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SunTrust Private Student Loan Review

February 28, 2018
Loans, Student Loans
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SunTrust offers private student loans for undergraduates and graduate students.

Its Custom Choice loans are, indeed, loaded with choices. Borrowers can choose among four repayment options, including three that help limit interest costs, and borrowers have several ways to reduce their interest rate once repayment begins.

SunTrust Private Student Loan Review
Type of loanPrivate student loan
NerdWallet rating3 stars out of 5
3.0 out of 5.0 stars
Loan terms7, 10 or 15 years
Loan amounts$1,001 minimum. $65,000 annual maximum, for a total $150,000 maximum per borrower
Check Rates at SunTrust Student Loans


A private student loan from SunTrust may be a good option if you:

  • Have good credit or a creditworthy co-signer
  • Need to fill a gap in the financial aid package you received after filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA

» MORE: NerdWallet’s 2018-19 FAFSA Guide

Before you borrow a private student loan from SunTrust or any lender, submit the FAFSA to apply for federal grants, work-study and federal student loans. Max out federal student loans before using private ones, because federal loans have more borrower protections and don’t require a co-signer.

Can you qualify for a SunTrust student loan?

You may qualify for a SunTrust Custom Choice loan if you:

  • Attend an eligible school. You must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program at an approved Title IV school.
  • Have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Borrowers can be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. International students are not eligible. Students and co-signers who live in Iowa or Wisconsin are also not eligible.
  • Have a co-signer. A co-signer is not always required, but if you don’t have a credit history, you may need a creditworthy co-signer to qualify.

SunTrust did not disclose information on minimum credit requirements or income amounts. It also did not disclose information on its typical borrower, including average credit score or average income.

» COMPARE: Private student loans

How to apply for a SunTrust student loan

Go to SunTrust’s Custom Choice Loan page and click “Apply Online.”

  1. Complete an application. You can’t apply more than four months before your start date. Fill in your personal details and information about the school you’re planning to attend, your school year and major, estimated financial assistance and the amount you want to borrow. Indicate whether you’ll be applying for the loan on your own or with a co-signer. Your rate will likely be lower and your chances of approval higher if you apply with a co-signer. You can use the Easy Invite tool in the online application to add a co-signer.
  2. Agree to let SunTrust do a hard credit check. A hard credit check may cause your credit scores to dip slightly, but it’s needed for approval decisions and to show you the interest rate you qualify for.
  3. Choose a loan option. Once the credit review is complete, you can compare loan options to decide which terms and monthly payment amount work best. You may choose a fixed or variable rate, one of three loan terms and how you’d like to repay the loan.
  4. Submit required documentation. This includes eligible proof of income, proof of citizenship, applicant self-certification form and identity verification.
  5. Sign the required documents. You’ll receive a loan packet outlining all loan terms. You must accept the loan packet within 30 days. You can do so online, by fax or by mail.
  6. Wait for school certification and final loan terms. The loan must be certified by your school. After this, you’ll receive a final disclosure. You have three business days to cancel or rescind the loan at this time.
  7. Wait for the funds from your school. Once the funds are sent to the school and applied to your account, disbursement of any remaining funds is left up to your school.
Check Rates at SunTrust Student Loans

SunTrust Custom Choice details

  • Grace period: 6 months
  • Loan servicer: American Education Services
  • Application or origination fee: None
  • Late fees: SunTrust did not disclose this information
  • Prepayment penalty: None
  • Co-signer release: Available after student borrower has made 36 on-time payments

General repayment options

SunTrust borrowers have four repayment options:

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.

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

Repayment options for struggling borrowers

At some point during the life of your loan, you might need to take advantage of flexible payment options. SunTrust offers options for hardship forbearance and additional deferment.


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 option may extend the repayment term at the borrower’s request.

SunTrust extras

Interest rate reductions

    • 2% principal reduction upon graduation
    • Up to 0.50% reduction for enrolling in autopay


Borrowers can refinance existing private student loans up to the aggregate student loan limit of $150,000 minus the approved amount for the upcoming semester. Learn more about refinancing.

Contact SunTrust

      • Contact SunTrust at 866-232-3889

SunTrust student loan FAQs

    • Can I apply with a co-signer? Yes.
    • Can I qualify if I’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past? SunTrust did not disclose this information.
    • Can I qualify if I don’t go to a Title IV-accredited school? No.


NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s private student loans 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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