CommonBond private student loans review
Finance your higher education through a lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
- Best for students who want extra perks like unemployment protection and networking opportunities.
- Pick something else if you don't have a creditworthy cosigner.
3.31% to 9.74%
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
|Product Name||CommonBond Private Student Loans|
|Minimum Loan Amount||$5,000|
|Max. Loan Amount||$500,000|
|APR||3.31% to 9.74%|
|Interest Rate Type||Fixed|
|Minimum Loan Term||5 years|
|Maximum Loan Term||15 years|
|Requirements||You must be an American citizen or a permanent resident of the US and have good to excellent credit or a creditworthy cosigner. Education requirements: You must be enrolled at or graduated from an approved Title IV undergraduate, graduate or MBA program|
Aliyyah Camp is a writer and personal finance blogger who helps readers compare personal, student, car and business loans. Aliyyah earned a BA in communication from the University of Pennsylvania and is based in New York, where she enjoys movies and running outdoors.
CommonBond is ideal for borrowers looking for extra perks like networking opportunities and unemployment protection to help you get on your feet after graduating. It offers loans for undergraduate and graduate students — as well as their parents — with flexible in-school repayment options and a wide range of terms.
This social-minded lender is also well-known for its reliable and speedy customer service, assuring that your questions and concerns are answered in a timely manner. Another perk is its referral program, in which you can earn $200 every time someone takes out a loan with CommonBond through a link you provide.
However, you’ll need to apply with a creditworthy cosigner if you don’t have strong credit. And you might be on the hook for a 2% origination fee depending on the type of loan you’re considering.
Not sold on CommonBond? Check out our list of other student loan providers to see if there’s a better fit for you.
First, do I qualify?
To be eligible for a CommonBond undergraduate and graduate student loan, you must:
- Be at least a half-time student.
- Attend an eligible Title IV institution.
- Have a cosigner with good credit.
To be eligible for an MBA student loan, you must:
- Be at least a half-time student.
- Attend a school in CommonBond’s network.
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident.
- Have a strong credit history and debt-to-income ratio.
What makes CommonBond student loans unique?
CommonBond is set apart by the dedication it’s shown to giving back. For every loan funded through its platform, a child in need gets their education funded for a year. So far, over 2,000 students have had their education funded by CommonBond. On top of that, the lender has helped establish over 420 schools in four underserved countries: Ghana, Guatemala, Laos and Nicaragua.
Outside of its humanitarian efforts, CommonBond offers several types of loans based on your needs. MBA and graduate students have options alongside undergraduates and their parents. There are even refinancing options for former students and parents alike.
What are CommonBond student loans?
CommonBond student loans are available for undergrads, graduate students and MBA students.
All three loans are unsecured. Applicants will need to be enrolled at least half-time or are set to be enrolled in the coming year. CommonBond lists eligible schools on its website, all of which are either Title IV or nonprofit.
While there’s a good deal of overlap between graduate and undergraduate loans, MBA student loans have some unique characteristics. The first is that there’s no requirement for a cosigner. (Both undergraduate and graduate loans require someone who is creditworthy to cosign.)
Its loans are available in all states except: Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota and Vermont. CommonBond also offers refinancing for people who want to save on student loans they’re currently paying off.
Four types of borrowing options through CommonBond
|Student loans refinancing||Parent PLUS loans refinancing||MBA student loans||Undergraduate student loans graduate student loans|
What are the benefits of CommonBond student loans?
- Rate discount. MBA student loans are eligible for a 0.25% rate discount. When you enroll in automatic payments, the amount is discounted from your interest rate.
- A good cause. Not every lender shows a mission that goes beyond profits. By getting financing through CommonBond, you’re helping to fund new education resources around the world.
- Helpful resources. Everything from unemployment protection to networking opportunities are available when you finance through CommonBond. Events for members provide unique opportunities to meet entrepreneurs and sit in on panel discussions. Unemployment protection comes in the form of the CommonBridge program and gives members a chance to experience a consulting opportunity.
- Customer-first model. CommonBond is built around the idea that customer service should be the number one priority. Your questions should be answered quickly and clearly, and any concerns you raise addressed promptly. In a world of red tape, it can help to know that at least one business you’re working with puts your needs first.
What to watch out for
For all of its pluses, you still need to look out for a few things when applying with CommonBond.
