U-fi From Nelnet Student Loans: 2021 Review

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Nelnet’s student loan business, U-fi From Nelnet, capitalizes on Nelnet’s 40 years of experience to offer competitive student loan products. While Nelnet itself primarily services loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education, U-fi From Nelnet is a lender that offers its own private student loans and refinancing loans — though refinancing loans are technically serviced through Nelnet Bank. While it doesn’t have the reputation and name recognition of other top-rated student loan lenders, U-fi From Nelnet still has low rates and an easy application process.

U-fi From Nelnet features

U-fi offers private student loans, plus student loan refinancing through Nelnet Bank. It boasts a simple application process and a robust catalogue of articles about student loans and paying for college, making it a good option for students entering college for the first time.

That said, its borrowing caps are relatively low, especially if you’re applying as an undergraduate. While many student loan lenders let you borrow up to the total cost of your education, U-fi sets the limit at $125,000 for undergraduates.

U-fi From Nelnet student loan snapshot

Loan types Undergraduate, graduate, MBA, law, health professions, refinancing
Loan amounts Private loans: $1,000 to $500,000 (depending on degree)
Refinancing loans: $5,000 to $500,000 (depending on degree)
Interest rates Private loans: Starting at 1.28% variable APR, Starting at 3.34% fixed APR (with autopay)
Refinancing loans: Starting at 1.95% variable APR, Starting at 2.48% fixed APR (with autopay)
Repayment terms Private loans: 5 to 15 years
Refinancing loans: 5 to 25 years
Grace period 6 months
Co-signer required? No

Pros and cons of U-fi From Nelnet student loans

U-fi student loans are flexible and can fund your undergraduate or graduate education. Here’s what you need to know before you apply.

Pros

  • Clear eligibility requirements: Unlike many lenders, U-fi is upfront about its eligibility requirements for student loans, including minimum credit score and income requirements. This makes it easier to determine if the lender is right for you.
  • Plenty of repayment options: Borrowers with private student loans can choose a term between five and 15 years, while borrowers refinancing loans can choose a term between five and 25 years.
  • Co-signer release: After 24 consecutive, on-time payments, you can release your co-signer if desired. This is a more generous time frame than many other lenders offer, and some lenders don’t have a co-signer release option at all.

Cons

  • Low loan caps for undergraduates: Undergraduate borrowers may borrow only up to $125,000. While this should be sufficient for many borrowers, most other private student loan lenders will let you borrow up to the full cost of attendance.
  • High credit score requirements: Borrowers with poor credit may find it harder to acquire a loan from U-fi. A credit score of at least 680 is required to qualify for a loan.
  • Limited availability: U-fi loans aren’t available in the state of Vermont.

U-fi From Nelnet student loan requirements

In order to apply for a private student loan with U-fi, you must:

  • Be enrolled at least half time at an eligible college or university.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, or have an eligible co-signer who meets the requirements.
  • Have an annual income of at least $36,000.
  • Have a credit score of at least 680.
  • Have no bankruptcies on file for the past seven years.
  • Have no previous defaults on a student loan.

In order to apply for a refinancing loan, you must:

  • Have graduated with at least a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Have a credit score of at least 680.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status with a U.S. Social Security number, or have an eligible co-signer who meets the requirements.
  • Have an annual income of at least $36,000.

Who is this loan good for?

U-fi’s student loans are good for borrowers with above-average credit who want flexibility when it comes to repayment terms and options, particularly because U-fi’s interest rates for good-credit borrowers are extremely low.

Interest rates and terms

U-fi has an autopay discount: You can save 0.25 percent by setting up automatic payments. The rates below include this discount.

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Private student loans Starting at 1.28% APR Starting at 3.34% APR
Student loan refinancing Starting at 1.95% APR Starting at 2.48% APR

Fees and penalties

U-fi does not charge an origination or prepayment fee. On its private loans, it does charge a late payment fee of 5 percent of the amount of the due payment, or $10, whichever amount is less. Refinancing loans through Nelnet Bank bump up that maximum to $25. You may also be assessed a $5 returned payment charge.

What are repayment terms and grace period for U-fi From Nelnet?

U-fi has fairly straightforward repayment terms on all loan types. For private student loans, the grace period is six months, and repayment terms are from five to 15 years. When you receive your loan, you have three repayment options:

  • Immediate repayment: Make full principal and interest payments as soon as the loan is disbursed.
  • Interest-only: Make interest-only payments while in school.
  • Deferment: Make no payments until after you graduate.

With refinancing loans from Nelnet Bank, you can choose a term of five, seven, 10, 15, 20 or 25 years.

Customer service

U-fi itself is not rated by the Better Business Bureau, but Nelnet has an A+ rating. The BBB’s score considers complaint history and how well the institution has responded to those complaints.

U-fi customer service can be reached at 844-307-3451 or by email at support@u-fi.com. You can also send a message through the lender’s website. If you have a question about student loan refinancing, Nelnet Bank can be reached at 800-466-4190, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT. Representatives are also available via email at loans@nelnetbank.com.

How to apply for a loan with U-fi From Nelnet

U-fi’s application process is completely online. In order to apply, you’ll need to gather information like your Social Security number, your estimated annual income, your school name, the amount you’d like to borrow and your credit score. After approval, you’ll be offered an interest rate.

Here’s what the process looks like when applying for a student loan through U-fi:

  1. Start the loan application process on U-fi’s website. You’ll start by clicking on the green “Get Started” button on the site.
  2. Create an account and add basic personal information.
  3. Add a co-signer (if applicable).
  4. Select your loan offer if approved.
  5. Wait for U-fi to send the loan application and information to your school for certification.

What to do if your application gets turned down

If you’re denied for a loan from U-fi, ask the lender why you were denied. You may need to apply with a co-signer in order to meet the eligibility requirements, but there’s also a chance that there was a mix-up or processing error.

Whatever the case may be, it’s still a good idea to shop around with a few other lenders to compare rates and terms. Lenders like Discover, College Ave and SoFi could offer you a better deal than U-fi, and most will let you check your rates without affecting your credit.

How Bankrate rates U-fi From Nelnet

Overall Score 3.9
Repayment Options 3.8
Affordability 4.0
Customer Experience 4.0

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.

Written by
Hanneh Bareham
Student loans reporter
Hanneh Bareham specializes in everything related to student loans and helping you finance your next educational endeavor. She aims to help others reach their collegiate and financial goals through making student loans easier to understand.