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Navy Federal Credit Union is a Virginia-based credit union that offers student loan refinancing in addition to its other financial services. If you’re looking for a new plan to repay your and you’re deciding whether to refinance your student loans, there are several options. Read on to learn about the positives and negatives of Navy Federal Credit Union’s student loan refinance options.

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Student loan refinancing for military service members

Navy Federal Credit Union is a great option for refinancing student loans if you’re a military service member. Student loan refinancing involves taking out a new loan to pay off one or more existing loans. This can allow you to get new repayment terms, including reducing your interest rate or extending your loan term, both of which can help lower your monthly payments.

Navy Federal provides refinancing options if you’re a student with federal or private loans or a parent who has taken out federal or private loans for your child’s education. However, to take advantage of Navy Federal’s student loan refinancing program, you must be a member of the credit union, which is open to active duty, veteran and retired military members; employees of the Department of Defense; and family members of those two groups.

Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinance pros and cons

Pros
  • Career assistance Program
  • Short period for cosigner release
  • Flexible parent loan refinance options
Cons
  • Strict membership requirements
  • Hard credit inquiry to get rates
  • Students cannot refinance a parent loan in their own name

Pros explained

Some of the advantages of using Navy Federal to refinance student loans include a unique career assistance program, a comparatively short time period required for cosigner release and options to help parent borrowers streamline their loans.

Career Assistance Program

Borrowers with Navy Federal student loans can use the credit union’s exclusive job search training resources. They include online tutorials, a resume builder, job boards and more. Once you have a Navy Federal education loan, you’re automatically eligible for this benefit.

Short period for cosigner release

Many student loan applicants will need to add a cosigner to meet a lender’s credit requirements. Even if you meet the minimum requirements, adding a creditworthy cosigner can help you get a loan with better terms. If you take out a loan through Navy Federal with a cosigner, you can apply to have that cosigner removed from the loan after 12 consecutive, on-time payments. That’s relatively short — many lenders require two years, or don’t allow cosigner release at all.

Flexible refinance options for parent borrowers

Navy Federal allows parents to refinance both federal Parent PLUS loans and private parent loans. The credit union also lets parents combine loans for multiple children into a single loan, and they can apply to refinance a loan before their child has graduated.

Cons explained

While there are plenty of positives about Navy Federal’s student loan refinancing options, there are downsides as well. Some of the negative aspects include strict membership requirements, not allowing students to take over parent loans and a hard credit pull when you request a rate.

Strict membership requirements

Many credit unions have strict eligibility requirements, and Navy Federal is no different. To become a member of Navy Federal Credit Union, you need to be a current or former member of the armed forces, including:

  • Active Duty members
  • Delayed Entry Program members
  • Defense Department Officer Candidates/ROTC
  • Defense Department Reservists
  • Veterans, retirees and annuitants

Other U.S. government employees can also apply for membership, including Department of Defense civilian employees and retirees. Navy Federal also allows immediate family and household members of eligible people to join the credit union.

Students cannot refinance a parent loan in their name

While Navy Federal does have some flexible options for parents seeking to refinance student loans, the credit union does not allow students to refinance a federal Parent PLUS loan in the student’s name. Some families look for this as a way for the student to effectively take over the loans their parents took out on their behalf once the student is on more solid financial ground.

Hard credit inquiry to get rates

One drawback of Navy Federal Credit Union’s refinance program is that it performs hard credit inquiries to determine eligibility and rates, which can negatively impact your credit score. Many lenders only use a soft credit check for this purpose. Note, however, that FICO treats rate-shopping pulls like this differently, and if you commit to any loan within 30 days of the pull, there will be no impact on your credit score.

Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinance offerings

By refinancing your student loans with Navy Federal, you may be able to save money in the long run. Navy Federal notes that members refinancing more than $25,000 have saved an average of $8,087. Its refinancing options can help you lower your monthly payment, decrease your interest rate and ultimately pay off your loan faster.

Undergraduate and graduate student loan refinancing

Navy Federal Credit Union offers student loan refinancing for private and federal student loans used for undergraduate or graduate education. If you have multiple student loans, you can combine them into one loan from Navy Federal with one monthly payment. Refinancing loans can have fixed or variable interest rates, depending on your preference, and loan terms can be five or 10 or 15 years.

Private parent and parent PLUS loan refinancing

If you’re a parent who took out a private parent or federal parent PLUS loan to assist your child with their education, you can utilize Navy Federal Credit Union’s competitive rates to refinance your loans. In addition, Navy Federal allows you to refinance your loans before your child has graduated and even combine loans taken out for multiple children into one loan. Variable and fixed rates are available, and parent refinance loans also have terms of five, 10 or 15 years.

Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinance pricing

Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t charge application or origination fees. It also doesn’t charge prepayment penalties. Plus, setting up automatic payments for your loans will give you a discount of 0.25% off your loan rate. Interest rates vary over time, so check the credit union’s website for the most up to date rates. As of December 2023, here’s what Navy Federal offers:

Term

Fixed APR (with autopay)

Variable APR (with autopay)

5-year loan

4.85% - 10.50%

6.39% - 12.99%

10-year loan

6.05% - 10.75%

7.69% - 13.34%

15-year loan

6.85% - 12.55%

8.44% - 13.69%

Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinance financial stability

Navy Federal Credit Union was founded in 1933 and currently has over 12 million members. It’s the largest credit union in the country, with assets worth over $133 billion and more than 22,000 employees. This implies overall stability and reassurance that your loans and assets are safe with Navy Federal.

Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinance accessibility

Navy Federal Credit Union has strict eligibility requirements for membership tied to military service.

To join, you’ll need to submit an application, your Social Security number, current home address and driver’s license or government ID. You’ll also need to provide the credit card or bank account you’ll use to fund your new Navy Federal account.

Availability

Navy Federal Credit Union has 350 branches that span the globe. In the U.S., Navy Federal has branches in 30 states and Washington, D.C. You can find Navy Federal overseas in 10 different countries.

Navy Federal boasts over 30,000 ATM locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Contact information

Navy Federal Credit Union offers multiple ways to contact a representative. If you’d like to speak with Navy Federal customer service by phone, you can call 1-888-842-6328 at any hour of the day. If you’d rather speak with someone in person, you can visit your local Navy Federal Credit Union branch location.

With an online banking account, you can also send secure messages by logging in, selecting “Messages,” and then clicking “Send us a message.” Additionally, the chat icon on some website pages will lead you to a real-time chat. You can also contact Navy Federal through Facebook and Twitter or via its general mailing address:

Navy Federal
P.O. Box 3000
Merrifield, VA 22119-3000

But note that after you take out a student loan with Navy Federal, you’ll likely be dealing with a third party. Navy Federal partners with Lendkey, a student loan marketplace, to manage its student loans. If you want to get into contact with LendKey you can email customer.care@lendkey.com or call 888-549-9050.

User experience

Navy Federal Credit Union’s online reviews are generally positive. Many customers praise the efficient loan process, citing its ease and great customer support. The complaints centered around users who were denied loans for various reasons.

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Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinance FAQs

Does Navy Federal do student loans?

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Navy Federal offers both private student loans and private student loan refinancing. In-school student loans can be for one semester or the entire academic year, and loan terms for student borrowers are for five or 10 years. Interest rates vary depending on your qualifications and if you choose a variable or fixed APR.

Is Navy Federal good for student loans?

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If you meet Navy Federal Credit Union’s membership eligibility, the credit union offers competitive interest rates. But whether it’s the best student lender for you depends on your personal financial situation. Experts typically recommend shopping around to find the best private student loan rates.

How much does it cost to refinance with Navy Federal?

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Navy Federal offers a refinancing opportunity to lower the interest rates and monthly payments of your student loans, allowing you to pay off your student loan debt faster. While Navy Federal doesn’t charge you to refinance your loan, you will need to make monthly payments and pay off your debt as agreed upon.

How we evaluated Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinance

While reviewing Navy Federal Credit Union’s student loan refinancing options, we considered several features, including:

  • Loan pricing: We considered the ranges of rates offered.
  • Eligibility requirements: We looked at who can apply and qualify for a refinancing loan.
  • Application process: We looked at how to apply for student loan refinancing through Navy Federal.
  • Accessibility: We checked the lender’s availability in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Customer reviews: We analyzed the online reviews of previous customers.
  • Third-party rankings: We looked at third-party rankings like the BBB.
  • Customer service: We considered the responsiveness and quality of customer service.

Summary of Money’s Navy Federal Credit Union student loan refinance

Navy Federal Credit Union may be a good option for student loan refinancing. You won’t have to pay any application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties, and Navy Federal offers both fixed and variable rates. It also offers a rate reduction if you’re enrolled in autopay. On the other hand, Navy Federal limits credit union membership to select populations. And performs a hard credit inquiry to determine your loan eligibility. If you’re not eligible to become a Navy Federal Credit Union member, take a look at our best student loan refinance options.

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