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Updated on Friday, September 4, 2015
Choosing to refinance your student loans is an important decision. A decision that will impact your finances for years to come, and making the wrong decision could cost you.
U-fi Student Loans has more than three decades servicing student loans. It provides both loans to students in school as well as refinance options for graduates. There are easy applications to get you started with variable student loan refinances rates as low as 2.79%. It has no fees for origination, disbursement, or prepayment, as well as a program that gives you cash back for on time payments.
U-fi Student Incentives
U-fi offers several incentives for students and that have good grades and graduates for timely payments:
Good Grades Reward: Receive up to 1.5% cash back on each loan when you submit proof of your good grades within 180 days of the end of the academic period that you used the funds to finance. Good grades are considered a 3.0 out of a 4.0 Grade Point Average Scale (or equivalent). The good grades rewards are valid for Undergraduate, Graduate, MBA, Law, and Health Professional Loans only.
On-Time Payments Reward: When you make 12 monthly on-time payments consecutively, a cash back reward of 1.5% is earned on the current loan balance at the time you met the requirements for the reward. This reward is only available for refinanced loans.
The total limit for all cash back rewards per person is $500 per calendar year.
How To Apply
In order to apply on your own, you must: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
- Be attending (or have attended) at least half time at an eligible school
- Borrow a minimum of $1,000
- Not exceed the maximum student debt limits
- Have an annual income of at least $12,000
If you are applying with a cosigner, then some of the restrictions are lifted and you must:
- Be at least 17
- Be attending (or have attended) an eligible schoolat least half time
- Borrow a minimum of $1,000
- Not exceed the maximum student loan debt limits
Your co-signer must:
- Be a US Citizen or permanent resident with a valid Social Security number and be residing within the US
- Be of the legal age of majority in their state or territory
- Have an annual income of at least $12,000
In order to apply, you will need your name, address, phone number, email address, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license or government ID number, employer’s name, address and phone number (if applicable), your gross annual income, the name and address of the school you wish to attend or are currently attending, and your major.
You will also need you grade level and expected graduation date (if applying for first time student loans), the loan amount you wish to request, the school enrollment period for the loan (if applicable), and a personal reference name, address, and phone number.
The Fine Print
Borrowers applying for a loan by themselves from U-fi must have a fairly strong credit history. However, the credit restrictions are loosened when applying with a cosigner.
Interest rates vary based on creditworthiness, repayment options, repayment term, and the type of loan you are applying for:
- Variable interest rates range from 3.60% to 7.98%
- Fixed interest rates range from 4.00% to 8.34%.
In order to obtain financing from U-fi, you must have attended an eligible school. To find out if your school is eligible, you can search here.
If you choose to take out student loan with U-fi while in school, you have 3 options for repayment:
- Immediate Repayment: start making principal and interest payments while in school
- Interest-Only Repayment: Make interest payments while in school and during the first 6 months after you leave school, or when you fall below half-time enrollment
- Deferred Repayment: Make no payments while you’re in school and during your 6 month grace period after you leave school, or when you fall below half-time enrollment
In addition to choosing your repayment options, you can choose your repayment terms, either 5 years, 10 years, or 15 years.
Even though you might be required to apply with a cosigner, you can request that the cosigner be released after the borrower makes 24 consecutive, on time payments.
The maximum loan amount that U-fi can issue depends upon the degree program you are enrolled in, as well as the total amount of debt you have. It refers to the total debt you have as the Aggregate Student Loan Limits, and your total debt, including any loan through U-fi, cannot exceed that amount. These limits are as follows, and are the same for both new loans and refinance loans:
- $125,000 for undergraduate degrees
- $150,000 for graduate or doctorate degrees
- $175,000 for MBA or graduate law degree
- $225,000 for graduate Health Professions degree
As with any student loan, U-fi students loans have pros and cons that you need to carefully consider.
- 25% APR discount for automatic payments
- APRs as low as 3.60%
- Undergraduate, graduate, and refinance loans
- Can borrow as little as $1,000, 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, 10, or 15 years
- Maximum undergraduate loan amount of $125,000
- Maximum graduate loan amount of $150,000 to $225,000 (depending upon program)
- Maximum APR of 7.98%
- You must attend an eligible school
- Your debt cannot exceed the aggregate student loan limits for your degree program
How It Stacks Up Against The Competition
SoFi offers terms of up to 20 years with fixed rates ranging from 2.99% to 6.09% and variable interest rates ranging from 2.25% to 6.09% with autopay. There is no maximum loan amount, and no origination fee.
Earnest also offers student loan terms of up to 20 years, with fixed APRs ranging from 2.98% to 5.79%. Earnest also has no maximum student loan amount and applying only requires a soft credit pull. Variable rates range from 1.99% – 5.64%.
As the cost of college tuition rises, consider your options for student loans carefully. U-fi is an excellent option if you plan to have good grades, enroll in automatic payments, and if you or your cosigner has good credit. With its lowest interest rate for student loans refinance sitting at 3.60%, U-fi beats out almost every other student loan option. However, its highest APR is 7.98%, which is much higher than other lenders such as SoFi or Earnest.
Still, U-fi is an option worth considering for its cash back rewards, APRs, and flexibility of repayments terms and options, and refinancing your student loans to save even 1% could save you thousands of dollars in interest over the repayment period.