PenFed Student Loan Refinancing Review

PenFed student loans are available to PenFed Credit Union members. Here's what you need to know if you're considering a PenFed student loan refinance.

PenFed student loans are available to PenFed credit union members. PenFed was established in 1935 and has an estimated 2 million members. While the credit union primarily caters to active-duty military personnel, there is no requirement that you have a military affiliation to qualify for a PenFed student loan or for a PenFed student loan refinance loan.

Here's what you need to know if you're considering a PenFed student loan refinance.

PenFed Student Loan Review: PenFed Student Loans at a Glance 

PenFed Student Loan Pros

  • High refinance loan limit: Borrowers can refinance up to $300,000 in student loan debt. Some competitors have lower caps on the amount of debt you are allowed to refinance. 
  • A Spouse Loan is available: PenFed is one of a very small number of refinance lenders to allow you to refinance student loans with a spouse. If you are married and you want to simplify the process of repaying your student loans, PenFed's Spouse Loan is a unique option.
  • Students can refinance Parent PLUS Loans into their own name: Some competitor lenders do not allow this option. 

PenFed Student Loan Cons 

  • Credit union membership is required: While there are certain eligibility limits, you can bypass the traditional membership requirements when applying for student loan refinancing. You still must submit a membership form as part of the underwriting process. 
  • Qualifying for a loan is challenging: You must have a solid credit history with a minimum credit score of 700 and income of at least $42,000 to apply without a co-signer. With a co-signer, your minimum income must be $25,000 and your credit score must be 670 or higher. These requirements are more stringent than those of many competitors. 
  • Unclear deferment or forbearance policy: While the lender indicates it will work with borrowers on a case-by-case basis, it doesn't have a standard forbearance policy or guarantee a minimum forbearance period will be available. 

PenFed Student Loan Review: Interest rates, fees and terms

PenFed Student Loan Reviews: Loan Options 

PenFed student loan options include the following:

  • PenFed student loan refinance loans
  • Undergraduate student loans
  • Graduate student loans

PenFed offers fixed-rate refinance loans starting at 2.89% APR as of Oct. 18, 2021.  Variable-rate loans are not an option with this lender. There are no application fees, origination fees or prepayment fees, and you can check your interest rate without a hard credit check. 

PenFed Student Loan Requirements 

Students interested in a PenFed student loan refinance loan will need to meet certain requirements, including the following:

  • Minimum credit score of 700 without a co-signer or 670 with a co-signer 
  • Minimum income of $42,000 without a co-signer or $25,000 with a co-signer
  • Maximum 35% debt-to-income ratio for borrowers with undergraduate debt and 40% for borrowers with graduate student loans
  • No bankruptcies within 10 years if qualifying without a co-signer
  • U.S. citizenship 
  • Attended a school eligible to receive federal financial aid

PenFed Student Loan Repayment Terms 

PenFed student loans come with the following repayment terms:

  • Five years
  • Eight years
  • 12 years
  • 15 years

PenFed Student Loan Repayment Options

PenFed does not offer deferment, and forbearance is available only on a case-by-case basis. Co-signer relief is available, but death or disability discharge is not offered by this lender. While PenFed allows autopayments, including for payments above the minimum required amount, there is no autopay discount. Most lenders offer the opportunity for interest rate savings if you set up autopay on your loans. 

Alternatives to a PenFed Student Loan 

Not sure if a PenFed student loan refinance is right for you? Reading PenFed student loan reviews won't be enough to help you make this choice. That's because there are many different private student loan refinance lenders out there, and each one offers different terms and rates. 

To make sure you get the best rate for your particular situation, you'll want to explore all of your loan options. Juno can help. Juno assembles groups of borrowers interested in student loan refinance loans. We negotiate on behalf of those groups, and trusted partner lenders compete for their business, offering competitive rates and special discounts. 

To find out more about how Juno can help you make student loan refinancing more affordable, join Juno today.

Christy Rakoczy Bieber
Written By
Christy Rakoczy Bieber

Christy Rakoczy Bieber is a full-time personal finance and legal writer. She is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and the University of Rochester. Christy was previously a college teacher with experience writing textbooks and serving as a subject matter expert.

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