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.
Jan 26, 2022

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Student loan ratings

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance
  • Student loan refinancing

  • Private student loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Navy Federal Credit Union requires members to be connected with the military. It began offering student loans in 2015. Its refinancing loan is an option for members of Navy Federal Credit Union, especially those who have an associate degree. Its private loan is an option for members of Navy Federal Credit Union who can make small payments while in school.

Student loan refinancing review

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance
Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

3.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score
Does not disclose
Fixed APR
2.99-12.03%
Variable APR
1.45-10.26%

Pros

  • Forbearance of 18 months is longer than many lenders offer.

  • Greater-than-minimum payments allowed via autopay.

Cons

  • Available only to existing Navy Federal Credit Union customers

  • Students cannot refinance a parent PLUS loan in their name.

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

An option for members of Navy Federal Credit Union, especially those who have an associate degree.

Full Review

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.

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.

How much can refinancing save?

Navy Federal student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.

  • Loan terms: 5, 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 child : 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, a borrower must have a minimum annual income of $24,000. With a co-signer, a borrower must prove a minimum annual income of $1,200 and the co-signer must prove a minimum annual income of $24,000.

  • 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 school authorized to receive federal aid: Find all eligible schools when you begin your application.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: <40%.

Many lenders are offering relief related to COVID-19. Check this list of private loan relief options to see what this lender offers.

  • 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.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes. The borrower must submit a request, meet the twelve (12) consecutive on-time monthly payment requirements, provide proof of income, and pass a credit check.

  • Death or disability discharge available: No.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

Repayment preferences:

  • 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: Does not disclose.

Before Refinancing with Navy Federal Credit Union

You can apply for a Navy Federal Credit Union refinanced student loan on its website. 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 borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

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

If you aren’t eligible to refinance with Navy Federal Credit Union

If Navy Federal Credit Union denies your refinance application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or need a co-signer.

NerdWallet recommends prequalifying with multiple refinance lenders before you apply. This will let you know which lenders you may be eligible with, without affecting your credit.

STUDENT LOAN REFINANCE RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and the top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 41 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Private student loan review

Navy Federal Private Student Loan
Navy Federal Private Student Loan

3.0

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score
Does not disclose
Fixed APR
4.99-11.69%
Variable APR
3.01-8.92%

Pros

  • Forbearance of 18 months is longer than many lenders offer.

Cons

  • Available only to existing Navy Federal Credit Union customers.

  • Only one repayment term: 10 years.

  • Payment required while in school and during the grace period.

An option for members of Navy Federal Credit Union who can make small payments while in school.

Full Review

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.

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

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.

  • Loan terms: 10 years.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 minimum to $120,000 for undergraduates, or $160,000 for graduate students.

  • 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 . 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.

  • DACA borrowers: Not eligible.

  • Location: Available in all U.S. states.

  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.

  • Loan can be used for past due tuition: Requests reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Types of schools served: Find all eligible schools when you begin an application.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: >90%.

Many lenders are offering relief related to COVID-19. Check this list of private loan relief options to see what this lender offers.

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.

  • Full in-school deferment: No.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months. Interest-only or $25 proactive payment is still due during this time.

  • Income-based repayment option: No.

  • 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.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 12 consecutive on-time payments.

  • Death discharge available: The estate of the decedent borrower will remain obligated for the existing loan balance. Normal collections practices will be applied to any assets held by the estate. The co-signer will no longer be responsible for repayment on a student refinance loan.

  • Disability discharge available: No.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: Lendkey.

  • 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: Does not disclose.

  • 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 Credit Union student loan

You can apply for a Navy Federal Credit Union student loan on its website. 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.

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.

If you aren’t eligible for a Navy Federal student loan

If Navy Federal Credit Union denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider lenders that don’t require co-signers or specialize in bad or no credit student loans.

STUDENT LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Frequently asked questions