U-fi Review: How This Student Loan Refinancing Lender Stacks Up

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Refinancing with Laurel Road

Refinancing rates from 1.89% APR. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.

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An increasing number of companies are interested in helping you refinance education debt, and one of the newer options is U-fi student loans.

U-fi is a partnership between Union Bank and Nelnet, a well-known originator and servicer, that could help you adjust and simplify your debt repayment. This U-fi student loan refinancing review can help you decide if it’s the right company for you.

U-fi refinancing is a good fit for borrowers with solid credit seeking longer repayment terms (20 to 25 years). The company stands out for serving customers who didn’t graduate and offering repayment protections in the form of forbearance and cosigner release.

What to like:What to keep in mind:
Prequalify without impacting your credit
Refinance Parent PLUS Loans into your name
Flexible repayment terms
Unemployment protection
Cosigner release after 24 months
Interest rates can be beat
Eligibility: No degree necessary, but good credit required
Not available to Vermont borrowers

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 like income-driven repayment or Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). If refinancing can save you significant money and you have a steady income, it could make more financial sense to do so. Carefully evaluate your options and situation to see if refinancing is right for you.

Here are the key characteristics of U-fi student loan refinancing…

  • Fixed and variable interest rates
  • Check your rate without harming your credit report
  • Refinance between $5,000 and $125,000 (borrowers with undergraduate degrees), $175,000 (graduate, doctorate or MBA degrees) or $500,000 (graduate health professions degrees)
  • Repayment terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years available
  • Enroll in autopay and lower your interest rate by 0.25 percentage points
  • Release your cosigner (if you have one) after two years of prompt payments
  • Pause your repayment for up to two years over the life of your loan in cases of economic hardship
  • Assume responsibility for your parent’s PLUS Loans

What to like about U-fi student loan refinancing

Here are some of the upsides to choosing U-fi for refinancing your student debt:

Prequalify without impacting your credit

When you decide to refinance student loans, it’s wise to shop around with at least a few different banks, credit unions and online lenders. This way, you can find the lowest possible interest rate and best overall loan.

U-fi student loans are a good contender for the comparison-shopping process because they allow you to prequalify, with or without a cosigner. After entering some basic information and submitting to a soft credit check, you’ll see what rates and terms are available. Then you can compare these details with offers from competing refinance lenders.

Once you are ready to file a formal application with U-fi, however, you’ll be asked for additional information, including:

Refinance Parent PLUS Loans into your name

If your parent had borrowed federal Parent PLUS Loans on your behalf, refinancing with U-fi could be your way of paying them back. The student loan company allows you to assume responsibility for PLUS Loan repayment by lumping this debt into your newly consolidated loan.

U-fi is one of many lenders that allow you to refinance parent loans in your name.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide the option for spousal consolidation loans.

Flexible repayment terms

Qualifying borrowers can choose from one of six different repayment term options:

  1. 5 years
  2. 7 years
  3. 10 years
  4. 15 years
  5. 20 years (when refinancing $25,000 or more)
  6. 25 years (when refinancing $75,000 or more, and picking a variable interest rate)

This degree of choice is greater than many competitors, who sometimes don’t offer terms spanning longer than 15 years.

With that said, keep in mind that the longer your repayment term, the more interest you’ll pay over time. That could make U-fi’s 20- and 25-year term options less attractive.

Student Loan Comparison Calculator

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Unemployment protection

Should you lose your job or suffer another economic hardship during repayment on a U-fi student loan, you could postpone payments temporarily. In fact, U-fi allows its customers to pause monthly dues for up to two years over the life of a loan.

If your career is on shaky ground, consider U-fi among other refinancing companies with job loss protection.

Apply with a cosigner and pursue cosigner release

If a cosigner helps you qualify for U-fi student loan refinancing, they won’t have to stick around until you’re student debt-free. U-fi’s cosigner release policy allows you to thank your loan guarantor and send them on their way after 24 months of on-time payments.

If your potential cosigner is willing to help but doesn’t want to put their credit at risk long-term, U-fi could be the right lender for your situation.

Just be sure your cosigner meets the student loan company’s eligibility criteria:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Annual income of at least $36,000
  • Strong credit history

What to keep in mind about U-fi student loan refinancing

And now, let’s turn to some drawbacks to U-fi refinancing:

Interest rates can be beat

Here’s the problem with U-fi interest rate ranges: The ceiling is competitive, but the floor can be beat.

The interest rate you end up with on your student loan refinancing depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Your credit
  • Whether or not you have a cosigner
  • The highest level of education you have

U-fi student loan refinancing rates are also quoted depending on your selected repayment term. Here are the interest-rate ranges as of Sept. 15, 2020:

TermFixedVariable
5 years3.10%-4.86%2.10%- 4.80%
7 years3.33%-5.09%3.42%- 5.18%
10 years3.32%-5.28%3.37%-5.34%
15 years3.44%-5.59%3.45%-5.59%
20 years3.82%-6.47%3.75%-6.29%
25 yearsN/A3.68%-6.52%
As of Sept. 15, 2020

Like with other loans, variable interest rates can rise or fall, based on what’s happening in the market. That makes fixed rates a safer, smarter option for many borrowers.

To find lenders with lower interest rates, check out our marketplace of refinancing options.

Eligibility requirements: No degree necessary, but good credit required

U-fi is among few companies that refinance student loans for borrowers who didn’t leave school with a degree. That’s enough to make it a top option for borrowers who didn’t graduate.

You simply must have entered a grace period or started repayment on your education debt, and no longer be enrolled more than part-time.

With that said, U-fi’s other eligibility requirements aren’t as forgiving:

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency with a valid Social Security number
  • Be the age of majority in your state
  • Have an annual income of at least $36,000
  • Have a credit score or 680 or more

Also, loans weren’t available in Vermont, at least as of Sept. 15, 2020.

If you don’t meet U-fi’s criteria, you might find a better lender for your situation.

Not a U.S. citizen?Prodigy Finance is among lenders assisting international borrowers.
Don’t have income of at least $36,000?SoFi doesn’t set a minimum income requirement
Don’t have a credit score of 680?Earnest sets its threshold at 650

Is U-fi student loan refinancing right for you?

There’s a lot to like about U-fi student loan refinancing, from its prequalification process to its options for repayment terms, forbearance and cosigner release. It’s even accessible to creditworthy applicants who didn’t receive a college diploma.

Like all refinancing companies, however, U-fi has some shortcomings too. The bottom of its interest rate ranges aren’t the most competitive. Plus, some of its eligibility requirements are restrictive to the average student loan borrower.

Weigh the pros and cons of U-fi refinancing, but don’t forget to compare it to other lenders as well. You might find a lower rate and better overall loan elsewhere. Start your search with our top recommended lenders for student loan refinancing.

Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.99% – 5.64%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.89% – 5.90%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.25% – 6.09%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 6.77%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

1.99% – 5.41%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.09% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. 

4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. ‍All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.