College Ave Private Student Loan Review

College Ave Private Student Loan Review

College Ave Private Student Loan Review
Interest fees, rates and terms
Repayment options
Customer service
Best for
Lots of loan options for all levels of education
Several repayment options
Worst features
Credit and income requirements are higher than some other lenders

College Ave private student loans is a popular and well-known choice for many students. They’ve also rated highly on many College Ave private student loan review sites. Going to college can be very expensive. Even if students get scholarships or grants, they can still end up owing thousands of dollars. Many students are almost forced to get a private student loan. Choosing a good lender can be important because it can make the difference in how much you pay in interest and how many years before the loan is paid.

About College Ave

Founded in 2014 by Joe DePaulo and Tim Staley, College Ave is an online lender that offers both private student loans, parent loans, and student loan refinancing. They offer a variety of loan types in all the states as well as the District of Columbia. Based in Wilmington, Delaware, College Ave offers their student financing through these banks, all of which are members of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

  • Firsttrust Bank
  • Safra Bank
  • First Citizens Community Bank

Regardless of which bank is used, the loans offered through College Ave must still meet the same criteria. They must all adhere to the bank’s underwriting requirements and receive individual approval.

What Types of Loans Does College Ave Offer?

When doing a College Ave student loan review, the feature that made College Ave so popular was the wide variety of student loans they offer. They not only have options for all levels of postsecondary education but also offer career programs. The list of what loan types they offer include:

  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate (dental, MBA, law, mental, and various health professions)
  • Parent loans
  • Student loan refinancing
  • Career programs

Parent loans are loans taken out by the parents of the student attending college. The loan is solely in the name of the parent or legal guardian. Additionally, the parents alone are required to pay back the loan, although informal agreements can be personally made about repayment with parent and child.

Private student loans from College Ave are best used by students interested in making payments while they’re still attending college. Students can often make the choice of interest-only payments, fixed payments like $25 per month, or immediate payback.

Students can also choose to defer payments until after they graduate. This is often the case when students have high student loan debt. In many of these cases, students can’t afford to pay payments until they’ve joined the workforce. Their student refinancing loans, on the other hand, are best used by students who want a nonstandard loan term, such as five years, six years, nine years, or something similar.

How Does a College Ave Private Student Loan Work?

College Ave offers a variety of private student loans to cover many situations. In order for a student to be eligible for a College Ave loan, the student must attend classes at least half-time and be enrolled in a degree program at an approved school or college. In addition to offering private student loans to those enrolled in a program at a college or university, College Ave also offers financing programs for students enrolled in a career program like a community or technical college might offer. Student loan proceeds may be used to pay past-due tuition.

College Ave does recommend or require students to satisfy certain requirements before they can be approved for a private student loan.

  • Students must complete and submit the application. Applications are not accepted by phone but can be submitted online.
  • College Ave does recommend that students apply for the loan at least 30 days before the school starts.
  • Undergraduate students must be enrolled at least half-time or more at an accredited or approved college.
  • The student must be a U.S. citizen or be a permanent residence.
  • The student must have a valid Social Security number.
  • The student must have a qualified cosigner if the student doesn’t have a good credit history.
  • Students must meet the academic requirements set by the school.
  • Annual loan limits are up to 100 percent of the school’s cost of attendance. However, lifetime maximum amounts may vary by the student’s creditworthiness and their chosen degree.

Cost of attendance includes the cost of tuition, books, college fees, housing, and similar college-related expenses.

Credit Score

College Ave does have specific requirements regarding credit scores and income levels. When they provide a student or his or her parents a loan for college, they want the assurance that the individual can repay the loan. Borrowers must have a credit score at least in the mid-600s.

Although the required credit score is mid-600s, approved borrowers typically have credit scores in the mid-700s. Students or co-signers should also be able to prove several years of good credit history with several accounts. College Ave is more lenient in terms of the debt-to-income ratio they require.

Some borrowers have a debt-to-income ratio of up to 90 percent. To determine the debt-to-income ratio, you add up all your debts and divide the total by your income. If you have $500 in mortgage payments, $200 for utilities, and $400 for an auto loan, your total debts are $1,100. If your gross income is $3,000, your debt-to-income ratio is 36 percent ($1,100/$3,000).

Borrowers must have a minimum income of $35,000 annually. Approved borrowers at College Ave generally have an income of at least $65,000, and approved co-signers have a yearly income of at least $120,000 annually, so their income requirements are pretty high compared to other lenders.


Individuals looking at a College Ave private student loan review generally find that College Ave has a very good reputation among borrowers and lending institutions. Since their accreditation by the Better Business Bureau in 2015, they’ve earned an A+ rating.

