PNC Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

PNC student loans offer a half-point interest rate discount for making automatic payments.
Last updated on May 2, 2024
Written by 
Assistant Assigning Editor
Karen Gaudette Brewer
Edited by 
Fact Checked
Lead Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Cecilia Clark
Written by 
Assistant Assigning Editor
Karen Gaudette Brewer
Edited by 
Fact Checked
Lead Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

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  • 35+ student loans lenders reviewed and rated by our team of experts.
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Student loan ratings

PNC Private Student Loan
PNC Private Student Loan

4.0

NerdWallet rating
The Nerdy headline:

PNC is a traditional bank with branches across the U.S. It offers student loans to undergraduates and graduate students, plus student loan refinancing for those who are no longer in school. Its private student loan is best for students who plan to start repayment immediately, while its refinancing loan is best for students without a degree.

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2024 Best Private Student Loan Overall
College Ave Private Student Loan
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College Ave Private Student Loan
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3.99-17.99%
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Min. credit score
Mid-600s
on College Ave's website
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Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan
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PNC Private Student Loan review

PNC Private Student Loan
PNC Private Student Loan

4.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Does not disclose
Fixed APR
6.69-13.89%
Variable APR
8.44-11.54%

Pros

  • Interest rate discount for autopay is larger than most lenders offer.

Cons

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for students who plan to start repayment immediately.

Full Review

PNC's private student loan is best for borrowers who plan to start repayment while in school. The lender offers immediate and interest-only payment plans, as well as a 0.50 percentage point interest rate reduction for automatic payments, which is double what most lenders offer.

PNC does not disclose information about its forbearance policy, nor does it offer any alternate repayment options for borrowers struggling with payments. Consider other lenders if you want that potential flexibility.

PNC private student loan at a glance

  • No option to get personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

  • No flexible repayment options for borrowers struggling with payments.

How PNC could improve

PNC could improve its private student loans by offering:

  • Personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

  • A publicized, formal forbearance policy.

  • Transparency around applicant requirements.

PNC private student loan details

    • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.

    • Loan terms: 5, 10 or 15 years.

    • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $65,000, depending on loan program.

    • Application or origination fee: No.

    • Prepayment penalty: No.

    • Late fees: Yes.

    Compare PNC'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 PNC will offer you, apply on its website.

  • PNC doesn’t disclose specific details about what it takes to qualify for its student loans. Lenders typically look for borrowers who have good credit and enough income to afford their debts and expenses.

    Financial

    • Minimum credit score: Did not disclose.

    • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.

    • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

    • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.

    • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Did not disclose.

    Other

    • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

    • Location: Available in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., plus American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.

    • Types of schools served: Schools that are a part of the federal Title IV program and community college programs.

    • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.

  • In-school repayment options

    • Full payment.

    • Full deferred.

    • Interest-only.

    Post-school repayment options

    • Grace period: More than 6 months with grace period extension option.

    • Academic deferment: Yes.

    • Military deferment: Postpone payments if you're on active military duty.

    • Forbearance: Did not disclose.

    • Co-signer release available: Did not disclose.

    • Death or disability discharge available: No.

    • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

    Repayment preferences

    • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: No.

    • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

    • Loan servicer: American Education Services (AES).

    • In-house customer service team: Yes.

    • Process for escalating concerns: Did not disclose.

    • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Upon request.

    • Average time from application to approval: Did not disclose.

    • Autopay discount: If you set up automated payments for your loan, PNC will reduce your interest rate by half a percentage point, which is a greater autopay discount than most lenders offer.

    • PNC Student Solution Scholarship: Win a $2,000 scholarship and gain access to financial literacy tools by registering with Decision Partners, an online financial literacy education provider, through PNC. More details.

Before applying for a PNC student loan

You can apply for a PNC student loan on its website. Before taking out a PNC student loan or any other private loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

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 aren’t eligible for a PNC student loan

If PNC denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders 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 lenders that don’t require co-signers or specialize in bad or no credit student loans.

