Navy Federal Credit Union offers private student loans and refinancing to members who are active-duty military members, veterans, retired military members, Department of Defense personnel, and their family members.

Navy Federal student loans are available through LendKey, its loan servicing partner. Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students alike and issued to borrowers without application or origination fees. You can also refinance your existing student loans, including parent PLUS loans.

Navy Federal student loans include options for fixed rate and variable rate graduate and undergraduate loans as well as refinancing parent, private, and student loans. Loans are only available for eligible schools that are listed on the first page of the application.

Loans aren’t available for trade schools, certificate programs, foreign institutions, for-profit colleges, students who are enrolled less than part-time, K-12 schools, or schools that don’t certify the cost of attendance.

You can apply with a cosigner to reduce your interest rate and total loan cost. However, you may be eligible for cosigner release after two years of on-time payments.

Interest Rates

Here’s a look at the loan rates you can expect to pay for Navy Federal student loans and refinancing as of the most recent loan data for Q4, 2023.

Private Student Loans

  • Variable APR starting at 7.72% with autopay
  • Fixed APR starting at 5.50% with autopay

Student and Parent Refinance Loans

  • Variable APR starting at 6.39% with autopay
  • Fixed APR starting at 4.85% with autopay

Repayment Options

You can get a repayment term of five to 10 years for private Navy Federal student loans and loan terms of five, 10, or 15 years when you refinance an existing loan. You don’t need to make full payments while you’re enrolled at least half-time in school, and then you get an additional grace period on payments for six months after you graduate.

However, you’ll still have to make small payments on the loans during this time. You can make interest-only payments until the end of your grace period. Another option is to make fixed payments of just $25/month on the loan.

Approval Time

It takes five minutes or less to complete the online application process and receive a preliminary decision. However, the loan will only be disbursed after the Navy Federal contacts the school to certify the cost of attendance, which can take four to six weeks. 

As a result, it is best to plan ahead and not to wait too long before the semester starts until you apply and get approved.  Once the loan is processed, the funds will be sent to the school for tuition and fees.

Grace Period

The grace period is the period of time after graduation when you don’t have to make payments on your Navy Federal student loans. So, if you’re enrolled in a qualified post-secondary education program, you don’t need to make full payments on the loan while you’re enrolled in school, nor do you have to make payments until six months after leaving or graduating.

Repayment Assistance Programs

Navy Federal only offers private student loans, which means they don’t come with the benefits you’ll usually get with federal student loans. Private student loans don’t qualify for repayment assistance programs like debt forbearance, loan deferment, income-driven repayment plans, or loan forgiveness.

Whether you’re borrowing a new loan or refinancing your existing loan with Navy Federal, you’ll have two repayment options before full payments start: fixed payments of $25/month or interest-only payments, as we’ve listed before.

Navy Federal student loans are designed to bridge the gap between the amount of federal loans, scholarships, and grants a student has available and the cost of attending school. There are many benefits of considering a private student loan from Navy Federal, as they’re listed below:

  • You can refinance your existing student loans or borrow a new loan to pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree at a competitive rate.
  • You can choose between fixed or variable interest rates.  
  • You may qualify for a lower interest rate if you apply with a cosigner.
  • Co-signer release is possible after two years of on-time payments.
  • There is no prepayment penalty, application fee, or origination fee.
  • Automatic payment discounts are available.
  • Borrowers have access to the career assistance program.

Navy Federal student loans can be used to pay for an undergraduate degree or any kind of graduate school. Loan amounts are available up to the school-certified cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, computers, books, housing, and meals. However, you can’t borrow a loan if you plan to attend a trade school, a for-profit private school/college, or a certificate program.

You can also refinance your federal or private student loans or combine multiple student loans into a single loan with one monthly payment. You can also refinance private parent loans and federal Parent PLUS loans to save on interest.

You’ll need to meet underwriting and credit check requirements to be eligible for a Navy Federal student loan. However, the credit union doesn’t specify minimum credit score requirements on its website.

Here are additional requirements you’ll need to meet to be eligible:

  • You must be a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union
  • You must be a legal adult in your state of residence
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • You must be a graduate or current student of an eligible school

How To Apply for Navy Federal Student Loans

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Navy Federal student loan:

  1. Check the eligibility requirements we’ve listed above to determine that you qualify.
  2. Gather the relevant documents and information, such as your Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification number (your ITIN), an active email address, phone number, permanent address, and basic information about your academic standing.
  3. Fill out the application form online.
  4. Add a co-signer to your application to lower your interest rate and improve your chances of approval.
  5. You’ll be required to provide final documentation to verify your identity, the tuition, and your income before the loan is approved.
  6. You’ll receive an agreement after loan approval. Sign the agreement to finalize your loan.

Navy Federal student loans and refinancing options are worth considering due to fewer fees and competitive interest rates. If you need funds to bridge the gap between the cost of education and federal loans, this may be a good option with a lower cost of borrowing.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to make interest-only or small loan payments even while you’re enrolled in school and through the grace period since Navy Federal doesn’t offer full deferment. This may be difficult for those who don’t yet have a source of income. Consider other loan options if you want full deferment or repayment assistance.

“Private student loans like those offered by Navy Fed originate through private organizations such banks, credit unions, and state-based or state-affiliated organizations,” explains Brad Reichert, financial expert and founder and managing director of Reichert Asset Management LLC.  

“These loans have terms and conditions that are set by the lender, and although they are more flexible in their terms and qualifications for lending, they are generally more expensive than federal student loans,” Reichert shares.