Refinance rates with Laurel Road start at 1.89%.
Checking your rates won’t affect your score.
In 2019, students left college with an average of $29,900 in loans. For millions of people, student loans and high interest rates are a significant burden, and many struggle to keep up with their payments.
If you have a balance higher than $15,000 and are considering student loan refinancing, Education Loan Finance (ELFI) is worth a look. While its refinancing eligibility criteria are more strict than some competitors, the low interest rates could help you save money each month or overall.
- Education Loan Finance review: The basics
- What we like about ELFI student loan refinance
- What to keep in mind about Education Loan Finance
- Are ELFI student loan refinance right for you?
Education Loan Finance is a student loan refinancing and consolidation program run by SouthEast Bank, a financial institution based in Tennessee. The company, which also lends private student loans to undergraduates, was designed to simplify repaying your loans by combining them into one easy payment.
After you graduate from school, Education Loan Finance helps to make your education more affordable. Many students leave school with a mix of private and federal loans, with multiple payments and different due dates. By refinancing, you can combine them into one easy payment, with one due date.
At ELFI, refinancing is available for graduates with their own loans, as well as for parents with federal parent PLUS loans or private loans. As the graduate, you may also refinance your mom or dad’s parent PLUS Loans into your name (if you can qualify on your own, without a cosigner).
Here are some other features you can expect with Education Loan Finance student loan refinance:
- Fixed and variable interest rates
- Prequalify and receive a rate quote — without harming your credit
- No application or origination fees or prepayment penalty
- Refinance at least $15,000, with maximum loan amounts depending on your creditworthiness
- Eligibility requirements include a 680 credit score and a debt-to-income ratio below 55%, but applying with a cosigner is possible
- Repayment terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years (for ex-students) and 5, 7 and 10 years (for parent borrowers)
- Up to 12 months of forbearance available for borrowers in a financial hardship (awarded on a case-by-case basis)
- No in-school deferment available (if you return to campus while in repayment)
There are some significant benefits to refinancing your loans with Education Loan Finance.
- Competitive interest rates — and few fees
- Potential borrower savings
- Transparent application process
- Strong customer service
- Referral bonus program
Education Loan Finance’s interest rates vary depending on the type of loan you want. If you apply for a fixed-rate loan and are approved, the offered loan’s interest rate could range from 2.58% to 5.99%.
For a variable-rate loan, the starting APR (annual percentage rate) can range from 2.39% to 6.01%. After that, the APR may increase with market changes.
ELFI bakes the industry-standard autopay discount into your awarded interest rate automatically because the lender requires all borrowers to make payments electronically.
Also, with Education Loan Finance, borrowers are never charged most student loan fees, such as for application, origination or prepayment. For late payments, you may be charged 5% of the late amount or $50, whichever is less. If a payment must be returned for any reason, you could be charged $30.
If you have good credit or have someone willing to act as a cosigner, refinancing your debt with Education Loan Finance can help you save a lot of money.
For example, say you had a $20,000, 10-year loan at 7.00% interest. Over the length of your repayment, you’d pay back a total of $27,866. Because of the relatively high interest rate, you’d pay over $7,800 just in interest charges, according to our monthly payment calculator.
If you refinanced and qualified for a 10-year loan at 4.50% interest, the difference is dramatic. Over the length of your loan, you’d repay just $24,873. By taking a few minutes to submit your refinancing form, you’d save nearly $3,000.
Such arithmetic allows the average ELFI customer to save $13,940 over their repayment, according to the company’s data from February 2020.
Use our student loan refinancing calculator to estimate how much you can save.
The highlight of Education Loan Finance’s application is its transparency. You can confirm your eligibility and potential rate within minutes and without subjecting your credit report to harm. Not all lenders prequalify borrowers this way.
If you elect to file a formal application with ELFI, you will have to submit to a hard credit check, which could temporarily ding your credit score.
Also, during the formal application process, you’ll need to provide the following documents:
- Recent pay stub or proof of employment
- W-2 form from the most recent tax year (and tax returns if you’re self-employed)
- Government-issued ID
- Bank account information (to set up Education Loan Finance payments)
- Current billing statement or student loan payoff letter for each debt included in your refinancing application
Like with other student loan refinancing companies, Education Loan Finance won’t directly manage your repayment. It contracts federal loan servicers MOHELA and American Education Services (AES) to do just that.
At first blush, you might be reluctant to work with federal loan servicers, but MOHELA and AES have among the best servicer track records. MOHELA was absent from the latest Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint report, and AES was brought down, in part, by parent company PHEAA. On top of that, Education Loan Finance hasn’t been the subject of a student loan-related complaint filed to the CFPB since 2017.
Education Loan Finance customer service also has other notable positives going for it:
- Each customer is assigned a personal loan advisor
- The company’s management team claims three-plus decades of student loan refinancing experience
Speaking of experience, in January 2020, the company announced it has surpassed $1 billion in refinanced student loans, thanks to its approximately 14,500 customers.
Besides the benefits of refinancing, Education Loan Finance offers other benefits, too, like its student loan referral program. If you refer a friend, you get $400, and your buddy will get $100. (You get the money as a check to use as you want.)
Best of all, there’s no limit to how many people you can refer. You can post a referral link on your social media pages, your personal website and more to get the word out and earn cash.
There are some drawbacks to student loan refinancing that you should keep in mind, particularly if you have federal student loans.