STUDENT LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Compare private student loans
Lender
Fixed APR
Min. credit score
Variable APR
Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student LoanSallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan
4.5
GO TO LENDER SITEon Sallie Mae's website
on Sallie Mae's website
COMPARE RATESon Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
4.15- 15.49%
Mid-600's
5.37- 15.70%
College Ave Private Student LoanCollege Ave Private Student Loan
3.99- 17.99%
Mid-600s
5.59- 17.99%
Ascent Credit-based Student LoanAscent Credit-based Student Loan
3.79- 15.41%
Low-Mid 600s
5.99- 15.85%
Custom Choice LoanCustom Choice Loan
4.24- 14.14%
600
5.44- 14.91%
Education Loan Finance Private Student LoanEducation Loan Finance Private Student Loan
4.50- 14.22%
680
6.00- 14.22%

PNC Student Loan Refinance review

PNC Student Loan Refinance
PNC Student Loan Refinance

4.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Does not disclose
Fixed APR
6.99-16.39%
Variable APR
7.89-17.39%

Pros

  • Interest rate discount for autopay is larger than most lenders offer.

  • Borrowers can refinance without a degree.

Cons

  • No flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers.

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for borrowers who don’t have a degree.

Full Review

PNC refinances loans for borrowers who did not graduate and have fewer refinance lenders to choose from as a result. Its 0.50 percentage point interest rate reduction for signing up for automatic payments is also double what most lenders offer.

PNC offers four loan terms — 5, 10, 15 and 20 years — and requires borrowers to have made payments on their loans for two years before refinancing. Borrowers can refinance a maximum of $200,000, depending on the loan program.

PNC student loan refinancing at a glance

  • Borrowers without a degree can refinance.

  • No option to get personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

  • You must have repaid loans for at least 24 months before you can refinance them with PNC.

  • You can refinance federal PLUS loans.

How PNC could improve

PNC could improve its student loan refinance product by:

  • Offering personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

  • Disclosing its forbearance policy for borrowers struggling with payments.

How much can refinancing save?

PNC student loan refinancing details

    • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.

    • Loan terms: 5, 10, 15 or 20 years.

    • Loan amounts: $10,000 to $200,000.

    • Can transfer a parent loan to the child: Yes.

    • Application fee: No.

    • Prepayment penalty: No.

    • Late fees: Yes.

    Compare PNC'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 PNC will offer you, apply on its website.

  • PNC doesn’t disclose specific details about what it takes to qualify for student loan refinancing. Lenders typically look for borrowers who have good credit and enough income to afford their debts and expenses.

    Financial

    • Minimum credit score: Did not disclose.

    • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

    • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

    • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.

    • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Did not disclose.

    Other

    • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

    • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C., plus American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    • Must have graduated: No.

    • Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes.

    • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.

    • Academic deferment: Postpone payments if you go back to school.

    • Military deferment: Postpone payments if you're on active military duty.

    • Forbearance: Did not disclose.

    • Co-signer release available: Did not disclose.

    • Death discharge available: Yes.

    • Disability discharge available: No.

    • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: Did not disclose.

    Repayment Preferences

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

    • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

    • Loan servicer: American Education Services (AES).

    • In-house customer service team: Yes.

    • Process for escalating concerns: Did not disclose.

    • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Did not disclose.

    • Average time from approval to payoff: Did not disclose.

    • Autopay discount: If you set up automated payments for your loan, PNC will reduce your interest rate by half a percentage point, which is a greater autopay discount than most lenders offer.

Before refinancing with PNC

You can apply for a PNC refinanced student loan on its website. 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.

If you aren’t eligible to refinance with PNC

If PNC denies your refinance application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or need a co-signer.

NerdWallet recommends prequalifying with multiple refinance lenders before you apply. This will let you know which lenders you may be eligible with, without affecting your credit.

STUDENT LOAN REFINANCE RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and the top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 41 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Find the Right Student Loan

Private student loansStudent loan refinancingCalculate monthly paymentsGraduate school loansStudent loan interest rates

Frequently asked questions

  • PNC is a four-star lender based on NerdWallet's student loan rating system. Our ratings prioritize low interest rates and flexible repayment options that allow borrowers to repay loans faster and avoid default.

  • Visit PNC's website to apply for a private student loan or refinancing. You'll need to meet all credit and underwriting qualifications.

  • Qualified applicants don't need a co-signer to apply for PNC student loans. However, adding a credit-worthy co-signer could increase your chances for approval and decrease your interest rate.

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