U-fi Refinance and Consolidation Review
U-fi Student Loans Company entered the loan industry in 2015, making it a competitive startup company formed out of an interesting partnership between Union Band and Trust company and NelNet.
Nelnet has been around since 1978, and they service around one-third of all Federal subsidized loans in the Country. They also own at least 50 other subsidiaries in the United States and Canada. The amount of student loans they have under their belt is massive, in the tens of billions of dollars.
Union Bank and Trust, on the other hand, is a smaller company, based in Lincoln, Nebraska. They have over 30 branches in the U.S., most of them in Nebraska. They’ve been around since 1917, and they have over $2.6 billion in loans.
According to some reports, U-fi has been doing a great job, even though they’ve been around for only a year. They are already doing a great job with their customer service and benefits, and they have a ton of online education and calculators to help current and potential borrowers out.
What Does U-fi Offer?
They provide loans for those students still in school and have plenty of refinance options for graduates.
U-fi offers regular student loan refinancing and consolidation. That means you’ll be able to take all of your current loans and wrap them into a single loan. You could get a lower interest rate, and you’ll definitely get longer payment terms.
Along with refinancing other private student loans, you can also refinance your federal loans with them. Just make sure you understand that when you refinance your federal loans, you could end up losing a bunch of benefits that come with those loans.
U-fi offers variable and fixed interest rates. Their variable rates range from 4.45% to 8.08%, for the time being. Their fixed rates are higher, ranging from 5.38% to 9.41%. Keep in mind, the only way to get U-fi’s lowest rates, you need to sign up for automatic payments, have a cosigner, and agree to a five year repayment plan. If you opt for their variable rate, the maximum rate U-fi can charge you is 16%.
On the bright side, if you decide to go with U-fi, you’ll be able to release the cosigner after 24 consecutive, on-time payments. You’ll also need to be current on your loan when you request the release.
As for their repayment terms, U-fi also offers some decent options as well. The payment terms range from 5 to 25 years, and they go up in increments of 5 years. If you want the 20 or 25 year terms, you’ll need to have at least $25,000 in loans. On top of that, to get the 25 year repayment term, you’ll also need to agree to a variable interest rate.
They also offer a one-time cash-back reward of up to $500 if you make your initial 12 payments on time.
What are the Benefits of Choosing U-fi?
U-fi offers several incentives for students and that have good grades and graduates for timely payments:
- Good Grades Reward: Students can receive up to 1.5% cash back on each loan by submitting proof of good grades within 180 days of the end of the current academic period in which you used the funds to finance. Students need to show between a 3.0 to 4.0 Grade Point Average. The good grades reward are available for Undergraduate, Graduate, MBA, Law, and Health Professional Loans only.
- On-Time Payments Reward: make 12 monthly on-time payments consecutively, and you will earn cash back reward of 1.5% is on the current loan balance at the time you met the requirements for the reward. This reward is only available for refinanced loans. The maximum award is $500 per person, per calendar year.
- Must have strong credit history
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident with a Social Security number and be residing in the US
- Be the legal age of majority. In most states this is 18, but in Alabama it is 19, and in Mississippi or Puerto Rico the age of majority is 21
- Not exceed the maximum student debt limits
- Have an annual income of at least $24,000
The basic requirements to qualify for a loan with U-fi are standard across the country. The borrower needs to be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident, and have a valid social security number. You also can’t live in Vermont. As for the age requirement, you just need to 18 in most states. The exceptions are Alabama, which is 19, and Mississippi which is 21.
For refinancing, you also can’t be attending school on a half-time, or more, basis. Additionally, you’ll need to be in your grace period or actual repayment when you apply. Finally, you need to have a minimum of $5,000 in loans, make an annual income of at least $24,000, and your loan amount can’t go over their loan limits. Here are the loan limits:
· $125,000 for undergraduate loans
· $150,000 for graduate or doctorate degrees
· $175,000 for an MBA or law degree
· $225,000 for a graduate health professional degree
Their requirements for borrowers applying with a cosigner are less strict. You only need to be 17, you can’t be attending school, you need at least $5,000 in debt, you can’t go over the debt limits, and you can’t live in Vermont. Your cosigner needs to be the legal age of majority, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and make at least $24,000 a year.
Other than those basic requirements, to get the best rates, you’ll want to have a decent credit score, and a steady income.
How to Apply
Applying is simple enough, and it can all be done online. Just to their website and click on the “apply now” button. You’ll register for an account, and then you’ll need to verify your email.
After you verify your email, you’ll need to fill out your basic information. You’ll need to put in your first and last name, address, phone number, social security number, date of birth, and some kind of identification that shows your current legal status in the U.S.
Next, you’ll need to decide whether you want to receive communications from U-Fi in the mail or online.
Then, you’ll get to read through some disclosures. Once you do this, you’ll get to do the same thing for your cosigner. Then, you fill out the application and submit it.
- 0.25% APR discount for automatic payments
- APRs as low as 4.45%
- Undergraduate, graduate, and refinance loans
- Can borrow as little as $5,000, or as much as the aggregate student loan limits for your degree program
- Cash back incentives up to $500 per calendar year
- No origination, disbursement, or prepayment fees
- Cosigner release after 24 consecutive on time payments
- Flexible repayment options
- Terms of 5 to 25 years
- Maximum undergraduate loan amount of $125,000
- Maximum graduate loan amount of $125,000 to $225,000 (depending upon program)
- Maximum APR of 16%
- You must attend or have attended an eligible school
- Your debt cannot exceed the aggregate student loan limits for your degree program
- Those borrowers with a solid credit history, unless a reliable cosigner is available.
- U-fi lowest rates are significantly higher that other student loans refinance lenders. Their rates begin above 4%, but if you are extremely qualified with a FICO at around +830, or you can get a co-signer, you should apply to multiple lenders. U-fi Student Loan Refinance is an excellent choice for those borrowers who are absolutely creditworthy.
If you already have a cosigner in mind, U-fi will be a good option for you. I could go on all day about the benefits of having a good cosigner with you on the loan. You’ll get better rates, better payment terms, and you can start building up your credit. Unfortunately, your cosigner will also know some of your personal financial situation. Ultimately, the choice is yours.
The best thing U-fi has going for it right now is its customer service. Having good customer interactions is a big deal for a lot of people.
However, everything you can get at U-fi, you can get with another loan company, like Earnest or SoFi. U-fi has higher interest rates, and I couldn’t find anything on their website, or in their disclosures, about getting forbearance if you run into tough financial times. On top of that, you’ll lose the ability to get forbearance if you refinance out of your federal student loans.
No, if you want to refinance, and you have the choice between U-fi and keeping your federal loans, stick with the loans. You have a lot more benefits, and you will save a bunch of money in the long run as well, since your interest rate will probably be the same, and you won’t have to pay a finance charge to refinance.