Navy Federal Credit Union Student Loans Review

Offering private student loans for military members and their families

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Navy Federal Credit Union

 Navy Federal Credit Union

Our Take

Military service members and their families who need to borrow money for college can take advantage of Navy Federal Credit Union student loans and borrow up to $120,000 for undergraduate degrees. Navy Federal Credit Union offers competitive rates and doesn’t charge prepayment penalties, but credit union membership is required.

  • Key Takeaways
  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Key Takeaways
  • You must be a member of Navy Federal Credit Union to qualify for a student loan
  • Navy Federal Credit Union offers undergraduate and graduate school loans, as well as student loan refinancing
  • The lender only has one loan term, and you can choose between fixed payments or interest-only payments while in school
  • Cosigners may be eligible for release after the primary borrower has made 24 consecutive, on-time monthly payments
  • Student loans are serviced by LendKey
Pros & Cons
What We Like
  • Both fixed and variable rate loans available

  • No prepayment penalty

  • Co-signer release available after just 24 months

What We Don't Like
  • Credit union membership required

  • Not all schools qualify as eligible institutions

  • Only one repayment term available

  • Payments required while in school

Company Overview
  • Year Founded 1933
  • Official Website
  • Loans Offered Undergraduate, Graduate, Refinance
  • Customer Service By Phone: 1-877-304-9302, M-F, 8 am - 8pm ET

Founded in 1933, Navy Federal Credit Union has more than 11 million members nationwide. Serving the military community, it offers a wide range of financial products including checking and savings accounts, mortgages, and private student loans. 

If you’ve exhausted all of your federal financial aid options and need additional financing for school, a student loan from Navy Federal Credit Union can help fill the gap. The lender offers fixed and variable rate loans, and doesn’t charge origination or application fees. Here’s all you need to know about Navy Federal Credit Union student loans.

Pros Explained

  • Both fixed and variable rate loans available: While some lenders only have fixed-rate loans, Navy Federal Credit Union offers variable rate loans too. As a borrower, you can choose a loan type that works best for your needs. For example, some borrowers prefer variable rate loans if they plan to aggressively repay their debt. 
  • No prepayment penalty: The lender doesn’t charge a prepayment penalty, so you can pay off your loan early without worrying about added fees. 
  • Co-signer release possible after just 24 months: Not all lenders allow you to remove the co-signer from a loan, and others require years of payments before you can apply for a cosigner release. You can apply for a co-signer release after making 24 consecutive monthly payments on time. 

Cons Explained

  • Credit union membership required: To qualify for a loan from Navy Federal Credit Union, you must be a member of the credit union. Membership is limited to military service members, veterans, retirees, reservists, ROTC, Delayed Entry Program members, Officer Candidates, Department of Defense civilians, and military family members. 
  • Not all schools qualify as eligible institutions: Your school must be on the lender’s list of eligible institutions to qualify for a loan.
  • Only one repayment term available: Navy Federal Credit Union only offers a 10-year term for undergraduate and graduate student loans, so it doesn’t have the flexibility that other lenders have. 
  • Payments required while in school: You can’t defer making payments until after graduation. You have to make at least partial payments while in school. You can make interest-only payments or $25 payments while enrolled. 

Navy Federal Credit Union Student Loans Available

Navy Federal partners with LendKey to issue student loans to U.S. citizens and permanent residents enrolled at eligible institutions. Loans are available for associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees. 

To qualify for a loan, borrowers must be members of the credit union, or qualify for membership and join the credit union when they apply for a loan online. 

Undergraduate Student Loans

For students going to school for their associate or bachelor’s degree, you can borrow up to $120,000 for your education expenses. You need to be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school and can apply for a loan to cover the cost of one semester or the entire academic year. 

Graduate Student Loans

If you’re pursuing a master’s degree, you can borrow up to $160,000. The lender’s graduate school loans have the same interest rates and repayment options as its undergraduate loans.

