CollegeFinance Score: ★★★★☆
For the college student seeking a loan company that lets them have generous repayment options, U-fi represents a strong option. U-fi customers enjoy a high level of customer support and the ability to check rates with only a soft pull of credit, meaning you don’t have to affect your credit to find out if U-fi can help with your college funding.
- Discounts for automatic payments
- Co-signer release available after 24 consecutive payments
- No application or origination fees
- Allows for a soft pull rate credit check
- No multi-year option available
- No separate parent loan
- 680+ FICO score required for eligibility
U-fi: What You Need to Know
Featuring a stated mission that aims to assist students in making smart financial goals to reach their educational dreams, U-fi from Nelnet has been helping college students with funding for 40 years.
U-fi offers expert customer support that is highly available to borrowers, emphasizing real people that make real connections. The customization theme runs through their loan processes and allows students to create loan solutions that work best for them out of a range of flexible options.
As with most of the best private student loan lenders, U-fi makes the application process easy, the co-signer agreement amenable to all parties involved, and strives to make sure that repayment options are viable for all borrowers. U-fi emphasizes personalization and support as the keystones to a positive borrowing experience without detracting from future quality of life.
U-fi’s BBB Rating: A+
While comparative data can be useful to review, many borrowers will likely want to know a bit more about U-fi’s overall borrowing experience, as reported by actual customers.
The best place to get a reliable indication of a business’s performance and trustworthiness toward customers is to look at its rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB is a private nonprofit entity that was founded in 1912 for the purpose of recording and assessing customer complaints against businesses. The BBB evaluates whether the complaints are justified and how the business in question responds.
Fortunately for potential U-fi customers, this company has an A+ rating, which is the highest grade a business can receive from the BBB. Reflected in this grade is U-fi’s history of having very few complaints reported (compared to equivalent companies) and handling what complaints it has received in a professional, empathetic manner.
U-fi: Potential Benefits for Borrowers
The major hallmark of lending services provided by U-fi compared to other private student loan providers is customer support. From the application stage to the many ways you can decide to pay off your loan, U-fi provides a level of real-time communication with borrowers that is unique. With its 40-plus-year history in the industry and commitment to supporting responsible finances for all types of college students, U-fi represents a competitive choice in college funding.
- U-fi provides discounts for automatic payments. You can enjoy 0.25% off your interest rate when you sign up to have your payments routinely deducted. This bonus saves you money over the length of your loan while taking the stress out of remembering to make payments on time. Setting up automatic debits also means never having to worry about late fees for missed payments.
- U-fi makes co-signer release available after 24 consecutive payments. This means that whoever co-signs for you would no longer be accountable for your loan, and you would assume full financial responsibility for your debt. The residual benefit of that is the positive impact paying this loan on time will have on the building of your own credit.
- U-fi imposes no application or origination fees. With one of the simplest, three-step applications on the market, U-fi simplifies the process of getting your data entered into their systems short and easy. You do not end up spending money to find out whether you can borrow from U-fi.
- U-fi allows for a soft pull rate credit check. Being able to find out your actual loan rates without having to tamper with your credit score is a big plus. You can enjoy the full, no-surprises truth of what your interest rate will be before you decide to borrow with U-fi. Best of all, the inquiry does not show up on your credit report.
U-fi: Potential Drawbacks for Borrowers
Naturally, there are no perfect scenarios in the world of finance. Although U-fi stands out from the private student loan lending crowd in many positive ways, there are a few drawbacks associated with borrowing from them that you should know before you make a decision.
- U-fi makes has no multi-year option available. At present, borrowing from U-fi will require a re-application each year that you require funding. Your eligibility will thus need to be maintained for the entire time you are in school, and you will have to go through that verification process with each new loan term.
- U-fi offers no separate parent loans. Many companies offer a special type of borrowing for the parents of college students. U-fi has not added that option to their retinue yet, and thus, parents interested in taking out a loan to help with their child’s college expenses would be forced to do that via another lender at this time.
- U-fi requires a 680+ FICO score for eligibility. This is a fairly high credit rating for many young college students who may not have much credit to their name yet. Along with this credit score eligibility, U-fi also requires a minimum annual salary of $36,000.
U-fi: The Details
Loan Amounts and Term Lengths
Minimum loan amount: $1,000
Loan term options: 5 to 15 years
Multi-year approval available: No
Interest Rate Ranges
Fixed and variable rates available: Yes
Fixed low APR: 3.59%
Fixed high APR: 12.34%
Variable low APR: 1.23%
Variable high APR: 12.21%
In-school payment options: U-fi makes multiple options available:
- Full payments
- Interest-only payments
- Deferred payments
Grace period: 6 months
Co-signer release available: Yes
Loan servicer: Nelnet
Other Perks and Options
Interest rate discounts: 0.25% autopay discount
Other rewards or services: Not disclosed
U-fi: Eligibility and Application Requirements
Income requirements: You or your co-signer must have an established income of at least $36,000 per year.
