Considering U-fi for your next student loan? This company may be able to help you find the right low-cost lender, but are they the best option?
Here’s an in-depth review of their service to help you answer that question.
About U-fi Student Loans
Formed in 2015, U-fi is the result of a partnership between Nelnet – a student loan originator and servicer – and leading financial institutions and banks. The company connects borrowers with its lender partners, which offer a variety of student loan products.
Here’s more on U-fi’s products, features, costs, application process, and eligibility requirements. We’ll analyze the company’s services and summarize the pros and cons.
U-fi Student Loans Products
U-fi offers the following student loan products through its lender partners:
- Undergraduate loans
- Graduate loans
- Parent loans
- Residency loans
- Bar exam loans
U-fi Student Loans Features
As we mentioned, the company connects borrowers with low-cost student loan offerings from its trusted partners.
The exact terms and features of the loans will vary by lender. However, overall, they seem to offer competitive interest rates, discounts, quick online applications, and flexible repayment options.
Here are a few highlights from current lenders:
- You can earn money back. If you have a 3.0 or higher grade point average, one U-fi lender (Discover) offers a one-time 1% cash reward.
- Discover and Citizens One currently offer 0.25% interest rate discounts for automatic payment enrollment.
- Citizens One offers an additional 0.25% interest rate discount if a borrower or cosigner has an existing qualifying account with them.
- Payment deferment during school and for six months after graduation is offered by both Discover and Citizens One.
The website clearly presents the features and benefits of each lender’s loan product and makes it easy to apply with them.
The cost of borrowing from U-fi comes from the interest you will pay on the loan. U-fi’s lender partners offer competitive fixed and variable interest rate options. They also have a variety of discounts, incentives, and repayment plans.
The specific rate you qualify for will depend on the underwriting requirements of the lender you choose and your financial profile.
According to Ron Hancock, the Regional Director for U-Fi Student Loans, the interest rate is determined by factors such as the borrower or cosigner’s credit score and their repayment term. He says higher credit scores and shorter terms result in lower rates.
As for other costs, such as application, origination, prepayment, or disbursement fees, U-fi’s lender partners do not charge them.
Each of U-fi’s lender partners will have its own requirements. However, you will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or international student with a cosigner that is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Fairly strong financial profile (must meet credit and income requirements).
- Must be the age of the majority in your state.
- Pursue a qualifying program or degree at an eligible school.
- Be enrolled at least half-time.
- Must be making satisfactory academic progress.
If you don’t qualify alone, you can apply with a cosigner. For those who are not too excited about having someone else liable for their loan, don’t worry. Most lenders allow you to apply to release your cosigner after a certain period as long as you have made all of your payments on time.
How U-fi student loans work
If you want to get a loan from one of U-fi’s lender partners, here is what you need to do.
Visit the U-fi website, find the loan you want, and click “Get Started” in that box. In this example, we will select “Undergraduate loans.”
Review the lender partners available and click “Learn More” on the one you want. (In this example, we’ll choose “Discover”).
Review the loan offer, and click “Apply Now.”
U-fi will direct you to the lender partner’s website to complete the application process.
When you arrive, you complete the application with that lender.
U-fi review and summary
U-fi can be a helpful referral service for those in need of a low-cost private student loan solution. Its parent company, Nelnet, is an established name in the student loan industry. It services a large portion of federal loans in the U.S. However, it is not a direct lender. You can get the same rates and terms by contacting the lender directly. Another option is to compare the rates and terms of leading by using SuperMoney’s student loans review page.
While the loans U-fi recommends will probably not be as affordable as the federal loans Nelnet services, they can come in handy to fill a gap between school costs and what’s available via federal loans, grants, and scholarships.
The downside is that U-fi doesn’t have very many offerings from partner lenders. For example, it only shows two lenders for undergraduate student loans, two for graduate loans, and one for parent loans. Other platforms, such as LendKey, provide access to a wider selection of lenders.
While the offers are from industry-leading companies with attractive rates and terms, there aren’t many options. The shame is, there are many more competitive lenders that should be considered. If the loan selection grows over time, it will be an even more helpful resource.
If you would like to learn more about U-fi or browse their loan offerings, click here.
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.