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UW Credit Union

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LAST UPDATED: March 25th, 2021

Founded in 1931, UW Credit Union is a federally insured, nonprofit financial servicer based in Wisconsin. The company is in partnership with the University of Wisconsin and offers student loan refinancing and consolidation programs for UW Credit Union members only, with rates being determined by clients' credit scores.

UW Credit Union offers competitively low refinancing rates starting at 1.78 percent APR for the variable rate option and 3.14 percent APR for the fixed rate option. It is important to note that in order to get the lowest rate possible, you will need to have an excellent credit score.

UW Credit Union also provides traditional banking products, such as checking account and savings account options, and credit card options.

Continue reading for our expert review of UW Credit Union student loan refinance.

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The Good

  • Low Rates
  • No Fees
  • Cosigner Release
  • Interest-Only Payment Option for the First Two Years
  • Wide Wisconsin Branch Availability

Low Rates

UW Credit Union has lower rates than many other lenders in the industry, which is common among credit union lenders because they are serving their members instead of outside investors. 

Student loan borrowers can choose between a variable rate as low as 2.76 percent APR, or a fixed rate as low as 5.28 percent APR on student loans. If you are looking to refinance, rates are also competitively low:

  • Variable interest rate — as low as 1.78% APR
  • Fixed interest rate — as low as 3.14% APR

UW Credit Union also gives borrowers the option to consolidate their loans into one convenient monthly payment, along with the ability to sign up for automatic payments, providing a 0.25 percent rate reduction.

No Fees

With UW Credit Union, borrowers can refinance high-rate student loans without worrying about additional fees. Borrowers will not be charged any hidden fees, including an annual fee and a prepayment penalty fee.

Cosigner Release

Borrowers with less-than-stellar credit can sign up with a cosigner, which could potentially lead to a lower interest rate. The option to include a cosigner on your loan is especially beneficial because UW Credit Union's rates are already competitively low. In addition, the cosigner does not need to be a UW Credit Union member, but the borrower must be a member. 

UW Credit Union also offers a cosigner release option, meaning cosigners can apply for release after 36 months of on-time, consecutive payments.

Interest-Only Payment Option for the First Two Years

UW Credit Union offers a variety of payment options to meet the needs of borrowers. For example, borrowers can choose a 15-year term option, allowing them to make interest-only payments during the first two years of repayment. Additionally, should the borrower pass away, UW Credit Union provides debt protection up to $50,000.

Wide Wisconsin Branch Availability

For Madison residents who live around the University of Wisconsin, the credit union has many branch locations. This is convenient for people who would prefer speaking with a UW Credit Union representative face to face. For the Madison area alone, UW Credit Union has 13 branches, three of which are on the UW campus. The credit union has six branches in Milwaukee and four in the Greater Wisconsin area.

It is important to note that any student who is enrolled at least half-time at any public or private, 4-year, not-for-profit school in the U.S. is eligible for UW Credit Union's student loan services. International students are also welcome to apply if they meet specific eligibility requirements.

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The Bad

  • Strict Eligibility Requirements
  • Long Cosigner Release Period
  • Limited Terms
  • Limited Website

Strict Eligibility Requirements

UW Credit Union has rigid eligibility requirements. Among other requirements, borrowers must meet the following:

  • Make at least $25,000 in income
  • Have a reasonable debt-to-income ratio
  • Have a satisfactory credit score
  • Have at least five years of credit history (not including student loans)
  • Must be a UW Credit Union member

In order to become a UW Credit Union member, one must live, work, or attend school within five miles of a branch. Past or present UW, Madison College, and UW Health employees, as well as their immediate household members, also qualify. All branches are located in Wisconsin, so people in other states cannot use UW Credit Union's refinancing and consolidation programs. Some of these requirements may prove difficult for some borrowers to meet. For example, having five years of good credit history and at least $25,000 in income may not be possible for most recent college graduates.

Long Cosigner Release Period

While the credit union offers an option for cosigner release, the 36-month waiting period is longer than the standard in the industry; usually, cosigners apply for release after one or two years.

Limited Terms

UW Credit Union does not offer a 20- or 25-year term. Many companies in the industry offer at least a 20-year term.

Limited Website

The website doesn't offer any kind of calculator to help prospective borrowers discover more about their individual rate. The website also doesn't provide specific information about each of the available terms. Additionally, the website does not say what kind of documentation the program requires.

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The Bottom Line

Borrowing from a credit union has many great benefits because they are generally only working on behalf of their members instead of investors. Thus, with UW Credit Union you are more likely to get more competitive rates, lower fees, if any at all when refinancing your student loan debt. 

UW Credit Union's student loan refinancing and consolidation programs are ideal for University of Wisconsin students or Madison locals, and potential borrowers must be UW Credit Union members to be considered for a student loan or student loan refinancing. Interest rates are low, and borrowers will not encounter any hidden fees. UW Credit Union offers a cosigner release option after a 36-month period. 

It is important to note that borrowers need to have a reasonably good credit history of five years, and at least $25,000 in income. For people who meet the strict eligibility requirements, UW Credit Union can provide borrowers with affordable interest rates and is a solid option to consider.

Currently, there are no UW Credit Union reviews, if you have borrowed or refinanced with this financial institution, please tell us about your experience by leaving a review.

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