PNC Student Loans: 2021 Review

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PNC Bank is well known for its checking and savings accounts, home mortgage products and personal loans. However, PNC also offers a robust selection of student loan options geared toward college students of all stripes, as well as borrowers who want to refinance their existing student loans.

While PNC student loans could work for anyone, these loans are best for borrowers with good credit who want to pay down their student debt as quickly as they can.

PNC features

PNC offers student loans for undergraduates and graduates, as well as loans for residency and bar study. You can also refinance existing student loans with the lender.

PNC’s interest rates are incredibly competitive, although PNC says that you’ll need two years of “satisfactory credit” to qualify on your own. As an alternative, you can apply for PNC student loans with a co-signer, which could help you qualify for the best rates and terms.

PNC also stands out due to the many resources its student customers can access. For example, it has its own student banking hub, as well as a student loan learning center.

PNC student loan snapshot

Loan types Undergraduate, graduate, health professions, residency, refinancing
Loan amounts Private loans: $1,000 to $65,000
Refinancing loans: $10,000 to $75,000
Interest rates Private loans: Starting at 1.96% variable APR, Starting at 3.69% fixed APR (with autopay)
Refinancing loans: Starting at 2.22% variable APR, Starting at 3.44% fixed APR (with autopay)
Repayment terms Private loans: 5 to 15 years
Refinancing loans: 5 to 15 years
Grace period 6 months
Co-signer required? No

Pros and cons of PNC student loans

PNC student loans can be a good option if you’ve maxed out federal student loan options and need to borrow a little more to pay for school. With that being said, here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages you should know about.

Pros

  • Co-signer release option: Once you have made 48 months of on-time payments on your student loans, you may request a co-signer release.
  • Big discount for autopay: PNC offers a 0.5 percent discount for automatic payments, double what most other companies offer.
  • No degree required to refinance: PNC lets you refinance student loans regardless of whether you finished your degree program, although you’ll have to meet all other eligibility requirements to qualify.

Cons

  • Lower loan limits won’t work for everyone: PNC has lower loan limits that can disqualify some who are borrowing considerable sums for higher education.
  • No way to prequalify: Some student loan companies let you prequalify and see the interest rate you can qualify for before you apply; PNC does not.
  • Limited loan terms: PNC lets you repay your student loans over five, 10 or 15 years, which is less flexible than the repayment timelines of other lenders.

PNC student loan requirements

Qualification requirements for a student loan from PNC vary slightly by loan type.

For undergraduate, graduate and professional student loans, you must:

  • Be enrolled at least half time in a degree program.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have lived in the U.S. for the last two years.
  • Have satisfactory credit and proof of employment and income history, or have a co-signer who meets qualifications.
  • Meet unspecified debt-to-income ratio requirements.

For residency student loans, you must:

  • Be participating in a PNC-approved M.D., D.D.S., D.O. or D.V.M. residency program (or planning to participate in a residency program within a year).
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have lived in the U.S. for the last two years.
  • Have satisfactory credit with proof of employment and income history.
  • Meet unspecified debt-to-income ratio requirements.

For bar study loans, you must:

  • Be planning to take the bar exam no later than six months after graduation.
  • Have graduated from a PNC-approved law school within the last six months (or be a professional student enrolled at least half time at a PNC-approved law school scheduled to graduate within the next six months).
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have lived in the U.S. for the last two years.
  • Have satisfactory credit and proof of employment and income history.
  • Meet unspecified debt-to-income ratio requirements.

For student loan refinancing, you must:

  • Have at least 24 months of positive repayment history on private or federal student loans.
  • Be able to pass a credit check.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Be able to prove two years of continuous income or employment history.

Who is this loan good for?

PNC student loans are a good option for anyone who has maxed out scholarships, grants and federal student aid, especially since PNC offers such low rates.

Also consider the fact that refinancing loans offered through PNC do not require the borrower to graduate from college first. This makes the company a good option for anyone who needs to refinance their student loans even though they haven’t earned a college degree.

Interest rates and terms

PNC offers student loans with variable or fixed interest rates, and you can secure a 0.5 percent rate discount if you set up your loans for automatic payment. The following chart includes this interest rate discount:

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Undergraduate loans Starting at 1.96% APR Starting at 3.69% APR
Graduate and professional loans Starting at 1.96% APR Starting at 3.49% APR
Health professions loans Starting at 1.96% APR Starting at 3.49% APR
Health professions residency loans Starting at 1.96% APR Starting at 3.49% APR
Bar study Starting at 1.96% APR Starting at 3.49% APR
Refinance loan Starting at 2.22% APR Starting at 3.44% APR

Fees and penalties

PNC does not have application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties. However, you may be subject to a late fee of 5 percent or $5, whichever is less.

What are repayment terms and grace period for PNC?

PNC student loans come with repayment terms that can last five, 10 or 15 years, depending on your needs and your budget. You can also choose from three repayment options: deferred payments while enrolled in school, interest-only payments while in school and full payments immediately.

In the case of deferred payments, the grace period ends six months after you graduate or are no longer in school on at least a half-time basis.

Customer service

PNC makes it easy to speak with a representative if you have questions about its student loan products. You can call the bank at 1-800-762-1001 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, or you send an email through the company’s contact form. You can also stop in a brick-and-mortar PNC bank branch if you live near one.

How to apply for a loan with PNC

You can apply for a student loan through PNC directly on the company website. Plan on gathering the following information ahead of time:

  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your school information (including field of learning and enrollment period).
  • How much you want to borrow.
  • Information on other bills you have, such as your mortgage or rent amount.
  • Information on other financial aid you have received.
  • Your financial information and employment history.

Any co-signer you’re considering for your loan will need to provide their Social Security number, along with their financial information, employment information and address.

What to do if your application gets turned down

If you are rejected for a student loan from PNC, there are a few different options to consider. You can start by reaching out to PNC to request clarification. You may be able to find out information on your denial that could help you get approved with another student loan company, but it’s also possible that there was a processing error on your application.

If you applied without a co-signer, you can also consider asking a trusted family member to lend their good credit and apply with you on your loan. Doing so could help you get qualified for the student financing you need with much better rates and terms than you could qualify for on your own.

How Bankrate rates PNC

Overall Score 4.3
Repayment Options 4.0
Affordability 4.3
Customer Experience 4.5

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."