PNC Bank private student loans review
While rates are low, watch out for maximum borrowing amounts of just $40,000 per year.
finder.com’s rating: 4.1 / 5.0
- Best for military service members looking for extra discounts and deferment options.
- Pick something else if you need a super-high loan amount.
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PNC Bank student loans are ideal for military service members — you might qualify for rate discounts, waived fees and more deferment and forbearance options than other borrowers. They’re also a good option for students looking to pick up the slack when federal loans fall short — you can borrow up to $40,000 per school year.
But not all schools are eligible. And you’ll have to deal with a third-party servicer, which can become confusing when you need to reach out if you have questions and need information.
Don’t want to bank on this lender? Check out our list of other lenders that might be a better fit for you.
What are PNC Bank private student loans?
PNC Bank’s Solutions Loan for Undergraduates is an unsecured term loan for college students enrolled at least part time. You can use your PNC Bank student loan for any education-related expenses, though to get extra money for textbooks, housing or other costs outside of your school, you’ll need to go through your financial aid office to receive your funds.
Students can borrow between $1,000 and $40,000 each year with variable rates ranging from 3.26% to 8.41% and fixed rates ranging from 4.49% to 9.64%. If you have difficulty qualifying for a PNC Bank student loan, you can bring on a creditworthy cosigner to increase your chances of approval and potentially get you lower rates.
What makes PNC Bank private student loans unique?
PNC Bank’s student loans offer a slightly more expensive alternative to federal loans for borrowers that are no longer eligible to borrow from the government. While rates are generally a bit higher than public loans, they’re close — potentially lower if you go for variable interest.
You also have the option to defer your loan while you’re in school, make interest-only repayments or start repayment right away. Its application is easy to follow, especially for someone who’s already applied for federal loans — and works similarly.
Other types of student loans PNC Bank offers
Through PNC Bank, you can also get a:
- Graduate/professional student loan. For students enrolled in a graduate degree or certificate program.
- Health and medical professions student loan. For either graduate or undergraduate students in an accelerated program studying for a health-related field approved by PNC Bank.
- Health professions residency loan. For covering the cost of a residency interview, relocation or living expenses. Available to MD, DDS, DO and DVM residents.
- Bar study loan. For covering the cost of a bar exam course or other bar-related expenses. To be eligible, you must either be enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school with less than six months before graduation or have graduated from a law school less than six months ago.
- Education refinancing. For combining federal and private student loans into one repayment and lowering your overall interest rates.
Finishing medical school soon? Check out PNC’s health professions residency loan
PNC bank is one of a handful of lenders that offers financing for after you finish medical school. Students in their final year can apply for up to $15,000 in financing to pay for the costs associated with moving for an MD, DVM, DDS or DO residency.
Variable APRs range from 5.03% to 11.23% while fixed rates range from 6.01% to 12.29%. You can also qualify for a 0.5% rate reduction by signing up for autopay. Loan terms can go as long as 15 years and you can defer your repayments for up to four years while you’re a resident and six months after your residency ends.
What are the benefits of PNC Bank student loans?
- Autopay discount. You can get 0.5% knocked off your rate if you sign up to have automatic repayments withdrawn from your account every month.
- Cosigner release. You can request to have your cosigner taken off your loan after you’ve made four years of on-time repayments and provide proof of income and pass a credit check.
- Military benefits. Service-members can get a discount on interest rates, waived fees and may be eligible for forbearance or deferment, depending on their circumstances.
What to watch out for
- Limited repayment plans. While PNC Bank offers forbearance to former students who are struggling with their debt, there’s no income-based option that builds up your monthly repayments along with your salary as your career progresses.
- Low maximum amount. You can only borrow $40,000 per academic school year — alone not enough to cover the cost of many private colleges. You can also only borrow up to a total of $225,000 in federal and private loans over your lifetime.
- Not all schools are eligible. PNC Bank doesn’t have deals with all schools in the US, so yours might not be an eligible institution.
