Frequently Asked Questions about the Custom Choice Loan
Get the answers you need to learn more about the Custom Choice Loan from SunTrust. Click on a question to get an answer.
Am I eligible to apply?
The Custom Choice Loan is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time in a Title IV eligible degree program at an eligible school. Students and cosigners, if applicable, must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a Social Security Number.
The student must be the legal age of majority at the time of application, or at least 17 years of age if applying with a Cosigner who meets the age of majority requirements in the cosigner's state of residence.*
The borrower's permanent residence cannot be in Iowa or Wisconsin.
Many students will need a creditworthy cosigner to qualify. If you are concerned about being approved for a private loan, or you don't have a substantial credit history, we recommend you consider strengthening your chances by adding a qualified cosigner.
* The legal age for entering into contracts is 18 years of age in every state except Alabama (19 years old), Nebraska (19 years old, only for wards of the state), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico (21 years old).
How much can I borrow?
The maximum loan amount is determined by your school's cost of attendance, minus any federal loans, scholarships or grants, up to $65,000.
The aggregate maximum student loan debt allowed is $150,000 (includes all student loans and any unsecured, deferred consumer debt). The minimum loan size is $1,001*.
* The minimum loan amounts are higher for borrowers in these states: Alaska: $5,001, Colorado: $3,001, New Mexico: $2,501, Oklahoma: $4,901, Rhode Island: $5,001, South Carolina: $3,601. The Custom Choice Loan is not available to students whose permanent residency state is Iowa or Wisconsin.
How can a cosigner help me get loan approval?
Applying with a cosigner who has good credit and positive income can help you satisfy credit criteria and may increase your chances of approval and receiving a lower interest rate.
Can my loan cover past due balances?
Yes. Custom Choice Loan applications for past due balances will be accepted up to the end of the next month following the academic period for which the applicant was enrolled.
How quickly can my school get the loan funds?
If you're concerned about timing, you can speed up the process by choosing to eSign your Credit Agreement and by faxing or uploading all supporting/required documentation. This includes, at minimum:
A completed, executed Applicant Self-Certification form (required for all private student loans)
Acceptance of the Approval Disclosure
If you apply early and documentation is received promptly, your school will likely receive the funds in plenty of time. (If you're unsure of your school's loan deadlines, contact the financial aid office or check the school website for a published timeline.) You may return your documents via fax, mail, or through the document upload process within the application.
What repayment options are available?
The Custom Choice Loan has four repayment options as described below:
Immediate Repayment: Begin making monthly principal and interest payments approximately 45 days following the last disbursement of funds.
Interest-Only Repayment: Pay only the accrued monthly interest while in school; principal and interest payments begin six months after graduation or dropping below half-time status.
Partial Interest Payment: Pay partial interest of $25 per month while enrolled in school. Option available for loans of $5,000 or more. Note that all accrued, unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to the loan balance) at the time of repayment.
Full Deferment: Defer all principal and interest charges while in school at least half-time; note that interest will accrue during the deferment period and will be capitalized (added to the loan balance) at the time of repayment.
The repayment plan you choose can make a big difference in your loan's overall cost so review your options carefully. It's essential to understand how your rates and payments will be affected by your choices, because once you complete your loan application with those selections, you cannot make any further changes. Within the application, you can use the repayment calculator that allows you to see the impact of different repayment options to the loan's overall cost and estimated payment amounts.
Why do I need to complete an Applicant (Borrower) Self-Certification Form?
The federal government instituted regulations for private education loans in an effort to provide more transparency to borrowers. The Applicant Self-Certification is one of the new requirements. All private student loan lenders must obtain the Applicant Self-Certification prior to disbursing any private student loan funds. Applicants of the Custom Choice Loan must complete and sign the Self-Certification form and return it. You will need your total cost of attendance and expected financial assistance to complete this portion of the application process.
What is an Application and Solicitation Disclosure (ASD)?
Regulations governing private education loans require three disclosure documents be provided to borrowers during the application process: an Application and Solicitation Disclosure (ASD), Approval Disclosure, and Final Disclosure. The ASD displays current interest rate ranges, loan cost examples, federal loan alternatives, and other general loan information.
When a student and cosigner, if applicable, apply for the Custom Choice Loan online, the ASD will be presented electronically. Completion of an application is not required in order to view an ASD with current interest rates; however, all applicant(s) must acknowledge that they have reviewed this disclosure before continuing the application process.
How does the Custom Choice Loan compare to other private student loans that SunTrust offers?
