Brazos Student Loans Review – Application, Eligibility, Cons & Pros

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Brazos Student Loans stands as one such lender, offering specialized loan options designed to ease the financial burden of education. In this article, we will conduct an in-depth review of Brazos Student Loans, exploring its features, benefits, application process, and how it contributes to shaping brighter academic futures.

Brazos Student Loans is a nonprofit organization that has been providing student loan options for over 40 years. With a mission to support students on their educational journey, Brazos offers a variety of loan programs tailored to meet different financial needs and goals.

Key Features and Benefits

Brazos Student Loans come with a host of features and benefits that cater to borrowers’ requirements:

  1. Competitive Interest Rates: One of Brazos’ notable features is its competitive interest rates, which can result in significant savings over the life of the loan.
  2. Customized Repayment Plans: Borrowers have the flexibility to choose from various repayment plans, allowing them to select a plan that aligns with their financial situation and goals.
  3. Cosigner Release: After meeting certain criteria, borrowers may have the option to release their cosigner from the loan, providing greater financial independence.
  4. Grace Period: Brazos offers a grace period of six months after graduation before repayment begins, giving borrowers time to secure employment and settle into their post-graduation lives.
  5. No Prepayment Penalties: Borrowers can make early payments or pay off their loans ahead of schedule without facing any prepayment penalties.

Check Credible Student Loans Reviews

Application Process and Eligibility

Applying for Brazos Student Loans involves the following steps:

  1. Submit Application: Begin by completing an online application, providing personal, academic, and financial information.
  2. Choose Your Loan: Review the loan options offered by Brazos, including interest rates, repayment plans, and terms, and select the one that best suits your needs.
  3. Gather Documentation: Prepare any required documentation, such as proof of enrollment, income, and credit history.
  4. Loan Approval: Brazos will review your application and documentation and, upon approval, provide you with the final terms of the loan.
  5. Loan Disbursement: Once the loan is finalized, the funds will be disbursed to your educational institution to cover tuition and other qualified expenses.

Considerations and Responsible Borrowing

As with any financial decision, responsible borrowing remains crucial:

  1. Understand Loan Terms: Thoroughly understand the terms, interest rates, and repayment plans associated with the loan you choose.
  2. Explore All Options: Before committing to a Brazos loan, explore other financial aid avenues, including scholarships, grants, and federal loans.
  3. Budget for Repayment: Plan for loan repayment post-graduation and ensure that monthly payments fit within your budget.

Pros

  • Excellent rates
  • Available to DACA recipients and international students
  • Parent loans not limited to dependents
    Internship and medical residency deferment

Cons

  • Only available to Texas residents
  • Cannot check rate with a soft pull
  • Refinancing only available to bachelor’s degree holders or higher
  • Deferment automatically ends in four and a half years for in-school borrowers
  • Steep qualification requirements for parent student loans and refinances

Brazos Student Loans: Quick Look

Loan TypeVariable APRFixed APR
Undergraduate loan5.07%–9.52%2.71%–6.86%
Graduate loan5.07%–9.52%2.71%–6.86%
Parent loan5.07%–8.97%2.70%–6.48%
Student loan refinance5.07%–8.87%4.40%–6.95%

Student Loans Offered by Brazos

Undergraduate Student Loans

Brazos allows you to borrow up to your school-certified cost of attendance. This also includes living expenses, even for off-campus students. However, be aware that you have a four-and-a-half year runway (assuming you don’t graduate or drop below half-time status first) before your deferment automatically ends unless you meet the requirements for another deferment.
If you hit 54 months while still studying, your payments will begin immediately. If you graduate in four years or less you’ll have a six-month grace period before payments start. Your period without payments cannot exceed a total of 54 months.8 This could be an important point for people who might be taking a bit longer to complete their degree.

Terms for Undergraduate Student Loans
Variable APR5.07%–9.52%
Fixed APR2.71%–6.86%
Loan Amounts$1,000 – total cost of attendance
Loan Terms5–20 years

Graduate Student Loans

Brazos’ graduate student loans feature basically the same terms as its undergraduate loans, although the upper limit on interest rates for some degree programs can be a touch higher. Brazos offers a nice perk for students doing post-graduate internships or medical residencies: You can defer your payments for up to a year at a time as long as you reapply annually and provide proof. After it ends, you can request a six-month grace period as well.8

Terms for Graduate Student Loans
Variable APR5.07%–9.52%
Fixed APR2.71%–6.86%
Loan Amounts$1,000 – total cost of attendance
Loan Terms5–20 years

