- You want to take over parent PLUS loans
- You and your spouse want to refinance your loans together
- You need a cosigner to be approved
Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) has made a name for itself in student loan refinancing by not only offering competitive rates, but providing some creative options not offered by every lender.
PenFed is willing to let graduates refinance PLUS loans taken by their parents, for example, and spouses can combine their loans when refinancing. And if you need a cosigner to qualify for student loan refinancing, PenFed will consider releasing them from their obligation after you’ve made just 12 payments.
In this post:
- PenFed interest rates and loan details
- PenFed student loan refinancing review
- How PenFed compares to other lenders
- How to refinance student loans with PenFed
PenFed interest rates and loan details
PenFed offers fixed-rate options to borrowers refinancing up to $300,000 in private or federal student loan debt, with a choice of repayment terms ranging from five to 15 years.
|Rates from (APR)||Fixed: Check with lender
|Loan amounts||$7,500 to $300,000|
|Loan terms||5, 8, 12, or 15 years|
|Loan types||Any private or federal student loan
(including parent PLUS loans)
|Min. credit score||670|
|Min. income||$42,000 to $50,000
(depending on loan amount)
|Residency||Must be U.S. citizen|
|Transfer parent loan to child?||Yes; spouses may also refinance their loans together|
|Cosigner release||Applications accepted after 12 months of consecutive on-time payments|
|Fees||No application, origination, or disbursement fees|
|Education||Bachelor’s degree or higher required|
All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available
PenFed student loan refinancing review
PenFed is a credit union that was founded to provide services to Department of Defense employees, as well as active-duty military servicemembers and veterans. But today, anyone can join PenFed by opening up a savings account with a $5 initial deposit.
PenFed offers student loan refinancing powered by Purefy Inc., a fintech firm specializing in student loan programs. Unlike some lenders who sell your loan to investors, PenFed provides the funding and collects the payments on your loan.
How to qualify
To qualify for PenFed student loan refinancing, you’ll need to have earned at least a bachelor’s degree, and be a U.S. citizen — legal residents aren’t eligible.
Whether you’ll qualify for PenFed refinancing also depends a lot on your credit score, income, and the amount of debt you want to refinance. To qualify on your own, you’ll need a credit score of at least 700, and annual income of no less than $42,000. If you want to refinance more than $150,000 in debt without a cosigner, you’ll need a credit score of at least 725, and at least $50,000 in income.
If you can’t qualify on your own, you may be approved if you apply with a cosigner. With a cosigner, you can qualify for PenFed refinancing with a credit score as low as 670 and minimum annual income of $25,000. Your cosigner has to have a credit score of 720 or higher and earn at least $42,000.
When you apply with a cosigner or refinance with your spouse, PenFed uses the higher credit score to calculate your interest rate.
When you refinance student loans with PenFed, you can choose to pay off your new loan over five, eight, 12, or 15 years. The lack of a 20-year option could make it hard for some borrowers with larger debt to refinance into a loan with affordable monthly payments.
Like most lenders who refinance student loans, PenFed doesn’t guarantee you’ll be granted deferment or forbearance if you have unexpected financial difficulties.
However, if you lose your job or become so ill you can’t work, PenFed says it would work with a borrower on a case-by-case basis.
How PenFed compares to other lenders
|Rates from (APR)||Fixed:|
Check with lender
|Loan repayment terms (Years)||5, 8, 12, 15||5 to 15 years||5, 7, 10, 15, 20|
|Loan amount||$7,500 to $300,000||$5,000 to $300,000||$10,000 to $500,000
(depending on level of education)
|Cosigner release?||Applications accepted after 12 months of consecutive on-time payments||Not offered for refinancing||Yes, applications accepted after 36 months of consecutive payments|
|Transfer parent loan to child?||Yes||No||No|
|Loan servicer||PenFed||University Account Service (UAS)||Firstmark Services|
|Best for||Refinancing student loans taken out by parent or spouse||Graduates seeking flexible loan terms||Refinancing large loan balances|
How to refinance student loans with PenFed
PenFed has proven itself to be a great option for many borrowers seeking to lower the interest rate on their student loans. But before refinancing student loans with any company, it’s wise to shop around.
Credible lets you compare rates from many of the best student loan refinancing companies, without affecting your credit score or putting your personal information at risk.
How PenFed can improve
PenFed offers some creative options for refinancing student loans at competitive rates. The credit union could improve by:
- Providing refinancing to borrowers who didn’t earn a degree
- Serving permanent U.S. residents who aren’t citizens
- Offering a 20-year repayment option to borrowers who want to lower their monthly payment