Bank of North Dakota Student Loans Review


As a source of student loans, the Bank of North Dakota is very unusual: It is a state-owned and -operated lender issuing private student loans and student loan refinancing for qualifying borrowers in select states.

In 2020, the Bank of North Dakota disbursed $127 million in student loans. Although that’s a relatively small amount, these Bank of North Dakota loans can be an attractive option because of their low interest rates and extended repayment options.

Bank of North Dakota student loan refinance review

The Bank of North Dakota offers limited student loan refinancing options for qualifying borrowers. Those that are eligible can refinance existing loans and have up to 25 years to repay their debt.

Bank of North Dakota student loan refinancing is a good fit for residents of North Dakota since only residents of the state can refinance both private and federal loans together and qualify for the lowest rates.

Bank of North Dakota student loan refinance review: The basics

The Bank of North Dakota offers two refinancing options:

  • DEAL One Loan: This loan is for North Dakota residents and allows borrowers to refinance both federal and private student loans.
  • DEAL Consolidation Loan: Available to non-North Dakota residents that have existing student loans through the Bank of North Dakota, this option allows borrowers to refinance only their private student loans.
APRs DEAL One Loan
Fixed: 4.78%
Variable: Starting at 2.38%
DEAL Consolidation Loan
Fixed: 5.78%
Variable: Starting at 3.38%
Basics No loan maximum
Fixed and variable interest rates
Eligibility North Dakota residents can refinance federal and private loans
Non-North Dakota residents can only refinance private loans, and are only eligible if they have existing loans from the Bank of North Dakota
Loans must be in repayment or in the grace period
Borrowers may need a cosigner
Applying Option to apply with a cosigner
3.75% administrative fee applies for non-North Dakota resident applicants
Late fee: 6.00% of the late payment amount or $15, whichever is less
Nonsufficient funds fee: $25
Repayment Loan term options: 10, 15, 20 or 25 years
No prepayment penalties
Reduce your interest rate by 0.25% by enrolling in automatic payments
Release your cosigner after 48 months of prompt payments (and meeting other criteria)
Support The Bank of North Dakota does offer economic hardship deferments and forbearance, but the requirements and duration aren’t publicly listed

What to like about Bank of North Dakota refinance for student loans

For qualifying borrowers, the Bank of North Dakota offers the following student loan refinancing benefits:

Loan terms as long as 25 years

With most student loan refinancing lenders, the maximum loan term available is usually 20 years. By contrast, the Bank of North Dakota’s refinancing options have terms as long as 25 years. A longer loan term will mean more interest will accrue, but it can give you a substantially lower monthly payment.

For example, let’s say you had $15,000 in student loans at 6.00% interest and a 10-year loan. Your minimum payment would be $167, and you’d repay a total of $19,984 by the end of your loan term.

If you refinanced and qualified for a 20-year loan at 4.78% interest, your monthly payment would drop to $97, and you’d repay a total of $23,323.

But if you refinanced with the Bank of North Dakota and qualified for a 25-year loan at 4.78% interest, your payment would be just $86 — nearly half of the payment of your original loan.

Original loan Refinanced loan #1 Refinanced loan #2
Loan term 10 years 20 years 25 years
Interest rate 6.00% 4.78% 4.78%
Monthly payment $167 $97 $86
Total interest paid $4,984 $8,323 $10,733
Total repaid $19,984 $23,323 $25,733

Nongraduates can qualify

Most student loan refinancing lenders require borrowers to have graduated from their programs to qualify for refinancing. But with the Bank of North Dakota, you can qualify for refinancing even if you didn’t graduate.

What you need to begin the refinancing process with the Bank of North Dakota
● Most recent student loan account statements
● Pay stubs or W-2 forms
● Identification

Cosigner releases available

A cosigner can help you qualify for a loan and get a better rate than you’d get on your own, but it’s a big favor to ask of someone. As you build your career and improve your credit, you may be eligible for a cosigner release. The Bank of North Dakota allows borrowers to request cosigner releases after making 48 timely monthly payments.

No loan limits

The Bank of North Dakota doesn’t have a maximum loan amount for student loan refinancing. If you meet the lender’s credit and income requirements — or have a cosigner that does — you can refinance up to the total cost of your outstanding student loans.