See also Student Loan Refinance

Parent Student Loans

Brazos allows Texas residents (if they have the means) to take out student loans to pay for someone else’s education, even if that person is a resident of another state. And they will need the means—Brazos requires a higher credit score and income than the average Texas resident, as mentioned above. Interestingly, you can also use a “parent” loan to pay for anyone’s education (as long as it qualifies). It’s not limited to your own dependents.9

Terms for Parent Student Loans
Variable APR5.07%–8.97%
Fixed APR2.70%–6.48%
Loan Amounts$1,000 – total cost of attendance
Loan Terms5–20 years

Student Loan Refinance

If you’re looking to combine all of your student loans together and change up your current terms, you can apply for a student loan refinance with Brazos. As per Brazos’ parent student loans, however, the qualification requirements are higher than your average lender. In addition, you can only refinance your own student loans—you can’t combine loans from multiple people together, such as you and your spouse, or student loans that your parents took out for your education.

Terms for Student Loan Refinance
Variable APR5.07%–8.87%
Fixed APR4.40%–6.95%
Loan Amounts$10,000–$150,000 (for bachelor’s degrees) or $400,000 (for graduate and professional degrees)
Loan Terms5–20 years

 

Loan Eligibility and Approval

Brazos is a much more restrictive student loan lender than most. Here are the main eligibility requirements you’ll need to be aware of:

  • Residency requirements: Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in Texas are eligible. Non-citizens and DACA recipients living in Texas are eligible as long as they have a co-signer who meets residency requirements. Parent student loans can be used to fund education for non-Texas residents.
  • School requirements: Must be attending or have attended one of over 2,000 Title IV colleges nationwide. For-profit schools are not eligible.
  • Degree requirements: Must be making “satisfactory progress” in a degree-seeking program for in-school loans. For refinance loans, you must have completed at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Employment requirements: For refinance loans, you must be actively employed or self-employed, or have an official job offer that starts within 60 days. Unemployed borrowers and stay-at-home spouses are not eligible.
  • Minimum credit score: 680 for in-school student loans.2 720 for parent student loans and student loan refinance, or 690 if you’re applying with a co-signer who has a 720 credit score.
  • Minimum annual income: $45,000 for in-school student loans. $60,000 for parent student loans and student loan refinance, or $30,000 if you’re applying with a co-signer who has an annual income of $60,000 or higher

Are Co-Signers Required?

No, Brazos doesn’t require co-signers on any of its loans. However, the loan eligibility requirements are higher than most young people can meet on their own (and even the average person in general, in the case of parent student loans and refinances), so it’s quite common for applicants to need a co-signer in order to be approved for a loan.

Is Loan Pre-Qualification Available?

There is no option to prequalify. The only option is to begin the loan application. During this process you’ll see your rate before accepting the loan, but not without first having a hard pull done on your credit which normally impacts your credit score. As long as you complete your loan rate shopping within a short period of time, however, the negative impact will be relatively minor. Other lenders normally offer the option to check your rate with a soft pull before fully applying.

Length of Time for Loan Approval and Disbursement

You’ll know pretty quickly whether you’re approved for a loan or not. According to Brazos, most people make instant decisions. The process from there can take a lot longer, however, including the full loan application, school certification (for those still in school), and loan disbursement. You can expect this process to take a few weeks.

For in-school student loans, Brazos will coordinate with your school on when and where to send the funds. Your school will receive the loan funds and apply them toward your bill. If there’s anything left over, such as if you’re borrowing for off-campus living expenses, your school’s billing department will send you the remainder of the loan amount.128

Loan Fees and Repayment Options

Loan Fees

Brazos does not charge any fees. There’s no origination fee, application fee, or prepayment penalty. If you pay late, however, you will owe a late fee: either 5% of the overdue payment or $7.50, whichever is more. If you make a payment and it’s returned by your bank, Brazos will charge a $5 returned payment fee.13

Loan Discounts

Like many other lenders, Brazos offers a small discount if you sign up for autopay: 0.25% off of your loan rate. This discount only applies when you’re actively repaying the loan, however, so you won’t get the discount while you’re in deferment or forbearance.