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Loans
Fixed Rates 4.99% - 12.84%
Variable Rates 3.16% - 9.48%
Loan Amounts $2,000 - $120,000 (undergraduate) $2,000 - $160,000 (graduate)
Loan Terms 10 years
Lowest rate includes 0.25% automatic payment discount

Loan Eligibility

To qualify for a student loan, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be a Navy Federal Credit Union member or become a member during the online application process
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Enrolled at least half-time at an accredited degree-granting undergraduate or graduate program at an eligible non-profit college or university
  • Earn at least $15,000 per year or more and meet credit standards to avoid having a cosigner

While a co-signer isn’t required, Navy Federal strongly recommends that undergraduate students add one to their application to increase their chances of qualifying.

Is Loan Prequalification Available?

Unfortunately, Navy Federal doesn’t have a loan prequalification tool. The only way to find out if you’ll qualify for a loan and see what rate you qualify for is to submit a loan application and go through a credit check, which can lower your credit score temporarily. 

Adding a cosigner to your loan application can increase your chances of qualifying for a loan. Nine out of 10 Navy Federal Credit Union student loan borrowers have a cosigner.

Loan Fees

Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t charge application or origination fees and if you choose to pay off your student loan early, you won't have to pay a prepayment penalty. 

However, late payment fees and returned payment fees may apply.

Loan Discounts

If you sign up for automatic payments, you get a 0.25% interest rate discount. 

Repayment Options

Navy Federal student loans all have 10-year terms. While in school, you are required to make payments, but you have two repayment options: 

  • Fixed payments: While you are in school and for six months after graduation, you’ll pay $25 per month toward your loans. 
  • Interest-only payments: You pay only the interest that accrues on the loan each month while you’re in school and during the six months after you graduate. 

Six months after you graduate, you’ll begin making principal and interest payments. 

Rewards and Benefits

Navy Federal doesn’t have a referral program. But the credit union does have a career assistance program for its members. You can access its online job search training system and resources, which include online tools and exercises, interview tips, and a job search dashboard. 

Navy Federal Credit Union has a career assistance program for members where you can access job search tips, interview tools, and other resources.

Are Co-signers Required?

While Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t require applicants to have a co-signer, most borrowers will need one to qualify for a loan. Adding a co-signer to your application will increase your chances of getting a loan and qualifying for a lower interest rate. 

Co-signers may be eligible for co-signer release after you’ve made 24 consecutive monthly principal and interest payments on time. 

Nine out of 10 student borrowers have a co-signer, according to Navy Federal.

Forbearance and Loan Discharge Options

Navy Federal does not list forbearance or discharge information in its loan materials or application. If you have trouble with your payments, you should contact your loan servicer—LendKey—right away. In some cases, you may be able to postpone your payments temporarily.

Length of Time for Loan Approval and Disbursement

While the application is quick to complete online, Navy Federal recommends that applicants apply for a loan well in advance. The approval and disbursement process can take several weeks to complete depending on your school, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. 

Is Student Loan Refinancing Available?

Refinancing for undergraduate and graduate student loans is available. Variable and fixed-rate loans, and five, 10, and 15-year loan terms are offered.

Customer Service

Student loans are serviced by LendKey. LendKey is not included in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s latest Student Loan Ombudsman Report and it has a 4.3 TrustScore on TrustPilot—five is the highest—with over 300 customer reviews.

Customer support is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. EST. You can reach LendKey’s customer service by phone or email. 

  • Phone: 877-304-9302
  • Email:

Applying for a Navy Federal Credit Union Student Loan

Before applying for a private student loan from Navy Federal Credit Union or another lender, make sure you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and use any federal financial aid you’re eligible to receive first. 

Once you reach the federal borrowing limits, you can proceed with your loan application. You’ll need the following information: 

  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Current address
  • Monthly income
  • Housing costs
  • Employer information
Final Verdict

While Navy Federal Credit Union may be a good fit for some borrowers, its student loans are only available to credit union members. If you’re not a current or former military service member (of any branch) or an immediate family member of a service member, you’re ineligible for a Navy Federal Credit Union student loan and will have to work with another lender.


Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of student loan lenders. We collected over 45 data points across more than 15 lenders—including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms—to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their education needs.

Article Sources
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  1. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "2021 Annual Report of the CFPB Private Education Loan Ombudsman."

  2. TrustPilot. "LendKey."