Updated: Apr 3
Affiliate Marketing Disclosure
Many incoming college freshmen, as well as students of all ages, are scared of student loan debt. And given all the recent news about student loans, some of this is warranted. But it is important that students pursuing college degrees know exactly what they are looking for in their loans.
Staying informed on each lender's practices, policies, and perks is a great place to start.
This is exactly where we come in.
This article will review student loan offerings from BECU.
Minimum credit score
Starting at 5.81% for new loans and 4.99% for refinanced loans
Student Debt Destroyer Rating
What is BECU?
The Boeing Employee Credit Union (BECU) was established in 1935 and was originally intended to provide traditional banking and credit union services to employees of the Boeing company.
Today, they are a not-for-profit institution that offers a plethora of services, including:
Home loans and mortgages
Business banking services
Retirement, investment, and estate planning
BECU aims to provide a one-stop "shopping" experience for many of the financial products and services you may need throughout your life. Their student loans are part of a relationship with LendKey, which is where you will actually complete your application.
BECU student loan eligibility
To be eligible to take out a loan through BECU, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
Be enrolled in a status of at least halftime at an eligible college or university
Have a GPA of at least 2.0
Not be on any sort of academic probation with your college or university
Be the age of majority in your state (otherwise, you'll need a loan cosigner)
You will also need to become a member of the credit union, but this is easily done during the application process. At this time, to be eligible to become a credit union member, you'll need to meet relatively specific criteria or qualify based on your geographic location. At this time, you'll need to live, work, or attend school in Washington State to qualify, though some in Oregon and Idaho also may be able to participate as well.
BECU loans, fees, and terms
They do not assess any loan origination or application fees, and you may be eligible to borrow up to $100,000 in undergraduate loans or up to $125,000 in graduate loans.
Your private loans will have a ten year term, and as of September 1, 2022, rate APRs start at 5.81%.
BECU private loans also come with:
The option to apply with a cosigner: Cosigners must be citizens of the United States with valid social security numbers. Additionally, your cosigner needs to be added to your application after the process has already been initiated.
A 0.25% interest-rate discount: For those that make their payments on auto payments via financial account direct debit.
Do keep in mind that with this lender, you will need to make some payments while you are in school. You have two options:
You can opt for interest-only payments with $25 per month minimum
You can make fixed $25 payments each month
And while it is inconvenient for college students to need to make payments while in school, at least these options are not too expensive. Those that have more questions about any of this information should reach out to LendKey directly via phone or email at (866) 291-6868 or firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.
BECU student loan refinancing
As we alluded to, you can also opt to refinance your existing student loan debt with the Boeing Employee Credit Union. With fixed rate APRs on both student and parent refinancing loans starting at 4.99% (as of September 2022), you may also enjoy the following perks:
No origination fees, application fees, or prepayment penalties
A 0.25% interest rate discount for those that register and make their payments on autopay
The same cosigner release perk (24 months) that those taking BECU loans receive
BECU refinancing eligibility
You'll be able to pick among terms of 5, 10, and 15 years. To be eligible to refinance through the credit union, you'll need to:
Be a United States resident or permanent resident
Earn at least $24,000 annually
Have graduated with at least a Bachelor's Degree
Pros to BECU student loans
There are a couple notable perks to taking your loans from BECU.
1. Cosigner release
BECU offers cosigner release to student loan borrowers and it can take effect much more quickly than with most other lenders. For example, your cosigner can be removed from your loan after just 24 consecutive full and timely payments.
2. Easy application process
BECU touts a really simple application process that can be completed in less than 5 minutes. In a world full of complexity and difficult financial processes, it is a breath of fresh air to see BECU make this process as easy as possible.
The application process is actually completed through BECU's partner LendKey, and will help you both gauge eligibility. but walk you through the information that you'll need in order to apply and get approved.
The application will look something like this:
BECU is not a perfect lender. Here are some things we'd like to see them improve upon.
1. Need to make payments while in school
Though many private lenders mandate that students make payments of some type while pursuing their education, it is a con, no matter how small these payments may be. Of course, most federal student loans do not require any payments to be made by those pursuing a degree in a full-time capacity.
2. High starting rates
We've had our eyes on BECU's rates for some time now, and they seem to offer higher starting rates than other student loan lenders out there. Here at The Student Debt Destroyer, we believe that you should almost always pick the lowest rate that you can find.
Exceptions to this rule would be helpful flexibility or perks such as extended deferment or forbearance options. And while BECU does offer some options for those struggling financially, these decisions are usually made on a case by case basis. We'd like to see more concrete rates and borrower protections to justify their rates.
BECU customer service reputation and reviews
Some research into the lender's customer service past indicates a customer base that is split on how the feel. While some members really enjoy working with a local credit union, others are more focused on their monthly payments and the rates that they are paying.
One tidbit that we find interesting is that BECU has had increasing consumer complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau annually for the past nine years in a row. And while this can be somewhat attributed to a growing business, there were 68 complaints filed in 2021, nearly double the 38 filed in 2019.
The bottom line
BECU is not a bad choice as a lender, but we find ourselves just a bit unsatisfied with their limited term options, higher than average rates, and required payments while enrolled in college. But depending on what loans you need and are eligible for, the Boeing Employee Credit Union is far from the worst lender on the market.
Other student loan lender reviews
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studentdebtdestroyer.com is a student loan research and education website provided by Grow Your Green LLC.
studentdebtdestroyer.com is not a student loan lender.
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