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Student Loan FAQs

General


Yes, federal Direct Loans are considered financial aid — generally, you should consider federal student loans before private student loans.

Federal Direct Loans, offered by the government (Department of Education), are based on your financial and family situation, as provided in your FAFSA®.

Private student loans, offered by banks and institutions, are based on your credit profile. You should generally consider federal student loans first, then take out a private student loan if you still need money for college.

With a Direct Subsidized Loan, the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest while the student is in school for at least half-time, during a grace period (if offered) and through authorized deferment periods.

With Direct Unsubsidized Loans, the borrower is responsible for the interest charged during the in-school or grace periods, or a post-school deferment.

Both federal and private loan options are helpful tools in funding your education. We encourage completing the FAFSA® and exploring scholarships, grants, federal and state student loans first. If you’ve reviewed these options and still have a gap in funding, that’s when Commerce Bank Student Loans can help you close your funding gap.

As with all loans, it’s wise to only borrow what you need and what you can afford to pay back later, so we encourage you to consider things like the anticipated monthly payments on your total student loan debt and expected future earnings when exploring a private student loan. See our article on responsible borrowing.

Up to 100% of school-certified expenses (often called Cost of Attendance) like tuition, fees, books, housing, meals, travel and even a laptop.1
Since most students have limited credit and income history, having a cosigner with established credit can typically help your chances for approval. It may even lower your interest rate.
It takes about 15 minutes to apply and get a credit decision. After you’re approved, you choose your student loan options and accept your loan disclosure, and the loan is certified by your school. We send (disburse) the funds directly to the school. The process can take as little as 10 business days from application to disbursement.
If you have general questions about student loans along the way, you can reach us at 855-342-2006 — our online application process can be completed in a few minutes — if you prefer to apply over the phone, you should call our loan servicer, Sallie Mae®, at 855-342-2006.
All of our loans are disbursed directly to your selected school — you may not have the funds sent directly to you instead. Your school will provide any remaining funds to you after the school balances due are paid.
Receive a 0.25% point interest rate deduction when you enroll in and make monthly payments by auto debit.2
Additional interest rate discounts are available depending upon the loan repayment option selected.
Principal and interest payments extend over 10-15 years.3
Private student loans for undergraduates, graduates, students pursuing professional certificates, dental, medical and health professions in the U.S., as well as loans for post-graduates studying for the bar exam or relocating for medical or dental residencies in the U.S. 


Eligibility


No, you don’t need to have a Commerce checking account or any other Commerce product to apply.
Yes, you can apply for a Commerce student loan with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
If you’re studying online or on a campus in the U.S., you can borrow to cover the costs of a degree-granting institution, even if you’re not a full-time or half-time student.


Certification


A certified student loan involves your selected school verifying with Commerce Bank the money borrowed is only used for your education. Upon approval, and after you’ve accepted and signed the terms, the loan is set to your school’s financial aid office to confirm your details. The loan funds cannot exceed your school’s calculated cost of attendance minus any other aid or loan you’re receiving for the semester.

An uncertified student loan doesn’t need approval from your selected school; instead, the funds are sent directly to you. This requires more work on your end to ensure your school is paid on time. We recommend that you first exhaust all other options before using an uncertified loan to cover your school expenses. Consider your savings, a part-time job, applying for additional scholarships, or help from your family before exploring an uncertified loan.

Enrollment status, anticipated graduation date, your grades and your requested loan amount are all reviewed.
The school may certify the amount requested, not certify the loan at all, or certify a lower amount — they cannot increase the loan amount. The school sets the date it wants to receive the money. Once confirmed, the funds are sent directly to the school.
Certification usually takes 7-10 business days.


Cosigners


You and your cosigner will need your Social Security numbers, school information and amount needed (remember, you can use it to pay for school-certified expenses for the entire year) as well as your financial and employment information. You or your cosigner may start the application together, or should your cosigner not be with you, we can send along an email with a link to their section of the application so they can fill it in later.
Both you and your cosigner are equally responsible for making sure that payments are made on time. Similarly, you’re equally affected if a payment is missed. Missed payments can adversely impact your credit report and your cosigner's credit report.


Making Payments


Payments for Your Future Education Loan® are made directly to our servicer, Sallie Mae. You may send a check, pay online, by phone or through the Sallie Mae mobile app.