Repayment Options

Your repayment options depend on your personal preferences and which type of loan you’re taking out:

  • Immediate repayment: Parent student loans and student loan refinancers will begin repayment immediately, with full first loan payments being due 30 or 45 days after loan disbursement, respectively.159 If your income can support it, you can also begin full repayment right away with in-school student loans.
  • Deferment: If you’re currently in school (or you return to school later), you can opt to totally defer your payments until later. After graduating or dropping below half time you’ll enter a six-month grace period after which you’ll begin paying. If you hit the cap of 54 months of deferment, you’ll begin paying even if you’re still studying full-time.
  • Interest-only repayment: If you can afford it and want to keep interest from accruing while you’re in school, you can opt for an interest-only repayment plan. You’ll begin full payments six months after graduation.16

If you choose the deferment or interest-only repayment plan, you’ll have a six-month grace period before full payments begin, starting from when you graduate or drop below half-time status. However, there is a 54-month cap on deferment.

If you return to school full-time, you can apply for another loan deferment. You can also apply for a special deferment in one-year intervals at a time if you’re in an internship program or medical residency.8

Rewards

Brazos offers a unique refer-a-friend program. If anyone successfully takes out a Brazos parent or refinance loan using your individual referral link, Brazos will send you $200. Interestingly, you do not need to have a Brazos loan yourself—anyone is eligible for the referral bonus.17

Thus, if you’re thinking about applying on your own for either a parent or refinance loan, it’s a good idea to find a close friend or family member who can send you a referral link just before you apply.

Check also Best Student Loans

Loan Forbearance and Discharge Options

If you run into problems making your payments, Brazos offers three options for loan forbearance to give you a temporary pause in payments:

  • Military forbearance: If you’re an active-duty military member, you can opt to defer your payments for up to 36 months.
  • Economic hardship forbearance: If you have a temporary setback, like losing your job or dealing with a medical problem, you can apply for forbearance in three-month intervals at a time, up to a maximum of one year.
  • Natural disaster forbearance: If you’re a victim of a natural disaster, you’ll have the same forbearance options as for economic hardship.

The way Brazos handles loan discharge is a bit scattershot. There is no loan forgiveness if you become permanently disabled, unfortunately. The way a loan is handled if someone dies varies:

  • Student loans: If you die, the loan is discharged, even if you have a co-signer.8
  • Parent student loans: If the student you took the loan out for dies, the loan is forgiven. If you die, the loan is forgiven, unless you have a co-signer—in that case, they’ll have to take over repayment on the loan.9
  • Student loan refinances: As per parent loans, if you die, the loan will be forgiven if you were the only one on the loan. But if you had a co-signer, they would then take over loan repayment.15

Is Student Loan Refinancing Available?

Yes. As mentioned above Brazos also refinances student loans, including parent student loans, federal loans, and other private loans.

Customer Service

There aren’t a ton of complaints about Brazos from customers. The company only has 12 complaints on file with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with the most recent one from 2015.18

  • By email: [email protected]
  • By phone: (800) 453-0841
  • By mail: Brazos Education Lending, 5609 Crosslake Parkway, Waco, Texas, 76712

Applying for a Brazos Student Loan

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to get as much free financial aid as you can or consumer-friendly federal loans first is always an important step before you apply for a student loan from a private lender like Brazos. But if you still need to pay for any gaps in funding, it’s relatively simple to apply for a loan with Brazos.

You’ll start the application by verifying your eligibility on its website. If you’re pre-approved, you can move forward with the rest of your application. You’ll need to provide additional supporting documents to verify your income and residency.

If you’re applying for in-school loans, you’ll need to provide a letter from your school showing the cost of attendance. If you’re refinancing loans, you’ll need to provide a current loan payoff statement.

Alternative Choices

BrazosSallie MaePNC
Loan Types OfferedUndergraduate; graduate; professional, parentUndergraduate; graduate; professional; technical; career trainingUndergraduate; graduate; professional, professional training
Undergrad Fixed APR2.71%–6.86%4.50%–15.49%4.39%–13.89%
Undergrad Variable APR5.07%–9.52%6.12%–16.45%5.89%–15.39%
Origination/Administrative FeeNoneNoneNone
Repayment OptionsImmediate repayment; deferred repayment; interest-onlyDeferred repayment; Low fixed payment while in school; interest-onlyDeferred repayment; interest-only; immediate repayment
Refinancing AvailableYesNoYes

see also College Ave Student Loans Review

Conclusion

Brazos Student Loans has been dedicated to helping students achieve their educational goals for decades. With competitive interest rates, tailored repayment options, and a commitment to the borrower’s overall financial well-being, Brazos stands as a valuable partner in the pursuit of higher education.
As you explore your financing options, take the time to carefully review the loan terms, compare them with other available options, and make an informed decision that aligns with your academic aspirations and financial stability. Brazos Student Loans’ contribution to education exemplifies the positive impact of tailored and supportive lending solutions.

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