Over 140 not-for-profit credit unions nationwide subscribe to the cuScholar Private Student Loan and participate in the cuStudentLoans program. The cuScholar Private Student Loan consists of common underwriting and servicing criteria with life-of-loan servicing provided by LendKey.
The Academic Credit Score (ACS) is a six-tiered model which factors in credit bureau data from both the borrower and the cosigner, a historical analysis of identifiable academic characteristics, and the academic attributes of the borrower. LendKey recognizes the strong correlation between loan default rates and attributes such as academic achievement. For example, a junior with a high GPA may have more favorable rates than an incoming freshman with no established GPA.
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The cuScholar Private Student Loan provides two repayment options for the borrower. While in school you may choose to make interest only payments, or good-faith payments of only $25 per month. This system helps students develop responsible repayment habits, ensures that they are constantly aware of their loan rates and balance, and can improve their credit score during their college career.
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Attn: Financial Operations
4445 Lake Forest Drive, Suite 350
Cincinnati, OH 45242
School Hotline 1-877-847-3964
Mon-Fri 9:00 am – 6:00 pm ET
Fax us at 1-866-208-2056
What is a credit union?
Like its name suggests, a credit union is a not-for-profit lending cooperative that provides many of the same financial services banks offer—but often at far less cost. Instead of maximizing profits for shareholders, a credit union uses profits to offer greater value to its members: lower APRs for student loans and mortgages, and no (or low) minimum balances for accounts. Many credit unions are rooted in their communities, and value the individuals and small business owners who live and work there.
When you support a credit union with your business, you are helping to support an entire community. There are over 8,000 credit unions nationwide, and more than 100 million credit union members in the United States alone.
What are the benefits of credit union membership?
Credit unions typically offer more competitive rates and more affordable terms to their members than bigger and more corporate financial institutions. Their main goal is to serve and support their members. Member benefits may include lower rates on most types of loans (including student loans), low-fee or no-fee checking accounts, and better rates of return on savings accounts and certificates of deposit. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which is backed by the U.S. government, insures federally chartered and many state chartered credit unions. The Fund, similar to the FDIC for bank deposits, insures individual accounts up to $250,000.
How can a student borrower join a credit union?
It’s easy to apply for membership in a credit union. A student borrower can join one of the participating credit unions, so long as he or she meets the field of membership (FOM) criteria. The FOM criteria could be as simple as the neighborhood or residential area where you live, the school you attend, or the company where you work. Recently, credit unions have been expanding their fields of membership to include more members, so it pays to check the most current requirements.
Are there any fees or sign up costs required for membership?
While most credit unions generally don’t require any upfront fees to join, it’s a good idea to review the specific membership requirements for the credit union you wish to join.
Who is eligible for the cuScholar Private Student Loan?
You must be a member of one of our participating credit unions, and be enrolled at least half-time in one of the 2,000 eligible schools.
What is an ACS Grade?
Each loan request gets assigned a designation called an ACS Grade, or Academic Credit Score. The ACS Grade uses a proprietary credit-scoring model to assess how creditworthy a borrower is. Unlike many other scores, an ACS Grade considers a student’s academic performance (i.e. GPA, course of study, class standing) in addition to his or her credit history.
What loan margins are offered for the six different ACS Grades?
Platinum Honors: 3-Month LIBOR + 3.24%
Platinum Plus: 3-Month LIBOR + 5.24%
Gold Honors: 3-Month LIBOR + 6.50%
Gold Plus: 3-Month LIBOR + 7.74%
Silver Honors: 3-Month LIBOR + 8.74%
Silver Plus: 3-Month LIBOR + 9.24%
Are there any origination fees with the cuScholar Private Student Loan?
No, there are no origination fees with the cuScholar Private Student Loan.
What are the payment options for the cuScholar Private Student Loan?
There are two payment options for student borrowers who are still in school:
1) Interest-only payments
2) Proactive payments of $25 per month for principal and interest.
Do you offer any benefits to borrowers?
Our borrowers are eligible for the following benefits:
Automatic 1% interest rate reduction once the borrower has repaid 10% of the principal.
Apply for cosigner release upon request, after 24 consecutive, full and on-time principal and interest payments.
When is interest capitalized?
A student borrower must have at least half-time enrollment status in order for unpaid interest to accrue. Once repayment begins, all accrued and unpaid interest is capitalized (or added) to the principal balance.
What is the “Self Cert First, School Cert Last” policy?
The “Self Cert First, School Cert Last” policy means that we contact the financial aid staff at the end of the application process (once receipt of the self cert form has been made and all underwriting and documentation has been received). With so many constraints placed on a financial aid department’s budget and staffing, this policy aims to streamline the certification process and ensure that loan amounts are accurate and correct.
How does the school certify a loan for a LendKey lender?
LendKey has the ability to school certify through ELM Resources, OpenNet, eCourier, Great Lakes’ ScholarNet, iLink, and via fax or email as per the school’s request.
How does LendKey disburse and receive funds?
LendKey has the ability to disburse and receive funds through ELM’s National Distribution Network (NDN), Great Lakes’ Central Disbursement System (CDS), Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), and via paper checks made payable and sent directly to the school as per the school’s request.
Who do I contact if I have a question?
All financial aid questions should be directed to our school hotline at 877-847-3964. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I create awareness at my school for the cuScholar Private Student Loan?
Both cuStudentLoans and the cuScholar Private Student Loan are recognized nationwide, and can be found on the preferred lender lists of many institutions. Additionally, cuStudentLoans can be found on all of the major third-party lists (including Student Lending Analytics’ Private Loan Options and FinAid.org) and comparison lists, such as ELM Select, Great Lakes and FASTChoice. A simple request to add the cuScholar Private Student Loan is all it takes to start!