Do you need private student loans to cover the cost of your education? Though many prospective borrowers head straight to a big bank or online lender for a student loan, these aren’t your only options.
Consider student loans from credit unions, too. Like banks and online lenders, credit unions are financial institutions that lend money. But credit unions are not-for-profit community organizations owned by members, which allows them to offer great rates and good customer service.
Read on to learn more about how to research and find credit union student loans, and what you’ll need to apply.
How to find credit union student loans
Credit unions often require you to be a member to qualify for loans. If you already belong to a credit union, that’s the best place to start your search. If you or a family member bank with a credit union, find out if it offers private student loans and what its requirements are.
MyCreditUnion.gov provides a map that makes it easy to locate credit unions in your area. Input your address to find a list of credit unions, directions to each location, and available member services. You can then contact local credit unions to find out about membership requirements and student loan options.
Use an online tool
Researching each credit union’s student loan offerings could save you big bucks if you snag a good deal on a loan. But it’s a time-consuming process. Thankfully, you can use online services to make things easier.
One of the best ways to research your options is to use LendKey. LendKey offers easy access to hundreds of different credit unions and community banks that provide private student loans.
LendKey’s rate check tool allows you to input basic financial information before listing personalized student loan offers from different credit unions. You can easily compare loan rates and terms to find a credit union student loan that meets your needs.
If you find a loan you’re interested in, you can apply for it and upload any necessary financial documents right from the LendKey portal.
Consider a national credit union
You have the option of applying directly through a credit union that allows people to join from anywhere in the United States. Some examples of credit unions open to individuals nationwide include Alliant Credit Union and Digital Federal Credit Union.
While these credit unions are open to most of the public, you still have to meet the criteria to become a member. Requirements for national credit unions often include making small donations to charities or joining certain organizations.
Once you become a member of a credit union, you’ll need to follow that institution’s process for applying for a student loan.
How to apply for student loans from a credit union
The application process for credit union student loans is similar to that found at other financial institutions. Of course, other types of lenders don’t have the membership requirements that credit unions impose.
Typically, you’ll be asked to provide basic financial and personal information, including:
- Your name, address, and Social Security number
- Proof of your annual income, such as pay stubs or an acceptance letter from a future employer
- The amount of money you want to borrow
- The school and academic program you plan on attending
- Other scholarships and financial aid available to you
Depending on your credit score and earnings, you might need a cosigner to be approved for a student loan from a credit union. If you’re applying with a cosigner, they’ll need to provide similar personal and financial details about themselves.
The timeline to get your loan approved and your funds disbursed will vary by lender. Alliant Credit Union indicates it could take 10 days for loan approval, 30 days for school certification, seven days to complete a truth-in-lending statement, and an additional seven to 12 days to complete a loan promissory note.
NASA Federal Credit Union, on the other hand, says it could take 30 to 45 days to disburse funds after you submit your documents.
Are credit union student loans right for you?
Credit union student loans are a good alternative to consider if you’ve exhausted your options for federal student loans.
You should compare the terms offered by credit unions with other private student loan lenders. Find out what interest you’ll be charged on the loan, whether the rate is fixed or variable, and how long you’ll have to repay the loan.
If you cannot obtain any more federal funding, research different private loan offerings from credit unions, banks, and online lenders to find a loan that’s right for you.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or Nationwide Bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.25% – 13.25%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.07% – 12.78%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.62% – 11.47%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.38% – 13.38%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.85% – 6.99%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.95% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.48% – 12.35%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|