Alliant Credit Union student loan refinancing review | finder.com

Alliant Credit Union student loan refinancing review

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Pay off all of your student debt at once with variable rates starting from 3.50%–6.50% (Varies by loan term).

Have a lot of different private student debt? Are some of the rates on your federal loans on the higher end? Alliant Credit Union’s Consolidation Student Loan could make your monthly repayments easier and might even give you better rates and terms than you started out with. You’ll need to stick with the same job for at least two years before you can qualify, however — even if your cosigner has. Read on to find out if refinancing with Alliant could help you pay off your student debt.

Product NameAlliant Credit Union Consolidation Student Loan
Min Loan Amount$10,000
Max. Loan Amount$100,000
APR3.50%–6.50% (Varies by loan term)
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term20 years
RequirementsMust have a credit score of at least 650 with a cosigner or 680 without, work with your current employer for two years, and make $40,000+ in annual income.
  • Alliant Credit Union Member
  • Credit score of at least 680 or at least 650 if applying with a cosigner who has a credit score of at least 680
  • Annual income $40,000+
  • Work at the same job for at least two years
  • Debt-to-income ratio of 50% or lower
  • US citizen or legal resident

First, do I qualify?

You or your cosigner must meet the following eligibility requirements to refinance your student loans with Alliant:

  • Be an Alliant Credit Union Member
  • Have a credit score of at least 680
  • Have a credit score of at least 650 if applying with a cosigner who has a credit score of at least 680
  • Make at least $40,000
  • Work at the same job for at least two years, regardless of cosigner
  • Have a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or lower
  • Be a US citizen or legal resident

Alliant only works with student debt from undergraduate and graduate degree programs at non-profit schools. Debt from community college or trade-schools is also ineligible.

How does refinancing with Alliant work?

Alliant may offer what it calls Consolidation Student Loans, but it’s generally the same type of loan you’ll find with any other student loan refinancing provider. It works by replacing your current student debt with a new loan, often with more favorable rates and terms. You can borrow between $10,000 and $100,000 and pay it off in fixed repayments over 5 year(s) to 20 year(s) years.

The application is relatively simple and you can complete the entire thing online. Alliant is a direct lender, but it uses a nonprofit company called cuLearn to process its loans. And once it’s time to pay it back, you’ll make repayments through its servicer University Accounting Services.

What happens if I refinance my federal loans with Alliant?

Refinance your federal loans anywhere and you might get a raw deal. Federal loans tend to come with lower interest rates that aren’t as risky as the variable rates Alliant offers. Federal loans also come with benefits like income-based or graduated repayment plans and even forgiveness programs that you’re no longer eligible for if you refinance your federal loans.

How much will I pay to refinance?

Alliant doesn’t charge any application or origination fees and if you want to pay off your loan early, Alliant won’t slap you with a prepayment penalty. The cost of refinancing depends on which rate you qualify for — meaning it could even save you money.

Alliant only charges variable interest rates, which change over time and make it difficult to predict how much you’ll pay. It calculates its variable rates by assigning borrowers a rate between 0.25% and 4.25% based on your credit and adding it to the Wall Street Journal prime rate .

Your assigned rate — called a margin rate — stays the same over the life of your loan, while the prime rate can go up and down. To protect borrowers, Alliant caps variable rates at 18%, so you’ll never have to pay more than that. It does have a minimum payment of $50 per month, however.

Does Alliant offer discounts?

It does. Borrowers can get a 0.4% discount when they sign up for autopay through University Accounting Services. To put this in context, most federal loans and private lenders offer a 0.25% discount for automatic payments.

What are my repayment options?

Alliant only offers one standard repayment option, where you make the same repayments each month over the life of your loan.

How long you have to pay off your loan depends on your loan amounts. Smaller loans come with a 15-year loan term, loans that fall into the middle of Alliant’s loan amount range get a 20-year term. Only the largest loan can qualify for a 20-year term.

If you’re struggling with repayment, you might be able to qualify for forbearance, though it’s up to your servicer, University Accounting Services. You can only learn more about your forbearance options until after you’re in repayment — they’re tight-lipped about revealing information to anyone who is not yet a customer.

Top reasons to consider refinancing with Alliant

  • Cosigners allowed. You have the option of bringing on someone else to help you meet some of Alliant’s eligibility requirements or get a better rate.
  • High autopay discount. Alliant’s autopay discount is nearly twice as high as what you can get with some other refinancing providers.
  • No fees. Alliant doesn’t charge fees associated with applying or getting your funds, and you don’t need to pay extra to pay off your loan early.
  • Straightforward loans. Alliant’s lack of options can be a plus making it a lot easier to understand what you’re getting.

