Many private lenders have emerged over the last several years to offer university students and graduates options for managing their student debt. With more than 43 million borrowers owing some amount for federal or private student loans, it is no surprise that more financial institutions are getting involved in the market. Students who do not qualify for federal student loans or those who have met their maximum loan limits may be good candidates for private student lending. Similarly, individuals who have graduated from a college or university with student debt in tow may be in need of a restructuring of their loans through private student loan refinancing. In each scenario, the need for a lender that understands the burden of student debt and how to make repayment a manageable process is necessary.
PNC is no newcomer to lending, but in recent years the national bank has become widely known for its private student loan and student loan refinancing products. Established more than 160 years ago, PNC has a long history of serving banking customers throughout the United States, offering personal and business banking, secured and unsecured lending, mortgage loans, and now, student loans. The more than 8 million customers of PNC have access to full-service branch locations spanning 19 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a vast network of fee-free ATMs.
PNC provides several options for borrowers interested in private student loans and student loans refinancing, including undergraduate and graduate level student loans, health and medical profession financing, and bar study loans. Individuals with current student loan debt or those considering using a private lender to finance their education should understand the specifics of what PNC has to offer in terms of its student lending products.
Private Student Loans with PNC
Each private student loan product offered through PNC Bank comes with different terms and interest rates, based on the creditworthiness of the borrower. Here’s how each private student loan program breaks down.
Undergraduate loans: PNC offers students pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university the option to apply for a private student loan through the bank. Undergraduate loans have either a variable or fixed interest rate, selected by the borrower at the time of application. Variable interest rates range from 4.31% to 11.26%, and fixed interest rates range from 6.49% to 12.99%. The annual loan maximum for undergraduate students is $40,000, with an aggregate maximum including all other student loans of $225,000.
Graduate student loans: PNC also offers student loans to graduate and professional students enrolled at least half-time in an accredited program. The interest rates for loans are either fixed or variable, ranging from 4.31% to 11.26% for fixed and 6.49% to 12.99% for variable. Graduate students may borrow up to $65,000 per year, although the aggregate loan maximum remains at $225,000.
With each student loan option available to borrowers currently pursuing a degree, there are several repayment programs on the table. Students may opt to have all payments deferred until six months after leaving school, or payments can begin as soon as the loan funds are dispersed. In the latter case, borrowers can select between interest-only payments or full principal and interest payments while they attend school. Repayment can extend up to 15 years for undergraduate and graduate student loans with PNC.
Borrowers who utilize PNC Bank for private student loans have a few benefits not provided by other student loan lenders. There are no application fees or origination fees assessed at the time an application is submitted, and an additional 0.50% interest rate reduction is available for borrowers who establish automatic payments from a checking or savings account. Borrowers must meet certain credit requirements to qualify, however. U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status is needed, as it proof of two years of satisfactory credit history. Borrowers must also provide a track record of continuous income for the previous two years. Individuals who do not have a strong credit history or proof of income may utilize a co-signer to improve their chances of qualifying for a PNC private student loan.
Student Loan Refinancing with PNC
Individuals who have already left school and have student loan debt also have the option to refinance with PNC Bank. The process of refinancing essentially consolidates multiple federal or private loans into a single loan with the intent of lowering the total cost of borrowing or extending repayment for a longer term. Student loan refinancing with PNC has some of the same features as those listed above, including the ability to select a variable interest rate or a fixed interest rate loan at the time of application. Interest rates that are fixed range from 6.49% to 12.99% and variable interest rates range from 4.31% to 11.26%. Borrowers can select a repayment term as long as 15 years, and monthly payments begin as soon as loan proceeds are dispersed.
Like other student loans through PNC, borrowers who select a student loan refinance enjoy a 0.50% interest rate discount when automatic payments are established. There are no funding or origination fees, nor is there a charge for submitting an application. Borrowers do not have a pre-payment penalty should the loan balance be paid in full prior to the end of its term. While these benefits are helpful in reducing the total cost of the loan, all borrowers must meet credit requirements, including verifiable income, strong credit history showing on-time payments, and proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. A co-signer may be added to a private student loan application through PNC if the primary borrower’s credit details are not strong enough to qualify.
Individuals who refinance federal student loans with PNC lose valuable benefits offered to federal student loan borrowers, including the ability to select an income-based repayment program and loan balance forgiveness after several years of consecutive payments. However, PNC Bank does offer some respite for borrowers who may find it difficult to keep up with their private student loan payments each month. A job loss, medical issue, or disability may qualify a borrower for forbearance for up to 12 months over the life of the loan. PNC Bank also offers a loan modification program for those facing a financial hardship which provides a 40% reduction in the monthly payment amount for up to one year. There is no loan forgiveness available for borrowers who utilize a private student loan from PNC.
Before choosing a private student loan lender as a current or former student, it is important to understand the total cost of the loan, based on the interest rate, and your ability to repay the loan balance over the repayment term.