For a side by side comparison of the private student loans that SunTrust offers, click here.
What happens if I default on my loan?
Defaulting on your loan is a serious matter that could have a long-term, adverse effect on your credit score. Custom Choice Loans are usually reported as "late" to consumer credit reporting agencies once they are 30 or more days delinquent.
Bankruptcy usually doesn't cancel your obligation to repay an education loan. If you're about to miss a loan payment, you should contact your servicer immediately to work out a repayment schedule you can meet.
Do I have to make payments while I go to school?
Borrowers who select to defer payments while in school can defer payments (a) while enrolled at least half-time at an approved school and (b) during the 6-month grace period after graduation or dropping below half-time status. In any case, the initial deferment period may not exceed 66 months from the first disbursement date. This option must be chosen during the application process. Any accrued and unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to the unpaid principal loan balance) when repayment of principal and interest begins. There are no prepayment penalties.
How do I know if my school is an approved school for a Custom Choice Loan?
Please visit the first page of the online application, select the school state and then a list of schools in that state will be listed. If the branch of your school is not listed, please choose the main campus. Visiting the application does NOT obligate you to apply.
What if my school is not listed as an approved school for a Custom Choice Loan?
If neither the branch nor main campus is listed, your school is not eligible to participate in this program. In this case, we recommend that you contact the financial aid office at your school for a list of available options.
Does SunTrust offer loans to international students?
Yes. SunTrust offers loans to international students with an eligible U.S. cosigner through a program called the Union Federal Private Student Loan program. This option is not available with the Custom Choice Loan program.
What documents will I need to provide if I am approved?
In general, documents required relate to income, residency status, identity verification, etc. Not all applicants are required to submit all of these. If documentation is required, it will be requested during the loan application process.
Listed below are income types and acceptable documentation. If you have any questions about acceptable documents, please contact us.
Previous W-2 statement or paystub dated within the past 60 days that states the employer's name, employee's name and, if available, year-to-date income.
Signed copy of the last two (2) years' federal personal income tax returns with all schedules (Acceptable forms of Applicant signature on tax returns include wet signature, wet signature of paid tax preparer, a completed IRS e-file Signature Authorization form 8879, IRS confirmation notice form 9325, or IRS email filing confirmation.)
One of the following:
- A copy of most recent pension statement (1099)
- A copy of most recent social security income statement (1099)
- A copy of a benefit award letter
- A copy of proof of current pension payment (including a check stub)
- A copy of proof of current social security payment
Other income documentation (only required when applicants choose to list this type of income within the loan application)
- Interest and dividends, note receivable, installment sales and land contracts, trust, rental, capital gains, income from a foreign source: copy of the two most recent federal personal income tax returns (signed by the Applicant(s)/taxpayer) with all applicable schedules
- Alimony, child support, or separate maintenance payments (for applicants who wish to have this considered for the loan application): complete copy of the divorce decree or court order which specifies the amount and duration of payments. Further, applicant(s) who choose to rely on child support, and who wish to have this considered for the loan application, must provide proof of receipt of child support for the last six months in the form of bank statements or cancelled checks
- GI Bill income: proof of scheduled GI Bill payments for the duration of the academic period
- Disability, worker's compensation benefits and public assistance (AFDC/TANF): appropriate documentation, which may include award letters, policy Agreements, account statements, etc
- Royalty Income: most recent 1099-Misc or the previous year's federal personal income tax returns
- Annuity Income: award letters or most recent 1099-Misc; if those are not available, then the previous year's federal personal income tax returns or bank statements showing direct deposit must be provided
Permanent Residents will need to provide verification of Residency and Immigration Status:
All Permanent Residents must provide a copy of the most current Resident Alien Card, FORM I-551 (I.E. Green Card) showing permanent Resident Alien Status of the United States or other CIS documentation demonstrating the legal right to reside in the U.S. permanently. Acceptable forms for permanent resident aliens include:
- Alien Registration Receipt Card, Form I-551 (i.e., Green Card) with an unexpired date on the front of the card.
- Conditional Alien Registration Receipt Card, I-551 with an unexpired INS I-751.
- Unexpired passport with an unexpired stamp "Process for I-551. Temporary Evidence of Lawful Admission for Permanent Resident. Valid until MM-DD-YYYY. Employment Authorized.".
In order to validate information obtained during the loan approval process, one or more identification documents are required. Copies of identification documents such as driver's licenses, state issued identification cards, or social security cards must be legible and display identification information such as name and identification numbers.
If you have any questions about what documents are acceptable, please contact us.