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      July 2, 2020

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College Ave vs Wells Fargo

To help you find the Best Student Loans, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of College Ave and Wells Fargo.

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Apply for Your Student Loan at SunTrust Today As the costs of higher education rise, so does the need for student loans. While some individuals are eligible for federal loans, those loans don't always cover the full cost of getting an education - not just tuition and room/board, but books, laptops, transportation and other expenses. And, people who are ineligible for federal loans don't necessarily have overflowing savings accounts to match their college or university costs.

Private student loans are the way that many students close that gap. On average, students have nearly $40,000 in student loan debt at the time of graduation; without those funds, their aspirations of being a teacher, engineer, or social worker may have been put on hold indefinitely.

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Best Reviews

2020

Student Loan Reviews

4.5 stars
College Ave

COLLEGE AVE

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Features:

  • No application or origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • No payments required until 6 months after leaving school
  • Interest rate discounts available with automatic payments
  • Variable interest rates from 2.20% to 9.29% APR
  • Fixed interest rates from 4.99% to 11.24% APR
  • Loan repayment terms of 8, 10, 12, or 15 years
  • Deferment and forbearance options available
  • Cosigner release option after 24 consecutive months of on-time payments
  • Customer service: 844-422-7502

As a partner of University Account Service (UAS), College Ave Student Loans provides funding for students starting at $2,000 up to 100% of educational costs verified by a college or university. At the time of our review, College Ave maintained an "A" rating as an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau, evidence of their commitment to integrity and quality of service in the student loans industry.

Student loan qualification

In order to be eligible for a College Ave student loan, you'll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled in a degree program, attending classes at least half-time
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (this also applies to any cosigner on the loan)
  • Have a qualifying credit score. College Ave doesn't specify exactly what credit score a borrower/cosigner will need, but they do have a free credit pre-qualification tool that can help you decide if you want to submit a full application

Customize the terms

One unique feature of College Ave student loans is the ability to customize, or "configure", the terms of the loan to meet your specifications. By clicking on the yellow box that says "Configure It Out", you'll be taken to a page that allows you to enter your basic information, from the approximate amount of money you'd like to borrow to your preferences for making payments while still in school or deferring until after graduation. Your results page will show you an approximation of the loan terms for which you might qualify, and you can use the sliders on that results page to change any of the assumptions that were made while calculating the details of your prospective loan.

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Competitive student loan rates

We found that College Ave has interest rates that are extremely competitive, with a variety of repayment options that make it easy to stick to a budget. Also, if you sign up to have your payments automatically deducted from your bank account, you'll receive a 0.25% discount on your interest rate. Unlike some of their competitors, College Ave does not punish borrowers or cosigners in the event of permanent disability or death of the student: they forgive all loans 100% when the student borrower dies or suffers a permanent disability.

Also, College Ave allows cosigners to be released from the loan after 24 consecutive on-time payments. This is a fairly standard timeframe among providers of student loans, although some lenders require four to five years of on-time payments prior to releasing the cosigner.

Strong choice

The only caveats to consider when looking at getting a student loan with College Ave are their short time in operation - their first loans were funded in December 2014 - and the fact that College Ave was founded by two former executives from Sallie Mae, one of the lowest-ranked student loans providers in our review. As College Ave continues to prove itself as a strong contender in the student loans market, however, we wouldn't be surprised to see their rating increase. They are worth your consideration for a student loan.

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2 stars
Wells Fargo

WELLS FARGO

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Features:

  • No application or origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • No payments required until 6 months after leaving school
  • Interest rate discounts available
  • Variable interest rates from 3.39% to 10.49% APR
  • Fixed interest rates from 5.94% to 12.99% APR
  • Minimum monthly payment of $50 during repayment period
  • Customer service: 888-511-8086

Wells Fargo is a well-established name in the financial industry, from checking accounts to mortgages and investments. They offer a variety of student loans, including Wells Fargo Collegiate and Wells Fargo Graduate programs.

