Wells Fargo Student Loans: 2020 Review

Wells Fargo logo

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for

Wells Fargo offers student loans for a number of different undergraduate and graduate programs. It’s a particularly good option for people who have an existing relationship with the bank; if you or your co-signer already has a Wells Fargo student loan or checking account, you can get a discount of up to 0.5 percent.

However, brand-new borrowers will have to look elsewhere; as of July 1, 2020, Wells Fargo only accepts applications from students with an existing balance on a Wells Fargo student loan.

Wells Fargo features

Wells Fargo’s student loans have interest rates that are slightly higher than average among competitors. However, Wells Fargo’s autopay and relationship discounts, plus no fees, can help lower that cost.

Wells Fargo makes it accessible to apply online or in person. The bank maintains about 5,300 retail branches across the country, which is good if you prefer to talk through your options or ask questions in person.

The bank offers undergraduate, graduate, medical school, bar exam, parent and consolidation loans.

Get pre-qualified

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

Wells Fargo student loan snapshot

Loan types
Undergraduate, graduate, medical, parent, career and community college, consolidation, health professionals, bar exam
Loan amounts
Private loans: $1,000 to $250,000
Consolidation loans: Starting at $1,000
Interest rates
Private loans: 2.68% to 10.49% variable APR, 4.53% to 12.99% fixed APR (with autopay)
Consolidation loans: 3.25% to 9.94% variable APR, 4.49% to 10.99% APR (with autopay)
Repayment terms
Private loans: Up to 15 years
Consolidation loans: 5 to 20 years
Grace period
6 months
Co-signer required?
No

Pros and cons of Wells Fargo student loans

If you’re looking to apply for a student loan with Wells Fargo, it’s important that you’re aware of the pros and the cons. Here are a few to consider.

Pros

  • Many discounts and benefits: If you already have a banking relationship with Wells Fargo, you could qualify for discounts and benefits. If you have a prior student loan with the company, you may be eligible for a 0.25 percent discount, and if you have a checking account, you could score up to 0.5 percent off.
  • In-person banking: Many student loan lenders operate entirely online, but sometimes it’s useful to have access to a neighborhood branch for more detailed questions. Wells Fargo’s many branch locations can help if you prefer in-person service.
  • No fees: Wells Fargo doesn’t charge origination, application, prepayment or late fees.

Cons

  • No prequalification: There’s no option for prequalification, meaning you’ll have to undergo a hard credit inquiry when applying for a loan.
  • Previous loan required: Only borrowers who have an existing balance on a Wells Fargo student loan are eligible to apply for a new student loan with the lender.

Wells Fargo student loan requirements

In order to apply for a loan with Wells Fargo, students must:

  • Have an outstanding balance on a previous Wells Fargo Private Student Loan.
  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at an eligible school and seeking a degree, certification or license.
  • Be U.S. citizen, U.S. national, permanent resident alien or international student who is a temporary resident alien with a U.S. address.
  • Meet all credit requirements to qualify for a loan or have a qualified co-signer.

Who is this loan good for?

Wells Fargo is a solid option for existing Wells Fargo customers. Borrowers with existing accounts at the bank may qualify for discounts on their rate and could lower otherwise-high interest rates.

Interest rates and terms

Though rates from Wells Fargo tend to be higher than other lenders in its class, it does offer a variety of rate discount opportunities:

  • Customer discount: Current Wells Fargo customers with a “Portfolio by Wells Fargo” relationship get a 0.50 percent discount on student loans.
  • Checking account: Customers with a Wells Fargo checking account qualify for a 0.25 percent discount on student loans.
  • Existing or prior student loans: Anyone with an existing or previous student loan from the lender qualifies for a 0.25 percent discount.
  • Autopay discount: Borrowers who sign up for autopay get a 0.25 percent discount.

Borrowers who have both a Wells Fargo checking account and an existing or prior student loan are not eligible for both discounts.

Here are the rate ranges for each loan product at Wells Fargo, with the autopay discount included:

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Undergraduate student loans 2.68% to 9.46% APR 4.53% to 10.72% APR
Graduate student loans 3.21% to 9.44% APR 5.64% to 11.76% APR
MedCAP medical school loans 3.17% to 8.01% APR 4.82% to 9.54% APR
Bar exam loans 9.99% to 10.21% APR 12.45% to 12.67% APR
Career and community college loans 5.00% to 10.43% APR 7.24% to 12.45% APR
Parent loans 3.99% to 10.49% APR 6.74% to 12.99% APR
Consolidation loans 3.25% to 9.94% APR 4.49% to 10.99% APR

Fees and penalties

Wells Fargo doesn’t charge any fees on its student loans, and there’s no penalty for paying off your loan early.

What are repayment terms and grace period for Wells Fargo?

Private student loans through Wells Fargo may be repaid for up to 15 years, while the consolidation loan has terms of five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years. The grace period on private student loans is six months.

Students are not required to make payments while in school and during the grace period, although the option is available.

Customer service

Wells Fargo lost its accreditation with the Better Business Bureau in 2016 after the announcement of its illegal sales scandal, and the online reviews of its customer service department are mixed.

Its customer service department for student loans is available by phone Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT at 800-378-5526. There’s also a section on its website dedicated to frequently asked questions about its student loans.

How to apply for a loan with Wells Fargo

Applications for any student loan product through Wells Fargo can be done online or via phone.

In order to apply, you’ll need your school information, Social Security number, U.S. address, employment and income information and the estimated cost of attendance.

Here’s what the process looks like when applying online for a student loan:

  1. Start the application online. The primary borrower or co-signer may start the process. During the application, you’ll see a range of interest rates available for the loan. You’ll see the specific interest rate later on in the process.
  2. Provide documentation. Borrowers will get an email with next steps after completing the loan application online. After submitting documentation, Wells Fargo will review the information.
  3. Sign documents. Borrowers need to sign a self-certification form, while borrowers and co-signers must sign the consumer credit agreement. The lender will provide a final loan disclosure once all documents are signed.
  4. Receive funds. After the loan is approved, funds will be sent to the school’s financial aid office.

Get pre-qualified

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

What to do if your application gets turned down

Call Wells Fargo’s customer service department at 1-800-378-5526 if you’re rejected for loan. There are a number of reasons why you may have gotten denied, including your credit score, financial history and income. Calling customer service can give you more insight as to why you didn’t get approved for the loan. Lenders also may encounter processing errors on occasion, and it’s possible that a mistake was made.

It’s also always a good idea to explore other student loan options from other lenders to compare rates and fees. Make sure you’re getting the best deal possible by shopping around thoroughly for a loan. Getting a lower rate can potentially save you thousands over the life of the loan.

How Bankrate rates Wells Fargo

Overall Score 4.5
Repayment Options 4.2
Affordability 4.8
Customer Experience 4.5

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.