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Frequently Asked Questions


Top Questions

CommonBond was founded by three MBA students who were tired of the high rates, poor service and confusing borrowing processes they experienced. They knew there had to be a better way.

We maintain relationships with every school in our network to make the student loan process faster and easier, and we are committed to social impact. For every loan we book, we fund the education of a student abroad for a year.

Learn more about our company and see what our members have to say about us here.

We offer both fixed and variable rate terms. Everyone who is approved will receive one of two rates, depending on the loan product (fixed or variable) and repayment term you choose. Here are the options:

Fixed Rates:

1) A 10-year option with a fixed interest rate of 5.99% APR.

2) A 15-year option with a fixed interest rate of 6.46% APR.

Variable Rates:

1) A 10-year option with a variable interest rate rate of 4.86% APR.

2) A 15-year option with a fixed interest rate of 5.00% APR. Variable Rates:

Once the loan enters repayment, members are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in the interest rate by enrolling in automatic payments. If you choose a fixed rate, the rate and payment will remain the same even if market-based interest rates change. If you choose a variable rate, the rate is subject to change based on 1 Month LIBOR.

*The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is based on a $10,000 loan and reflects the accruing interest, the effect of capitalized interest, a 2% origination fee, the full deferment payment plan option (in which there is a 21-month in-school deferment and a six-month grace period), and a monthly principal and interest payment of $128.97 for 10 years (120 periods) and $102.71 for 15 years (180 months), with the first payment due 45 days after the completion of the grace period.

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. The APR takes into account any fees and other charges over the life of the loan. APR allows you to compare rates for different loan products on an apples-to-apples basis, which can be helpful if you are comparing loans that have different fee structures.

Our investors believe, as do we at CommonBond, that creditworthy borrowers deserve lower rates than traditional institutions have provided in recent years. We are therefore able to provide funds to these creditworthy borrowers at more affordable terms. It's a win-win!

We have a 2% origination fee on our MBA student loans. However, we have no other application or prepayment penalties at any time.

Your school will set your maximum borrow amount based on their published cost of attendance minus scholarships and other forms of assistance such as grants, fellowships, and financial aid. This total cost of attendance is sometimes referred to as your "financial need.” Our maximum loan amount per academic year is $110k. You can click here to see our MBA Student Loan Calculator for more help with this.

Once you are approved, all funds will be sent directly to your school. You will receive any funds above the cost of tuition and fees directly from your school. The timing is determined by your school’s billing cycle.

It takes just a couple minutes to approve your application and we work hard to make the process straightforward and simple. Please see the 8 steps of our application from start to finish here.

The federal government offers income-based repayment and special forgiveness programs for borrowers in public service professions. Students with federal loans working in such industries may therefore prefer to keep their federal loans to maintain these extra borrower protections. For more information on Federal Student Loans, please click here.

We offer a couple different payment options while in school:

  1. Full deferment: You can defer your interest payments (i.e. not having to pay) while enrolled in school, plus a six-month grace period following graduation or termination of enrollment (up to a maximum of 32 months). You can always make one-time payments while in deferment.

  2. Interest-only payment: You can choose to pay only interest each month while you’re in the deferment period. This can be a great alternative to the full repayment option if you do want to start making regular payments, and want to start making a dent in your interest while you’re in school.

  3. Full principal and interest payment plan: You can pay the full principal and interest payment every month while in school. Some students choose this option so that they don't have to pay full tuition all at once, but they can start spreading those payments out from the moment they are offered the loan.

As for which one you should choose, that will depend on your financial situation. We’ve created a user-friendly, free Microsoft Excel calculator to help you figure out which repayment term is right for you and you can select whether or not you’re in deferment for 32 months or for 0 months: click here to check it out!

About CommonBond

Founded in 2011 by three Wharton MBAs, CommonBond is an online lending company that makes education finance better. Through CommonBond, our members gain access to a robust suite of low fixed- and variable-rate student loan products to refinance existing student loans after graduation or to finance an MBA while in school.

