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Navy Federal Credit Union Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

Navy Federal Credit Union offers its members an 18-month grace period for repayment, but no deferment options.
Oct. 1, 2018
Loans, Student Loans
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Navy Federal Credit Union offers private student loans and student loan refinancing, which it calls private consolidation.

You must be a member of Navy Federal to borrow or refinance. To qualify for membership, you must be active-duty, reserve or retired military; a Department of Defense civilian employee or contractor assigned to one of DOD’s facilities; or related to someone who fits one of those categories or who is already a member.

Navy Federal Credit Union has offered student loans since April 2015. Here we review Navy Federal’s refinance loan; you’ll find a review of its private student loan below.

Navy Federal Credit Union private student loan review

Navy Federal Credit Union private consolidation loan

3.5 NerdWallet rating

Navy Federal’s consolidation loan replaces one or more student loans with a single, lower-rate loan. It’s one of the few refinance loans available for borrowers who have an associate degree. It allows borrowers to get up to 18 months of forbearance. There are no other deferment options.

Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinancing at a glance:

  • Only available to existing Navy Federal Credit Union customers.
  • Borrowers cannot refinance PLUS loans or a parent’s loan in their own name.
  • Up to 18 months of forbearance.
navy_federal_credit_union_logo-55x270
Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 4.99% - 12.84%
Variable: 4.57% - 12.07%

Includes autopay discount of 0.25%
Loan terms5, 10 or 15 years
Loan amounts$7,500 to $125,000 for undergraduate debt or $7,500 to $175,000 in graduate or combined student loan debt
Can transfer a parent loan to the childNo

How Navy Federal student loan refinancing scores

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see whether Navy Federal Credit Union ranks below average, average or above average compared with other student loan refinance lenders.

Enables faster repayment:
Average
Lenders score highly if they offer a variety of term lengths and make extra payments easy.

Discloses requirements, limits costs:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they limit fees and interest rates, are transparent about their underwriting criteria and allow borrowers to get personalized rate estimates before applying.

Serves range of borrowers:
Average
Lenders score highly if they cater to customers in varying locations, in different financial situations, and with varying citizenship statuses.

Offers payment flexibility:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they offer longer than 12-month forbearance periods, in-school and military deferment, and any other flexible policies that help borrowers during tough times.

Supports customers:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they assign borrowers an advisor, offer multiple ways to get in touch, and have in-house customer service. Websites should display full APR ranges, fees and forbearance policies.

How Navy Federal student loan refinancing could improve

Navy Federal Credit Union could improve by offering additional programs, such as:

  • Additional repayment or deferment options.
  • Refinancing for borrowers without a degree.
  • Personalized rate estimates without affecting credit.

Navy Federal student loan refinancing details

  • Get a personalized rate before applying: No.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes, after 15 days past due. $20 for most borrowers or the lesser of $10 or 5% for Wisconsin borrowers.

Compare Navy Federal’s range of interest rates with other student loan refinance lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Navy Federal Credit Union will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Did not disclose.
  • Minimum income: Without a co-signer, $15,000 annually. With a co-signer: no minimum, but co-signer must earn $15,000 annually or more.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Location: Available in all U.S. states.
  • Must have graduated: Yes, with at least an associate degree.
  • Must have attended a Title IV-accredited school: Find all eligible schools on Navy Federal’s website.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: <40%.

  • Forbearance: If you have difficulty making payments, Navy Federal offers up to 18 months of forbearance in increments of up to six months. Navy Federal does not offer deferment. Forbearance can be used for several different circumstances, including unemployment, financial difficulty, enrollment in school and active-duty military service.
  • Death or disability discharge: No.
  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.
  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: LendKey.
  • In-house customer service team: No.
  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.
  • Average time from approval to payoff of the refinanced loans: Up to two days for disbursement to be scheduled.

How to refinance with Navy Federal

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple student loan refinance options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

If you’re ready to refinance with Navy Federal Credit Union, you can apply on its website.