- Cosigner release. You can apply for cosigner release once you’ve graduated and made two years of consecutive payments. But apply is the key word: Approval is not guaranteed, meaning your cosigner is not immediately off the hook once you’ve made your 24 months of payments.
- Loss of federal benefits. When you consolidate federal loans privately, you could lose some of the benefit programs you might be eligible for. Income-based repayment, public service loan forgiveness and other features of federal loans are important to consider when deciding how you’ll refinance or consolidate. Funding your education privately also doesn’t come with access to those programs for the loan.
- Limited selection. The list of accepted MBA programs is limited to 29 schools. While you can email a request for CollegeBond to pick up your school, there’s no guarantee that it will be added.
Compare more private student loan providers
Is it safe to borrow from CommonBond?
It has a mediocre online reputation. It’s not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which gives it a B rating based on factors like how it handles customer complaints and transparency. CommonBond has six customer complaints, which mainly involve customers who are disappointed in their rates after prequalifying for something lower and others who found that the eligibility requirements were stricter than those advertised on CommonBond’s site.
CommonBond has no reviews on Trustpilot, but conversations in other forums reveal that most borrowers view CommonBond as a reasonable alternative when federal loans won’t do — often mentioned along the likes of SoFi and Earnest.
Am I eligible?
One of the first things to check when comparing potential lenders is whether you’re eligible. Lenders can sometimes squirrel away requirements on unintuitive pages. Criteria you’ll need to meet for undergraduate and graduate loans with CommonBond differ from those offered for MBA students.
For undergraduate and graduate loans, you must:
- Be enrolled at least half-time with an approved Title IV undergraduate or graduate program.
- Have a creditworthy cosigner.
For MBA loans, you must:
- Be enrolled full-time with an approved graduate program.
- Be an American citizen or a permanent resident of the US.
- Meet CollegeBond’s underwriting requirements for factors like credit history and debt-to-income ratio.
How do I apply?
CommonBond’s application process is fairly straightforward. First click the Go to site button on this page to be directed to CommonBond’s website. There you’ll need to create an account online to apply for a student loan or refinancing.
Required documents include:
- Proof of employment. Two recent pay stubs, two recent years of tax documents or an offer letter from your employer if you haven’t started working yet.
- Proof of residence. You can provide a recent utility bill or bank statement.
- Loan statements. If you’re applying for refinancing, you’ll need to provide a recent loan statement for each loan you wish to refinance. Each statement must have the lender’s name and physical address, your name, the account number and loan balance.
Be prepared to select the amount you’d like to borrow in total and when you need the funds disbursed by. Once you’ve entered all required information for you and your cosigner, if you have one, it should only take a few business days to receive a decision and your money, if approved.
I got the CommonBond student loan. Now what?
You’ve got your education financed — now it’s time to set up a few details and focus on schooling. CommonBond will apply your funds for tuition directly to your school account, with any funds applied for living expenses sent to you.
The next step relies on you choosing the repayment program that’s best for your needs. You can choose from a range of payment plans including:
- Full deferment. Completely postpone making any payments on your loan until after graduation. Interest will accrue during this time and be capitalized at the end of the deferment period.
- Fixed monthly payments. Pay $25 each month while in school. Interest will accrue during that period and unpaid interest will be added to your loan principal when you graduate.
- Interest-only payments. Pay only the accrued interest on your loan each month while in school.
- Full monthly payment. Repay your loan principal and interest while you’re still in school.
Consider enrolling in autopay. Depending on your loan terms, you could receive a 0.25% rate discount with enrollment in automatic payments.
Now that you’re part of the CommonBond Community, you can also take part in exclusive events that include panels, meals and talks with entrepreneurs.
I got rejected. What should I do?
You probably don’t have a lot of time to wait around and figure out ways to improve your application — you have classes to pay for! Ask why your application was rejected to figure out what areas you might want to look at.
If it was your credit score that did you wrong, check your credit report to make sure there are no errors. If you’re asking for too large an amount, ask for less next time. Lenders often consider freshmen more of a risk since there’s a higher chance of them dropping out — if that’s you, you should probably be able to qualify for some type of student financing.
Before making any new moves, set up an appointment with your school’s financial aid office. They might be able to point you to other types of financing you hadn’t even thought of before.
Check out our guide to student loans to compare even more options before deciding on CommonBond.