United States military personnel and their families enjoy a number of benefits, one of which is access to the United Services Automobile Association (USAA). USAA provides banking, investing, and insurance services. At one time, it also offered student loans.
Like other student loan lenders that have changed their product offerings in recent years, USAA also stopped providing student loans. This change left some borrowers confused about how to handle their student loans and about what benefits, if any, are available to military personnel.
To help answer any lingering questions, here’s everything you need to know about USAA student loans.
Started in 1922, USAA is a now a Fortune 500 company with over 12 million members. It offers financial products and services with attractive rates and perks.
Membership is open to the following groups:
- Active, retired, and honorably separated members of the U.S. military
- Cadets or midshipmen in training academies within the U.S.
- Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) members
- Adult children of current or former USAA members
- Widows, widowers, and former spouses of members who had an established USAA membership while married
USAA student loans
USAA once offered private student loans through a partnership with Wells Fargo. USAA members automatically received a 0.25% interest rate discount.
However, in December 2016, the company announced it would no longer offer member discounts for new Wells Fargo student loans. It advised borrowers to explore their student loan options through Wells Fargo directly. Additionally, USAA noted that the change had no impact on existing Wells Fargo student loans.
What to do if you have USAA student loans
Borrowers with USAA student loans should follow the original repayment schedule and direct any questions to Wells Fargo by calling (877) 336-1316.
You might choose to refinance your student loans to get a better interest rate or repayment terms or a lower monthly payment, but it isn’t necessary if you’re happy with your current terms from Wells Fargo.
How to refinance your USAA student loans
When you refinance your student loans, the new lender will pay off the remaining balance on your current student loans and issue you a new loan. The new loan might offer a lower interest rate or better repayment terms.
If you’re interested, here are some options to refinance your USAA student loans:
|Loan||Interest Rates||Loan Terms||Details|
|Earnest||2.49% – 7.89%||5 to 20 years||Earnest provides the flexibility to pick any monthly payment and term from five to 20 years with no set income requirements. You also can refinance your loan for free, change payment dates, and skip a payment once a year and make it up later.|
|Citizens Bank||2.98% – 9.99%||5, 10, 15, or 20 years||Citizens Bank offers an interest rate reduction on a new Education Refinance Loan if you or your co-signer has a qualifying account with Citizens at the time of application. It claims student loan customers have saved an average of $1,536 per year.|
|EDvestinU||4.53% – 7.24%||5, 10, 15, or 20 years||With EDvestinU, you can refinance your student loans while you’re in school and pay only the monthly interest while enrolled at least half time. You also can get an interest rate reduction for setting up automatic monthly payments. There’s a minimum income requirement of $30,000.|
Our student loan refinancing calculator can help you make a decision, as it allows you to compare your current student loan rates with multiple student loan refinancing options.
If you’re looking for a new student loan
Since USAA no longer provides student loans through Wells Fargo, you might be looking for something comparable.
But first you should see what federal aid you’re eligible to receive by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After you apply, you’ll find out which grants, work-study opportunities, and federal student loan options are available to you.
If you still need money to finance your education, private student loans might help you fill the gap. Here are some private student loan options:
|Loan||Interest Rates||Loan Terms||Details|
|Sallie Mae||4.50% – 11.85%||5 to 15 years||Not only does Sallie Mae offer multiple in-school repayment options, but it also has dedicated military customer service representatives to help answer questions about your student loans.|
|Citizens Bank||4.45% – 12.32%||5, 10, or 15 years||In addition to refinancing student loans, Citizens Bank also offers private student loans. You can borrow between $1,000 and $295,000 depending on your education level.|
|LendKey||4.50% – 9.47%||10 years||LendKey might consider your academic credentials when it determines your interest rate. Bonus: You’ll never have fees, and LendKey offers co-signer release to creditworthy borrowers.|
This information is just a starting point for finding the best private student loan to finance your education. Thoroughly comparing prospective lenders to find out which ones have better terms, lower fees, and competitive interest rates can make it easier for you to manage your debt when it’s time to repay the money you borrowed.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, 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 4/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
* 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.
3 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
4 Important Disclosures for Discover.
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.
©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.
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
|4.07% – 11.32%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.50% – 11.35%*,3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.84% – 13.49%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 11.30%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 9.47%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.74% – 9.72%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.32%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|