When comparing CommonBond to the federal government and other private lenders, many students choose CommonBond due to 1) our best-in-class customer service, 2) a greater diversity of low interest rate products, 3) access to our talented, successful community of members (what we call the "CommonBond Family"), and 4) the social mission of our business (what we call our "Social Promise").

Our founders felt firsthand the personal pain of the student loan process when they were in business school: high interest rate loans, poor service, and a confusing process. They founded CommonBond to change all of that - to bring to market a product and a service they wished had existed when they were in school.

You're good. The loan lives on and is tied to the servicer of that loan. You will continue to make payments as scheduled through the servicer.

We like to think of our community as our family: a group of optimistic people who believe in the power of new ideas to change the world. The community comes together in several meaningful ways: networking opportunities, panels and speaker events, dinners in cities across the country, career assistance, and support of our non-profit partners. As the CommonBond Family grows, we will continue to host events to connect our members to incredible people (including each other) who can help them grow personally and professionally, and to offer direct opportunities for our members to take action in their own communities.

In addition to borrowing through the lending platform, there are several ways to learn about, and become part of, our family, including:

  • Join our referral program here. You earn $200 for every friend who becomes a CommonBond member!

  • Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter.

  • Join our team in New York City. If you or someone you know wants experience with a start-up that is disrupting finance, then come join us. We have an incredibly strong social mission, a deeply committed team, and great affinity for our customers. You can apply here.

  • Check out our company pages online on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Can I take out a student loan for my MBA?

You must be a US citizen or permanent resident, and you must be enrolled at least half-time at one of the schools in our network. CommonBond will review your credit profile to quickly make a decision on your application.

As of now, the following schools are in our network, though we're planning to expand both beyond MBA programs and our current schools in the future:

MBA

  • Brigham Young University-Provo - Marriott
  • Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper
  • Columbia University - CBS
  • Cornell University - Johnson
  • Dartmouth College - Tuck
  • Duke University - Fuqua
  • Emory University - Goizueta
  • Georgetown University - McDonough
  • Harvard University - HBS
  • Indiana University Bloomington - Kelley
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Sloan
  • New York University - Stern
  • Northwestern University - Kellogg
  • Rice University - Jones
  • Stanford University - GSB
  • The University of Texas at Austin - McCombs
  • University of California, Berkeley - Haas
  • University of California, Los Angeles - Anderson
  • University of Chicago - Booth
  • University of Michigan - Ross
  • University of Minnesota - Carlson
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler
  • University of Notre Dame - Mendoza
  • University of Pennsylvania - Wharton
  • University of Southern California - Marshall
  • University of Virginia - Darden
  • University of Washington - Foster
  • Vanderbilt University - Owen
  • Yale University - SOM

We currently offer loans to students of the schools in our network. We are growing fast! Please email us at care@commonbond.co if you'd like us to expand our loan program to your school.

Yes, the loans are certified by each of the schools in our network. CommonBond is not endorsed by or affiliated with any educational institutions.

Your school will set your maximum borrow amount based on their published cost of attendance minus scholarships and other forms of assistance such as grants, fellowships, and financial aid. This total cost of attendance is sometimes referred to as your "financial need.”

We will not require your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) since it’s for requesting federal loans only. You just need to fill out our online application to get started. However, we encourage you to check in with your financial aid office as they can have forms you need to complete with them. You won’t need to send these forms to us, but your school may require them in order to approve your private student loan with us.

Most lenders have cancellation policies that may allow CommonBond members to replace their existing loan. For example, the federal government allows you to cancel your loan up to 120 days after disbursement without penalty, and without paying accrued interest. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Care Team if you need help! We’ll work with you to see if we can replace your current federal loans. Please click here for a note on federal loans.

Yes! Having outstanding graduate and/or undergraduate student loans will not prevent you from taking out a graduate-level MBA Student Loan from us, provided you meet our underwriting criteria.

Yes, we’ll need you to authorize us to complete a review of your credit profile in order to give you a quick, accurate credit decision.

We do not require a cosigner for our application, even if you have a cosigner on your current loans. However, we may ask you to add a cosigner to move forward with your application if you don’t meet our underwriting criteria.

