Wells Fargo offers checking and savings accounts, mortgages, personal loans and other financial products. However, it announced the end of its student loan services in 2020.
What Happened to Wells Fargo Student Loans?
Wells Fargo previously offered private undergraduate and graduate student loans, and refinance options for existing federal or private student loans.
Wells Fargo sold its entire student loan segment during the Covid-19 pandemic. Existing Wells Fargo customers could apply for new private student loans up until it transferred all loans on January 28, 2021.
Who Services Wells Fargo Student Loans?
Wells Fargo transferred all private and refinance student loans to Firstmark Services, a division of Nelnet, for student loan servicing.
If you took out Wells Fargo student loans before the bank sold its education lending segment, you have two options:
- Make payments through Firstmark. After your Wells Fargo loans were transferred over, you should have received a notification with details on how to view your account and make payments in the mail. You can contact Firstmark Services at 888-538-7378 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. ET to 8 p.m. ET.
- Refinance to another lender. You can refinance your student loans with another lender to get more favorable terms. Once you repay your debt, you will make monthly payments to your new lender.
3 Alternatives to Wells Fargo Student Loans
If you’re in college and need to borrow money, you can use federal student loans or other private student loans to pay for your degree.
1. Federal Student Loans
Federal loans are an excellent starting point if you’re looking to fund your college education. Several forms of federal student aid are available for student borrowers, including:
- Direct subsidized. Direct subsidized loans are available to low-income undergraduate students. These loans don’t accrue interest if you’re enrolled in school at least half-time or during a grace period.
- Direct unsubsidized. Both undergraduate and graduate students can qualify for direct unsubsidized loans. These loans accrue interest while you’re enrolled in school. However, these loans feature low, fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options.
- Direct Parent PLUS. Parent PLUS loans allow parents to borrow money for their child’s undergraduate education.
- Direct Grad PLUS. If you’re in graduate school and reach the borrowing maximum for unsubsidized loans, you can borrow up to the total cost of attendance with Grad PLUS loans.
Benefits and Features
- Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. If you can’t afford your monthly payments under a standard repayment plan, an IDR plan can dramatically reduce your payment amount.
- Loan forgiveness. Federal forgiveness programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Teacher Loan Forgiveness will discharge your loans if you meet certain employment criteria.
- Forbearance. If you lose your job or become seriously ill, federal loan forbearance allows you to postpone your payments for months or even years until your finances improve.
To apply for federal student loans, make sure you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and contact your college’s financial aid office.
2. Refinancing Wells Fargo Student Loans
If you’re interested in switching to a new lender, refinancing your Wells Fargo student loan with another private lender may be a good option. Refinancing with another lender can give you better interest rates and terms that are suited to your budget.
3. Private Student Loans
Many other financial institutions offer private student loans to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as parents borrowing on behalf of their children.
With private loans, you can usually borrow up to the total cost of attendance with loan terms as long as 20 years. Many lenders allow student borrowers to postpone payments until after graduation.
Comparing Student Loan Options
Rates and terms can vary by lender, so shop around and get rate quotes from multiple student loan lenders to get the best offer. When comparing offers, there are several factors you should consider, including:
- Interest rate types. Although federal loans always have fixed interest rates, private loans can have variable or fixed interest rates. Fixed rates stay the same for the entire loan term, while variable rates can change over time.
- Loan terms. Loan terms typically range from five to 20 years. The shorter the loan term, the lower your overall cost will be, but you’ll also have a higher monthly payment. You can use our student loan calculator to estimate your payments with different terms.
- Credit requirements. Private lenders usually have strict credit requirements. In general, you’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for a loan or a co-signer with a sufficient score. Be sure to monitor your credit before selecting a private lender.
- Loan amounts. Loan amounts vary based on the lender. Some lenders allow you to borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance, while others have borrowing caps.
- Repayment options. Some lenders allow you to postpone your payments until after graduation, while others require in-school payments. Make sure you review your repayment options before signing your loan agreement.
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