Student loan criteria

In order to be eligible for a Wells Fargo student loan, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program, seeking a degree, certificate, or license (you can be enrolled less than half-time)
  • U.S. citizen or national, permanent resident alien, or international student who is a temporary resident alien with a current US address and evidence of eligibility
  • Meet certain credit/employment/debt-to-income requirements OR have a cosigner (US citizen cosigner required for permanent and temporary resident aliens)

Check current rates

Before starting an application, we recommend that you click on the green "Check Rates" arrow in the middle of the main student loans page. You'll enter your school's information (state and name), along with your field of study. You'll then be taken to a page that will show you all of the current interest rate ranges for your loan, whether that's a fixed-rate loan for graduate school or a variable-rate loan for your four-year degree.

During the actual application process, you'll need to provide your school's information, your Social Security number, your permanent (home) address, employment and income information for you (and your cosigner, if you have one), the costs of attendance, and, finally, the amount of financial assistance you expect to receive from any source.

Interest rate reductions

Wells Fargo offers several ways to reduce your interest rates. First, if you set up your monthly payments to be automatically withdrawn (known as ACH), you may qualify for a discount of 0.25% off your interest rate. Also, they offer three "relationship interest rate discounts" if you or your cosigner have an established history with Wells Fargo before you complete the loan process: 0.25% discount if you have a prior federal or private student loan through Wells Fargo, 0.25% discount if you have a qualifying consumer checking account with Wells Fargo, or a 0.50% discount for a Wells Fargo PMA Package (a combination of a specific number and type of accounts, including Premier Checking, investments, and so on). Finally, if you have newly-established (or poor) credit, having a cosigner with good credit can both help you qualify for a student loan and get a lower interest rate.

Wells Fargo also saves you money with no application or origination fees, and no prepayment penalties if you pay off your loan early.

No repayments for 6 months

With Wells Fargo student loans, you will not be required to make any repayments until 6 months after you graduate or leave school. Be aware that there's a maximum in-school period: you have four years from your first loan disbursement if you attended a 2-year school, five years if your loan covers graduate school, and seven years from your first disbursement if you attended a 4-year school. In other words, Wells Fargo doesn't penalize you for being on "the 5-year-plan" (taking longer than the traditional 2- or 4-year period expected with an Associate or Bachelor degree), but you can't claim to still be in school for an unlimited period of time without beginning the process of repayment.

Negative reviews

Unfortunately, we found hundreds of reviews from students with loans through Wells Fargo that expressed deep dissatisfaction with the service they received once the loan was disbursed. Some of the problems we frequently found were errors on Wells Fargo's side that cost borrowers money and hurt their credit score, unhelpful representatives, and lack of flexibility when the unexpected occurs (such as death or disability interfering with borrowers' ability to repay). Across multiple websites, it was difficult to find reviews from students who were happy with the service they received from Wells Fargo over the course of their student loans, even when those individuals had been paying their loans faithfully over several years.

While Wells Fargo has the advantage of being a major player in the financial industry, it seems that they don't apply that experience and skill to their servicing of student loans. You may be more satisfied with the service you receive from another lender in our review.

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Continued from above

Fortunately, there are many lenders who want to make it as affordable and simple as possible to complete undergraduate and graduate-level studies. Some represent well-known, established financial institutions, while others work directly with networks of community banks to get much-needed cash into the hands of eager learners.

Comparing offers from lenders can be as easy as going online; in a matter of minutes and mouse clicks, you can see a variety of interest rates, repayment terms, and other details of each program for which you are eligible. This saves you significant time compared with going hat in hand to your local bank or other lending institution, hoping that they will say yes to your loan application.

When deciding on which lender to use for your student loan, you should consider the following factors:

  • Interest rates. The higher your interest rates, the more you pay over the life of the loan. Does the lender have rates that are competitive? Does the lender offer you the choice between fixed and variable rates?
  • Loan terms. What is the repayment term? Does it give you enough time to get a good job and pay it back? Can you pay it off in advance with no penalty?
  • Discounts. Can you get your interest rates lowered by setting up automatic payments from your checking account? Will you get any perks for having a relationship with the lender in other ways, such as a checking account or credit card?
  • Reputation. Some lenders have a solid history of working with borrowers, while others have a not-so-great track record when it comes to customer service after the loan has been disbursed. How does this lender measure up?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Student Loan providers available today. We hope this information helps you to get the money you need for your studies right away!

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