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College Ave Review

Wednesday, August 17th

2022 Student Loan Refinance Company Reviews

College Ave Review 3.5 Star Rating

College Ave

3.5 Star Rating
  • Refinancing available for amounts of $5,000 to $300,000
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • Specializes solely in student loans and loan refinancing
  • Good loan rates on both variable-rate and fixed-rate student loans (with auto pay discount)
  • Refinance loans come with repayment terms between 5-20 years

Unlike some lenders, College Ave only does student loans - both for students just starting out and needing money for the first time, as well as refinancing for existing loans. This lender is based in Delaware and has both an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau.

Your loan maximum depends on your degree

College Ave has a minimum refinancing amount of $5,000. If you've got a doctorate degree in the medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary fields, you'll have a maximum loan amount of $300,000. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are limited to a loan of $150,000 or less. Your repayment terms can range anywhere from 5-20 years, and College Ave's advertised rates are in line with the better lenders we've seen. Their rates do reflect a 0.25% discount for making automatic payments.

Only a soft pull on credit to prequalify

To find out if you prequalify for a refinanced student loan through College Ave, you'll need to enter several critical details. These include your full Social Security number, your annual income, and the amount you want to refinance. College Ave reassures you that you'll only have a soft pull on your credit, at least until you get to the point of actually submitting a full application.

Aggravating application process

Be careful as you walk through the process. You'll get a page that shows you the range of rates and the terms for your potential refinancing, and there's a place to click to save those. If you don't, and you get to the Apply page, there's no way to go back! Even the multiple emails you'll get confirming your prequalification won't show you that page again: you'll have to enter all of your information from the start. Not the most intuitive or convenient process, by any means.

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Decent feedback from borrowers

College Ave gets quite a lot of positive feedback from their clients. You'll find more than 900 five-star reviews from satisfied borrowers, saying that the entire loan process was fast and simple to understand. Keep in mind, though, that there's no way to sort out reviews strictly related to refinancing: most of the ones posted to the College Ave site are from students who got their original loans here and not necessarily refinanced from somewhere else.

Rates may be higher than originally quoted

That's an important distinction, because not every borrower is thrilled with the College Ave experience. There are quite a few who say that the rate they were offered (after finalizing their application and taking the hit to their credit report) was significantly higher - not just compared with other lenders but with the rates dangled in front of them during the prequalification process.

Not bad, but consider other options too

Is College Ave a trustworthy option for refinancing a student loan? Sure. Between their excellent reputation with the BBB and their ample 5-star reviews from borrowers, we didn't spot any glaring red flags that would indicate this lender has anything to hide. However, we were put off by the application itself: why do they make it so hard to see the rates (unless you have the foresight to save them in advance)? Maybe that has something to do with the fact that their rates are often higher than their rivals'. You could get the student loan refinancing you need from College Ave, but you may want to shop around a little first.

Where Can You Find the Best Options for Student Loan Refinancing?

If you got your student loans back when interest rates were high, you're smart to think it might be a good idea to refinance when rates have dropped. Whether you get a lower rate or take years off your loan (or both!), your savings could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

You can typically qualify to refinance your student loans if your outstanding balance is at least $5,000, though some lenders have higher minimums. You'll often need to be in good standing and up to date on your current loan payments, have steady income and a credit score of 660 or higher. Otherwise, your refinancing may require a cosigner.

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Student Loan Refinance Company FAQ

Refinancing your student loans essentially means that you're taking your current education debt and replacing it with a new loan. This can be done with both federal and private loans.
If interest rates have dropped significantly since you first got your loans, that's a great time to see if a new loan could save you money. And, if you're able to shorten the length of your loan at the same time - like going from having 15 years left on a 20-year term to a 10-year term - you'll save even more.
The qualifications for student loan refinancing are probably different from the ones you had to meet to get your original funding. Most lenders require a minimum refinanced amount of $5,000, though some have higher thresholds of $10-$15k. You'll also need a credit score in the upper 600s or more and a steady income - or a cosigner who meets those criteria. Finally, many financial institutions will only refinance your student loans if you completed your degree.
Be very careful when deciding to refinance federal student loans. You'll lose the perks that are only available with those loans, like income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs. And, of course, refinancing isn't a good idea if it doesn't help you in some way: lowering your interest rate, making your monthly payments more manageable, or saving you in interest over the timeframe of the loan.
Yes! It's the simplest way to get the best rates and terms too. Most providers will ask you some basic questions about your current situation, including your income and the amount of educational debt you're hoping to refinance, and they'll do a soft pull on your credit report (your score won't be affected). They'll use that information to tell you if you tentatively qualify for one of their refinancing loans. Once you decide to complete the full application, a hard pull will be done and if you're offered a loan, all that's left is for you to accept the terms and submit any required documentation. All of that can easily be done online!
It's a subtle distinction, and it can depend on who you ask. If you have multiple student loans (federal and private) and you combine all of that debt into a single new private loan, you're consolidating and refinancing your loans. But, there's also a governmental Direct Consolidation Loan program that is just for federal student loans: it makes it easier to manage your payments and preserves the benefits specific to federal loans, but it doesn't include any private loans you have and doesn't save you any money.
It shouldn't. Most lenders will happily tell you that they charge no fees for applying, originating loans, or really anything else (besides the loan itself, of course). Just remember that the process will usually include a soft pull of your credit during prequalification and then a hard pull when you decide to officially apply; the latter will temporarily impact your credit report.
That varies by lender. You can find out in just a few minutes if you prequalify, and another few minutes to get formally approved if you decide to complete the full application. From there, you'll probably be asked to submit documentation on your current loan, proof of income and other paperwork. Most lenders will tell you to expect it to take up to 45 days for your current loans to be paid off and for your new loan to be finalized.
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Continued from above...

But, be careful if you're considering refinancing your federal student loans into a private loan. There are some benefits offered with government student loans that don't carry over into privately-funded ones. Do your research before you sign on the dotted line and make sure that the benefits you'd gain outweigh the perks you'd lose.

So, you've determined that it's the right time to refinance your student loan. What should you look for in a lender? Here are some factors to guide your decision-making:

  • Referral service or loan originator. Some platforms let you compare loan possibilities with multiple lenders using a single prequalifying application. This one-stop "shopping" can save you some time and hassle, but ultimately you'll still have to complete a full application with the lender you choose. Other refinancing sites belong to the lenders themselves and that can make the process more streamlined.
  • Loan minimums and other eligibility requirements. While most lenders let you refinance student loan balances as low as $5,000, some will only approve loans of $10,000 or $15,000 and up. Not all lenders will refinance your student loans if you didn't finish your degree, either.
  • Customer service. Consider what borrowers have to say about their experience with the lender or referral service - not just during the application and approval process, but also while making payments. Choose a lender that has a good reputation for helping customers both before and after the refinancing is complete.

To help you determine the best way to refinance your student loan, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's top lenders. We're confident that with this information, you'll easily find the right rate and term on your loan refinancing!

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