Refinancing with Earnest
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Millions of college graduates feel overwhelmed by student loan debt. It might seem as though there are few options when it comes to getting your debt under control.
However, one choice is to refinance your student loans. By refinancing, it’s possible to get a lower interest rate and a lower payment. This can free up cash flow to provide you with a little more breathing room in your budget. Plus, it’s possible to save money on the overall interest you pay.
An increasing number of companies are competing in the student loan refinancing market, including U-fi. In partnership with Nelnet, a well-known student loan originator and servicer, U-fi is giving borrowers another refinancing option.
But how do they stack up against the competition? Our U-fi student loan refinancing review can help you decide if this is the right company for you to work with.Check Out U-fi
U-fi student loan refinancing review
When you refinance your debt through U-fi, your current student loans are replaced with one new loan. Because U-fi offers private refinancing, you will lose access to federal protections and programs if you refinance federal student loans with this program.
In some cases, though, you might not need access to programs such as income-driven repayment or Public Service Loan Forgiveness. If you have steady income and refinancing can save you significant money, it could make more financial sense to do so. Carefully evaluate your options and situation to see if refinancing is right for you.
Pros of U-fi student loan refinancing
1. Flexibility. One of the advantages of U-fi is the flexible repayment options. You can choose repayment options ranging from five to 20 years. It’s also possible to choose variable or fixed rates.
2. Special borrower benefits. Additionally, U-fi offers refinancing through Citizens One, which allows you to refinance even if you didn’t finish your bachelor’s degree. Citizens One also offers a forbearance program for borrowers experiencing economic hardship.
3. Rate discounts. You can earn interest rate discounts with U-fi, as well. Lower your interest by 0.25% when you enroll in their automatic payment program. You can receive an additional 0.25% reduction as a loyalty discount if you or your cosigner already have a Citizens One account.
4. Cosigner release. U-fi also provides a cosigner release option. After you have made 36 on-time payments and meet other requirements, you can have your cosigner released from the loan. This can be a benefit to your cosigner since it lets them off the hook for your debt.
5. Parent PLUS refinancing. Lastly, U-fi allows you to refinance Parent PLUS loans. Not every lender allows you to do this, so it can be valuable if you’ve helped pay for college by taking out one of these loans.
Cons of U-fi student loan refinancing
1. Higher rates. On the downside, some of U-fi’s student loan refinancing rates are a little higher than competitor rates. You can compare student loan refinancing rates in our marketplace for more information.
However, even though some of U-fi’s rates are a little higher, they might not be high enough to keep you from refinancing with them. For example, U-fi’s rates start at 2.60%. The difference between U-fi’s lowest rate and the lowest rates offered by SoFi and CommonBond (2.51% for both) is pretty negligible.
2. Fewer options. Additionally, rather than providing a range of partners for refinancing, U-fi only offers access to Citizens One. As a result, you might not be able to find the exact program that fits your needs.
Additionally, while you can refinance federal loans as well as private loans, U-fi doesn’t allow you to refinance federal debt that’s currently in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan.
Some other lenders allow this, so if you’re currently using an IDR plan to manage your federal debt, it might be best to look elsewhere. But remember: If you refinance your federal loans, you will lose certain protections, including access to IDR plans.
U-fi student loan refinancing products
With U-fi, you can get a quote based on your loan amount, credit situation, and term. You can refinance student loans between $10,000 and $300,000, depending on your degree level:
- $90,000 maximum for those with a bachelor’s degree or below
- $225,000 maximum if you have a graduate or doctoral degree (including MBA)
- $300,000 maximum if you have a professional degree (such as dental, medical, or law)
U-fi encourages cosigners as well, pointing out that it can help borrowers meet the eligibility requirements. U-fi offers cosigner release after you make 36 on-time payments. Note that if your loans have been in deferment or forbearance, the cosigner release starts “counting” the 36 on-time payments after you re-enter repayment.Refinance With U-fi
Using U-fi student loan refinancing online
Using U-fi’s online platform is fairly straightforward. From the site, you can choose to get a rate or start an application.
When you choose “Get My Rate,” you’re taken off-site to the Citizens One page. After you provide basic identifying information (name, address, birthdate, and Social Security number) you’ll get an estimated rate for your refinanced loans.
When you get a rate, Citizens One performs a soft credit inquiry. This means that your credit score will not be impacted.
You can also choose to start an application. Once again, you’re taken off the U-fi website and directed to Citizens One. The application process is straightforward and takes you step-by-step through the process.
It’s a good idea to prepare ahead of time. In addition to identifying information, you also need to provide employment and housing payment details. You’ll need proof of income and information about your current student loans. If you can find statements online or scan paper statements, that’s a good way to provide the information.
U-fi interest rates and fees
U-fi doesn’t charge any fees for applications or origination. You also don’t have to worry about paying fees for disbursement or prepayment.
The interest rate you end up with on your student loan refinancing depends on a number of factors. Fixed rates start at 3.74%, and variable rates start at 2.54%. The rate you actually end up with depends on your credit, whether or not you have a cosigner, and the highest level of education you have.
Keep in mind that variable interest rates can rise or fall based on what’s happening in the market. Citizens One bases its variable rate on the one-month LIBOR.
U-fi student loan refinancing eligibility requirements
To qualify for U-fi student loan refinancing through Citizens One, you must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien. If you’re a resident alien, Citizens One requires you to have a cosigner who is a citizen or permanent resident.
When you apply to refinance, you can only choose loans that are in repayment and you must not be attending school right now. You can defer your loans if you decide to go back to school.
For those who haven’t finished a bachelor’s degree, you need to make at least 12 full on-time payments on the loans you wish to refinance. If you do have a bachelor’s degree, you have to make at least three full on-time payments before refinancing.
If you have a verified graduate degree, you don’t need to worry about the on-time payment period — you can even apply if you’re still in your grace period.
U-fi requires that you have at least $10,000 in student loans in order to refinance. Remember, too, that loans in any income-driven repayment program are not eligible for refinancing.See If You’re Eligible
U-fi contact info and customer service
It’s important to note that U-fi doesn’t service the loans. Citizens One has its loans serviced through Firstmark Services, which is a division of Nelnet. If you have questions about your refinanced loan after you’ve received it, reach out to your loan servicer directly.
Firstmark does offer phone service, though, so if you already have a loan you can call 888-890-9022. Customer service hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Rates (APR)||Eligible Degrees|
|Get real rates from up to 4 Lenders at once
Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
|2.57% – 6.32%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.80% – 7.02%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.51% – 7.80%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.76% – 8.54%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.57% – 6.65%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.75% – 8.69%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|