College Ave Student Loans Review: Should You Apply?

College Ave Student Loans Review: Should You Apply?

College Ave is best for students that want low variable rates and are financially confident in repaying their loans following graduation. Struggling students and refinancing borrowers should consider lenders other than College Ave as it doesn't have a defined forbearance policy.

Good for

  • Low student loan variable rates
  • Interest-only repayment for refinancing
  • International borrowers with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer

Bad for

  • Doesn't have a forbearance policy for struggling borrowers
  • Borrowers that need more than 15 years for repayment

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

If you're a student looking to take out private student loans or refinance your loans, College Ave is a competitive choice with industry-standard interest rates and helpful options for you to repay your loan following graduation. Unlike other private lenders, College Ave doesn't state a specific policy in the chance that you cannot repay your loan, which is why we don't recommend the lender to borrowers that may struggle financially.

College Ave Student Loans Review

College Ave student loans are a great option for creditworthy borrowers or students with good co-signers that can qualify for its low variable rates and those that want to explore different ways to repay their loans. With College Ave, you can decide to start paying while in school or following graduation, with a six-month grace period. And unlike some student lenders, like Discover, you can release your co-signer after 24 eligible monthly payments.

The main drawback to using College Ave as your private lender is that it doesn't have a policy for struggling borrowers that need to stop payments. Most private lenders state a forbearance policy with up to 12 months of guaranteed forbearance if the borrower has a qualifying financial situation, including changes in employment and medical expenses. With College Ave, you'll have to contact the lender's student loan servicer, University Accounting Services, which works with struggling borrowers on a case-by-case basis.

College Ave Refinancing Review

College Ave refinancing stands out from its competitors by allowing borrowers to make interest-only payments on their loans for the first two years of repayment. So, if you would rather wait to make full student loan payments, College Ave is one of the only lenders that allows borrowers to solely repay the interest on their loans. Keep in mind that only paying the interest on your loan will increase the time it will take to pay off your loan, resulting in a higher total loan cost.

Unless you want College Ave's interest-only payment option, the lender may not be the best refinancing option, as it only covers up to $150,000 and doesn't have a specific forbearance policy for struggling borrowers. You will have to contact its refinance servicer, Nationwide Bank, to discuss your options. Other private lenders, like SoFi, offer forbearance with employment programs to get borrowers back on their feet and able to repay their student loans.

Who Can Qualify for College Ave Student Loans?

College Ave loans are available to undergraduate, graduate and parent borrowers, including international borrowers that have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. The lender doesn't disclose a required credit score for its loans but borrowers have a higher chance of qualifying with a credit-worthy co-signer. However, many students are able to qualify for refinancing on their own.

Credit scoreNot specified
Co-signerYes, release permitted after 24 on-time payments
Accepted citizenship status
  • U.S. citizen
  • Permanent resident alien
  • Non-U.S. citizen with U.S. citizen/permanent resident alien co-signer
Part-time studentsAt least half-time
Eligible schoolsTitle IV public and private institutions.

College Ave Student Loans Rates, Terms and Fees

College Ave offers student loan borrowers competitive APRs with four loan terms and no prepayment penalty. The lender's fixed rates are in line with most of the company's competitors while its variable rates are some of the lowest we've seen. College Ave's student loans are serviced by University Accounting Service.

Undergraduate Student Loan Features

Loan typePrivate student loan
Loan amount range$1,000 up to 100% school-certified expenses
APR range
  • 5.29% - 12.07% Fixed rate
  • 3.69% - 10.94% Variable rate
Fees
  • Late fee: 5% of payment or $25
  • Prepayment penalty: none
  • Application fee: none
Loan terms
  • 5, 8, 10 or 15 years

*Rates include 0.25% rate discount with autopay

Borrowers who took out federal or private loans that want to refinance for better rates and terms can qualify for College Ave refinancing with at least $5,000 in student loan debt. The lender only has loan terms up to 15 years, which is limited compared to lenders such as Citizens Bank and SoFi that have terms up to 20 years. On top of this, the lender will only refinance up to $150,000. But considering that the average student loan debt is around $32,731, most borrowers will fall in that range.