Our student loan product is currently for United States citizens or permanent residents. However, CommonBond is now working with Prodigy Finance to assist international postgraduate students in financing their education.

Interested international students that complete the CommonBond eligibility form, and are attending a school with which Prodigy Finance is associated will be provided information on how to start a loan application on Prodigy Finance’s website.

CommonBond is unaffiliated with Prodigy Finance and will not be involved in the making of the loan.

You can also check them out here.

We have a 2% origination fee on our MBA student loans. However, we have no other application or prepayment penalties at any time!

Before I start, can you tell me what my rate will be?

We offer both fixed and variable rate terms. Everyone who is approved will receive one of two rates, depending on the loan product and repayment term you choose. Here are the options:

Fixed Rates:

1) A 10-year option with a fixed interest rate of 5.99% APR.

2) A 15-year option with a fixed interest rate of 6.46% APR.

Variable Rates:

1) A 10-year option with a variable interest rate rate of 4.86% APR.

2) A 15-year option with a fixed interest rate of 5.00% APR.

Once the loan enters repayment, members are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in the interest rate by enrolling in automatic payments. If you choose a fixed rate, the rate and payment will remain the same even if market-based interest rates change. If you choose a variable rate, the rate is subject to change based on 1 Month LIBOR.

*The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is based on a $10,000 loan and reflects the accruing interest, the effect of capitalized interest, a 2% origination fee, the full deferment payment plan option (in which there is a 21-month in-school deferment and a six-month grace period), and a monthly principal and interest payment of $128.97 for 10 years (120 periods) and $102.71 for 15 years (180 months), with the first payment due 45 days after the completion of the grace period.

Get started here.

While we hope you will choose us, you can still decide whether or not to borrow from us after you complete your hard credit inquiry. You’re not obligated to take out a student loan with us until you have final paperwork to accept or reject.

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. The APR takes into account any fees and other charges over the life of the loan. APR allows you to compare rates for different loan products on an apples-to-apples basis, which can be helpful if you are comparing loans that have different fee structures.

Yes, we need to perform a hard pull to review your credit profile and determine if we can offer you a rate. This "hard" inquiry will show up on your credit report.

Our rates for the MBA student loans are fixed, adding a cosigner will not change the offered rate.

Understanding Your Loan Terms

MBA Student Loans have two repayment options and two repayment terms.

Repayment options: Full deferment. Under the full deferment payment plan, interest and principal will be deferred while you are in school, and for an additional grace period of up to six months (allowing for a combined maximum deferment of 32 months), after which there will be a ten-year (120 months) or fifteen-year (180 months) repayment period.

Full principal and interest payment. There is also a full principal and interest payment plan, in which case repayment will begin immediately and will continue over either a ten-year (120 months) or fifteen-year (180 months) repayment period.

Repayment terms: Ten-year (120 months) repayment period Fifteen-year (180 months) repayment period

You can also make one-time payments at any time during the deferment or repayment period.

For new loan originations, there is a 2% origination fee, which is added to the principal balance of the loan at the time the loan proceeds are disbursed, and will be repayable as part of the repayment term of the loan. (The Federal Government's Direct PLUS loan program for graduate students currently charges a 4.3% origination fee.)

Not necessarily. The federal government has special forgiveness programs for employees in specific industries (e.g., public service). Graduates with federal loans working in such industries may therefore prefer to keep their federal loans to maintain these extra borrower protections.

The terms of MBA Student Loans are consistent for all students approved for one.

The Borrowing Process

As of October 2016, CommonBond supports:

  • Chrome: version 49 and up

  • Firefox: version 29 and up

  • Safari: version 9 and up

  • Internet Explorer: version 10 and up

CommonBond underwrites and originates all refinance loans. CommonBond is not affiliated with the school you attended.

Once you are approved and funded, all funds will be disbursed directly to the university and any funds above the cost of tuition and fees will be disbursed from the university directly to you, in a manner pre-determined by the university. Disbursement to the university will be divided up based on the school's billing cycle. For example, if you request $10,000/year and have two semesters and are billed twice a year, then the school will receive $5,000 for each semester.