- Uses a loan servicer. After PNC Bank disburses your funds, your loan goes to American Education Services, a servicing company that oversees your repayments. If you’re confused about repayments or need forbearance, you’ll need to reach out to American Education Services directly for more info.
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Am I eligible?
To meet PNC Bank’s basic student loan eligibility requirements, you must:
- Be an undergraduate student
- Be enrolled at least half time at an eligible school
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident
- Have lived in the US for the past two years
- Either have a cosigner or meet PNC Bank’s credit guidelines
PNC Bank’s credit guidelines for students or cosigners
Student applicants or cosigners must:
- Have two years of strong credit history
- Two years of steady income or employment history
- Have proof of income or be in business for at least two years if self-employed
Most undergraduate students need a cosigner to meet requirements and all students under 18 are required to have one.
How do I find out if my school is eligible?
Before you apply, PNC Bank requires you to fill out a form to determine if you meet its basic eligibility requirements. To quickly find out if your school is eligible, click Start Application from the PNC Solution Loan for Undergraduates homepage. Then select your school’s state and look for it in the dropdown list below. If you can’t find it on that list, it’s probably ineligible.
How do I apply?
- Go to PNC Bank’s website and hover over Lending in the main navigation bar and click on Education Loans.
- Scroll down until you see Undergraduate and click the blue button that says Apply Now.
- Fill out the eligibility form with information about your school, how much you want to borrow and your personal information before hitting Am I Eligible? You should be led to a page that tells you if you’re eligible or not.
- Continue on with your application if you’re eligible by clicking Create an Account.
- Create a username, password and security question before hitting Register.
- Fill out the required fields in the application, making sure to read all terms and conditions. You have the option of saving your application and returning to it later by logging in to your account.
- Submit your application and wait as PNC Bank does a hard credit pull and reaches out to your school to verify your loan amount and enrollment. This step can take about three weeks and will affect your or your cosigner’s credit score.
- Review and sign PNC Bank’s electronic offer.
Wait for funds to be disbursed to your school’s financial aid office — it should let you know once it’s received the money. If you applied for additional funds for housing and other education-related expenses, you can receive them by contacting the financial aid office.
I got a PNC Bank student loan. Now what?
You have several repayment plan options, including:
- Immediate repayment. Start making repayments on your loan’s principal and interest as soon as your school receives your funds, as you would with a personal loan.
- Interest-only repayment. Only pay off interest while you’re still in school to save on your total loan amount — interest gets added to your loan once your full repayments begin.
- Deferment. You also have the option of deferring your loan repayments until six months after you’re no longer registered as at least a half-time student. Keep in mind that interest starts accumulating once your funds are disbursed to your school and will be added to your loan balance once your repayments start.
Once you’ve picked a plan, consider signing up for autopay. Not only will it make repaying your student loan less of a hassle, you’ll also save 0.5% on your interest rate (that’s twice as much as you save with some federal loans). Got a cosigner? You can take them off your loan after making 48 on-time repayments.
If you’re struggling to afford your repayments, you might qualify for up to a total of 12 months of hardship forbearance over the term of your loan repayment. PNC Bank grants hardship forbearance in monthly increments no greater than two months at once. After, you must make at least a year of consecutive repayments to be eligible for additional forbearance time.
Have questions about your specific repayment plan? Reach out to PNC Bank’s student loan servicer American Education Services, which takes over PNC Bank loans after the money is disbursed.
Check out our guide to private student loans to learn more about your options and compare providers.
Frequently asked questions
Does PNC Bank offer graduated or income-based repayment plans?
No, but you can apply for forbearance if you’re in a financial situation where you can’t afford your student loan repayments.
When can I apply for my PNC Bank student loan?
You can submit your application for the following school term up to 60 days after the previous term has ended.
Can I use my PNC Bank student loan to pay for a certificate program?
Yes. PNC Bank student loans cover certificate programs on top of more traditional degree programs.
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