Custom Choice Loan: Frequently Asked Questions
Summer Savings Apply early and receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction*
Frequently Asked Questions about the Custom Choice Loan
Get the answers you need to learn more about the Custom Choice Loan from SunTrust. Click on a question to get an answer.
Am I eligible to apply?
The Custom Choice Loan is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time in a Title IV eligible degree program at an eligible school. Students and cosigners, if applicable, must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a Social Security Number.
The student must be the legal age of majority at the time of application, or at least 17 years of age if applying with a Cosigner who meets the age of majority requirements in the cosigner's state of residence.*
The borrower's permanent residency state cannot be in Iowa or Wisconsin.
Many students will need a creditworthy cosigner to qualify. If you are concerned about being approved for a private loan, or you don't have a substantial credit history, we recommend you consider strengthening your chances by adding a qualified cosigner.
* The legal age for entering into contracts is 18 years of age in every state except Alabama (19 years old), Nebraska (19 years old, only for wards of the state), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico (21 years old).
How much can I borrow?
The maximum loan amount for the upcoming semester/academic period is determined by your school's cost of attendance, minus any federal loans, scholarships or grants, up to $65,000. For applicants interested in refinancing existing private student loans into a new loan, the maximum loan amount including the outstanding balance of any loans you request to be refinanced, is $150,000 minus the approved amount for the upcoming semester/academic period; learn more about the In-School Refinance Option
The aggregate maximum student loan debt allowed is $150,000 (includes all student loans and any unsecured, deferred consumer debt). The minimum loan size is $1,001*.
* The minimum loan amounts are higher for borrowers in these states: Alaska: $5,001, Colorado: $3,001, New Mexico: $2,501, Oklahoma: $4,901, Rhode Island: $5,001, South Carolina: $3,601.
How can a cosigner help me get loan approval?
Applying with a cosigner who has good credit and positive income can help you satisfy credit criteria and may increase your chances of approval and receiving a lower interest rate.
Can my loan cover past due balances?
Yes. Custom Choice Loan applications for past due balances will be accepted up to the end of the next month following the academic period for which the applicant was enrolled.
How quickly can my school get the loan funds?
If you're concerned about timing, you can speed up the process by faxing or uploading all supporting/required documentation as well as choosing to electronically sign documents within the Loan Packet (Credit Agreement, Applicant Self-Certification form, and Approval Disclosure).
If you apply early and documentation is received promptly, your school will likely receive the funds in plenty of time. If you're unsure of the school's loan deadlines, contact the financial aid office or check the school website for a published timeline.
What repayment options are available?
The Custom Choice Loan has four repayment options as described below:
Immediate Repayment: The first monthly payment of principal and interest will be due approximately 30-60 days following the final disbursement.
Interest-Only Repayment: Pay only the accrued monthly interest while in school; principal and interest payments begin six months after graduation or dropping below half-time status.
Partial Interest Payment: Pay partial interest of $25 per month while enrolled in school. Option available for loans of $5,000 or more. Note that all accrued, unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to the loan balance) at the time of repayment.
Full Deferment: Defer all principal and interest charges while in school at least half-time; note that interest will accrue during the deferment period and will be capitalized (added to the loan balance) at the time of repayment.
The repayment plan you choose can make a big difference in your loan's overall cost so review your options carefully. It's essential to understand how your rates and payments will be affected by your choices, because once you complete your loan application with those selections, you cannot make any further changes. Within the application, you can use the repayment calculator that allows you to see the impact of different repayment options to the loan's overall cost and estimated payment amounts.
Why do I need to complete an Applicant (Borrower) Self-Certification Form?
The federal government instituted regulations for private education loans in an effort to provide more transparency to borrowers. The Applicant Self-Certification is one of the new requirements. All private student loan lenders must obtain the Applicant Self-Certification prior to disbursing any private student loan funds. Applicants of the Custom Choice Loan must complete and sign the Self-Certification form and return it. You will need your total cost of attendance and expected financial assistance to complete this portion of the application process.
What is an Application and Solicitation Disclosure (ASD)?
Regulations governing private education loans require three disclosure documents be provided to borrowers during the application process: an Application and Solicitation Disclosure (ASD), Approval Disclosure, and Final Disclosure. The ASD displays current interest rate ranges, loan cost examples, federal loan alternatives, and other general loan information.
When a student and cosigner, if applicable, apply for the Custom Choice Loan online, the ASD will be presented electronically. Completion of an application is not required in order to view an ASD with current interest rates; however, all applicant(s) must acknowledge that they have reviewed this disclosure before continuing the application process.
How does the Custom Choice Loan compare to other private student loans that SunTrust offers?
For a side by side comparison of the private student loans that SunTrust offers, click here.
What happens if I default on my loan?
Defaulting on your loan is a serious matter that could have a long-term, adverse effect on your credit score. Custom Choice Loans are usually reported as "late" to consumer credit reporting agencies once they are 30 or more days delinquent.