The application process is simple and straightforward, and it takes minutes. In some instances, we will need a document or two from you. If that's the case, it will take us 1-3 business days to review and approve them. Once you complete the application process, we'll send your application to your school to confirm your attendance and loan amount. All schools handle this differently; it can take 5 days or up to 3 weeks during the busy season. Please keep in mind that some schools will not certify your loan until late summer. When your school certifies your loan, we'll notify you by email. You will need to sign and accept the final loan terms and disclosure within 30 days. Your school sets the date of disbursement for your loan, which will usually be around the start of the next semester. If you apply for a loan in the middle of a semester, your school will disburse your money as soon as possible, but it will take at least 2-3 weeks. You will be able to request from your school any additional funds remaining after tuition and fees have been paid.

MBA Student Loans look and act like any other loan on your credit report. When shopping around for student loans, it is best to do so in a shorter period of time. For example, if you do so within 30 days, there should be less impact on your credit score than if you did so beyond 30 days.

Another benefit of CommonBond is that since we have consistent terms for our loan products, you already know the loan rate at which you would borrow. By comparison, banks will typically only quote applicants a loan rate after first running a credit check on the applicant.

The CommonBond application process can be completed in a matter of days. If you want extra comfort in meeting your school's specific loan application deadlines, we recommend filling out at FAFSA for federal funding in the meantime. Government loans have a 120-day cancellation policy, which allows borrowers to cancel federal loans within 120 days of disbursement, without paying any fees or penalties.

Yes. Contact the Care Team, and we will walk you through your specific request.

The Repayment Process

Once your loan disburses, you can log into your CommonBond account to complete the ACH enrollment form.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Care Team at care@commonbond.co or (800) 975-7812.

Yes. Similar to federal student loans, under certain circumstances, including for economic hardship, you may be eligible for a forbearance, in which case you may temporarily postpone making monthly loan payments for a specific period of time.

Yes. Depending on the repayment option that you select and your anticipated graduation date, there is a grace period for MBA Student Loans of up to six months following graduation. During this grace period, you are not required to make loan payments, although you can elect a repayment option in which you make principal and/or interest payments immediately.

Yes. Interest will begin to accrue immediately following the disbursement of the loan and will continue to accrue during any deferment or grace period.

Yes. You can choose from a couple different payment options while in school, including in-school deferment.

Full deferment payment plan. One of those options includes deferring your interest payments (i.e. not having to pay) while enrolled in school, plus a six-month grace period following graduation or termination of enrollment (up to a maximum of 32 months).

Full principal and interest payment plan. Another option is to pay the full principal and interest payment every month while in school. Some students choose this option so that they don't have to pay full tuition at one point in time, but can start spreading those payments out from the moment they are offered the loan.

Yes. You will receive all information regarding the various payment options from your new servicer once you officially accept your loan through CommonBond.

If you have any questions about servicing, please reach out to The Care Team at care@commonbond.co or (800) 975-7812.

Yes. You are welcome to prepay the loan or pay more than the minimum monthly payment amount if you wish, without incurring any penalty. You are only responsible for the interest that has already accrued.

If you would like to do so, please reach out to The Care Team at care@commonbond.co or (800) 975-7812.

First, if you are eligible, you can choose economic hardship forbearance. If you are still unable to pay your loan, we'll work with you and our community to attempt to find a solution. If you ultimately choose not to pay or are unable to pay, then the loan will be subject to default as provided in the promissory note. (This process is similar for federal government loans and other private loans).

Not at the moment, but we fully recognize the importance of flexible repayment terms. As of right now, MBA Student Loans carry standard terms around loan forbearance in case of financial hardship and are resolved on a case-by-case basis.

The CommonBond Social Promise

From Day 1, we have had a strong social mission - what we call our "Social Promise." The CommonBond Social Promise: for every degree fully funded on the CommonBond platform, we fund the tuition of a student in need for a full year through our partnership with Pencils of Promise. CommonBond is the first-ever company to bring the "1-for-1" model to education and finance.

Inspired by the likes of TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker, we firmly believe that business can and should be a positive force for change. By empowering our students and investors to become Social Promise champions, we hope to make an exponential difference.