Although the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau did receive six complaints about College Ave. these complaints were all regarding the borrower’s dealings with the servicer and lender. However, College Ave acknowledged every one of the complaints and responded as quickly as possible.

College Ave also ranked quite highly with the U.S. News and World Report. Out of a possible five stars, College Ave ranked 4.8 for affordability; 4.5 for customer service; and 4.6 for eligibility. Considering the median overall rating for lenders is 4.4, according to the USNWR, College Ave did quite well with an overall ranking of 4.4.


Another thing that students, parents, and borrowers in general like is the flexible repayment options offered by College Ave. Like most lenders, they may even offer special relief for situations that are Covid-19-related. Students who wish to start paying the student loan back immediately have a few different options.

Students in college have the following repayment options.

  • Students who are still in school can begin making full payments as soon as they receive the loan proceeds. This option often works well for students that can work while attending school. This lowers the amount they’ll need to pay once they graduate.
  • Students can make fixed loan payments of $25 per month while attending college.
  • Students can make interest-only payments monthly while attending college.
  • Students can take advantage of the in-school deferment option. This means that the money borrowed will not have to be repaid until the student finishes college.

Post-school students have the following repayment options.

  • Undergraduate students have a six-month grace period after graduation before they must start paying back the loan. Graduate students have a nine-month grace period.
  • Students returning to school can request payments be deferred while in college.
  • College Ave offers military students a payment deferment.
  • College Ave also offers a forbearance of up to 18 months.
  • Students involved in a natural disaster can also request a forbearance (payments postponed)
  • If students or co-signers die or become disabled, the loan is discharged.

When paying by autopay, students can make biweekly payments or make payments larger than the minimum or required amount. College Ave offers a discount when you use autopay.


As mentioned earlier, students have a few different deferment options to help them repay their College Ave loan. Students enrolled at least half-time at an accredited school can defer their principal balance and only make interest-only payments. Undergraduate students typically start making payments six months after they graduate or any time their enrollment decreases to less than half-time.

When students are given the deferment option, they don’t have to make any payments while they’re still in school. They can also choose to make $25 monthly payments while in college to lower their balance. On parent loans, the parents can decide how much they or the student can pay beyond the required interest-only payments.

When students and parents choose to make both interest and principal payments, they may have large payments to make, but the loan term will be shorter. Parent loans are not eligible for a deferment with no in-school payments.


College Ave not only offers many repayment options but also offers a variety of loan terms and interest rates. Their loan minimum is $1,000, but they will offer loans for up to $150,000 or $300,000 for students pursuing medical, pharmacy, dental or veterinary degrees.

Loan terms are from five to 15 years. Although they do not charge origination, application, or pre-payment fee, there is a late fee of $25 or five percent of the unpaid amount of the monthly payment. Parent loans can provide upfront money of up to $2,500 to pay for things like supplies, books, and fees.

College Ave offers loans with fixed and variable rates. Undergraduate loans offer a fixed rate of 2.99 percent to 9.99 percent and a variable rate of 0.94 percent to 11.98 percent with autopay. Graduate student loan rates range from 1.99 percent to 11.98 percent. Parent loans offer rates of 1.04 percent to 12.99 percent. College Ave refinancing loans have a rate of 2.94 percent to 9.99 percent.

These rates are based on the student or parent’s creditworthiness and using the autopay option. Students getting the lowest interest rate are required to make both principal and interest payments and use the shortest loan term.

All rates are based on creditworthiness and include an autopay discount. The lender uses a soft credit check to determine credit. Soft credit checks do not affect the student’s credit scores. If you qualify for the lowest rate, you must choose the shortest available loan term and make full principal and interest payments.

College Ave Private Student Loan Review

As a student loan provider, College Ave is an excellent choice for students and parents of students. One of their best features is that they understand that when it comes to student loans, there is no one-size-fits-all because every student is different and has different needs.

This is one of the main reasons why they offer several different repayment options and loan terms. While it advertises that repayment or loan terms can be five to 15 years, students can actually choose an eight-year or ten-year option.

College Ave also boasts of being very efficient and quick when it comes to giving students their approval. In many cases, the student has their answer in just a couple of minutes. Students or parents can contact their customer service through phone, email, or text.

Final Thoughts

College Ave is an excellent choice for a private student loan in terms of their loan and repayment options. However, you should always do due diligence when it comes to acquiring private student loans, and make sure you have maxed out your federal financial aid options, scholarships and grants first.

College Ave Private Student Loan Review
Interest fees, rates and terms
Repayment options
Customer service
Best for
Lots of loan options for all levels of education
Several repayment options
Worst features
Credit and income requirements are higher than some other lenders