Bankruptcy usually doesn't cancel your obligation to repay an education loan. If you're about to miss a loan payment, you should contact your servicer immediately to work out a repayment schedule you can meet.
Do I have to make payments while I go to school?
Borrowers who select to defer payments while in school can defer payments (a) while enrolled at least half-time at an approved school and (b) during the 6-month grace period after graduation or dropping below half-time status. In any case, the initial deferment period may not exceed 66 months from the first disbursement date. This option must be chosen during the application process. Any accrued and unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to the unpaid principal loan balance) when repayment of principal and interest begins. There are no prepayment penalties.
How do I know if my school is an approved school for a Custom Choice Loan?
Please visit the first page of the online application, select the school state and then a list of schools in that state will be listed. If the branch of your school is not listed, please choose the main campus. Visiting the application does NOT obligate you to apply.
What if my school is not listed as an approved school for a Custom Choice Loan?
If neither the branch nor main campus is listed, your school is not eligible to participate in this program. In this case, we recommend that you contact the financial aid office at your school for a list of available options.
Does SunTrust offer loans to international students?
Yes. SunTrust offers loans to international students with an eligible U.S. cosigner through a program called the Union Federal Private Student Loan program. This option is not available with the Custom Choice Loan program.
What documents will I need to provide if I am approved?
Approved documentation for a Custom Choice Loan can be found here but not all applicants are required to submit documentation. If documentation is required, it will be requested during the loan application process.
What student loans are eligible to be refinanced into a new SunTrust private student loan?
Eligible private student loans that can be included in a new SunTrust private student loan are defined as private student loans and private consolidation loans that the student applicant used for, or to refinance loans used for, postsecondary Qualified Higher Education Expenses* not currently in a past due status.
Loan types that cannot be refinanced into a new SunTrust private student loan:
Private student loans for which the student applicant is not the primary borrower
Federal student loans
Loans made by an educational institution
* Qualified Higher Education Expenses generally include tuition and fees, room and board, costs for rental or purchase of any equipment, materials, or supplies required of all students in the same course of study, an allowance for books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses, and a reasonable allowance for the documented rental or purchase of a personal computer. The formal definition for Qualified Higher Education Expenses is included in Section 221 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 221) and includes the items in the definition of "cost of attendance" in Section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1087ll), except as otherwise stated in the Internal Revenue Code's definition of Qualified Higher Education Expenses. If you have questions about particular costs or specialized circumstances or need more information, please consult the Internal Revenue's full definition of "cost of attendance".
What does it mean to refinance a private student loan(s) into a SunTrust Private Student loan?
After final loan approval, any existing eligible private student loans* that the applicant requested to be refinanced will be paid off and added to the balance of the new private student loan; learn more about the In-School Refinance Option
Required payments should continue to be made on any loans being refinanced until they are paid off. Time may elapse between when this option is requested and the when the loans are actually paid off. If the payoff amount(s) sent to the servicer(s) do not cover the entire balance owed on the existing loan(s), the outstanding balance(s) will remain the borrower's responsibility.
* Private student loans that can be refinanced with a new SunTrust private student loan are private student loans and private consolidation loans that the student applicant used for, or to refinance loans used for, postsecondary Qualified Higher Education Expenses not currently in a past due status. Loans that cannot be refinanced into this loan are (1) private student loans for which the student applicant is not the primary borrower, (2) Federal student loans and (3) student loans made by an educational institution.
What are Qualified Higher Education Expenses?
In order to refinance existing private student loans into a new SunTrust private student loan, the existing private student loans must have been used to pay for Qualified Higher Education Expenses*. Private student loan consolidation loans can also be included as long as the loans that were consolidated were also used to pay for Qualified Higher Education Expenses.
Qualified Higher Education Expenses generally include tuition and fees, room and board, costs for rental or purchase of any equipment, materials, or supplies required of all students in the same course of study, an allowance for books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses, and a reasonable allowance for the documented rental or purchase of a personal computer. The formal definition for Qualified Higher Education Expenses is included in Section 221 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 221) and includes the items in the definition of "cost of attendance" in Section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1087ll), except as otherwise stated in the Internal Revenue Code's definition of Qualified Higher Education Expenses.
If you have questions about particular costs or specialized circumstances or need more information, please consult the full definition of "cost of attendance".
Should I continue making payments on the loans I'm requesting to refinance?
Yes, you should continue making any required payments on the existing private student loans you choose to refinance until they are paid off by SunTrust. There could be a lag between the time you request this option and the time the loans are actually paid off and it's important to continue to make payments so your credit isn't affected and no late-payment fines are incurred.
* Summer Savings Offer of 0.25% is valid for Custom Choice applications submitted for a credit decision 6/1/16 through 8/31/16. The 0.25% interest rate reduction will be included in the loan options presented to an applicant during the online application process, upon passing the initial credit review. The interest rate reduction will be applied as of the initial disbursement date and effective for the life of the loan.
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