SunTrust Suspends Private Student Loan Program

SunTrust, now Truist, no longer offers SunTrust funded student loans.

Anna HelhoskiJune 5, 2020
On a similar note...
On a similar note...

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Student Loan Relief Guide

COVID-19 relief may affect information on this page. Know your options before making any decision.

SunTrust, now Truist, stopped offering private student loans in May 2020. SunTrust private student loans will continue to be serviced by American Education Services, and borrowers’ repayment schedules will not be affected.

SunTrust offered multiple loan products nationwide including its Custom Choice loan and Start Student Loan. The Custom Choice Loan offered several in-school repayment options and a generous 36 months of interest-only payments once repayment began. The Start Student Loan offered one unique perk other lenders don't: no interest for the first six months of repayment. Both loans also had the benefit of a 2% principal reduction upon graduation. The Custom Choice Loan is now offered by Cognition Financial.

If you're interested in private student loans, consider these lenders:

Custom Choice Loan, Powered by Cognition
College Ave Private Student Loan
CommonBond Private Student Loan
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR

4.26 - 10.74%

Fixed APR

3.49 - 12.99%

Fixed APR

6.98 - 10.74%

Variable APR

1.22 - 9.70%

Before applying for a private student loan, Citizens and Cognition Financial recommend comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. The Custom Choice Loan® is made by Citizens (“Lender”). All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to Lender’s underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions and other terms and conditions apply. LENDER AND COGNITION FINANCIAL CORPORATION EACH RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. TERMS, CONDITIONS AND RATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. Interest rates and APRs (Annual Percentage Rates) depend upon (1) the student’s and cosigner’s (if applicable) credit histories, (2) the repayment option and repayment term selected, (3) the expected number of years in deferment, (4) the requested loan amount and (5) other information provided on the online loan application. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate applicable to your loan. Rates and terms are effective for applications received on or after 12/01/20. The variable interest rate for each calendar month is calculated by adding the One-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), or a replacement index if the Lender, in their sole discretion, deems LIBOR to be substantially altered or if LIBOR is no longer based on newly reported rates from its reporting banks, plus a fixed margin assigned to each loan. The LIBOR is published in the "Money Rates" section of The Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition). The LIBOR index is captured on the 25th day of the immediately preceding calendar month (or if the 25th is not a business day. The current LIBOR index is 0.14% on 12/01/20. The variable interest rate will increase or decrease if the LIBOR index changes or if a new index is chosen. The applicable index or margin for variable rate loans may change over time and result in a different APR than shown. The fixed rate assigned to a loan will never change except as required by law or if you request and qualify for the auto pay discount. APRs assume a $10,000 loan with two disbursements and the fall savings rate discount of 0.50% (applicable to applications submitted for a credit decision between 12:00:00am EST on October 1, 2020 and 11:59:59pm EST on December 31, 2020). The high variable rate APR assumes a 7-year term with the Full Deferment option, a 19 month deferment period, and a six-month grace period before entering repayment. The high fixed rate APR assumes a 15-year term with the Full Deferment option, a 31 month deferment period, and a six-month grace period before entering repayment. The low APRs assume a 7-year term, and the Immediate Repayment option with payments beginning 30-60 days after the last disbursement via auto pay. Auto pay yields a 0.25% interest rate reduction which is applied after the Servicer validates your bank account information and will continue until (1) three automatic deductions are returned for insufficient funds during the life of the loan (after which the discount cannot be reinstated) or (2) automatic deduction of payments is canceled. The auto pay discount is not available when reduced payments are being made or when the loan is in a deferment or forbearance, even if payments are being made.Custom Choice Loan® is a service mark used under license. Citizens is a brand name of Citizens Bank, N.A. (NMLS ID# 433960). Member FDIC.

Variable APR

1.09 - 11.98%

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000. Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Flat Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.78% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 54 monthly payments of $25 while in school, followed by 96 monthly payments of $176.21 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $18,266.38. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. Information advertised valid as of 11/2/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.

Variable APR

6.61 - 9.42%

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.17% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.

Min. Credit Score

625

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Min. Credit Score

660

Or compare student loan refinance lenders by category to find the right one for you:

If you have a private loan with SunTrust

Existing SunTrust borrowers will still have their loans serviced by American Education Services. Here are repayment details for these loans:

SunTrust Custom Choice private student loan

In-school repayment options:

  • In-school deferment: You won’t make payments while enrolled at least half-time in an approved school; payments start six months after leaving school.

  • Immediate repayment: Payment of principal and interest begins 30 to 60 days after the final disbursement. The minimum monthly payment is $50. There is no grace period.

  • Interest-only: Pay interest-only while enrolled at least half-time at an approved school. Combined interest and principal payments begin six months after you leave school.

  • Partial interest: A payment of $25 per month is available on loans of $5,000 or more while borrowers are enrolled at least half-time at an approved school. Payments covering full interest and principal begin after the six-month grace period ends.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months

  • Forbearance: Borrowers experiencing a financial hardship may receive forbearance for up to 12 months, in three-month increments. Interest will accrue during this time.

  • Additional deferment: Borrowers having problems making payments may be eligible for up to 36 months of interest-only payments. This must be made at the borrower's request.

  • Academic deferment: Yes, up to 48 months of additional deferment for re-enrollment.

  • Military deferment: Yes, up to 36 months if the student borrower and/or co-signer is unable to repay the loan while deployed on active-duty status in the armed forces of the United States.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 36 on-time principal and interest payments.

  • Death or disability discharge available: Yes, in the event the student borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled, the loan can be forgiven with proper documentation and the cosigner won't be responsible for repayment.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: American Education Services.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Average time for approval: A credit decision is made in under a minute after submitting an application. Loan approval will depend on the documentation provided.

SunTrust Start private student loan

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months

  • Forbearance: Borrowers experiencing a financial hardship may receive forbearance for up to 12 months, in three-month increments. Interest will accrue during this time.

  • Additional deferment: Borrowers having problems making payments may be eligible for up to 36 months of interest-only payments. This must be made at the borrower's request.

  • Academic deferment: Yes, up to 48 months of additional deferment for re-enrollment.

  • Military deferment: Yes, up to 36 months if the student borrower and/or co-signer is unable to repay the loan while deployed on active-duty status in the armed forces of the United States.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 36 on-time payments.

  • Death or disability discharge: Yes, in the event the student borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled, the loan can be forgiven with proper documentation and the cosigner won't be responsible for repayment.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: American Education Services.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Average time for approval: A credit decision is made in under a minute after submitting an application. Loan approval will depend on the documentation provided.

If you no longer wish to work with SunTrust, now Truist, consider refinancing with a different lender if you can qualify for a better interest rate.

Find ways to save with NerdWallet

Really get to know your money and find cash you can put aside and grow.

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet’s official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.