What to keep in mind about Bank of North Dakota refinance for student loans

For borrowers in North Dakota — and those with existing loans from the lender — the Bank of North Dakota can be a useful option for student loan refinancing. However, the lender does have some drawbacks:

Not available to all borrowers

Whereas student loan refinancing lenders usually work with borrowers nationwide, the Bank of North Dakota is more limited. Its refinancing options are only available to borrowers that live in North Dakota — for at least six months prior to submitting a loan application — and individuals that have an existing Dakota Education Alternative Loan (DEAL).

Non-North Dakota residents cannot refinance federal student loans

Non-North Dakota residents that have DEAL student loans are eligible for the Bank of North Dakota’s DEAL Consolidation Loan. However, they may be unable to refinance and consolidate all of their existing student loan debt. The only loans that are eligible are their DEAL loans and other private student loans; federal student loans cannot be included.

Administrative fees apply to non-North Dakota residents

If you are a non-North Dakota resident and refinancing with a DEAL Consolidation Loan, be aware of administrative fees. The fee is 3.75% of the total loan amount. If you refinance $30,000 of private student loan debt, you would have to pay $1,125 in administrative fees.

No loan prequalification tool

Unfortunately, the Bank of North Dakota doesn’t have a prequalification tool. The only way to find out if you meet the lender’s eligibility criteria and to see available rates and terms is to submit a full loan application and submit to a hard credit check, which can affect your credit score.

How the Bank of North Dakota student loan refinance compares

The Bank of North Dakota’s refinancing program has competitive interest rates and longer-than-typical repayment terms. But how does it compare to other major lenders?

Bank of North Dakota Citizens Bank SoFi
SLH rating 2.9/5 4.6/5 Not yet rated
Products Student loan refinancing Student loan refinancing
Parent PLUS loan refinancing
Student loan refinancing
Parent PLUS loan refinancing
Medical resident refinancing
Law and MBA refinancing
Eligibility requirements Minimum income and credit score not specified
Must be a U.S. citizen
Must be a North Dakota resident or have an existing DEAL loan
700 credit score
$24,000 income
Citizenship, permanent resident or have a valid Social Security number
Bachelor’s or advanced degree
Associate degree holders and nongraduates must make 12 payments before applying
Good or excellent credit score
No minimum income
Nonpermanent residents without eligible visas can apply with a permanent resident cosigner
APRs Variable starting at 12.00% and fixed starting at 10.00% Variable starting at 1.99% and fixed starting at 2.84% Variable starting at 1.74% and fixed starting at 3.49%
Minimum loan amount $0 $10,000 $5,000
Repayment terms available 20 years Up to 20 years Up to 20 years
Apply with a cosigner Yes Yes Yes

Is refinancing student loans with the Bank of North Dakota right for you?

The Bank of North Dakota’s refinancing loans have fairly low interest rates, but the lowest rates are reserved for residents of North Dakota. And those that don’t live within the state can’t refinance their federal loans, reducing the program’s effectiveness.

If you’re outside of the Bank of North Dakota’s service area and want to consolidate all of your existing student loans, get quotes from other leading student loan refinancing lenders.

How to apply for refinancing with the Bank of North Dakota

The Bank of North Dakota allows applicants to apply for student loan refinancing online. If you plan to apply with a cosigner, select the cosigned option on the application. The lender will send the cosigner an email with sign-in instructions for them to complete their portion of the application online.

Bank of North Dakota student loans review

The Bank of North Dakota issues private student loans to residents of select states. Borrowers can take out as little as $500 to cover remaining education expenses after exhausting other financial aid options.

Just as with refinancing, Bank of North Dakota student loans are a good fit for students that live or attend school in North Dakota since the lender will cover their administrative fees.

Bank of North Dakota student loans review: The basics

The Bank of North Dakota offers low-interest loans for undergraduate and graduate students. Its loans are best for students that have reached federal student loan maximums and need relatively small amounts to pay for their remaining college expenses.