Private Refinance Loan Features

Loan typeRefinance/Consolidation
Loan amount range$5,000 - $150,000
APR range
  • 3.25% - 7.25% Fixed rate
  • 2.88% - 6.98% Variable rate
Fees
  • Late fee: 5% of payment or $25
  • Prepayment penalty: none
  • Application fee: none
Loan terms5 - 15 years

*Rates include 0.25% rate discount with autopay

How to Repay Your Student Loans

College Ave stands out as it offers four different repayment plans: in-school, interest-only, flat and deferred repayment. Few lenders offer flat payments to students, in which they pay a fixed amount each month. This type of repayment helps students pay off some of the debt before graduating and is especially helpful for those who can't afford full repayment or interest-only payments but want to decrease their debt while in school.

Deferment and Forbearance

College Ave allows undergraduate and graduate borrowers a grace period of six months after leaving school before repayment begins. Borrowers that believe they may struggle making payments following graduation should find a lender other than College Ave, as it doesn't have a specific forbearance policy but will work with borrowers on a case-by-case basis.

Permitted DefermentsLimit
Grace period upon leaving school6 months

College Ave doesn't advertise any forbearance policy but their loan servicers, University Accounting Service and Nationwide Bank, will work with you if you're struggling to meet your loan payments. You will have to create an account with the servicer and fill out a form to request forbearance or assistance for your loan payments.

How Does College Ave Compare to Other Student Lenders?

Compared to both Discover and Sallie Mae, College Ave will most likely be your best option for getting a student loan, if you don't require guaranteed forbearance. Discover offers borrowers repayment assistance options if they are struggling to repay their loans. However, College Ave stands out from its competitors as it has low variable rates and payment options, while covering up to 100% of your school costs.

College AveSallie MaeDiscover
Loan types offered
  • Private student loan
  • Student loan refinance
  • Private student loan
  • Private student loan
  • Student loan refinance
APR range*
  • 5.29% - 12.07% Fixed
  • 3.69% - 10.94% Variable
  • 5.74% - 11.85% Fixed
  • 4.25% - 11.10% Variable
  • 5.99% - 13.99% Fixed
  • 3.99% - 12.99% Variable
Loan amount$1,000 up to 100% school-certified expenses$1,000 up to 100% school-certified expenses$1,000 up to 100% school-certified expenses ($120,000 max with other financial aid)
In-school repayment optionsImmediate, interest-only, fixed payment or deferredDeferred, Fixed, or Interest-onlyIn-School or Deferred
Co-signerYes, release permitted after 24 on-time paymentsYes, release permitted after 12 on-time paymentsYes, release not permitted

*Rates include 0.25% rate discount with auto-pay

College Ave vs. Sallie Mae

College Ave is the better option for most borrowers compared to Sallie Mae as it offers better rates, repayment options and refinancing. Although, Sallie Mae does provide better APRs for borrowers that qualify for its upper bound of rates. And while College Ave fixed rates reach above 12%, Sallie Mae stays under, making it a better choice for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit history. However, students should avoid reaching those rates and apply with a co-signer if possible. Also, the lender's starting rates are significantly higher than College Ave, meaning it will be a more expensive option for borrowers with good credit history. On top of this, College Ave allows borrowers to choose among four different repayment options compared to the three that Sallie Mae offers.

College Ave vs. Discover {"#College-Ave-vs-discover"}

Discover is one of the best options for borrowers who may have trouble paying back their loans after leaving school. The lender offers several repayment assistance options to help borrowers struggling with repayment, including a longer grace period, early repayment assistance, payment extensions and reduced payments. College Ave only gives borrowers a six-month grace period upon graduating, leaving school or falling below half-time status and doesn't have a concrete forbearance policy. On the other hand, if you have excellent credit and income, College Ave will be a better option, as it has lower starting APRs and allows you to choose between four different repayment plans.

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