If you’re a student taking on debt for college, then you need to be smart about managing your debt load, keeping your interest down, and keeping your options open.
As a graduate, you need to find ways to escape student loan debt as fast as possible. In either case, you may be a good candidate for a student loan or a student loan refinancing through Navy Federal Credit Union.
But before you apply for new student loan debt, you should know a little more about the student loan options from Navy Federal Credit Union. We cover their terms, rates, features, and benefits in our full NFCU student loans review below.
See how NFCU compares to the best places to refinance student loans.
- Must be an NFCU member to apply for their student loans
- LendKey is the loan service for NFCU student loans
- Career Assistance Program offered to all borrowers
Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) Student Loans Details
NFCU Private Student Loans
NFCU Student Loan Refinancing
Min Loan Amount
Private Student Loans: $2,000
Student Loan Refinancing: $7,500
Max Loan Amount
Private Student Loans: $120,000
Student Loan Refinancing: $175,000
Starting at 1.61%
Starting at 2.99%
Private Student Loans: 10 years
What Is Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU)?
Navy Federal Credit Union (NCFU) has been around since the end of the Great Depression. In 1933, the credit union was founded by seven Navy employees that wanted to help their co-workers meet their financial goals. To that end, Navy Federal has helped military members, veterans, Department of Defense employees, and their families access affordable rates across the board.
To obtain a Navy Federal Credit Union student loan, you must become a member of NFCU. You will be able to join if you are an Active Duty member of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, or Space Force. Additionally, you may qualify if you are a DoD Officer Candidate, DoD reservist, veteran, retiree, or annuitant. Family members may also join.
If you can join Navy Federal, you will be allowed to apply for a student loan through them. Although the credit union has been around for decades, its student loan offerings are relatively new, coming on the market in 2015. NFCU is working with LendKey to provide a streamlined student loan lending experience.
The credit union has a reputation for creating an affordable experience. Plus, most members seem to enjoy working with this long-standing brand.
What Does It Offer?
Navy Federal Credit Union offers private student loans and student loan refinancing for graduates and parents. While parent refinancing is allowed, it's important to note that students are not able to transfer parent loans into their own names with NFCU.
Ready to find out more about NFCU student loans? Here’s what you’ll need to know.
Terms And Rates
Anytime you take out a loan, it's critical to seek out the lowest possible interest rate. Navy Federal offers reasonably low-interest rates for its members. You’ll even get a 0.25% interest rate discount if you sign up for automatic payments.
You can choose to go with a variable or fixed APR. Both offer the opportunity to borrow at a relatively low cost. Here are the current rates as of as of September 2023:
Private Student Loans
Student Loan Refinancing
Starting at 7.49%
Starting at 6.62%
Starting at 5.50%
Starting at 4.40%
NFCU's private student loans only offer one loan term option: 10 years. Its refinance loans, however, are a bit more flexible. Student loan refinancing borrowers can choose from three loan terms: 5 years, 10 years, or 15 years.
Loan amounts for in-school student loans range from $2,000 to an $120,000 aggregate maximum. Refinance borrowers, meanwhile, can borrow from $7,500 to $175,000.
Cosigner Release Program
A cosigner can help you obtain a loan with the most attractive rates. Essentially, a cosigner shows the lender that you are trustworthy enough for someone else to put their credit score and financial future on the line by vouching for you.
If you aren’t able to keep up with the payments, then the co-signer will be financially responsible. Obtaining a obtain with a cosigner can be a good option. But many students seek to release their co-signer from this financial obligation.
Luckily, Navy Federal is happy to accommodate this request for a cosigner release after 24 consecutive on-time payments.
In-School Payment Options
Unlike many top private student loan lenders, NFCU doesn't offer full deferment while students are enrolled in school. However, it does offer two in-school payment options that don't require full payment of principal and interest: $25 fixed monthly payments or interest-only payments.
Career Assistance Program
As you hunt for a job after graduation, NFCU will be there to help with its Career Assistance Program. The program opens the door to online job search training, interviewing tips, a resume builder, and a job tracking dashboard.
Every little bit helps when you are trying to land a job that meets all of your criteria. This free service is a great perk when you work with Navy Federal for your student loans.
Are There Any Fees?
You won’t encounter any application fees, origination fees, or prepayment fees with NFCU. However, there is a pretty hefty late fee. It's $20 for all borrowers except Wisconsin residents, who are charged the lesser of 5% or $10.