By phone – Call (800) 472-5543

By mail – Sallie Mae, P.O. Box 8459, Philadelphia, PA 19101-8459

Online – Access your student loan account at www.salliemae.com and establish your payment preference

By mobile app – Download the Sallie Mae app from the App Store® or Google Play®

iPhone app Android app

Use your Apple Watch® – You can pay your Sallie Mae loan and view the confirmation, all from your Apple Watch. Once you download the Sallie Mae mobile app, you can easily sync your iPhone® to your Apple Watch.

Sallie Mae is the first major private student loan servicer to offer customers the option to view accounts and make payments via the Apple Watch.

The Sallie Mae® mobile app
Access your student loans any time, anywhere. Manage your student loan payments at your convenience.

  • Login easily using your fingerprint on your iPhone and Android or Face ID® with iPhone
  • Quick pay – allows you to easily make payments with multiple loans
  • Pay with Siri®
  • See your total amount due, interest rate, current balance and more
  • View your payment history – see pending and processed transactions and their status
  • View your FICO® score 4 – get quarterly score updates and set up alerts to notify you when your score has been updated


Repayment


You can select from three options5:

  • Make payments while in school with monthly interest payments
  • Make payments while in school with fixed $25 payments3
  • Defer payments until after school

You have at least six months after you leave school (your grace period) before you begin to make principal and interest payments — this applies to all three repayment options.

Disclosures:

Commerce loans are subject to credit approval, identity verification, signed loan documents, and school certification. Your Future Education Loan and Commerce Bank graduate loans:  Your Future Education Loans are for students at participating schools located in the U.S., and are not intended for students pursuing a graduate degree. Graduate student loans are available for students at participating degree-granting graduate schools located in the U.S.,. Graduate Certificate/Continuing Education coursework is not eligible for MBA, Medical, Dental, and Law School Loans. Student or cosigner must meet the age of majority in their state of residence. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., graduate from, or attend school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident), and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID. Requested loan amount must be at least $1,000. 

Bar Study Loan: This loan is for students who are enrolled at least half-time in their final year of study at a participating ABA-accredited law school, or have graduated from one within the last 12 months. Students should be sitting for the bar exam no later than 12 months after graduation. This loan is subject to credit approval, identity verification, signed loan documents, and enrollment verification. Student or cosigner must meet the age of majority in their state of residence. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., graduate from, or attend school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident), and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID. Requested loan amount must be at least $1,000. 

Residency and Relocation Loan: This loan is for students who are pursuing or have received a M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., D.V.M., or V.M.D. degree. Students must be enrolled at least half-time in their final year of study at a participating allopathic, osteopathic, podiatric, dental or veterinary medicine school, or have graduated from one within the past 12 months. This loan is subject to credit approval, identity verification, and signed loan documents. Student or cosigner must meet the age of majority in their state of residence. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., graduate from, or attend school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident), and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID. Requested loan amount must be at least $1,000. 

To participate in the Residency and Relocation Loan program, veterinary medical schools are required to be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, dental schools are required to be accredited by the American Dental Association, medical schools are required to be accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, and podiatric schools are required to be accredited by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education.

  1. Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received as certified by the school. Commerce Bank reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half time.

  2. Borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Commerce Bank’s servicer, Sallie Mae to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction benefit. This benefit applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month and may be suspended during periods of forbearance or deferment.

  3. Examples of typical transactions for a $10,000 Your Future Education Loan with the most common fixed rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans serviced by Sallie Mae and a 4-year in-school period, it works out to a 8.88% fixed APR, 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $162.06 and one payment of $120.23, for a Total Loan Cost of $20,680.37. For a borrower with $20,000 in prior loans serviced by Sallie Mae and a 2-year in-school period, it works out to a 9.23% fixed APR, 27 payments of $25.00, 179 payments of $117.31 and one payment of $56.98 for a total loan cost of  $21,730.47. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years.

  4. Borrowers and cosigners with an available FICO® Score and a Sallie Mae-serviced loan with a current balance greater than $0, may receive their score quarterly after the first disbursement of their loan. The FICO® Score provided to you is the FICO® Score 8 based on TransUnion data. FICO® Scores and associated educational content are provided solely for your own non-commercial personal review, use and benefit. This benefit may change or end in the future. FICO® is a registered trademark of the Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

  5. Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. Payments may be required during the grace/separation period depending on the repayment option selected. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan.

Apple, iPhone, Apple Watch, Siri, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Android, Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

FAFSA is a registered service mark of U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid.