Wells Fargo offers student loans with generous repayment options, few fees and interest-rate discount opportunities. The bank, headquartered in San Francisco, has been providing financial services since 1852. In addition to its student loans, it offers banking products, credit cards, wealth management, and investing and retirement solutions.
The bank maintains about 5,500 retail branches across the country, but private loans for educational expenses can be applied for by phone or online.
Loans are available to undergraduates, graduates, parents interested in covering education-related expenses, those attending career or community college and anyone interested in consolidating student loans.
Wells Fargo student loan snapshot
Undergraduate, graduate, parent, career and community college, consolidation, health professionals, bar exam
$1,000 to $120,000
Variable: 4.80% to 12.22% APR
Fixed: 5.49% to 12.68% APR
Immediate: Make principal and interest payments while in school
Deferment: Start making principal and interest payments six months after leaving school.
Forbearance: Postpone payments for up to 48 months, even if enrolled less than half time. Forbearance is offered for various types of circumstances.
Financial hardship: Temporary or permanent relief due to job loss, unplanned medical expenses or difficulty finding employment.
Up to 48 months, plus a 6 month extension
No, but option is available.
Who can take out a Wells Fargo student loan/who is it good for?
Wells Fargo is a solid option for existing Wells Fargo customers seeking generous repayment options or private student loan consolidation. Borrowers with existing accounts at the bank may qualify for discounts on their rate. Overall, rates from Wells Fargo tend to be higher than can be found at other lenders.
Eligibility requirements vary slightly by loan type, but share some characteristics:
In order to apply, students must be:
- Enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at an eligible school and seeking a degree, certification or license
- A U.S. citizen or U.S. national, permanent resident alien or international student who is a temporary resident alien with a U.S. address
- Able to meet all requirements to qualify for a loan or have a qualified cosigner
Graduate students applying for a loan must also be making satisfactory academic progress in an eligible program and have a good credit history.
Parents must also be applying for a student who is enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate and must meet credit, employment and debt-to-income requirements.
Those seeking a consolidation loan must also have a student loan balance larger than $5,000 to consolidate, with each individual loan having a minimum balance of $1,000.
Interest rates and terms
Fixed and variable rate loan options are available from Wells Fargo for its student loans. Variable rates range from 4.80 percent to 12.22 percent APR, while fixed rates range from 5.49 percent to 12.68 percent.
Though rates from Wells Fargo tend to be higher than other lenders in its class, it does offer a variety of rate discount opportunities to its current customers:
- 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 qualify 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 must choose between the two. You are not allowed a discount for both.
Here are the rate ranges for each loan product at Wells Fargo:
|Loan product||Variable rate||Fixed rate|
|Undergraduate student loans||4.80% – 10.72%||5.49% – 10.93% APR|
|Graduate student loans||5.64% – 12.22% APR||5.88% – 12.68% APR|
|Career and community college loans||7.02% – 12.25% APR||7.24% – 12.45% APR|
|Parent loan||6.24% – 12.74% APR||6.74% – 12.99% APR|
|Consolidation loan||3.75% – 9.74% APR||3.99% – 9.99% APR|
Fees and penalties
Wells Fargo doesn’t charge application or origination fees. There’s also no penalty for paying off your loan early. It does charge fees for late payments.
Repayment terms and grace period
All loans through Wells Fargo, except the parent loan, have a repayment period of 15 years with a grace period of six months. The parent loan and consolidation loan repayment periods start immediately once the funds have been sent.
Repayment options include:
- Immediate: Make principal and interest payments while in school
- Deferment: Start making principal and interest payments six months after leaving school.
- Forbearance: Postpone payments up to 48 months, even if enrolled less than half time. Forbearance is offered for various types of circumstances.
- Financial hardship: Temporary or permanent relief due to job loss, unplanned medical expenses or difficulty finding employment.
Wells Fargo lost its accreditation with the Better Business Bureau in 2016 after the announcement of its illegal sales scandal.
Its customer service department for student loans is available by phone Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central time at 800-378-5526.
It also has a section on its website dedicated to frequently asked questions about its student loans.
Applications for any student loan product through Wells Fargo can be done via phone or online.
Before applying, Wells Fargo suggests figuring out how much you’ll need to borrow, considering adding a cosigner and collecting any information you’ll need for the application. 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.
To start the application process via phone, call 800-378-5526.
Here’s what the process looks like when applying online for a student loan:
- Start the application online. The primary borrower or cosigner 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.
- 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.
- Sign documents. Borrowers need to sign a self-certification form, while borrowers and cosigners must sign the consumer credit agreement. The lender will provide a final loan disclosure once all documents are signed.
- Get funds. After the loan is approved, funds will be sent to the school’s financial aid office.
The full loan process takes around two to three weeks.
What to do if application is rejected
Call Wells Fargo’s customer service department if you’re rejected for loan. Get some explanation as to why your application was turned down. Lenders do encounter processing errors on occasion, and it’s possible a mistake was made.
If no error was made, it’s still important to know the reasoning behind the rejection so you can correct any faults on your end before applying to another lender.
Make sure you’re getting the best deal possible by shopping around thoroughly for a loan. Getting a lower rate can save you thousands over the life of the loan.
How Bankrate Rates Wells Fargo
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.