3 Great Places to Find Credit Union Student Loans

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Rates starting at 1.04%

1.04% to 11.98% 1

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1.25% to 11.35% 2

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1.24% to 11.99% 3

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  • Variable APR

While federal student loans should be your first stop when borrowing for school, they don’t always cover the full cost of college. If you need additional funding to pay tuition, consider credit union student loans in addition to loans offered by big banks and online lenders.

Not only do credit union student loans usually offer competitive terms, but they also might provide a better overall experience.

Where to find competitive credit union student loans

To help you find the right student loan option for you, we’ll discuss three examples of good places to find credit union private student loans directly. In addition to these, you might also check with local credit unions that serve residents of your state.

1. LendKey

LendKey works with hundreds of banks and credit unions to give you the best student loan and refinancing deals based on your needs and eligibility.

Its lender partners offer student loans with variable and fixed interest APRs. Fixed APRs start as low as 3.99% and variable APRs start at 1.49%. These APRs include an interest rate reduction of 0.25% for setting up autopay.

Loan limits and repayment terms can vary by credit union, but here are some other features LendKey’s lender partners offer:

  • You can qualify for cosigner release after you’ve met the lender’s payment and credit criteria.
  • You’ll experience a fast application and approval process.
  • You don’t have to pay application or origination fees.

To get offers for credit union student loans, you apply once with LendKey. Then, you’ll get offers from credit unions and other lenders that are interested.

2. Credit Union Student Choice

Like LendKey, Credit Union Student Choice works with hundreds of credit unions to give you your best offers in your area.

It doesn’t provide specifics on interest rates and other terms, though. Instead, it asks for your zip code or school and points you to one or more credit unions that can help you.

Check Credit Union Student Choice’s list of approved schools to see if you’re eligible.

3. Navy Federal Credit Union

If you’re a military service member, a veteran, a Department of Defense employee or a family member of a current member or someone who’s eligible, Navy Federal Credit Union student loans might be a good option for you.

Navy Federal offers both private student loans and consolidation loans.

Here are some other highlights:

  • You can borrow up to your school’s certified cost of attendance.
  • Repayment terms go up to 15 years, including a grace period of up to five years while you’re in school and a 10-year repayment period.
  • If you have a cosigner, you can submit a cosigner release request after 24 consecutive, on-time payments.
  • You’ll pay no application or origination fees or prepayment penalties.
  • You can qualify for a 0.25% interest rate reduction if you set up autopay.

Navy Federal doesn’t have any other financial products that stand out compared to the competition. But the credit union does offer some special discounts and deals to its members, including:

  • Up to 20% off Hertz rental cars
  • A special discount on Geico auto insurance
  • Up to $8,000 cash back when you buy or sell your home with RealtyPlus
  • Extra loan interest rate discounts if you’re an active-duty or retired military member

Navy Federal has some strict eligibility requirements, so you might not qualify. But if you do, the discounts that come with membership and the credit union’s dedication to the military community might make it worth it.

Banks vs. credit union student loans: What’s the difference?

For the most part, credit unions and banks offer the same services — but their motives set them apart.

Banks are for-profit businesses, so for all intents and purposes, their No. 1 goal is to maximize their profits.

On the flip side, credit unions are not-for-profit businesses that return their profits to their members in the form of higher savings yields, lower loan interest rates and better service.

Credit unions often serve a specific community, either regional or organizational. They can better understand the needs of their members because they’re more deeply rooted in the community. That doesn’t mean they’re always the best option, but they’re worth considering.

Keep in mind, however, that credit unions require you to become a member before you can apply for student loans or other financial products. In some cases, you might not qualify based on a credit union’s eligibility requirements.

Should you opt for credit union student loans?

There’s no one right answer to this question. The biggest consideration with credit unions is determining whether you qualify for membership. If you do, you’ll need to compare the credit union’s interest rates, fees, and other features to those of other top private student loan companies.

As you do your due diligence, you’ll have a better chance of picking the lender that offers you the best combination of features for your needs.

Rebecca Safier contributed to this article.

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