When you refinance, you’re replacing your federal loans with one private loan. That means you lose out on certain federal benefits, such as access to income-driven repayment plans, the ability to apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness and forbearance and deferment options. That can make it more difficult to manage your loans later.
Other fine print to be aware of includes:
Education Loan Finance works with borrowers across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, but that’s where its accessibility starts to shrink.
To qualify for refinancing with Education Loan Finance, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt, be a U.S. citizen and have obtained your bachelor’s degree or a higher degree from an approved postsecondary institution.
While Education Loan Finance won’t publicly cite a specific number, they do say that applicants should have a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio that shows you can pay back the loan.
ELFI is clear about thresholds for other financial factors, including:
- Minimum income: $35,000
- Minimum credit score: 680
- Minimum credit history: 36 months
If you don’t qualify for a loan based on your own credit, income or DTI ratio, you may need to find a cosigner.
Alternatively, you could find a lender with less stringent requirements.
|Don’t have $15,000 in loans to refinance?||LendKey will refinance as little as $2,000 worth of debt|
|Not a citizen?||Prodigy Finance is among lenders assisting international borrowers|
|Don’t have a bachelor’s degree?||EdVestinU works with borrowers who didn’t graduate or hold an associate’s degree|
|Don’t have income of at least $35,000?||SoFi doesn’t set a minimum income requirement|
|Don’t have a credit score of 680?||Earnest sets its threshold at 650|
Beyond inaccessible eligibility standards, Education Loan Finance doesn’t provide some perks that you’ll find available from other lenders.
The good news is that you could find these features by signing on with a competitor.
|Options not available at ELFI||Alternative lender|
|Spousal consolidation loans||Splash Financial|
|Cosigner release (if you apply for refinancing with a cosigner)||Laurel Road|
|Discharge due to borrower’s death (ELFI reviews each case individually)||Discover|
Although there are some drawbacks to consider before submitting your application, refinancing your loans with Education Loan Finance could help you save money or pay off your debt faster. But it’s always a good idea to compare offers from multiple student loan refinancing companies to ensure you get your best possible offer.
Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 6.15%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.85%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 5.25%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.64%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|2.15% – 4.42%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.00% – 5.63%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of May 1, 2021.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application..
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of October 26, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 10/26/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 04/07/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
6 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
7 Important Disclosures for PenFed.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.89%-4.78% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.15%-4.42% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
8 Important Disclosures for Nelnet.
Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is canceled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan.
Request for the cosigner to be released can be made by the borrower after 24 consecutive, on-time payments (not later than 15 days after the due date) of principal and interest have been made. Borrowers in deferment or forbearance must make 24 consecutive, on-time payments after re-entering repayment to qualify for the release. The borrower must be current on their payments at the time of the cosigner release request and show the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) by meeting certain credit criteria on their own at the time of the request, including, but not limited to, being a U.S. citizen or having permanent residency in the United States, being the age of majority in their permanent state of residency, providing sufficient proof of income, and having no student loans in default.
Hardship forbearance allows you to temporarily suspend payments on your loan(s) while you are experiencing financial hardship. It is offered in increments of two or three months, with a maximum of 12 months available, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. If your loan(s) are in good standing at the time of your request, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of two monthly payments. If, at the time of your initial request, your loan(s) are considered past-due, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of three monthly payments. Future increments of forbearance, up to a life-time maximum of 12 months, may be requested upon the completion of making a certain number of principal and interest payments. During the two- or three-month forbearance period, you will not be required to make payments; however, any unpaid interest will continue to accrue and will be capitalized (added) onto your principal balance at the end of the forbearance period. You may continue making payments in any amount without penalty during the forbearance period. Your loan repayment term will be extended by the number of months in the forbearance period.
Refinance Loan Eligibility: You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number, and be the legal age to enter into binding contracts in your permanent state/territory of residency, or be at least 17 years of age and apply with a cosigner who is at least the age of majority in their state/territory. Non-residents can apply with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number. The student loans you refinance must be in their grace or repayment period, and you can no longer be enrolled in school on a half-time or more basis. You must have at least $5,000 in student loans to refinance. You, or your eligible cosigner, must have an annual income of at least $36,000. Approval subject to credit review. Other credit criteria may apply.
Refinance Loan Limits:
Loan Refinancing Risks: Federal student loans include benefits that may not be offered with private student loans. Carefully review any potential benefits that may be lost by refinancing federal and private education loans, such as the loss of any remaining grace periods. To learn more about what to take into consideration when refinancing federal student loans with private education loans, click here
Selecting ‘Get Started’ results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Fixed interest rates range from 2.99% APR (with auto debit discount) to 6.25% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan.
Variable interest rates range from 2.00% APR (with auto debit discount) to 5.63% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. Variable rates may increase after consummation. The variable interest rate is equal to the One-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (“One-Month LIBOR”) plus a margin. The One-Month LIBOR in effect for each monthly period (from the first day of the month through and including the last day of the same month) will be the highest One-Month LIBOR published in The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth (25th) day (or if such day is not a business day, the next business day thereafter) of the month immediately preceding such calendar month. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for a variable interest rate loan will change monthly on the first day of each month if the One-Month LIBOR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month LIBOR index is 0.15% as of 5/4/2021.
The lowest interest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (“auto debit”) payments, a five-year repayment term, and the borrower making immediate principal and interest payments. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, (3) the loan type selected, and (4) the highest level of education attained. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range.
*Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score. **Your actual savings may vary based on interest rates, outstanding balances, remaining repayment terms, and other factors.