Beyond that, Navy Federal doesn’t publish too much information about its fees regarding student loans. So there may be more fees lurking. Read your loan agreement before signing to ensure there are no fees that you are uncomfortable with.
What Borrower Protections Are Available?
Navy Federal does offer borrowers a six-month grace period after graduation before payments are due. But the credit union may or may not be willing to provide you a helping hand through deferment or forbearance options down the line.
If your financial situation changes and you need a break on your payments, you can request a postponement. However, the loan servicer, LendKey, will review these requests on a case-by-case basis. Without any clear guidelines on which situations may qualify for deferment or forbearance, it's impossible to know if your case will qualify.
With this lack of information, it may feel like taking a shot in the dark when working with Navy Federal. If all goes according to plan, the murky details on deferment and forbearance options won’t matter too much. But if you run into financial issues along the way, then these missing details could present a major problem.
How Do NFCU Student Loans Compare?
First things first, Navy Federal does offer useful student loan products at affordable rates. However, the credit union is not available for everyone to join. With that, Navy Federal’s student loans aren’t the right choice for everyone.
Even if you qualify for NFCU student loans, I recommend checking out our other favorite student loan lenders as several of them are more transparent about their forbearance and deferment options. Here's a quick look at how Navy Federal Credit Union compares:
Starting at 6.62%
5.49% - 10.24%
5.28% - 8.99%
Starting at 4.40%
4.96% - 10.24%
5.08% - 8.54%
Soonest Cosigner Release Eligibility
Varies By Financing Partner Chosen
No Defined Program
Varies By Financing Partner Chosen
Up to $500
Up to $1,100
How Do I Apply?
If you want to move forward, the first step is to become a Navy Federal Credit Union member. The process shouldn’t take too long. It took me around 10 minutes back when I joined Navy Federal.
Once you are an official member of the credit union, you can apply online. It should take less than 15 minutes to fill out some basic information about yourself.
At that point, you’ll receive a preliminary decision. If it is good news, then you will need to submit some additional documentation. This will include information about your school’s cost of attendance. If you are approved, it will take a few weeks for the school to receive the funds.
Importantly, you can apply for a full year of funding or apply each semester.
Is It Safe And Secure?
NFCU student loans are serviced by LendKey. Both institutions implement bank-level security to protect your information. With that, you should feel safe working with NFCU to tackle your student loans.
How Do I Contact Navy Federal Credit Union?
Need to contact Navy Federal Credit Union regarding student loans? You can call to speak with a specialist between 8 AM and 8 PM Monday through Friday at 1-877-304-9302. Or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based on its Trustpilot rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, Navy Federal seems to offer excellent customer support. Personally, I am a member of Navy Federal and have found their support to be helpful.
Is It Worth It?
If you’re in the market for loan consolidation, NFCU is a worthy contender for student loan refinancing. However, you should be careful about consolidating federal student loans. Federal student loans offer protections that private loans don’t. You need to feel confident about your ability to repay before you choose to consolidate.
As a student, you should try to avoid taking on private student loan debt if possible. Private debt generally indicates that your chosen school is too expensive for you. However, if you need to take it on to finish your degree, NFCU offers solid rates and excellent terms for students.
NFCU Student Loans Features
Min Loan Amount
Max Loan Amount
Pre-Qualified Rates (Soft Credit Check)
Late Payment Fee
Wisconsin residents: 5% of the amount due or $10 (whichever is less)
Everyone else: $20
Can be requested after 24 months of consecutive, on-time monthly payments
Yes, 6 months
Title-IV accredited schools
Enrollment Status (For Student Loans)
Graduation Requirement (For Refinancing)
Yes, associate degree or higher
Customer Service Phone Number
Customer Service Hours
Mon - Fri, 8 AM - 8 PM (ET)
NFCU Student Loans Review
Rates and Fees
Products and Services
The Navy Federal Credit Union is a solid private student loan option for borrowers with good credit who will be able to take advantage of all the benefits.
- No origination or application fees
- Competitive interest rates
- Cosigner release as soon as 24 months
- Reputation for strong customer service
- Must be a member of Navy Federal Credit Union
- No clear forbearance or deferment programs
- Parent loans can’t be transferred to children
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared toward anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
Editor: Clint Proctor Reviewed by: Claire Tak