Whether you’re applying for your undergraduate degree, going to graduate school or planning on attending community college, the course fees all add up and few students can get through college without some kind of loan.
Wells Fargo, one of the biggest names in banking to offer private student loans, allow borrowing up to the full cost of studying (minus other financial aid). An added benefit is that students don't have to worry about making payments until six months after completing their education.
Wells Fargo student loans can be used to pay for any eligible education-related expenses, including tuition, housing, books, a laptop, lab fees and more. Students or parents may apply to be the lead borrower.
They claim to offer competitive rates, including fixed or variable interest rate options and interest rate discounts to help reduce loan costs. However, students applying without a cosigner may have less chance of being approved for a loan and may not qualify for the lowest interest rates.
Average APR rates are on the rise for student loans. Current published best rates vary by state and can be found on their website. For example, community colleges in Florida attract a variable loan APR of 4.33% to 6.17%, and a fixed loan APR of 9.88% – 11.26%. With such a wide range of interest rates – and the thousands of dollars that will have to be repaid in interest over the length of the course plus the standard 15-year loan term – it makes sense to find ways to cut costs on your loan.
Make sure you compare your options – we recommend Credible for student loan shopping because you can compare up to eight lenders at once, in just minutes. Check out Credible here, and see how Wells Fargo compares.
APRs and Discounts
Wells Fargo offers a 0.25% interest rate discount on student loans for borrowers where they or a cosigner have or open a consumer checking account with the bank. Borrowers also benefit from a 0.25% interest rate discount when they enroll in automatic payments for repaying their loan. Multiple discounts are permitted on a single loan.
And for students who want to go on to a graduate education while still owing undergraduate debt, there’s a 0.25% discount for borrowers who have or their cosigner has, existing Wells Fargo student loans.
While the base APR can sometimes be higher with Wells Fargo than with other lenders, the discounts on offer make them worth considering whether it’s for your first loan, or for student loan consolidation further down the line.
On the downside, Wells Fargo doesn’t score highly for customer service, with complaints ranging from unauthorized withdrawals from customers’ accounts, unfriendly and unhelpful customer representatives and delays in receiving back any overpaid amounts. However, a lot may change in the years between starting and completing your education.
If you’re in the lucky position of deciding between several college offers, do make sure you ask about any preferred lending partners, as Wells Fargo offers preferential rates to some schools, in addition to the already varying rates for community college, private and state universities.
Take advantage of as many discounts as you can to reduce your rate and the APR may then be lower than comparable lenders. Patchy customer service may put off some students, but the no-penalty early repayment element is definitely a welcome factor.