PNC is a financial services corporation based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the end of 2016, it had $366 billion in assets. The company serves several types of clients from personal to business to corporate. Additionally, it has a wide range of offerings from banking and borrowing to investments and wealth management.
In this review, we are going to hone in on PNC’s private student loans. We’ll cover what they are, the features, how to qualify, how to apply, and the pros/cons.
PNC student loans overview
“PNC Solution is a credit-based private student loan used to cover education expenses not fully covered by federal loans, grants, or scholarships. There are five loan types available, customized for the various types of students (undergraduate, graduate/professional, health professions and Bar exam),” says Naimesh Patel, SVP and General Manager of Personal & Student Lending at PNC.
There are several points of differentiation for PNC’s student loan offerings from its competition, including multiple loan types available to help borrowers through their college journey (i.e., undergrad, grad, etc.).”
PNC recommends that, before applying, students should apply for aid through the FAFSA, receive an award letter from their school, research alternative options (scholarships, grants, work-study programs), and review PNC’s eligibility requirements (see below).
Here are the features of PNC’s student loans.
Patel says, “There are several points of differentiation for PNC’s student loan offerings from its competition, including multiple loan types available to help borrowers through their college journey (i.e., undergrad, grad, etc.).”
As stated above, loan solutions include those for undergraduates, graduates, health and medical professionals, health professions residency, and bar study. Further, you can use funds for any expenses related to education.
The loans for undergraduate, graduate, and health and medical school students go directly to the borrower’s school. On the other hand, loans for health professions residency or bar study will be sent directly to the borrower.
PNC does not service its loans but instead uses a third-party servicer, American Education Services (AES).
In the case of undergraduate, graduate, and health and medical profession loans, you can apply up to 60 days after your school term ends. For residency loans, you can apply up to a year before your residency begins.
For the bar study, you need to be between graduating in six months and six months post-graduation. Additionally, you need to plan to take the bar within six months of graduation.
Rates and terms
Patel says, “Each loan type offers a 15-year term, choice of repayment options, and fixed or variable rate pricing. A rate discount is also available with automated payment setup from any checking or savings account, and there are no application or origination fees associated with this loan.”
Specific interest rates will vary based on an applicant’s creditworthiness. As for repayment, you have the choice to defer payments while in school or can begin repayment immediately.
If you opt to for deferment, repayments will begin six months after graduation. It’s also important to note that interest still accrues if you defer payments and is capitalized when repayments begin.
The discount for automated payments is 0.50%, whereas most lenders only offer a 0.25% discount.
Students can apply online, and a preliminary decision is made within minutes.
Help with repayments
Forbearance is available for hardships, such as losing your job and is offered for periods of two months at a time. A maximum of twelve months of forbearance is allowed over the life of the loan.
A loan modification program is also available, but you must qualify first. It allows you to reduce your monthly payment amount for one year.
A dedicated education loan center is available to help guide borrowers through the process.”
Deferment is available for up to three years if you re-enter school and are enrolled at least half-time.
All loans are forgiven upon the death of the borrower.
“We offer the PNC Education Loan Center Achiever Scholarships Sweepstakes. This provides an opportunity for undergraduate college students who register for free financial literacy resources through the Education Loan Center to enter to win a $2,000 scholarship to put toward college expenses,” says Patel.
Patel adds, “A dedicated education loan center is available to help guide borrowers through the process.”
This is an online resource for borrowers where you can get in touch with the company, check on your application, and learn everything you need to know about borrowing. Sections include “Planning for College, ” “Before you Apply,” “FAQ,” “Financial Aid Resource,” and more.
PNC eligibility requirements
“Eligibility requirements for each loan type may vary, but generally include enrollment in a degree program, citizenship or permanent residency, along with credit or employment history,” says Patel.
Eligibility requirements for each loan type may vary, but generally include enrollment in a degree program, citizenship or permanent residency, along with credit or employment history,”
To go into a little more detail, you must be enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying program. You also must have lived in the U.S. for the previous two years and need to meet the credit and debt-to-income ratio guidelines.
As for employment, you need to have proof of current income and at least two years of continuous income or employment. Self-employed individuals need to have been in business for a minimum of two years.
If you don’t meet these guidelines, you can apply with a co-signer who does. After 48 months of consecutive on-time payments, you can apply to release your co-signer.
PNC application process
Here is how to apply.
1) Visit the PNC website and click on Personal > Borrowing > Education Lending.
2) You will land in the Education Loan Center, scroll down to see the various loan options.
3) Click “Apply Now” on your loan of choice.
4) For this example, we will use the undergraduate loan. The first page asks preliminary qualifying questions.
5) You will be informed if you are eligible, and then will be prompted to log in or create an account.
6) Create an account.
7) Provide information on the school you will attend.
8) Provide your personal information.
9) Elect or deny electronic communication.
10) Provide your housing and employment information.
11) Agree to the terms and conditions.
After this step, agree to the disclosures and submit the application.
PNC review and summary
PNC’s private student loans provide a wide range of options for borrowers pursuing many different educational paths. While the rates and terms will not be as good as those offered through federal student loans, they are competitive amongst private lenders.
One standout point for PNC is its interest rate discount for automated payment enrollment, as it is double what most other lenders charge. Two other mentionable factors include the online education center and scholarship sweepstakes.
As for other aspects, it offers a six-month grace period, flexible repayment options, forgiveness in the case of death, no origination or application fees, and an easy application process.
While PNC doesn’t service its loans, which may be concerning for some, customers rave about PNC’s customer service. AES seems to be doing a good job.
If you would like to learn more about PNC, read customer reviews, or apply, click here.
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.