Refinancing with Earnest
Refinancing rates from 1.99% 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 8 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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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 3.20% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.89% 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 December 13, 2019, 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 12/13/2019. 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 our student 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 SoFi.
3 Important Disclosures for Figure.
Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.
4 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Disclosures
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.
4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
5 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
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. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.
For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS
Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).
Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.
All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.
For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.
The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.
The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.
POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS
After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.
If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.
6 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.
7 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 1.76% effective November 10, 2019.
8 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 12/019/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.59% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
|1.99% – 6.89%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.31% – 7.36%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.06% – 6.81%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.62% – 6.12%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 6.65%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 7.06%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.85% – 6.13%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 8.59%8||Undergrad & Graduate|