The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) no longer offers student loans. The company previously provided loans through a partnership with Wells Fargo, offering a 0.25% interest rate discount on Wells Fargo student loans. In 2016, USAA announced it would no longer continue its member discounts on new Wells Fargo loans.
What Happened to USAA Student Loans?
USAA used to offer a 0.25% interest rate discount on Wells Fargo student loans for members. It no longer provides those discounts, but the company provides other financial products, such as insurance, banking, credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and personal loans.
In December 2016, USAA stated it would no longer provide the member discounts for new Wells Fargo loans, and that borrowers looking for a student loan should look for options through Wells Fargo's website going forward. Borrowers with existing loans continued and will continue to receive the discount.
USAA Student Loans Refinance
USAA doesn't offer student loan refinancing, but if you're looking to refinance the Wells Fargo student loan you received through USAA, or any other private loan, you should compare lenders and find the best rates you can qualify for.
Here are some refinance lenders to consider:
CommonBond offers low fixed and variable rates for borrowers wanting to refinance their student loans. To help various types of borrowers, the lender provides multiple repayment options and even has a hybrid interest rate option in which borrowers can have a fixed rate for a portion of repayment then switch to a variable rate.
It’s important to note that refinance loans are not available to borrowers in Mississippi, Nevada or Vermont. And to qualify for a loan with CommonBond, you will need a four-year degree from a Title IV school.
Earnest is another great option for borrowers looking for competitive rates. The lender stands out by offering repayment flexibility, allowing borrowers to set their own monthly payment and loan term up to 20 years.
The main thing to consider with this lender is that you will have to qualify for a refinancing loan on your own, as Earnest doesn’t allow borrowers to use co-signers. Luckily, the lender looks at factors in addition to your credit history, such as your savings and earning potential.
Alternative Student Loan Options
Although USAA doesn't offer student loans, there are many alternative student loan lender options to consider. Always check your federal loan options first. After you’ve maxed out those resources, here are some private lenders that can help with your school costs:
Most large banks don't provide student loans, and if they do, they don’t tend to offer the best rates. However, if you already have an existing relationship with a bank and would rather use their services, Citizens Bank offers some good options for borrowers. And many times, you’ll be able to get a rate discount with qualifying accounts.
If you have a qualifying Citizens Bank account, you are eligible to receive a discount of up to 0.50% on your student loan rate. Unlike other student loan lenders, Citizens Bank provides multi-year approval for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. This means that borrowers can qualify for financing for longer than a year. Generally, borrowers have to apply each year to get a new loan.
Citizens Bank doesn’t have the lowest rates, but with the discount, and depending on your credit score, you may qualify for a rate comparable to what online lenders offer. However, if you need high loan amounts, Citizens Bank may not work for you as it has lending limits and may not cover up to 100% of your school costs.
Online lenders tend to offer better rates than banks, especially for borrowers with excellent credit or creditworthy co-signers. However, it’s still good to compare all of your options as there may be other perks to consider.
College Ave is a great option for borrowers, with rates starting as low as 4.07%. It provides four different repayment plans and four loan terms up to 15 years. According to the lender, the application takes an average of three minutes, and the entire process of getting the loan to the school generally takes 10 days.
The main drawback of using College Ave is that it doesn’t have a specific forbearance policy for borrowers. This means that if you face any financial difficulties, you will need to contact your loan servicer to figure out your options.
Sallie Mae is another good choice for borrowers that want the option to pay off their loans while in school. It also offers an extra perk of four months of free study and homework help from Chegg. On top of this, if you use a co-signer, you can qualify for a release after 12 consecutive on-time payments.
Compared to other online lenders, Sallie Mae doesn’t have the lowest rates. But it could be a good option for you, especially if you need an early release of your co-signer. Most lenders require at least 24 consecutive on-time payments before releasing a co-signer.