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College Ave Reviews: Private Student Loans and Student Loan Refinancing

College Ave offers private student loans with multiple repayment options and lets borrowers refinance at any repayment term between five and 20 years.
Aug. 28, 2019
Loans, Student Loans
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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

College Ave private student loan

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Bottom line: Best for students who want to make payments while they’re still in school.

Reviewed loanPrivate student loan for undergraduates
Loan terms5, 8, 10 or 15 years
Loan amounts$1,000 to $80,000
Grace period6 months
Co-signer release availableYes
Related productsPrivate graduate student loans, medical school loans, parent loans, law school loans and loans for undergrads pursuing career-focused programs

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • International students can qualify with a co-signer.
  • More flexible repayment options than other lenders.

CONS

  • No formal forbearance options.

Full Review

College Ave’s undergraduate private student loans are best for those who want to make payments while in school; borrowers can opt for immediate, interest-only and fixed $25 payment plans, instead of deferring repayment.

While College Ave offers in-school deferment and a grace period extension, the company doesn’t have a specific forbearance policy. It evaluates requests on a case-by-case basis when borrowers need to pause payments due to financial hardship.

College Ave private student loans at a glance

  • Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
  • International students are eligible if they apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Co-signer release is available.

How College Ave could improve

College Ave, like other five-star lenders, isn’t perfect. It could improve by offering additional programs such as:

  • A formal forbearance policy.
  • Allowing borrowers who have previously filed for bankruptcy to qualify.

College Ave private student loan details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.
  • Loan terms: 5, 8, 10 or 15 years.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $80,000.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes; 5% of the unpaid amount of the monthly payment or $25, whichever is less, if payment isn’t made within 15 days of the due date.

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: Mid-600s.
  • Minimum income: $35,000 per year.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Mid-700s.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: About $110,000 per year.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Depends on credit characteristics; up to 90% in some instances.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: No.

Other

  • Citizenship: International students are eligible if they apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Location: Available in all 50 states.
  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.
  • Types of schools served: Borrowers must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at an eligible school.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 96%.

In-school repayment options:

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

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months for undergraduates; 9 months for graduate students.
  • In-school deferment: Yes, borrowers can request to defer payments when returning to school.
  • Military deferment: Yes.
  • Grace period extension: Yes, up to an additional 6 months.
  • Forbearance: No specific policy for borrowers dealing with an economic hardship. College Ave evaluates forbearance requests on a case-by-case basis.
  • Natural disaster forbearance: Borrowers can postpone payments if they’re involved in a natural disaster, as determined by FEMA.
  • Co-signer release: Yes, if the borrower has finished more than half of the scheduled repayment period and meets additional eligibility criteria.
  • 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.

  • College Ave offers various promotions throughout the year for college students. These have included sweepstakes to win college textbooks for a year and a $1,000 monthly scholarship giveaway. Visit the College Ave website for a list of current opportunities.

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 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.

College Ave student loan refinancing

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Bottom line: Best for borrowers who want a nonstandard loan term — six or nine years, for instance.

Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 3.24% - 7.99%
Variable: 2.49% - 7.24%
Includes autopay discount of 0.25%
Loan termsChoose a term between five and 20 years
Loan amounts$5,000 to $150,000, or $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary degrees
Co-signer release availableNo
Can transfer a parent loan to the childNo

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • You can choose any loan term between five and 20 years.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

CONS

  • No co-signer release available.
  • Students cannot refinance a parent PLUS loan in their name.
  • Loans aren’t available in Maine.

Full Review

College Ave lets borrowers choose any repayment term between five and 20 years, making it best for those who want a nonstandard term — six or nine years, for instance. 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; it grants it on a case-by-case basis.

College Ave at a glance

  • Choose any loan term between five and 20 years.
  • Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
  • No co-signer release option.

How College Ave could improve

College Ave could improve its student loan refinance product by:

  • Offering a formal forbearance policy and academic deferment to those who return to school.
  • Refinancing loans for borrowers without a degree, visa holders and those who want to refinance their parents’ PLUS loans.

College Ave student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.
  • Loan terms: Choose a term between five and 20 years.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $150,000, or up to $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary degrees.
  • Can transfer a parent loan to a child: No.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes; 5% of the unpaid amount or $25, whichever is less, if payment isn’t made within 15 days of the due date.

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: No loans available to customers in Maine.
  • Must have graduated: Yes, with an associate degree or higher.
  • Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: About 15%.

  • In-school deferment: No.
  • Military deferment: Yes.
  • Forbearance: No specific policy. College Ave evaluates forbearance requests on a case-by-case basis.
  • Natural disaster forbearance: Borrowers can postpone payments if they’re involved in a natural disaster, as determined by FEMA.
  • Death or disability discharge: No.

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 approval to payoff: 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 borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

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

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