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.
Cecilia ClarkSep 13, 2021

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Student loan ratings

College Ave
  • Private student loan

  • Student loan refinancing

  • Parent loan

  • Graduate student loan

  • Dental school loan

  • Law school loan

  • MBA loan

  • Medical school loan

The bottom line: College Ave is an online lender founded in 2014 that offers both private student loans and student loan refinancing. Its private loan is best for students who want to make payments while they're still in school. Its refinance loan is best for borrowers who want a nonstandard loan term — six or nine years, for instance.

Private student loan review

College Ave Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Private Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Fixed APR

2.99 - 12.99%

Variable APR

0.99 - 11.98%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • More flexible repayment options than other lenders.
  • Six-month grace period extension is available.

Cons

  • You must be at least halfway through your repayment term before you can request a co-signer release.

Best for students who want to make payments while they're still in school.

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. You can also defer payments until after graduation.

More than 95% of College Ave undergraduate loans have a co-signer. You must be at least halfway through your repayment term to release the co-signer from the loan, as well as meet additional criteria. For a standard 10-year repayment term, that would mean making at least 5 years of payments, which is longer than other lenders require to release a co-signer.

You could refinance the loan earlier in your repayment term instead. But that would change the terms of the existing loan and require meeting the refinance lender's qualifications.

College Ave could improve by offering additional programs such as:

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:

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.

How does this loan compare?

College Ave Private Student Loan
Earnest Private Student Loan
Education Loan Finance Private Student Loan
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Check RateCheck RateCheck Rate
Fixed APR

2.99 - 12.99%

Fixed APR

2.99 - 12.78%

Fixed APR

3.20 - 11.99%

Variable APR

0.99 - 11.98%

Variable APR

0.99 - 11.44%

Variable APR

1.20 - 11.54%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Min. Credit Score

650

Min. Credit Score

680

Student loan refinancing review

College Ave Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Fixed APR

2.99 - 6.89%

Variable APR

2.94 - 6.79%

Min. Credit Score

Upper 600s

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.

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

College Ave lets borrowers choose any repayment term between five and 20 years. That makes refinancing with College Ave a good option if you want a nonstandard term — six or nine years, for instance — that lets you avoid paying more overall by extending your repayment term.

College Ave is not ideal for borrowers who need a co-signer to qualify, as there's no co-signer release program. Student loans must also be in your name to refinance with College Ave, so you'll need to look elsewhere if you want to take over your parent's PLUS loans. To protect themselves, parents looking at Advantage Education Loans should consider co-signing an undergraduate loan instead of taking out a parent loan. The Advantage Parent Loan is a better option only if the parent doesn’t want the child’s name on the loan.

College Ave could improve its student loan refinance product by:

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple 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.

Parent loan review

Best Student Loan for Parents

College Ave Parent Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Parent Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Fixed APR

3.24 - 12.99%

Variable APR

1.04 - 11.98%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Up to $2,500 can be disbursed to you directly for school-related expenses.
  • You can choose your monthly payment while the student is in school, provided it covers at least the interest.

Cons

  • No co-signer option.
  • Estate is still responsible for the loan if the parent borrower dies.

Best for parents who want to control some of their student's spending.

College Ave parent loans are best if your child needs extra money for college. Parents can take out loans up to the school's cost of attendance, plus an additional $2,500. That extra money is sent to the parent — not the school — to help with school-related expenses, like books or dorm supplies.

You cannot defer a College Ave parent loan while your child is in school, but flexible payment options are available. You can pay just the monthly interest, monthly interest plus a fixed amount (in increments of $20) or full payments. You can also choose any payment term between 5 and 15 years.

In instances of total and permanent disability, undergraduate and graduate loans are discharged if the borrower becomes totally and permanently disabled. Parent loans are discharged only if the child benefitting from the loans becomes totally and permanently disabled.

To protect themselves, parents looking at College Ave loans should consider co-signing an undergraduate loan instead of taking out a parent loan. The College Ave loan is a better option only if the parent doesn’t want the child’s name on the loan.

College Ave could improve by offering additional programs such as:

Before taking out a College Ave parent loan or any other parent student loan, your child should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, and max out their federal loan options. And make sure the loan payments won't stop you from reaching other financial goals, like saving for retirement.

» MORE:

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 College Ave denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider or specialize in .

Graduate student loan review

College Ave Graduate Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Graduate Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Fixed APR

4.49 - 11.98%

Variable APR

1.99 - 10.97%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

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.
  • Nine-month grace period is longer than other lenders offer.

Cons

  • You must be at least halfway through your repayment term before you can request a co-signer release.

Best for graduate students who'll need extra time before starting repayment.

College Ave offers a student loan for graduate students, as well as specific lending products for , , and .

The underlying terms of all College Ave graduate student loans are similar. But the individual loans have different interest rate ranges, and the following features also vary:

All graduate students can also receive a 6-month grace period extension after leaving school, while longer deferments are available for law students during clerkships (12 months) and dental and medical students during residency (12 months and 48 months, respectively).

These grace periods are longer than many lenders offer — especially the 9 months for non-health professional students. That makes College Ave a good option if you're a graduate student who'll need extra time before starting repayment.

College Ave could improve by offering additional programs such as:

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

» MORE:

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 College Ave denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider or specialize in .

Dental school loan review

College Ave Dental Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Dental Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Fixed APR

4.49 - 11.46%

Variable APR

1.99 - 10.45%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Twelve-month grace period is longer than other lenders offer.
  • You can defer payments up to an additional 12 months during residency after your grace period.

Cons

  • You must be at least halfway through your repayment term before you can request a co-signer release.

Best for dental students who'll need extra time before starting repayment.

Law school loan review

College Ave Law Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Law Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Fixed APR

4.49 - 11.46%

Variable APR

1.99 - 10.45%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Twelve-month grace period is longer than other lenders offer.
  • You can defer payments up to an additional 12 months during clerkship after your grace period.

Cons

  • You must be at least halfway through your repayment term before you can request a co-signer release.

Best for law students who'll need extra time before starting repayment.

MBA loan review

College Ave MBA Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave MBA Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Fixed APR

4.49 - 9.99%

Variable APR

1.99 - 9.90%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

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.
  • Nine-month grace period is longer than other lenders offer.

Cons

  • You must be at least halfway through your repayment term before you can request a co-signer release.

Best for MBA students who'll need extra time before starting repayment.

Medical school loan review

College Ave Medical Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Medical Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Fixed APR

4.49 - 11.46%

Variable APR

1.99 - 10.45%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

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.
  • You can defer payments up to an additional 48 months during fellowship after your grace period.

Cons

  • You must be at least halfway through your repayment term before you can request a co-signer release.

Best for med students who'll need extra time before starting repayment.

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 .

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