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Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.
Planning on going to a coding bootcamp or technical school? You might have heard of Climb Credit through your financial aid office. This lender only offers financing through partner schools with skills-based programs that don’t offer traditional financial aid. However, rates can run slightly higher than other types of student loans and you can only qualify if your school is a partner.
First, am I eligible?
To qualify for a Climb Credit student loan, you must meet the following criteria:
Attend an eligible school
Resident of an eligible state
US citizen or permanent resident
Age of majority in your state of residence
Students who can’t meet age, citizenship or residency requirements can still qualify if they apply with a cosigner. Climb Credit also considers factors like your credit score, debt-to-income ratio and the school you attend.
What states is Climb Credit available in?
Climb Credit is currently available to residents of all 50 states except Rhode Island.
What is Climb Credit?
Climb Credit is a student loan provider that offers financing to students through schools that offer skills-based training programs. It serves to fill a gap in the student loan market, Climb Credit Founder and CEO Angela Ceresnie told finder.com during the 2019 LendIt Fintech USA conference.
“It doesn’t really make sense for schools that are charging $10,000 or $15,000 to have federal financial aid because it’s a very expensive program to administer,” she said. “But you don’t want to not offer financial aid, because then people have to come up with $10,000 or $15,000 in cash, which is not always possible. So Climb is sort of a good in-between.”
How does Climb Credit work?
Climb Credit works by partnering directly with schools after evaluating the graduation rate and employment numbers of its former students. The schools in turn offer Climb Credit funding to their students through their financial aid department.
In some cases, it also gives some schools an incentive to help students find a job through what Ceresnie calls a risk-share agreement. Here, the school doesn’t receive full tuition until after you land a job and start making full repayments. So if you borrowed $10,000, the school might only receive $8,000 up front and the remaining $2,000 as you pay off your loan.
“The idea there is aligning [students’] interests with the school and bringing the schools into a place where they have a financial upside to their students actually doing well in the job market,” Ceresnie said.
How much do Climb Credit student loans cost?
Climb Credit student loans come with interest rates and an origination fee. Interest rates are fixed and run from 6% to 14% with an origination fee of 5% when you take out the loan. That’s roughly an APR range of 9.3% to 17.5%.
Loan terms vary depending on your school, though typically students take three years to pay it back. Here’s how it might break down if you start making full repayments on the interest and principal right away with a three-year term:
Monthly payment with 9.3% APR
Monthly payment with 17.5% APR
Total cost with 9.3% APR
Total cost with 17.5% APR
If you choose a repayment plan that allows you to make interest-only repayments while you’re in school or unemployed, your total loan cost will be higher.
Does Climb Credit offer any discounts?
Yes, Climb Credit offers a 0.25% rate discount if you sign up for automatic repayments.
What are my repayment options?
Climb Credit offers different repayment programs through different schools. While repayments start one month after your school receives the funds, you can typically make interest-only repayments until you graduate. In some cases, you might even be able to make interest-only repayments until you find a job in your field. Repayment plans often run from three to five years.
Contact your school’s financial aid office to learn more about the repayment options available to you.
Compare more private student loan options
Updated September 18th, 2019
Top reasons to consider Climb Credit
From its risk-share agreements to its cosigner-friendly loans, here are a few perks of borrowing from Climb Credit:
Available for skills-based programs. If you don’t attend a Title IV school, Climb Credit could still be an option.
Vets your school. Climb Credit considers factors like a school’s graduation rate and job placement before working with a school.
Incentivizes your success. The risk-share agreement gives schools a financial incentive to help you find a job after you graduate.
Available to international students and minors. You can apply regardless of your citizenship or age if you have a creditworthy cosigner.
Drawbacks to borrowing from Climb Credit
Consider these potential drawbacks before taking out a loan from Climb Credit:
Only available through partner schools. If your school doesn’t offer Climb Credit student loans, you can’t apply.
Not available in Rhode Island. Climb Credit is currently working on licensing to work with borrowers in this state.
Origination fee. Most private student loan providers don’t charge an origination fee, but Climb borrowers must pay 5% of the loan amount.
What do borrowers say about Climb Credit?
Climb Credit is relatively new to the student lending space as of May 2019. So it’s no surprise that it has just shy of 45 reviews on Trustpilot and nothing on its Better Business Bureau (BBB) page. Of the few customers that have written reviews, 95% are positive, earning it a 9.2 out of 10 TrustScore.
Most customers were pleased with the ease and speed of the application process. And while one customer was unhappy with how Climb Credit’s customer service team handled a misapplied repayment, Climb responded with an apology.
What to expect when signing up
Since Climb Credit directly partners with schools, the application process can vary from school to school. “Sometimes the application is available online through the school’s financial aid website, sometimes it’s available directly on the application,” Ceresnie said.
You can also apply through the Climb Credit website. Here’s how that works:
Go to the Climb Credit website. Click Get a Loan.
Enter your school’s name and click Go.
Enter your contact information and click Get Started.
Follow the instructions to fill out the application with information about yourself, the loan and your cosigner if applicable.
Read the disclosures and review your answers before submitting your application.
Typically, it takes less than five minutes to complete the application if you have all of the information you need on hand. After you submit your application, you should receive an offer from Climb Credit. If you accept the rates and terms, sign the loan documents and submit it along with any required documents.
What information do I need to apply?
To apply for a Climb Credit student loan, you might need the following information for you or your cosigner:
Social Security number
Proof of residency
Proof of employment — only for cosigners
Who services Climb Credit student loans?
University Accounting Service (UAS) handles all repayments on Climb Credit student loans. This means you’ll get your first bill through UAS and sign up for autopay through the servicer, not Climb Credit, to get that 0.25% rate discount. If you have any questions about repayment, contact UAS’s customer service team at 800-999-6227.
Climb Credit has a couple more student loan products in the pipeline, according to Ceresnie. One is a 0% interest loan, where the school subsidizes your interest payments. Climb Credit plans on launching that in the near future.
Another is a loan with an insurance component. With this option, the loan doesn’t kick in until students get a job in exchange for a slightly higher-cost loan.
Climb Credit could be a solid option for students who are attending a coding bootcamp, nursing program, licensing course or other skills-based program. While it’s slightly more expensive than a federal or private student loan, the risk-share program ensures your school is working in your best interest.
It depends on your school and program. Some schools allow you to borrow additional funds for rent, laptops and other personal expenses. However, not all do. Reach out to your school’s financial aid office to learn more about the options available to you.
Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score, since Climb Credit relies on a soft credit pull. However, if you go through with the loan, it conducts a hard credit check that temporarily lowers your credit score.
You can find out by going to Climb Credit’s website, clicking Get a Loan and entering your school’s name. If your school doesn’t show up, it doesn’t have a partnership with Climb and you’re not eligible for funding.
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