Why you might want to look elsewhere

  • Employment restrictions. You have to work with the same employer for at least two years to qualify for refinancing with Alliant, even if you applied with a cosigner.
  • One repayment plan. Alliant doesn’t have any income-based or graduated repayment options, helpful for borrowers that haven’t yet established a career.
  • Few details online. Alliant’s website doesn’t tell you the whole story about rates and terms — to get that you’ll have to call.
  • High rate cap. If the lending market goes haywire, there’s a chance you could end up paying an 18% interest rate on your loans — higher than many other lenders.
  • Credit requirement even with cosigner. In this case, you can’t get around a poor credit score by applying with a cosigner — you still need a 650 to qualify.

Compare student loan refinancing options

Rates last updated September 21st, 2018
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR Product Description
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
Good to excellent credit
None
2.57%(As low as ) (variable)
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
650
full balance of your qualified education loans
2.570%–6.980% (variable)
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing
620
$300,000
2.57%–8.69% (variable)
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (w/ autopay)
650
no maximum
2.47%–5.87% (variable)
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing
700
$300,000
3.25%–7.03% (fixed)
Straightforward refinancing with competitive rates.
CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing
660
$500,000
2.72%–7.25% (with autopay) (variable)
Trade in your existing school loans for competitive APRs that come with a discount for autopay.
LendKey Student Loan Refinancing (with AutoPay)
660
$300,000
2.51% (As low as) (variable)
Find competitive rates and unmatched loan benefits from LendKey’s network of not-for-profit lenders.
LendingTree Student Loans
Good to excellent credit
Varies by lender
3% (As low as) (fixed)
Compare multiple student loans and student loan refinancing options in one place.

Compare up to 4 providers

What do customers say about Alliant?

Customers don’t have much to say about Alliant Credit Union in general and almost nothing about student loan refinancing. As of this writing, it only has 12 reviews on its Better Business Bureau (BBB) page, 11 of which are negative. More than 25 customers have also filed customer complaints against the credit union.

Most commenters were unhappy with Alliant’s response to unforeseen situations. One customer speculated that this might have to do with the fact that they work with several different companies, rather than handling loans themselves. Alliant for its part gave detailed responses to every comment on the page, perhaps helping it earn its A+ BBB rating.

Alliant doesn’t have a Trustpilot page yet. The only mention we could find of Alliant online was a Redditor who was asking about how variable rates work — they were concerned Alliant could give them the highest rate without warning.

What to expect when signing up

As with any credit union, you’ll need to join Alliant before you can apply. You’re already eligible if you’re:

  • An employee at a company that partners with Alliant.
  • You’re a member of an organization that partners with Alliant.
  • You have an immediate family member or domestic partner that’s an Alliant member.
  • You live in a neighborhood near Alliant’s corporate headquarters in Chicago.

You can find out which organizations, companies or neighborhoods are eligible by starting your application. If you don’t fall into any of these categories, you can also become eligible by making a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success, a nonprofit that works to help former foster children adjust to independent life.

You can join by clicking the Become a Member button at the top of any Alliant page on its website and filling out a quick application. You’ll also have to open a bank account with Alliant.

Applying for refinancing

Once you’ve joined Alliant and checked that you and your cosigner meet its requirements, you’re ready to start your application.

  1. Go to the Alliant Credit Union website, hover over Borrow in the top navigation bar and click on Consolidation Student Loan.
  2. Hit the green and white Apply Now button.
  3. Click Register to set up an account before you start your application or sign in if you’ve already applied for a student loan through Alliant.
  4. Follow the directions to complete the application, reading the terms and conditions before submitting.
  5. Review Alliant’s offer and follow any further directions — like submitting more documents — before signing the promissory note.

If you’re applying with a cosigner, they can register and complete the application online or request an e-paper signature option to submit with your application. Your repayments will begin within 45 days of your loan disbursement.

Step-by-step application with screenshots

More about Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in the country, meaning that it’s a nonprofit financial institution that’s owned by its members. A group of United Airlines employees founded it in 1935 with the aim of creating a safe place for other employees to get a fair deal on interest rates — its original name was United Airlines Employees’ Credit Union.

Today it boasts over 335,000 members, has $9.3 billion in assets and has funded a total of $5 billion in loans.

Bottom line

You might want to be well on your career path before you consider refinancing with Alliant. You need to stick with an employer for at least two years before you can qualify and you’ll need to make at least $40,000 to qualify on your own. With no income-based or graduated repayment options, you’ll want to be comfortable with making full repayments each month before you apply with this lender.

Check our guide to student loans and our page on student loan refinancing to compare lenders and learn more about how it all works.

Frequently asked questions

Anna Serio

Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.

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