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Navy Federal Credit Union private student loans review

Get the funds you need for college or grad school with this well-respected credit union.’s rating: 3.9 / 5.0


Need more funding than most private lenders offer?

Starting at 3.16%



Max. Loan Amount


Min. Credit Score


Product NameNavy Federal Credit Union Private Student Loans
Minimum Loan Amount$2,000
Max. Loan Amount$120,000
APRStarting at 3.16%
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term15 years
RequirementsAttend an eligible school, make at least $15,000 a year, have at least 36 months of credit history,be enrolled at least half-time, maintain a 2.0 GPA, be the age of majority in your state, be a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union, US citizen or permanent resident

First, am I eligible?

To be eligible for a Navy Federal Credit private student loan you must:

  • Attend an eligible school
  • Make at least $15,000 a year
  • Have at least 36 months of credit history
  • Be enrolled at least half-time
  • Maintain a 2.0 GPA
  • Be the age of majority in your state
  • Be a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident

To find out if your school is eligible, start the application and try typing in your school’s name. If it shows up, it’s eligible. You can bring on a cosigner if you don’t meet Navy Federal Credit Union’s credit or income requirements.

How do Navy Federal Credit Union private student loans work?

Navy Federal Credit Union is a direct private student loan provider that offers up to $120,000 a year for undergraduate students and $160,000 for graduate students. You can apply online through the Navy Federal Credit Union website — and join if you aren’t already a member. While Navy Federal Credit Union funds student loans, all applications, customer service and repayments go through its servicer, LendKey.

Navy Federal Credit Union allows borrowers to bring on a cosigner to help you get a more competitive rate. However, both of you will need to meet eligibility criteria aside from credit and income requirements.

How much does it cost?

Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t charge any application or origination fees on its student loans, so the main cost you need to worry about is the interest. It offers two different types of interest rates: Fixed and variable.

The only fees you need to worry about come during repayment. Navy Federal Credit Union charges a $20 fee for late payments. If you’re enrolled in autopay and don’t have enough funds in your account, you’ll have to pay a $10 returned funds fee.

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What are my repayment options?

Navy Federal Credit Union offers two options for repaying your student debt while you’re in school and six months after you drop below half-time.

  • Interest-only repayments. Only make payments on interest that accumulates while you’re in school and during your grace period.
  • Proactive payments. Make $25 monthly repayments while you’re in school and during your grace period.

If you can swing it, consider the interest-only repayment option. Any interest that adds up during this period gets added to your loan’s principal before you start making repayments. A higher principal means you’ll end up paying more in interest in the end and will result in a potentially more expensive student loan.

You only have one repayment option after your grace period is up: Full repayments. These stay the same if you have a fixed interest rate. If you have a variable interest rate, your repayments change every three months as your interest rate changes.

What student loan servicer does NFCU use?

LendKey is the servicer for NFCU’s student loans, which means you’ll make repayments to LendKey — not NFCU. The servicer has received complaints of poor customer service and mismanaged repayments, so you’ll want to keep an eye on your loan balance if you decide to go with NFCU.

Benefits of Navy Federal private student loans

  • Large amounts available. You can borrow more per year than some private student loan providers offer in a lifetime.
  • No fees. You don’t need to pay any fees to apply for this loan.
  • Autopay discount. Navy Federal Credit Union reduces your interest rate by 0.25% just for signing up for autopay.

Drawbacks to consider

  • Grades matter. You need to maintain a 2.0 GPA to qualify for a Navy Federal Credit Union student loan.
  • Not for young students. You also can’t qualify if you aren’t the legal age to take out a loan in your state — 18 in most.
  • No post-graduate funding. You can’t use your Navy Federal Credit Union student loan to pay for education-related expenses outside of school like bar exam courses or residency relocation costs.

What to expect when applying for a Navy Federal private student loan

Once your membership is active, here’s how to start the application:

  1. Go to the Navy Federal Credit Union website, hover over Loans & Credit Cards before selecting Student Loans.
  2. Click the yellow and white Learn More button.
  3. Hit Start Now to begin your application.
  4. Fill out the required fields, making sure to read the terms of use and privacy policy. If you’re applying with a cosigner, enter your cosigner’s email address. They’ll be sent a link to complete their part of the application.
  5. Review your application one last time before hitting Submit.
  6. Wait to get conditional approval. Typically this only takes a few minutes, though it can take as long as one to three days.
  7. Select an offer and upload your documents, including identity verification, a copy of your transcript if applicable and proof of income for you or your cosigner.
  8. Wait as LendKey sends your application to Navy Federal Credit Union for approval and to your school to certify your costs.
  9. Review your final offer before signing the promissory note.

Typically it takes about 10 minutes to complete the application. The whole funding process can be as long as 20 to 30 days, though it’s possible to complete everything in less time if you submit all of your documentation right away. You can apply each semester or each year.

Bottom line

Students with high academic costs that federal loans just won’t cover could potentially get the most out of this lender. Rates are slightly higher than the competition, however, and you or a relative needs to be a member of the US armed forces or Department of Defense to get any Navy Federal Credit Union loans.

Check out our guide to private student loans to compare lenders and learn more about how student loans work.

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We rate student loan providers on a scale of 1 to 5 stars based on factors like transparency, costs and customer experience. We don’t take into account elements like eligibility criteria, state availability or payment frequency — we save that for our reviews.

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