APRs DEAL student loan:
Fixed: 4.78%-5.78%
Variable: Starting at 2.38%-3.38%
Addiction counselor internship loan program:
Variable: Starting at 3.50%
Career education and alternative learning (CEAL) program:
Fixed: 4.78%
Variable: Starting at 2.38%
Basics Undergraduate and graduate students can borrow $500 to $50,000
Administrative fee waived for North Dakota residents or students attending school in the state
Eligibility Must be a U.S. citizen
Must complete the FAFSA
Applying Option to apply with a cosigner
Administrative fee: Up to 3.75% of the loan amount (waived for North Dakota residents or students attending school in the state)
Late fee: 6.00% of the late payment amount or $15, whichever is less
Nonsufficient funds fee: $25
Repayment Six-month grace period
No prepayment penalties
Repayment term options: 10 or 25 years (must have $30,000 in outstanding loans or more to qualify for a 25-year term)
Enroll in automatic payments to reduce your interest rate by 0.25 percentage points
Release your cosigner after 24 months of timely payments and meeting the lender’s other requirements
Support The Bank of North Dakota does offer economic hardship deferment or forbearance, but it doesn’t list its requirements or the duration
Forgiveness may be offered if the primary borrower dies or becomes permanently and totally disabled

What to like about Bank of North Dakota student loans

As you research your student loan options, you’ll find that there are several ways that the Bank of North Dakota stands out from its competitors:

Low loan minimums

Many private student loan lenders require you to borrow thousands of dollars, forcing you to borrow more than you really need to meet their minimums.

The Bank of North Dakota’s minimum amount for student loans is just $500. Whether you need just a little money to pay for textbooks or to cover school lab fees, the Bank of North Dakota allows you to borrow only what you need.

Loans have six-month grace periods

While grace periods are standard with federal student loans, they’re not always an option with private student loans. But with the Bank of North Dakota, you have six months after graduating or leaving school before you have to start making payments.

Loan terms as long as 25 years

Although the standard repayment term for Bank of North Dakota student loans is 10 years, there is another option. If you have a loan balance of $30,000 or more, you can opt for an extended repayment plan and repay your loans over 25 years. Although you will pay more in interest with a longer loan term, switching to an extended repayment plan will give you a more affordable monthly payment.

Cosigner releases available after just 24 months

Most college students will need a cosigner to qualify for a private student loan. Asking someone to serve as your cosigner is a big request since it can impact their credit score and ability to qualify for other forms of credit.

Not all lenders offer cosigner releases, so it can be a long-term commitment. However, the Bank of North Dakota offers cosigner releases after just 24 months of on-time payments. If you make those payments on time and meet the lender’s other requirements, you can remove the cosigner from the loan.

Can’t find a U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner? Prodigy Finance is among lenders assisting international student borrowers
Not attending an eligible degree-granting school? Check out options for nondegree student loans
Not attending classes at least half time? There are lenders with part-time student loan options

What to keep in mind about Bank of North Dakota student loans

Although the Bank of North Dakota can be an appealing option for some borrowers, there are some negatives to keep in mind:

No loan prequalification

Unlike federal undergraduate loans, which never require a credit check, private student loans are typically credit-based. To qualify, you usually have to undergo a hard credit inquiry.

Many lenders have prequalification tools that allow you to check your eligibility without affecting your credit score, but the Bank of North Dakota doesn’t have that feature. You must fill out the entire application — and consent to a credit inquiry — to find out if you qualify for a loan and to view your rates.

Administrative fees may apply

For many student loan borrowers, the Bank of North Dakota charges a 3.75% origination fee of the total loan amount. If you borrowed $10,000, that means you’d pay $375 in administrative fees. That’s a significant drawback considering that many private student loan lenders don’t have origination, application or administrative fees.

However, the Bank of North Dakota will cover the fee for students that reside in North Dakota or that attend college within the state.

Only available in select states

To qualify for a student loan from the Bank of North Dakota, you must be a resident of or attend an eligible college or university within one of the following states:

  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • Wisconsin

Students in all other states are ineligible for the lender’s loans.

Low loan maximums

Private student loan lenders often allow students to borrow up to the total cost of attendance. However, the Bank of North Dakota caps its student loans for undergraduate and graduate students to just $50,000. If you are attending a private school, you could quickly exceed that amount, so you may need to work with another lender.

