SunTrust Bank Student Loans: 2021 Comprehensive Review

Courtesy of SunTrust
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SunTrust Bank no longer offers private student loans

SunTrust Bank is no longer offering private student loans. If you already have a loan with SunTrust, visit its website or call one of the numbers provided: 800-233-0557 (private and student loans through AES), 888-486-4722 (federal student loans through Nelnet) or 800-552-3006 (general questions).

The details below represent SunTrust Bank’s previous student loan offerings and are meant for historical reference only.

Founded in 1891 and headquartered in Atlanta, SunTrust Bank is one of the largest consumer banks in the U.S. In addition to its banking products, it offers student loan options with competitive rates, low fees, graduation rewards and rate-reduction opportunities.

SunTrust has branches throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, but the application for its student loans is completed entirely online. Undergraduate and graduate students can use these loans for higher education expenses like tuition, books, fees, transportation, housing and food.

SunTrust Bank student loan snapshot

Loan types
Undergraduate, graduate, graduate business school private loans, in-school refinance
Loan amounts
$1,001 to $95,000
Interest rates
Variable: 3.751% to 13.25% APR
Fixed: 4.551% to 13.75% APR
Repayment terms
7-, 10- or 15-year repayment terms
Immediate: Make principal and interest payments while in school
Interest-only: Make interest-only payments while in school
Partial interest: Make $25 partial interest payments while in school
In-school deferment: Make no payments while in school
Grace period
6 months
Co-signer required?
No, but option is available. Co-signer may be released after 36 or 48 on-time payments.

Who can take out a SunTrust student loan/who is it good for?

SunTrust Bank is a good option for undergraduate and graduate students who need a private loan with competitive rates, flexible repayment options and opportunities to save money. Anyone who has exhausted federal aid, scholarships and other ways to pay for school may want to explore private student loan opportunities from this lender.

This is also a good lender for anyone looking to refinance. It offers an in-school refinance option for consolidating existing private student loans.

Rate-eduction breaks are a standout feature that SunTrust provides to its borrowers. There’s a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction for enrolling in autopay. Bank customers get an additional 0.25 percent reduction by opting for autopay from a SunTrust bank account.

Borrowers also get rewarded for graduating. There’s a 2 percent principal reduction per loan after graduation for its Custom Choice Student Loan and a 1 percent reduction for its Graduate Business School Loan.

In order to apply, students must be:

  • Enrolled at least half time in a bachelor’s, graduate or professional degree program at an approved school.
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident. International students are eligible for the Union Federal Private Loan.
  • The age of majority in their state at the time of the application, or at least 17 years of age if applying with a co-signer.

Loans from SunTrust are not available to permanent residents of Iowa or Wisconsin.

Interest rates and terms

Both fixed- and variable-rate loan options are available. Fixed rates range from 4.551 percent to 13.75 percent, while variable rates range from 3.751 percent to 13.25 percent.

Here are the rate ranges for each loan product at SunTrust:

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Custom Choice Loan 3.751% – 10.80% 4.551% – 11.30% APR
Union Federal Private Loan 4.251% – 13.25% APR 5.051% – 13.75% APR
Graduate Business School Loan 3.751% – 8.76% APR 4.551% – 9.129% APR

The rates above do not reflect discounts for autopay. The rate range for the Custom Choice Loan includes a “Summer Savings” discount of 0.50 percent.

Fees and penalties

There are no origination, application or prepayment fees with loans from SunTrust. The bank does, however, charge a late payment fee.

Repayment terms and grace period

The type of loan you apply for determines your repayment term options. All loans through SunTrust Bank have a grace period of six months.

Both the Custom Choice Student Loan and the Union Federal Private Student Loan come with repayment periods of seven, 10 or 15 years. The Graduate Business School Loan has repayment periods of seven or 10 years.

Repayment options include:

  • In-school deferment: This option allows you to postpone monthly payments while in school until six months after graduation or dropping to less than a half-time schedule.
  • Immediate repayment: With this option, you make full principal and interest payments while in school.
  • Partial interest: While in school, you make $25 partial monthly interest payments.
  • Interest only: You only pay interest on your loan amount while you’re in school. This option is only available for loans of $5,000 or more.

Customer service

SunTrust gets an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau. That’s the highest rating possible. It considers complaint history and the institution’s response to those complaints.

SunTrust’s customer service department is available by phone or email.

Those applying for a new Custom Choice Student Loan or Graduate Business School Loan can call 866-232-3889.

Anyone applying for a Union Federal Private Student Loan can call 866-513-8445.

For general questions, call 800-552-3006.

Emails can be submitted through SunTrust’s website.

Application process

The application process for any SunTrust student loan can be completed entirely online in as little as 15 minutes.

Before applying, gather information like your Social Security number and email address, employment information, income data and desired loan amount. You’ll also need school information, including the name of the school, the cost of attendance, your estimated financial assistance and your expected graduation date.

Here’s what the process looks like:

  1. Start the loan application on SunTrust’s website. The first page of the application asks about school selection, what the loan will be used for, enrollment information and the requested loan amount.
  2. Fill out student information, including your grade level and expected graduation date.
  3. Decide if you want to add a co-signer. If so, fill out all requested co-signer data.
  4. Review and submit the application.
  5. Finish the loan process and get a decision.

What to do if application is turned down

If SunTrust rejects your loan application, get in touch with the lender’s customer service department for some explanation. Processing errors do occur, and it’s possible that your loan was turned down by mistake, or the lender could need more information.

If there is no mistake, it’s important to know the reasoning behind the lender’s rejection so those errors can be corrected before applying for other loans.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of options in the private student loan space. Lenders are vying for your business. Sallie Mae, Discover and SoFi all offer competitive student loan products. Make sure to shop around for the best deals available. Finding the lowest interest rate possible can shave thousands of dollars off of the life of the loan.

How Bankrate rates SunTrust Bank

Overall Score 4.3
Repayment Options 4.0
Affordability 4.3
Customer Experience 4.5

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by 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
Ben Luthi
Contributing writer
Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer who loves helping people learn how to live life more fully. His work has appeared in several publications, including U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Yahoo! Finance and more.