Navy Federal Credit Union private student loan

3.5 NerdWallet rating

Navy Federal Credit Union’s undergraduate private student loans are  available only to members of the credit union. The lender says it takes a “holistic approach” to creditworthiness, factoring in a member’s entire financial relationship with the credit union. Navy Federal Credit Union requires borrowers to make small payments while in school and during the grace period.  

Navy Federal Credit Union private student loans at a glance:

  • Interest-only or $25 minimum payments due while enrolled in school and during the six-month grace period.
  • Co-signer release available after 24 consecutive on-time payments.
  • The only loan repayment term available is 10 years.
navy_federal_credit_union_logo-55x270
Reviewed loanPrivate student loan for undergraduates
Loan terms10 years
Loan amounts $2,000 minimum to $120,000 for undergraduates, or $160,000 for graduate students
Grace period6 months. Interest-only or $25 proactive payment is still due during this time.
Co-signer release availableYes, after 12 consecutive on-time payments
Related productsPrivate graduate student loans and MBA loans

How Navy Federal private student loans score

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see whether Navy Federal Credit Union ranks below average, average or above average compared with other private student loan lenders.

Enables faster repayment:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they offer a variety of term lengths and make extra payments easy.

Discloses requirements, limits costs:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they limit fees and interest rates, are transparent about their underwriting criteria and allow borrowers to get personalized rate estimates before applying for the loan.

Serves range of borrowers:
Average
Lenders score highly if they cater to customers in varying locations, in different financial situations, and with varying citizenship statuses.

Offers payment flexibility:
Average
Lenders score highly if they offer longer than 12-month forbearance periods, in-school and military deferment, and any other flexible repayment policies that help borrowers during tough times.

Supports customers:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they assign borrowers an advisor, offer multiple ways to get in touch, and have in-house customer service. Websites should display full APR ranges, fees and forbearance policies.

How Navy Federal’s private student loan could improve

Navy Federal Credit Union could improve its private student loan by adding programs, such as:

Navy Federal private student loan details

  • Get a personalized rate before applying: No.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes, after 15 days past due. $20 for most borrowers or the lesser of $10 or 5% for Wisconsin borrowers.

Compare Navy Federal’s range of interest rates with private student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Navy Federal Credit Union will offer you, apply on its website.


Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Did not disclose.
  • Minimum income: A co-signer must earn $15,000 or more.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Location: Available in all U.S. states.
  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.
  • Must attend a Title IV-accredited school: Find all eligible schools on Navy Federal’s website.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: >90%.

In-school repayment options

All Navy Federal borrowers begin making small payments while enrolled at least half-time in school and continue during the six-month grace period after leaving school. Once the grace period is over, all borrowers enter full repayment. Borrowers can choose from two in-school repayment options:

  • Fixed repayment: Pay $25 every month while enrolled in school and during the grace period.
  • Interest-only repayment: Make interest-only payments while in school and during the grace period.

Post-school repayment options

  • Forbearance: If you have difficulty making payments, Navy Federal offers up to 18 months of forbearance in increments of up to six months. Navy Federal does not offer deferment. Forbearance can be used for several different circumstances, including unemployment, financial difficulty, enrollment in school and active-duty military service.

Repayment preferences

  • Death or disability discharge: No.
  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.
  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.
    • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services.
    • In-house customer service team: Yes.
    • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
    • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.
    • Average time from application to approval: Up to 9 days.

    • 30-day no-fee return policy: You may cancel the loan within 30 days of disbursement without fees or interest.

    How to apply for a Navy Federal student loan

    Before taking out a Navy Federal Credit Union student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

    » MORE: NerdWallet’s FAFSA Guide

    Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

    If you’re ready to borrow with Navy Federal Credit Union, you can apply on its website.

    STUDENT LOANS RATINGS METHODOLOGY

    NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s private student loans ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

    5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best for consumer-friendly features

    4.5 stars out of 5 — Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features

    4 stars out of 5 — Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features

    3.5 stars out of 5 — Good; may not offer something important to you

    3 stars out of 5 — Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features

    2.5 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution

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