Credit score requirements: You or your co-signer must have a credit score of 680 or higher.
Eligibility for international borrowers: Yes, with a creditworthy co-signer meeting the above criteria who is a U.S. citizen.
Application or origination fees: None
Soft pull rate check availability: Although U-fi utilizes a soft pull rate credit inquiry to initially determine whether you meet the minimum requirements of eligibility, a hard credit inquiry will eventually be necessary once you have selected your rate and signed your credit agreement.
Many borrowers may get confused and think that the soft pull rate credit check of the application process is the only one playing a role in borrowing from U-fi, and this is untrue. Understanding the difference between hard and soft credit inquiries can help you grasp how your credit will be affected at various points of the borrowing process.
Private Student Loans: Understanding Your Options
With the many competitive offerings U-fi places on the table, you might be giving them serious consideration as your potential private student loan lender. However, before making any final decisions to borrow from any lender, make sure you have completely explored every option you may have with federal student loans first.
Because they are funded by the United States government and not a private bank, federal student loans are managed by the Department of Education. Colleges and universities take part in their administration as one component of the country’s federal financial aid system. Once a borrower finishes school and the time comes to repay these funds, federal student loans are outsourced to outside companies for management.
The importance of trying all possible doors associated with federal student loans first cannot be overstated. Federal student loans are much easier to obtain because they are designed to assist college-minded students in affording education.
For this reason, your income, potential co-signers, and credit history are far less important when it comes to federal student loans because the government is less concerned with your ability to repay. By contrast, federal student loans look at eligibility through the lens of established economic need. Once you get into the school of your choice, you will establish that need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Beyond the removed stress of proving creditworthiness, there are quite a few other reasons to seek federal student aid first. The Department of Education, as a federal entity, is in a position to offer protection and options that private lenders simply cannot provide. The following represent some of the important benefits associated with federal student loans:
- Federal student loans offer a variety of income-based repayment options. This means that your monthly payments will align with what you are currently earning in salary. An option like this greatly reduces the risk of your student loan causing you to struggle in budgeting or quality of life.
- The extended repayment plans offered by federal student loans mean that you can have as long as 20 to even 25 years to repay the debt you incur. Although this means that you will pay more for your loan in overall interest, your monthly payments will be reduced.
- Federal loans offer loan forgiveness programs for students who plan to enter the field of public service. As long as you remain in your chosen field for at least 10 years, you could achieve total freedom from the worry of repaying your student loans.
These powerful benefits demonstrate why federal student loans should be at the top of the list of borrowing options. Private student loans come in wherever gaps may exist in your federal loan coverage.
Lenders like U-fi can pick up where your federal student loans leave off and allow you a bit more budgetary ease through your college years. With the stated mission to serve all aspiring college students in a responsible way with logical, personalized funding, U-fi could be a strong contender if your federal student loans do not cover everything you need for school.
Is U-fi Right for You?
U-fi comes with several impressive perks for interested borrowers. Standing out for its ability to offer customers engaged support and personalized loan solutions, U-fi could be just the answer to your lingering questions about private student loan funding.
It could be the allure of the soft pull rate credit check or the fact that you can let your co-signer off the hook after two years that pulls your attention to U-fi. Maybe you just value that they make a concerted effort to take on customers they truly feel they can serve and do not lend to customers with shaky credit scenarios. Whichever benefit draws your attention, U-fi likely represents a more streamlined borrowing experience than many other private lenders.
U-fi Could Be a Good Option for You If:
- You like the notion of getting a discount on your rate for setting up automatic payments.
- You don’t want to pay application or origination fees.
- You want to release your co-signer after 24 consecutive payments.
- You want to find out your estimated interest rate without having to do a hard credit check.
Even if you like all of U-fi’s options thus far, it is a smart move to check out as many other private student loan lenders as you can before making a decision. Comparing U-fi to other lenders helps you make a fair assessment of the relative advantages as they relate to your unique borrowing requirements.
Aiding in the comparison is where CollegeFinance.com can help you out. Our reviews of private student loan lenders give you a more comprehensive view of what is out there in the realm of college funding. Whether it is finding the best private loan options or determining which schools offer you the best chances at a scholarship, we are here to help you every step of the way in your quest to meet your educational goals.
CollegeFinance.com is here for you long after you get that loan or scholarship, as well, and can provide resources to support you through the next phases of your financial future. We can provide guidance on repaying or refinancing your student loans.