Advertiser Disclosure

College Ave Reviews: Private Student Loans and Student Loan Refinancing

College Ave refinances loans for borrowers with an associate degree or higher and offers interest-only payments for the first two years.
Aug. 24, 2018
Loans, Student Loans
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

College Ave is an online lender founded in 2014 that offers both student loan refinancing and private student loans. Here we review College Ave’s private student loan; you’ll find a review of its refinance loan below.

Review of College Ave student loan refinancing

4.5 NerdWallet rating

College Ave’s undergraduate private student loans are best for those who likely won’t need to pause payments in the future. The company doesn’t have a specific forbearance policy and evaluates requests on a case-by-case basis.

College Ave private student loans at a glance:

  • Personalized rate estimate without affecting credit.
  • Co-signer release available.
  • International students not eligible.
Reviewed loanPrivate student loan for undergraduates
Loan terms5, 8, 10 and 15 years
Loan amounts$1,000 up to the total cost of attendance
Grace period6 months
Co-signer release availableYes
Related productsPrivate graduate student loans, parent loans and loans for undergrads pursuing career-focused programs

How College Ave private student loans score

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see whether College Ave ranks below average, average or above average compared with other private student loan lenders.

Enables faster repayment:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they offer a variety of term lengths and make extra payments easy.

Discloses requirements, limits costs:
Average
Lenders score highly if they limit fees and interest rates, are transparent about their underwriting criteria and allow borrowers to get personalized rate estimates before applying for the loan.

Serves range of borrowers:
Average
Lenders score highly if they cater to customers in varying locations, in different financial situations, and with varying citizenship statuses.

Offers payment flexibility:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they offer longer than 12-month forbearance periods, in-school and military deferment, and any other flexible repayment policies that help borrowers during tough times.

Supports customers:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they assign borrowers an advisor, offer multiple ways to get in touch, and have in-house customer service. Websites should display full APR ranges, fees and forbearance policies.

How College Ave could improve

College Ave would score higher if it offered a forbearance policy that allows for more than 12 months of forbearance.

College Ave private student loan details

  • Get a personalized rate before applying: Yes.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes; the lesser of 5% of the unpaid amount of the monthly payment or $25.

Compare College Ave’s range of interest rates with other private student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate College Ave will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Low 700s.
  • Minimum income: $35,000 per year.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Mid-700s.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: About $70,000 per year.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 80% with a credit score of 750 or higher. 50% with a credit score lower than 750.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: No.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Location: Available in all 50 states.
  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.
  • Must attend a Title IV-accredited school: Yes; borrowers must attend an eligible Title IV school.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 95%.

In-school repayment options:

  • Immediate repayment: Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school.
  • Deferred payments: Don’t make any payments while you’re in school.
  • Fixed repayment: Pay $25 every month while enrolled in school.
  • Interest-only repayment: Pay interest every month you’re in school.

Post-school repayment options

  • In-school deferment: Yes, borrowers can request to defer payments when returning to school.
  • Military deferment: Yes.
  • Forbearance: No specific policy. College Ave evaluates forbearance requests on a case-by-case basis.
  • Death or disability discharge: Yes, if the primary borrower dies or suffers a permanent disability.

Repayment preferences

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

  • Loan servicer: College Ave.
  • In-house customer service team: Yes; call center staffed by third-party company.
  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.
  • Average time from application to approval: Credit decision in three minutes.

How to apply for a College Ave student loan

Before taking out a College Ave student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your for federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s FAFSA Guide

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you’re ready to borrow with College Ave, you can apply on its website.

College Ave student loan refinancing

As of Aug. 30, 2018, College Ave is not processing applications for its student loan refinance product. Check back for updates. In the meantime, compare other student loan refinance lenders.

4.0 NerdWallet rating

College Ave is best for borrowers who want a nonstandard loan term — six or nine years, for instance — or who want to make low payments for an initial period. It’s not ideal for borrowers who foresee needing to use forbearance to postpone payments later. The company doesn’t have a specific forbearance policy; they grant it on a case-by-case basis.

College Ave at a glance:

  • Choose any loan term between five and 15 years.
  • Interest-only payments available for the first two years.
  • No co-signer release option.
Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 5.29% - 12.78%
Variable: 3.94% - 11.19%
Includes autopay discount of 0.25%
Loan termsChoose a term between five and 15 years
Loan amounts$5,000 to $150,000, or $250,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary degrees
Co-signer release availableNo
Can transfer a parent loan to the childNo

How College Ave student loan refinancing scores

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see whether College Ave ranks below average, average or above average compared with other student loan refinance lenders.

Enables faster repayment:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they offer a variety of term lengths and make extra payments easy.

Discloses requirements, limits costs:
Average
Lenders score highly if they limit fees and interest rates, are transparent about their underwriting criteria and allow borrowers to get personalized rate estimates before applying.

Serves range of borrowers:
Average
Lenders score highly if they cater to customers in varying locations, in different financial situations, and with varying citizenship statuses.

Offers payment flexibility:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they offer longer than 12-month forbearance periods, in-school and military deferment, and any other flexible policies that help borrowers during tough times.

Supports customers:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they assign borrowers an advisor, offer multiple ways to get in touch, and have in-house customer service. Websites should display full APR ranges, fees and forbearance policies.

How College Ave could improve

College Ave would score higher if it offered:

  • Personalized rate estimates without affecting credit.
  • A forbearance policy that allows for more than 12 months of forbearance and academic deferment to those who return to school.
  • Refinancing to borrowers without a degree, to visa holders and to those who want to refinance their parents’ PLUS loans.
  • Customer service from in-house representatives for refinancing borrowers.

College Ave student loan refinancing details

  • Get a personalized rate before applying: No.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes; the lesser of 5% of the unpaid amount or $25 after 15 days of nonpayment.

Compare College Ave’s range of interest rates with other student loan refinance lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate College Ave will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Upper 600s.
  • Minimum income: $38,000 per year.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Mid-700s.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: $100k+ per year.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50%, meaning total monthly debt payments must not exceed 50% of income.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: No.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Location: Available in all 50 states.
  • Must have graduated: Yes.
  • Must have attended a Title IV-accredited school: Yes.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: About 15%.

  • In-school forbearance: No, borrowers cannot request to defer payments when returning to school.
  • Military deferment: Yes.
  • Forbearance: No specific policy. College Ave evaluates forbearance requests on a case-by-case basis.
  • Death or disability discharge: Yes, if the primary borrower dies or suffers a permanent disability.
  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.
  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Loan servicer: Nationwide Bank.
  • In-house customer service team: No.
  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.
  • Average time from approval to payoff of the refinanced loans: Two to three weeks.

How to refinance with College Ave

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple student loan refinance options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

If you’re ready to refinance with College Ave, you can apply on its website.

STUDENT LOANS RATINGS METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s student loan ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best for consumer-friendly features

4.5 stars out of 5 — Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features

4 stars out of 5 — Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features

3.5 stars out of 5 — Good; may not offer something important to you

3 stars out of 5 — Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features

2.5 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution

About the author