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Student Loans Student Loan Repayment

PenFed Student Loan Refinancing Review

Updated Apr 05, 2023   |   5 mins read

Key points:

  • PenFed is a federal credit union that primarily serves government employees and their families.
  • Membership with the credit union is required to access PenFed’s financial tools.

on PenFed’s secure website
Editorial Rating

Editorial Rating

What we like:

No late fees

Fixed APR3.87%7.03%
Variable APR3.02%7.76%
Loan Terms5, 8, 12, or 15 years
Loan Amounts$7,500$300,000
See how PenFed’s student loan refinancing product stacks up with other options

Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or PenFed for short, is a credit union that primarily serves government employees, military members and their families, and members of certain associations or organizations such as the American Red Cross or the American Society of Military Comptrollers.

PenFed provides student loan refinancing options through Purefy Student Loans, as well as providing checking and savings accounts, auto loans, mortgage and home equity loans, and personal loans.

You can find out more about whether you should refinance your educational debt in this PenFed student loan refinancing review.

In this review:

PenFed student loan refinancing: At a glance

PenFed Refinance Student Loan
Loan amount$7,500$300,000
Term length5, 8, 12, or 15 years
Fixed rates3.48%6.03%
Variable rates2.42%7.16%
Minimum credit score670
Minimum annual income$25,000
Cosigner releaseAfter 12 on-time, consecutive payments

PenFed will refinance both private student loans and federal student loans, including Parent PLUS loans you’ve taken out for your child. 

PenFed student loan refinancing could help you to reduce your monthly payments on existing student loan debt by lowering your interest rate or changing your loan repayment term—if you or your cosigner meets the lender’s minimum income and credit score requirements.

PenFed’s interest rates on refinance loans are competitive with other student loan refinancing companies.

Pros & cons of PenFed student loan refinancing


  • Interest rates are competitive. Rates for both fixed and variable rate loans are below the rates charged by many other student loan refinance lenders.
  • There are no fees. You will not pay any fees to apply for or originate your loan, nor do you pay any extra fees if you decide that you want to repay your loans ahead of schedule.
  • The refinancing process is quick. Once you have been approved for a loan, it usually takes only three to 15 days for your loan servicers to receive the funds from PenFed to pay off your outstanding debt balance.
  • Short cosigner release. If you take out a loan with a cosigner, you can apply to have your cosigner released from the loan after just 12 months of consecutive, on-time payments. Some other lenders don’t offer release until after 36 monthly payments.


  • Income requirements are high. Many borrowers can’t meet these requirements unless they have a cosigner. Also, PenFed’s minimum income for cosigners is higher than the minimum income many competitors require.
  • Credit requirements are high. If you’re looking for a student loan refinance with limited or fair credit, PenFed might not be right for you. Some other lenders require credit scores as low as 600, while others don’t require a minimum credit score at all.
  • Membership is required. Because you have to be a PenFed member to qualify, not everyone will be able to refinance their student loans with PenFed.

How to get PenFed student loan refinancing

To qualify for a refinance student loan with PenFed, you must first be a member of the credit union. Generally, you can become a PenFed member through military service, government employment, or membership in select associations and groups.

You also must meet other eligibility criteria to refinance your student debt with PenFed, including the following:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must have reached the age of maturity in your state.
  • You must have at least one educational loan that has been fully disbursed.
  • You must be the primary borrower.
  • You must have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • You must be able to provide proof of income. The minimum income required is: $42,000 for solo applications for loans up to $150,000; or $25,000 for applications with a cosigner if the cosigner earns at least $42,000 annually. For loans exceeding $150,000, the minimum annual income for solo applications is $50,000 or $25,000 with a cosigner who earns at least $50,000 annually.
  • For loans less than $150,000, you’ll need a credit score of at least 670 or a cosigner with a credit score of at least 720.
  • For loans greater than $150,000, either you or your cosigner will need a credit score of at least 725.

If you are not able to qualify for a PenFed student loan on your own because your credit score is not high enough or because you have insufficient income, you can apply with a cosigner for a PenFed student loan.

Cosigners share responsibility for the loan and could be held responsible for repayment if the primary borrower fails to pay back the loan on time.

If you can’t qualify on your own and you don’t know anybody who would be willing to cosign on the loan with you, read our guide on student loans without a cosigner.

Where to find PenFed student loan alternatives

PenFed’s interest rates are competitive if you or your cosigner have a good enough credit history.  

However, PenFed loans may be difficult to qualify for due to income and credit requirements, as well as the fact that credit union membership is mandatory.

If you don’t think PenFed is right for you—or if you just want to compare rates, which we highly recommend—check out our list of the best student loan refinancing companies to see what other top lenders have to offer.

Other resources: