SunTrust Student Loans Review

Thinking about SunTrust student loans? Go through the article to find details regarding their platform, student loan plans, interest rates and comparison with Wells Fargo and Discover.

Updated by Sagar.C on 10th June 2020

SunTrust is the largest private loan provider in the country partnering with other loan servicing firms. They provide billion dollars for education loans. Private lenders like SunTrust come in to picture when there is a deficiency in Federal student loan taken by the borrower. Nearly $1.5 trillion outstanding education debts are there in the United States of America.

You should never apply for the private loans before you max out your federal student loans. Usually, private loans don’t offer income-driven plans and loan forgiveness programs.

Table of contents

What is SunTrust?

Founded in 1891, this Atlanta based bank offers financial products for consumers and businesses. It has different branches across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. There are a variety of loan terms offered to undergraduate and graduate students. There is something called as 1% principal reduction reward for the students who graduate from a qualifying school.

There are four types of loans offered by SunTrust - 

  1. SunTrust Custom Choice Loan
  2. SunTrust Graduate Business Loan
  3. Union Federal Private Student Loan Funded by SunTrust
  4. Suntrust Start Student Loan

Let us go through different loans one by one.

1 - SunTrust Custom Choice Loan

This loan is offered to Undergraduate and Graduate Students at the Fixed APR range of 5.34% - 14.05% and Variable APR 4.37% - 13.38%. The loan term offered is for 7,10 or 15 years.

The amount you can apply for this loan is Minimum $1,001 – Maximum $65,000 annually, the aggregate limit up to $150,000.

There are repayment plans available with this loan. You can choose full deferment, interest-only, partial interest or immediate repayment while in college.

Loans can be applied with consigner and you can request the release after 36 or 48 on-time payments.

You can enjoy the benefit of automatic debit payments, if you opt for it then you can get a reduction of 0.25% and more of 0.25% reduction if you pay from SunTrust Accounts. 


You must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

You should be enrolled with a Title IV eligible institution in a degree-granting program at least half time.

Income requirement - You need to provide proof of positive income if you're applying without a cosigner. If a student is with a cosigner then the cosigner needs to provide the proof of positive income and student does not have to. 

Credit requirement - You should have a good credit score and if you don’t have a good credit history then you need a cosigner.

SunTrust Graduate Student LoansSource:

2 - SunTrust Graduate Business Loan

This loan is offered to Graduate Level Business Students at the Fixed APR range of 5.34% - 9.88% and the variable APR range of 4.37% - 9.35%.

The loan term offered is for 7 or 10 years.

The minimum $1,001 – maximum $95,000 amount you can apply for the loan. The aggregate limit is up to $175,000.

It offers similar repayment plans, co-signer terms and saving opportunities are the same as SunTrust Custom Choice Loan.


Citizen requirement

You must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Enrollment requirement

You should be enrolled with a Title IV eligible institution in a graduate-level business program at least half time.

Income requirement

You do not need to need to provide proof of positive income if you’re applying without a cosigner. A student with cosigner then the cosigner needs to provide the proof of positive income and student does not.

Credit requirement

You should have a good credit score and if you don’t have a good credit history then you need a cosigner.

3 - Union Federal Private Student Loan funded by SunTrust

This loan is similar to SunTrust Custom choice loans, the only difference is that it is awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Other factors like APR’s Loan Term and Loan amount limit are the same Custom Choice Loan.


Citizen requirement

You must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Enrollment requirement

You should be enrolled with a Title IV eligible institution in a degree-seeking program at least half time.

Income requirement

For student only application, you need to provide proof of positive income. With cosigner then cosigner needs to provide the proof of positive income.

Credit requirement

No history of student loan default or bankruptcies your credit history should be good.

4-Suntrust Start Student Loan 

Suntrust Start Student Loan offers one unique benefit that other lenders don' is no interest in the first six months of repayment. The interest rate is quite higher and has only one loan term option, compared with SunTrust's own Custom Choice option and other private loans.


Citizenship Requirement

Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

Enrollment Requirement

Income Requirement

Did not disclose

Credit Requirement

600+ without a co-signer; co-signer must have a score of 625+

Pros and Cons

There are several pros and cons to SunTrust student loans. They are given below. 



Rate discounts: Rate reduction on automized payments. If you have an account you will get an additional 0.25% discount on the interest rate. If you pay your Union Federal Loan for first 36 consecutive payments on time then you will be rewarded more 0.25% reduction on the interest rate. Co-signer release requirements: The co-signer release period is longer than other lenders it is up to 36 or 48 consecutive full payments.
Graduation reward: 1% reduction on the loan principal when you graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Fewer borrower protections compared with federal loans
Choose your own terms: You can choose between 7,10 or 15 years loan terms. Not available nationwide:  It is not offered to the student residing in Iowa or Wisconsin.
Low rates: Interest rates lowest compare to other lenders. Other private lenders provide lower interest rates than SunTrust, e.g. Discover.
Choice of repayment plans: You can choose between repayment plans. You pay full payments on deferring or $25 partial payments or full or interest-only payments. Income-driven repayment or loan forgiveness programs are not offered under SunTrust.

In-school repayment options

On Suntrust student loans allows borrowers to choose from four in-school repayment options as even a small amount could help in keeping the balance

1- Immediate repayment- As in this option the first payment of principal and interest is due within 30 to 60 days of the final disbursement.

2- Partial interest repayment- Borrower have to pay $25 per month while in school which goes towards interest and will lower the amount. This option is available only on loans on $5,000 and more and the student must be enrolled in school at least half-time.

3- Interest-only repayment- in this the student has to pay the amount of interest due each month while in school, which prevents the loan balance from increasing through interest capitalization and the eligibility is the student must be enrolled in school for at least half-time. 

4- Full Deferment-  this option delays student’s monthly payments until after they graduate or are no longer enrolled at least half-time for six months. In this remember that deferment cannot exceed 66 months from the first disbursement date, and accrued interest will be capitalized so choose the option which best suits you.

Qualification criteria

Eligibility of your school

Applicant should have joined a Title-IV school for an undergraduate, graduate and professional programs for the duration of at least half-time.

Credit check

A credit check is not mandatory if you apply for SunTrust loans. However, you should have a consistent income source.


A student should be the citizen or permanent resident of the US and should have a social security number.

Legal age

Applicant should be at the age of 17 at least at the time of application.

SunTrust is not everywhere

There is one type of loan with SunTrust which is not offered to the students who are the residents of Iowa or Wisconsin.

Income requirement

Your income should be stable in case of applying for the loan. If your credit history is not in place then you should get a qualified co-signer on board.

Looking for alternatives? Learn about Top 10 Private student loan lenders

Application Process

If you consider SunTrust as your loan option then you should visit their website first. The platform is quite easy and informative. Once you reach the application form you need to provide details like school name loan requirement on graduate or undergraduate loan which state are you from, your location and college/school location, the cost of attendance and how much money you want to borrow.

Next page you will require to give information on about co-signer (if applicable), social security number, address, and residency proof your citizenship status and your date of birth. If you are going for a co-signer option then you need to provide the same details for him/her.

This way your account will be generated. Submit your application which will take 10 minutes. SunTrust will take 30 seconds to decide whether you qualify for the loan or not. They have high standards for a credit check as there is no option to pre-qualify with a soft pull.

If you clear the credit check next stop is loan options. The loan with different interest rate type, repayment plans and terms and deferring payments. There will be a refinancing private student loans option will also be provided (if applicable). Furthermore, you have to provide documents like identity proof, documentation regarding payoff (if applying for refinancing) and your proof of income.

Application Process Source:

You will receive a loan packet it will contain terms for your loan which is based on your preliminary amount. There will more details on credit agreement, approval disclosure and application self-certification form. For the proof of your enrolment, you need to provide your certificate which states that you have been enrolled for the half time period.

As you have submitted all the required documents now SunTrust will give you their final disclosure. You will be provided three days to cancel or rescind the loan. Once the loan is accepted, your school will be disbursed with the funds or to your previous lender if you're refinancing.

Student loans for international students

Many international students travel to the U.S  from all over the world for attending their dream college and getting the best degree thus to help in the financially the SunTrust offers Union Federal Private Student Loan product to help in lending money to international students as there is less option for them for financial help because of not being U.S citizen, for the loans they have to look to the private student loan lenders.

 And at this situation, Union Federal Private Student Loan offers great help to international students but it requires co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. The starting interest rate is still reasonable and could be a good option for international students who need help paying for school.

Refinancing with SunTrust

With SunTrust you can receive in-school refinancing, this combines your additional money on the existing loan for next semester and gives you a new loan. If you have taken private student loans or consolidation loans for post-secondary education then only you can apply for refinancing.

Refinancing with SunTrust will cover your expenses like books, housing, and transportation.

You do not qualify if you have taken an education institution or any federal loans.

Once you're qualified and approved for refinancing you need to provide some information regarding your current loan provider, your account details, last 30 days payoff statement, existing interest rate and the amount you to get awarded.

Once all the documentation is submitted and qualified, your outstanding amount will be paid and there will be new SunTrust Student Loan will be created and the amount will be added with the same.

Advantages and Disadvantages

If you have opted for a private student loan then you can enjoy all the given benefits above. If your current interest rates are higher then the offered interest rates by SunTrust then you should go for refinancing.

A drawback with is SunTrust refinancing is that you don’t get to cover the whole entire loan amount. In this case, you will end up with multiple loans.

For refinancing your should at least you need to be enrolled at least for halftime at a qualified school or you need to be a graduate business student at a qualified school for the graduate business loan.

You need to be adult or at least 17 years old to qualify for the refinancing loan. refinancing doesn’t apply for the student who is from Iowa or Wisconsin State. You need to be U.S. citizen or permanent resident to qualify for refinancing with SunTrust.

Worried about college tuition? Learn about student loans

SunTrust’s Fine Print is easy to understand and it gives all the details regarding student loans. It is a very straightforward way to compare their student loans and how much money you can pull out of it.

When you apply for this loan just before one month or after your graduation date then you can choose only one option which is an immediate repayment option.

If you have forbearance status on your loan then you cant release your co-signer.

If you defer your loans then you will get 66 months of time including the grace period of deferment period and not more than that.

Once your last disbursement date pass, You need to do your first payment within 30-60 days if had choose the immediate repayment option.

If you borrow $5,000 then only you can choose the partial payment option which will be $25 per month.

SunTrust Vs. other lenders

We bit doubtful about SunTrust when we compare it with other lenders. It does offer flexible rates with a reasonable option for repayments for people who have good credit. We are gonna compare SunTrust with other 2 giant lenders, Fargo and Discover.

Both lenders offer loans to applicants who have a lower credit score at reasonable rates. SunTrust’s rates top cap is 14.05%. Check the table below to compare them.

Factors Discover SunTrust Wells Fargo
APR range* 5.99% - 13.49% Fixed
4.24% - 13.24% Variable
5.349% - 14.050%Fixed
4.249% - 13.250% Variable
5.94% - 11.26% Fixed
5.04% - 10.93% Variable
In-school repayment options In-School or Deferred In-school, Interest-only, Partial Interest or Deferred Immediate or Deferred
Co-signer Yes, release not permitted Yes, release permitted after 36 on-time payments Yes, release permitted after 36 on-time payments
Loan amount $1,000 up to 100% school-certified expenses ($120,000 max with other financial aid) $1,001 - $65,000 $1,000 to $120,000 (All loans included)
Loan types offered Private student loan
Student loan refinance
Private student loan Student loan refinance
Private student loan

*Rates include 0.25% rate discount with auto-pay.

Check out their online platform of SunTrust

Their online website is state of the art, it gives you the 360-degree information about everything anything on loans. There a special page for each an every loan option provided by SunTrust.

They have provided with charts stating the difference between their product. It will help you to make quick decisions. They have a checklist for applicants to smooth their application process by ensuring all the necessary documents which are needed.

SunTrust's WebsiteSource:

You can apply for the loan on the website as it provides a straightforward application form with all the instructions.

SunTrust has come up with an online division called Lightstream which makes the application process very easy. With a light stream, the loan amount can be received on the same day. However, for undergraduate and graduate loans it will take time.


Honestly, it's hard to get approval from SunTrust because they have such high standards. Your income should be positive or your credit score should be in the upper 600’s or you should have a better credit history. If you don’t qualify you can get a cosigner.

Their interest might be low in comparison to other private lenders but in some cases they are high. Federal loans interest loans are always low than any other private lender.

As always say, once you used up your federal grant then you should choose an option of private loans.