How Bank of North Dakota student loans compare

Before you choose a lender, see how the Bank of North Dakota compares to other leading student loan providers.

Bank of North Dakota College Ave EDvestinU
SLH rating 3.2/5 4.6/5 Not yet rated
Loans for: Undergraduate and graduate students
Career loans
Addiction counselor loans
Undergraduate and graduate students
Professional students: MBA, medical, dental and law school
Career training (nondegree programs)
Parents
Undergraduate and graduate students
International students with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner
APRs Variable starting at 2.38% and fixed starting at 4.78% Variable starting at 1.19% and fixed starting at 3.49% Variable starting at 2.20% and fixed starting at 3.02%
Ability to prequalify without affecting credit No Yes No
Borrowing amount $30,000 $1,000 $0
In-school repayment options 3 4 3
Repayment terms 10 years 5, 8, 10, 15 years years 7 years
Cosigner release available Yes — after 24 months of timely payments Yes — after half the repayment term elapses Yes — after 36 months of timely payments

You’ll very likely be better off if you shop around beyond a few lenders. Make sure you learn all about the best options for your specific needs.

Are Bank of North Dakota student loans right for you?

If you’re researching private student loan lenders, the Bank of North Dakota may make sense if you live in one of the states or plan to attend school in a state where it issues loans. It’s especially beneficial to those that reside or attend school in North Dakota since the lender will cover the administrative fees for you.

The Bank of North Dakota offers loans with low minimums and competitive fixed and variable interest rates. And it provides a six-month grace period and repayment terms as long as 25 years.

However, not everyone is eligible for a loan from the Bank of North Dakota, and it has strict loan maximums and relatively high administrative fees for those that live or attend school outside of North Dakota. Before choosing a lender, compare loans from multiple private student loan lenders to find the best rates and terms.

How to apply with the Bank of North Dakota

You can apply for a loan from the Bank of North Dakota online. If you will need a cosigner, your cosigner can also fill out the application on the lender’s website. The lender will ask for your address, Social Security number and selected college, and it will prompt you to consent to a hard credit check.

If approved, the lender will send you loan disclosures and agreements to review and sign. Once you submit those documents, the lender will issue the funds directly to your college or university.

How to contact the Bank of North Dakota

Customer support is available by phone or secure message.

Email Secure messaging form
Phone 701-328-5660
833-397-0311
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mail 1200 Memorial Highway
PO Box 5509
Bismarck, ND 58506

Frequently asked questions about Bank of North Dakota student loans

If you didn’t find your question answered in our Bank of North Dakota reviews, see the following FAQs:

Are Bank of North Dakota student loans federal or private?

The Bank of North Dakota’s student loans aren’t federal; it’s a private student loan lender.

Who owns the Bank of North Dakota?

The Bank of North Dakota is owned and operated by the state of North Dakota.

Who is eligible for student loan refinancing through the Bank of North Dakota?

The Bank of North Dakota offers student loan refinancing for individuals that are residents of North Dakota or that have an existing Dakota Education Alternative Loan (DEAL).

Methodology for ratings

To come up with our star rating for student loan refinancing lenders and companies, and private student loan lenders and companies, Student Loan Hero asks hard questions — 20 of them, in fact. These questions span three categories: accessibility, rates and terms, and repayment experience. That’s because we want to judge financial institutions on their products and services from start to finish: when our users are shopping around, filing applications and paying down their debt. A top-rated lender, for instance, has inclusive eligibility criteria, allows you to prequalify and check rates without harming your credit score and is supportive as you face monthly payments.

The answers that we get to our 20 questions — either from the lenders themselves or by combing through their fine print — determine the overall rating. We score answers consistently, sometimes awarding partial points, to ensure that you can make equal comparisons between all lenders that we put under the microscope.

Student Loan Hero isn’t paid for conducting these reviews, and lenders don’t have a say in their content. The goal with our reviews and ratings, along with everything else we do, is to give our users the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available to make the best decisions according to their borrowing needs.

Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to Bank of North Dakota student loans, which is current as of April 12, 2022, unless otherwise noted. None of the financial institutions named has either provided or reviewed the information shared in this article.



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