experience manageable for borrowers. Currently, College Ave reviews are limited, but the reviews we do have are positive, highlighting effective and reliable customer service.
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