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cuScholar Private Student Loan Program Overview

cuScholar Program Overview

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.

1. Underwriting That Rewards Academic Achievement

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.

2.Web-Based Application

Get an instant credit decision! Our easy online application features:

  • 24/7 online account status and management
  • Electronic school certifications and disbursements
  • Self certification with required school certification before loan disbursement

3. Borrower Benefits:

    • 1% interest rate reduction once 10% of the principal is repaid during the full repayment period
    • Apply for cosigner release after 24 consecutive, on-time principal and interest payments
    • The option to borrow as little as $2,000 or as much as the cost of attendance per year
    • No pre-payment penalty
    • .25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for automatic ACH payments.
    • Availability for up to 90-days past due balances
    • 30-day no-fee return policy

4. In-School Servicing

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.


Additional Details about the cuScholar Private Student Loan.


    • Loan Certification: CommonLine v4 certification and change records through AES eCourier, ELM Resources, i-Link, OpenNet, ScholarNet, email, and fax.
    • Loan Disbursement/Rosters: ELM Resources’ National Disbursement Network (ELM NDN), i-Link CDS, Great Lakes CDS, direct EFT to schools and paper checks. There is a maximum of four disbursements per academic year. We can send disbursement rosters for those where certifications were received electronically but not disbursed electronically.
    • Loan Cancellations/Refunds: We accept electronic refunds through ELM, Great Lakes and iLink only; all other refunds must be sent via check to the Financial Operations department located in OH. Once a loan is disbursed, schools have 90 days to cancel the loan and interest will be written off and any payments made will be returned to the borrower. Borrowers have 30 days after disbursement to pay back the funds and interest will be written off.

PAST DUE BALANCE DETAILS: Enrolled students may apply for funds for past due balances up to 90 days after the end of the last term as certified by the school.

COSIGNER INFORMATION: While borrowers are encouraged to apply with a cosigner to increase the chance of approval and/or lower rate, a cosigner is not required if the borrower can meet credit requirements alone.

CAPITALIZATION: Interest is capitalized at the end of each deferment and forbearance period and every time a loan enters Repayment.

IN-SCHOOL REPAYMENT:  Borrowers have 60 months maximum in-school period (includes 6-month grace period).  We allow borrowers to partially defer principal and interest payments until six months after separating from school.

    • Proactive Payment: Borrowers make a minimum $25 monthly payment. Any unpaid accrued interest is capitalized to the outstanding loan amount at the end of the in-school period. Note: Borrowers with multiple loans are only responsible for a $25 payment.
    • Interest-Only Payment: Borrowers make full monthly interest payments on the loan while enrolled in school.

OUT-OF-SCHOOL REPAYMENT:  Borrowers are responsible for making full principal and interest payments when they enter repayment status, six months after leaving school or ceasing to be enrolled half-time with a degree-granting program.

    • Level Repayment: Borrower makes level payments of principal and interest over the 10-year loan term.
    • Initial Interest Only Option: During the six month grace period, borrowers may request to pay just the interest expense on the loan for the first two years.

FORBEARANCE:  As a debt management tool we may suspend a borrower’s obligation to pay principal and in some cases even interest on a short-term basis for a borrower experiencing financial difficulty.  The borrower may request a forbearance option during or prior to the loan becoming delinquent. The borrower is eligible for hardship forbearance for a total of eighteen (18) months over the life of the loan. Forbearances can be granted as no-payment, interest-only or reduced payments. Forbearances may be granted in increments of six (6) months or less. A form must be filled out signed and submitted by the borrower. An additional form is required if the borrower wishes to extend his/her forbearance.


  • There is currently no way for a borrower to discharge for permanent or total disability.
  • In accordance with the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act, LendKey follows the SCRA guidelines and caps the interest rate at 6%.

DELINQUENCY/DEFAULT:  A Late Fee of 5% of unpaid installment is charged if we have not received the payment after 20 days from the due date. LendKey considers a loan in default after 180 days. LendKey completes 19 due diligence activities from day 0 – 60 when a loan is considered delinquent. These include letters, emails and calls.

FINANCIAL LITERACY COMMITMENT: Our commitment to providing financial literacy resources is one of the key reasons schools and families are attracted to our program. The College Resource Center, a comprehensive financial education and college planning tool, was created to assist families in navigating the financial aid process from planning college visits to loan repayment years following graduation. The College Resource Center consists of a contemporary blog featuring fresh topical and editorial content, “how-to” guides, and complimentary webinars.

SCHOOL SUPPORT INFORMATION including Requests for Information:

Financial Aid Hotline: (877) 847-3964
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm ET
Fax: (866) 208-5056

Please send student loan refund checks to the following:

LendKey, Inc.
Attn: Financial Operations
4445 Lake Forest Drive, Suite 350
Cincinnati, OH 45242


Phone: (888) 549-9050
Hours: Mon – Fri, 9am – 7pm ET (Sept – July) Mon – Fri, 9am – 9pm ET, Sat 9am – 5pm ET (July – Aug)
Fax: (800) 583-1416