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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.Learn More About MEFA
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.Check Out MEFA Online
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.See If You’re Eligible
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.
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