Pencils of Promise, or PoP, is a non-profit founded in 2008 to increase access to quality education – a mission that resonates strongly with us at CommonBond – for children in the developing world. Based in NYC, PoP has developed over 200 schools and educational programs across four countries already: Laos, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Ghana. We're excited to help new PoP students achieve their educational dreams for every degree fully funded on our platform.

The CommonBond Social Impact award is an annual prize awarded to the nation's Top MBA Social Entrepreneur. Nominees are assessed by our Selection Committee. Assessment criteria include: number of nominations, innovative nature of the idea, likelihood of long-term impact, and traction to date. The inaugural 2014 award was won by Christine Su, Stanford MBA and co-founder of Summer Technologies, and the 2015 award was won by Sindhura Sarikonda, Wharton MBA and Founder/CEO of Sanlaap North America.

CommonBond is a for-profit company with a strong social mission.

If you would like to make a direct donation, we'd like to point you to our non-profit partners.

Click here to make a gift to Pencils of Promise.

Prodigy Finance

Prodigy Finance is the global leader in postgraduate student loans for international students looking to study in the US and Europe, and has already processed loans for students from 92 countries.*

*Prodigy Finance is incorporated in the United Kingdom (“UK”), and its loans are made in the UK and are governed by UK law. The terms and conditions of such loans, including the amount of the loan and the applicable interest rate, are determined by Prodigy Finance in its discretion at the time a legally binding loan commitment is issued.

CommonBond is working with Prodigy Finance to assist international postgraduate students in financing their education. Interested international students that complete the CommonBond eligibility form, and are attending a school with which Prodigy Finance is associated, will be provided with information on how to start an application for funding on Prodigy Finance’s website.*

*CommonBond is unaffiliated with Prodigy Finance and will not be involved in the making of the loan.

CommonBond has long wanted to be able to support non-US citizens in their pursuit of postgraduate education. In choosing to work with Prodigy Finance, CommonBond is thrilled to see more international students get access to the funding that they need for business school.

Prodigy Finance offers competitive rates, an easy online application process, and does not require a co-signer.

We’re happy to be helping non-US Citizens attending these schools to finance their student loans by introducing them to Prodigy Finance:

  • Babson College
  • Boston College - Carroll
  • Boston University - Questrom
  • CEIBS
  • Cambridge Judge Business School
  • Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper
  • Cass Business School
  • Columbia University - CBS
  • Cornell University - Johnson
  • Cranfield School of Management
  • Dartmouth College - Tuck
  • Duke University - Fuqua
  • ESADE
  • European School of Management and Technology
  • Georgetown University - McDonough
  • Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller
  • HEC Paris
  • Harvard University - HBS
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, HKUST, Business School
  • IE Business School
  • IESE Business School
  • IMD Business School
  • INSEAD
  • Ivey Business School
  • London Business School
  • Manchester Business School
  • McGill Desautels Faculty of Management
  • NUS Singapore
  • New York University - Stern
  • Northwestern University - Kellogg
  • Ohio State University - Fisher
  • Oxford University Said Business School
  • Queens School of Business
  • Rice University - Jones
  • Rotman School of Management
  • Rotterdam School of Management
  • SDA Bocconi School of Management
  • Sauder School of Business
  • Schulich School of Business
  • Stanford University - GSB
  • University of California, Berkeley - Haas
  • University of California, Los Angeles - Anderson
  • University of Chicago - Booth
  • University of Michigan - Ross
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler
  • University of Notre Dame - Mendoza
  • University of Pennsylvania - Wharton
  • University of Rochester - Simon
  • University of Southern California - Marshall
  • University of Texas, Austin - McCombs
  • University of Washington - Foster
  • Vanderbilt University - Owen
  • Vlerick Business School
  • Washington University in St. Louis - Olin
  • Yale University - SOM

Once the online application is complete, Prodigy Finance offers a preliminary loan decision within five working days.

Email info@prodigyfinance.com or head to Prodigy Finance for more information.

You may also contact CommonBond’s Care Team and we’ll be happy to assist you. Email care@commonbond.co or you can call us at 800-975-7812.

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