SunTrust No Longer Offers Private Student Loans: What You Should Know
If you had a private student loan with SunTrust, this article will break down what you need to know.
The student loan landscape can change quickly. Just when you get a recommendation for a trustworthy lender with competitive rates, it can end its student loan program or go out of business entirely.
You may have heard SunTrust Bank offers private student loans, but that is no longer the case. We'll explain what that means for borrowers who currently have loans with SunTrust and offer some alternatives for those looking to take out a private student loan.
SunTrust Student Loans
SunTrust Bank used to service both federal and private student loans, but it stopped offering new student loans in 2020. SunTrust still services loans for existing customers.
If you currently have a SunTrust student loan, you can keep the loan as is or refinance with another lender such as Juno. SunTrust does not offer refinancing to current borrowers.
Other Options for Student Loans
Not sure where to get student loans? Here are the best options available for future borrowers:
Federal Student Loans
The most common way to pay for college is with a federal student loan. Federal student loans are available for undergraduate and graduate students.
Federal student loans are one of the best options for borrowers because they include income-driven repayment plans, loan forgiveness options, and long deferment and forbearance periods. Almost all students will qualify for federal student loans as long as they have valid immigration or citizenship status.
To apply for a federal student loan, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA asks for your family’s personal and financial information and then uses those numbers to determine what kind of financial aid you qualify for. Submitting the FAFSA makes you eligible for need-based financial aid such as grants and work-study programs. Many colleges also require students to fill out the FAFSA in order to qualify for university-sponsored scholarships.
There are two main types of federal student loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while you’re in school, during the six-month grace period after graduation and during any deferment periods. Unsubsidized loans will always accrue interest. Subsidized loans are available only for students with demonstrated financial need.
Undergraduate students who do not qualify for a Direct Subsidized Loan can take out a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. The maximum amount students can borrow for an undergraduate degree is $57,500 in total, with a limit of $23,000 in Direct Subsidized Loans. For the 2021-2022 school year, the interest rate for both Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct Subsidized Loans for undergraduate students is 3.73%.
Interest rates for graduate students are higher. They can borrow a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, which has a 5.28% interest rate, or a Direct PLUS Loan, which has a 6.28% interest rate. Graduate students can take out a maximum of $20,500 per year in Direct Unsubsidized Loans, with a $138,500 total limit. If you still need more money for tuition, you can take out a Direct PLUS Loan.
Private Student Loans
Students also can apply for a private student loan offered by a third-party lender. While private student loans offer fewer benefits than federal loans do, they may have lower interest rates.
Juno offers student loans for both undergraduate and graduate students. Juno loans have five-, seven-, 10-, 12- and 15-year terms for both undergraduate and graduate school loans.
Most students will need a co-signer to qualify for an undergraduate Juno loan. A co-signer is someone who agrees to take over monthly payments if the original borrower defaults on the loan.
Becoming a co-signer is a huge responsibility because the loan will appear on their credit report and could hurt their score if the original borrower defaults. A co-signer is most often a parent or relative but does not have to be a family member.
Borrowers may or may not need a co-signer for a Juno graduate school loan, depending on their credit score and current income. Adding a co-signer may help you receive a lower interest rate, which could save you hundreds or even thousands in total interest over the life of the loan.
Interest rates for undergraduate Juno loans range from 2.99% APR to 11.78% APR for a fixed-rate loan, while interest rates for variable-rate loans range from 0.99% APR to 10.44% APR.
Interest rates for graduate Juno loans range from 2.99% APR to 6.14% APR for a fixed-rate loan, while interest rates for variable-rate loans range from 0.99% APR to 5.77% APR.
In general, interest rates are lower for shorter terms and higher for longer terms. If you choose a short-term loan, your monthly payment will be higher but the total interest paid over the life of the loan will be lower. On the other hand, if you pick a longer-term loan, your payments will be lower but the total interest will be higher.
Look over the monthly payment options and decide what fits your budget best. Try not to overextend yourself. Remember, you can always pay extra on your student loans or refinance them to a shorter term after you graduate. It’s better to have loans you can comfortably afford than to take out loans with a higher monthly payment you ultimately can’t manage.
All rates accurate as of Oct. 11, 2021.
Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four and everything in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Conscious Coins.
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