Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinancing review
Refinance up to $175,000 in student debt with low APRs.
finder.com’s rating: 3.7 / 5.0
- Best for borrowers affiliated with the US armed forces or Department of Defense.
- Pick something else if you didn’t graduate from an eligible school.
Starting at 2.89%
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
|Product Name||Navy Federal Student Refinance Loan|
|Minimum Loan Amount||$7,500|
|Max. Loan Amount||$175,000|
|APR||Starting at 2.89%|
|Interest Rate Type||Variable|
|Minimum Loan Term||5 years|
|Maximum Loan Term||15 years|
|Requirements||Navy Federal Credit Union member, at least $2,000 monthly income, graduate of approved degree program, US citizen or permanent resident, meet underwriting credit criteria|
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
You might want to consider refinancing your student loans with Navy Federal Credit Union if you’re connected to the US armed forces or Department of Defense. You won’t qualify, otherwise.
While its rates don’t start as low as competitors, you still might end up saving if your credit or income have increased since first taking out your loans. But you need to have graduated from an eligible school to qualify.
Not sure Navy Federal is right for you? Compare your other refinancing options below.
How does refinancing with Navy Federal Credit Union work?
Refinancing with Navy Federal Credit Union involves taking out a loan to pay off your current student debt, ideally with more favorable rates and terms. You can refinance both private and federal student loans to consolidate multiple debts into one.
You need to have an undergraduate or graduate degree to qualify, so this loan isn’t for you if you left school before getting a diploma. You can refinance between $7,500 and $125,000 in undergraduate debt and up to $175,000 in graduate student debt.
Navy Federal Credit Union is a direct lender, but it uses LendKey to handle applications, customer service and repayments. You can complete the entire application online in a few minutes, though the entire process can take between two to five weeks.
What happens if I refinance my federal student loans with Navy Federal Credit Union
Refinancing your federal loans with Navy Federal Credit Union may give you a lower rate than you started out with if you have a Direct PLUS loan or were unlucky and borrowed during a year with unusually high rates.
However, you’ll be giving up several benefits that Navy Federal Credit Union can’t offer. These include income-based or graduated repayment plans, deferment if you go back to school, forgiveness programs and more. Carefully consider what losing these benefits could mean to you before refinancing your federal student debt.
How much will I pay to refinance?
Since Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t charge any fees to apply, refinancing shouldn’t cost you anything. If you qualify for a lower rate, you could even start seeing savings as soon as you start making repayments.
Navy Federal Credit Union offers two different types of interest rates: Fixed and variable. Fixed rates are a less risky choice, since your interest stays the same while you’re paying off your loan. Variable rates start from 2.89%.
Variable rates work by giving borrowers a rate that Navy Federal Credit Union calculates and adds to the three-month LIBOR . To protect borrowers from unusually high LIBOR rates, Navy Federal Credit Union caps its variable rates at 18%.
While you or your cosigner’s credit history is an important factor in deciding which rate you qualify for, so is your loan term. Only borrowers who sign up for the five-year loan term can qualify for the absolute lowest rates.
Does Navy Federal Credit Union offer any discounts?
It does. You can get a 0.25% discount on your interest rate if you sign up for autopay.
What are my repayment options?
Navy Federal Credit Union only offers what it calls level repayment, or full repayments on your loan’s interest and principal. This means that you’ll have to make the same payment each month if you go for a fixed interest rate. With a variable rate loan, your payments will go up and down along with your interest rate.
If you lose your job, get injured or experience another type of financial hardship, you can apply for forbearance. Navy Federal Credit Union determines how much forbearance you qualify for on a case-by-case basis.
You might want to treat forbearance like a last-resort option. Interest continues to add up while your loan is in forbearance and gets added to your loan’s principal once you start making regular repayments again — making your loan slightly more expensive.
You also won’t get an extension on your loan term, so your monthly repayments could end up being higher. And if you want to apply for cosigner release, you’ll have to wait another 12 months after starting full repayments again.
Compare more options for student loan refinancing
Top reasons to consider Navy Federal Credit Union
- Refinance high amounts. Navy Federal Credit Union allows borrowers to refinance as much as $125,000 if they have an undergraduate degree and $175,000 if they have a graduate degree.
- Cosigner release. You can take your cosigner off your loan after making one year of consecutive, on-time repayments.
- Low income requirements. You only need to make $24,000 a year to qualify for refinancing with Navy Federal Credit Union.
- Autopay discount. You can get 0.25% taken off of your interest rate just for signing up for autopay.
Why you might want to look elsewhere
- You must be a graduate. You can’t refinance student debt from a degree you never finished with Navy Federal Credit Union.
- You have to be a member. Not just anyone can join Navy Federal Credit Union: You must be affiliated with the US armed forces or Department of Defense — or live with or be related to someone who is — to become a member.
- Not for international students. If you took out a student loan with a cosigner to study in the US as an international student, you can’t refinance your student loans with this lender even if you apply with a cosigner.
Am I eligible?
To qualify for Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinancing, you must:
- Be a Navy Federal Credit Union member
- Make at least $2,000 a month
- Have three years of established credit history
- Have a degree from an eligible school
- Be a US Citizen or permanent resident
- Be the age of majority in your state
Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t have any hard credit score requirements, though it will judge you or your cosigner’s general creditworthiness based on factors like your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio and your credit history.
If you have trouble meeting Navy Federal Credit Union’s income requirement or want to qualify for a more competitive rate, you can apply with a cosigner.
What to expect when signing up
Before you can apply for Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinancing, you have to become a member. You’re eligible for membership if you fall into one of the following categories:
- Active duty member of the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard
- Member of the Army and Air National Guard
- Participant in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP)
- Department of Defense officer candidate
- ROTC member
- Department of Defense reservist
- Veteran, retiree and annuitant of the US armed forces
- Department of Defense employee
- Department of Defense contractor assigned to US government installations
- Department of Defense retiree and annuitant
- US government employee assigned to Department of Defense installations
- Immediate relative of a current member
You can sign up to be a member by completing a quick online application that shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. Once you’re officially a member, you’re ready to start your application.
- Go to Navy Federal Credit Union’s website, hover over Loans & Credit Cards in the main navigation bar and click Student Loans.
- Scroll down to Consolidation Loans and click Learn More.
- Hit Start Now.
- Fill out the required fields in the application, making sure to read the terms and conditions before submitting it. If you’re applying with a cosigner, LendKey will ask you to provide their email address so it can send them a link to their part of the application.
- Wait between one and three days to get conditional approval and potential loan offers.
- Choose a potential offer and upload any requested documentation for you and your cosigner.
- Carefully read and sign your new promissory note.
- Wait for Navy Federal Credit Union to disburse funds to your lenders.
The whole application process can take between two and five weeks from start to finish.
Frequently asked questions
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