In a Nutshell
- No prepayment fees
- Possibility to consolidate partner’s loan through spouse loans
- May require a strong credit history
- Not a direct lender
PenFed at a Glance
|APR||2.99% (fixed), 2.16% (variable)|
|Loan Types||In-school student loans, parent loans, student loan refinancing|
|Refinance amount||No minimum|
|Repayment terms||Generally 5-15 years with no prepayment penalty|
|Minimum credit score||No specific minimum|
|Suitable for||Parents and students who want to apply for a new loan or refinance an existing one|
Whether you’re looking for a new student loan, a parent loan, or refinancing on an existing loan, PenFed provides affordable rates and an easy online application. It also allows partners to consolidate their own separate loans into a combined spouse loan with one easy payment.
PenFed offers a number of loan types through a partnership with Sallie Mae. Along with loans for parents and undergraduate students, they also provide targeted loans for graduate students attending business school, medical school, dental school, law school, and more. Many loans come with four free months of Chegg study, which includes solutions to textbook questions and 24/7 professional availability.
The Application Process
When you select a PenFed loan, you’ll be redirected to the Sallie Mae website to complete their online application. After choosing a loan type, the form will ask for some basic information including your status (student/cosigner/sponsor), the school you’re attending. From there, it will provide details about the available loans and ask if you want to continue.
All things considered, the application process is relatively seamless, and you’ll be able to receive a result in as little as 15 minutes. Remember that Sallie Mae is the creditor for PenFed student loans—you’ll be applying to, getting money from, and making payments to Sallie Mae rather than PenFed.
It's important to note, that while PenFed is a credit union, you do not need to be a member in order to apply. If you choose to accept the loan you will become a member for free.
PenFed offers a variety of loans together with Sallie Mae, and your loan may have different terms depending on what you’re looking for. That said, most new loans have flexible maximums, allowing borrowers to take out anywhere from $1,000 up to the full cost of attendance as certified by their institution.
The specific terms of your loan will depend on a number of factors including your credit and the type of loan you’re applying for. For refinancing loans, fixed rates range from 2.99% to 5.20% while variable rates go from 2.16% to 4.46%.
Furthermore, there are no prepayment fees, so you’ll have the opportunity to pay off the loan more quickly in order to save money on interest. Most loans run from between five and fifteen years, but again you can always pay it off more quickly if you have extra cash on hand.
Sallie Mae also offers deferments for up to 60 months for undergraduate loans and 48 months for most graduate student loans. Keep in mind that interest will continue to accumulate throughout the deferment, which could lead to greater total interest payments.
How Safe Is It?
As mentioned earlier, PenFed offers student loans through a partnership with Sallie Mae, which is one of the largest and most well-known student loan providers in the United States. While Sallie Mae is a private lender, it’s still a safe option if you’re looking to borrow money.
Similarly, PenFed itself is one of the largest credit unions in the United States, and it has a strong reputation that dates back to the 1930s. Make sure to enable two-factor authentication on your account in order to keep your information as safe as possible. The platform’s secure messaging options will also enable you to contact support without putting any sensitive data at risk.
Help & Support
PenFed offers an informative set of 29 FAQ articles covering common questions about their services. There are also several ways to contact their team directly for additional assistance—you can call, fax, send an online message, or securely upload a support request.
Phone support is available in the United States from 7 AM to 11 PM Eastern on weekdays, 8 AM to 11 PM on Saturdays, and 9 AM to 5:30 PM on Sundays. Their contact phone numbers are 724-473-6333 and 1-800-247-5626.
PenFed has everything most borrowers are looking for in a student loan provider: competitive rates, a reliable lending history, numerous loan and refinancing options, and an easy online application process. Whether you’re looking for a student loan, parent loan, spouse loan, or refinancing, PenFed is a good place to start—particularly if you have a strong credit history.
2930 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314
13220 Fort Street