Refinancing with Earnest
Refinancing rates from 2.46% APR. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.
Whether you’re just learning about student loan refinancing or are ready to compare rate quotes, it’s important to read reviews of various lenders. This will help you see what benefits they can offer you — and find out their shortfalls, too. Working with the wrong lender can cost you in both high interest fees or even damaged credit.
One of the lenders you might have heard about is the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA). Although it offers student loans to students from Massachusetts, it provides student loan refinancing nationwide. In this MEFA review, find out what you need to know about eligibility, repayment terms, and interest rates.
Although you have many options for private student loans or refinancing, MEFA can be a smart choice for some borrowers. As one of the few companies that offer refinancing loans to borrowers who did not complete a degree, MEFA loans can help you take charge of your debt.
MEFA offers a range of products to help families pay for a college education, including:
- Private student loans: MEFA provides undergraduate and graduate student loans to Massachusetts residents or borrowers attending school in the state.
- Refinancing loans: MEFA also offers refinancing loans to borrowers across the country.
- Pre-paid tuition: For those looking to save on tuition, MEFA runs U.Plan, a prepaid tuition program available only to Massachusetts residents.
Using MEFA online
MEFA allows you to apply for a student loan or refinancing loan via the website or phone. To start the process online, click on “Apply For a Loan” on the top right of the website.
The site will redirect you to their list of financial options before prompting you to choose the appropriate loan type to complete the application.
Scroll down to find the loan you want and then click on “Apply Now.” Your online application will take just a few minutes. However, you do need to have documents on hand to verify your income, necessary loan amount, or cosigner information.
The MEFA website is intuitive and easy to use. However, it doesn’t offer a mobile app, so it can be difficult to navigate on a smartphone.
MEFA interest rates and fees
If you have exhausted your federal student loan options and need to take out additional loans to pay for school, MEFA could help.
For undergraduate student loans, MEFA offers fixed interest rates as low as 4.69%. Because the loan has a fixed interest rate rather than a variable one, your interest rate and your payments will stay the same for the length of your loan.
Undergraduate student loan borrowers can choose 10- or 15-year repayment terms; the shorter the term, the lower your interest rate. Although there is no application fee, there is a 4 percent origination fee if you need a cosigner.
For graduate loans, you might be able to get an interest rate as low as 6.09% with a repayment period of 15 years. Like undergraduate loans, if you need a cosigner, there is an origination fee.
If you’re interested in refinancing your loans, MEFA says that the average borrower reduces their monthly payment by $191. You can refinance both federal and private student loans.
If your application is approved, you can take out a loan with a fixed interest rate as low as 4.95%. If you opt for a variable rate, your rate could be as little as 3.84%.
MEFA repayment options
MEFA is not a federal loan lender, so it does not offer benefits such as income-driven repayment plans, forbearance, or deferment. However, MEFA does have some repayment options to help you manage your loans.
For undergraduate loans, you can choose one of four repayment plans:
- Immediate: With this payment plan, you must begin making payments while in school (45 days after MEFA disburses your loan). However, the interest rate is lower while you’re enrolled in college. Your payment covers both principal and interest. Depending on your loan, you might have 10 to 15 years to pay it off.
- Interest-only: While you’re still in school, you can opt for an interest-only plan. With this approach, you only pay the interest that accrues, but not the principal. Once you graduate, you pay both. You have 15 years to pay off your loan. Because your payments don’t go towards principal at first, you will pay more in interest over time.
- Deferred: Under a deferred plan, you can put off payments until six months after graduation. Interest accrues during the deferment period. That means you will pay more in interest over the length of your loan.
- Deferred with cosigner release: This plan is the same as the deferred option, except after making 48 consecutive, on-time payments, you can ask MEFA to release your cosigner from their responsibility on the loan.
If you apply for a loan from MEFA for graduate school, there are only two repayment options: interest-only and deferred. For all the repayment plans, there is no penalty for early repayment.
MEFA refinancing loans offer a 15-year repayment term, but there are no alternative payment plans.
MEFA eligibility requirements
MEFA’s eligibility requirements differ for student loans and refinancing offers. To qualify for student loans, you must:
- Be a resident of Massachusetts or attend a school in the state
- Be enrolled at least half-time in an accredited, degree-granting program at an eligible non-profit college or university
- Show academic progress as defined by your school
- Borrow a minimum of $2,000 for private school and $1,500 for public school
- Pay a 4 percent origination fee if you have a cosigner
If you’re looking to refinance your student loans instead, you must:
- Be a citizen or permanent resident in the U.S.
- Not have a history of defaulting on your student loans
- Not have a history of bankruptcy or foreclosure in the past 60 months
- Have federal or private student loan debt
- Have loans in active repayment — not in deferment, forbearance, or in the grace period
- Refinance at least $10,000
Unlike some other lenders, MEFA doesn’t require you to have completed your degree before refinancing. That means MEFA could be an option for you if you left school early.
MEFA customer service
While MEFA is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it currently has an “A+” review on the BBB site.
Negative complaints on BBB and Yelp share the same concerns. The few reviews on those platforms revolve around the lack of repayment options compared to federal loans.
Those issues emphasize why it’s so important to understand the terms of the loan before accepting it. That way, there’s no surprises later on.
More about MEFA
MEFA, located in the heart of Boston, focuses on helping students and families afford college. Created by the state legislature in 1982, MEFA offers a range of services, from student loans to college savings programs.
In its 30-year history, MEFA has issued over $4.4 billion in bonds and has assisted hundreds of thousands of families in paying for school.
MEFA contact information
If you have questions about MEFA student loans, you can contact them by calling 1-800-266-0243 Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m until 5 p.m. EST.
You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and a team member will get back to you within 24 hours.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 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 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% 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 Month/Day/Year, 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 08/21/18. 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@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 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.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
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.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). 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 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.46% – 6.97%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.57% – 8.44%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.24%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|