MEFA student loan refinancing review December 2018 | finder.com

MEFA student loan refinancing review

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Rates start at just 4.45%, but only for former Massachusetts students.

Paying off student loans from a school in Massachusetts? You might be able to save by refinancing through the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) — even if you don’t live there anymore.

While the rates offered might not beat most federal loans, this lender could help if you’re paying off a large private student debt load. Its repayment terms aren’t the most flexible, though, and you need good credit to qualify.

Product NameMEFA Education Refinancing Loan
Min Loan Amount$10,000
Max. Loan Amountnone
APR4.55% to 7.65%
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Minimum Loan Term10 years
Maximum Loan Term15 years
Requirements670+ credit score, $2,000+ monthly income, $10,000+ student loan debt, made 12+ payments, currently repaying loans, US citizen or permanent resident, attended an eligible Massachusetts school, signer on all loans being refinanced, no student loan defaults, no bankruptcies or foreclosures in past 5 years
  • Have a credit score of 670 or higher.
  • Make at least $2,000 a month.
  • Have a minimum debt of $10,000 from a Massachusetts school.
  • Have made at least 12 repayments on your loan.
  • Are currently paying off your loans.
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have no bankruptcies or foreclosures in the past five years.
  • Have no student loan defaults.

First, am I eligible?

To be eligible for a MEFA Education Refinancing Loan, you must:

  • Have a credit score of 670 or higher.
  • Make at least $2,000 a month.
  • Have a minimum debt of $10,000 from a Massachusetts school.
  • Have made at least 12 repayments on your loan.
  • Are currently paying off your loans.
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have no bankruptcies or foreclosures in the past five years.
  • Have no student loan defaults.

How does refinancing with MEFA work?

Refinancing with MEFA works by giving you a new loan with different rates and terms to pay off your current student loans. There’s no maximum amount you can borrow, though you must have at least $10,000 in student loan debt from a Massachusetts-based school to qualify.

MEFA is a direct, nonprofit lender that refinances both federal and private student loans — though it might not be worth it if you only have federal debt. That’s because federal loans often come with lower rates and more flexible repayment terms than MEFA can offer, such as income-based repayment plans.

You can complete the application online in a few minutes — either on your own or with a cosigner — and get an instant decision.

How much will I pay to refinance?

There are two main costs you need to consider when refinancing with MEFA: the interest rate and the origination fee.

  1. MEFA offers both fixed and variable interest rates. Fixed rates range from 4.45% to 6.95% and stay the same throughout the life of your loan. Variable rates can change from month to month based on fluctuations in the LIBOR rate. As of October 2018, variable rates run from 4.55% to 7.65%. Depending on the lending market, your variable rate can potentially go much lower or higher than the fixed rate, though MEFA caps interest at 20%.
  2. MEFA advertises no application, origination or prepayment penalties on its website. However, the representative we spoke with told us its refinancing loans come with a 4% origination fee, which it rolls into the total cost of your loan.

Does MEFA offer discounts?

No, MEFA doesn’t advertise any discounts for signing up for autopay or referring a friend.

What are my repayment options?

MEFA has relatively limited repayment options compared to other student loan refinancing providers. You can choose between a 10 years– or 15 years term with standard fixed repayments that begin one month after your money is disbursed.

Top reasons to consider MEFA

  • No maximum amount. There’s no limit to how much student debt you can refinance with MEFA as long as it’s more than $10,000.
  • Low maximum rates. The highest fixed rate you’ll pay on a MEFA refinancing loan is lower than some of the rates that come with federal student loans.
  • No prepayment penalty. You can save even more on interest by paying off your loan early.
  • Cosigners allowed. Bringing on a cosigner can help you meet eligibility requirements or qualify foe a more competitive rate.

Why you might want to look elsewhere

  • No cosigner release. You’ll have to refinance your loan again if you want to take your cosigner off your account in the future.
  • Good credit required. You must have a credit score of at least 670 to qualify.
  • Massachusetts schools only. As a state-chartered institution, MEFA only refinances loans that covered educational expenses in Massachusetts.
  • Limited repayment terms. Many refinancing providers offer five- and 20-year loan terms. MEFA does not.
  • Not for international students. Even if you bring on a cosigner, you’re ineligible unless you’re both US citizens or permanent residents.

More student loan refinancing providers

Rates last updated December 16th, 2018
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR Product Description
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (w/ autopay)
650
None
2.46% to 6.97% (variable)
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
LendingTree Student Loans
Good to excellent credit
Varies by lender
3% (As low as) (fixed)
Compare multiple student loans and student loan refinancing options in one place.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
650
full balance of your qualified education loans
2.470% to 6.990% (variable)
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
Good to excellent credit
None
2.57%(As low as ) (variable)
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing
700
$300,000
3.75%–7.03% (fixed)
Straightforward refinancing with competitive rates.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing
620
$300,000
2.82% to 8.42% (variable)
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
700
$300,000
3.75% (starting at) (variable)
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.

Compare up to 4 providers

What to expect when signing up

You can sign up for MEFA student loan refinancing online or by calling 855-433-7334. Get started online by following these steps:

  1. Go to the MEFA website and click MEFA Loans in the main navigation bar.
  2. Scroll down to Education Refinancing Loans and click Apply Now.
  3. Review the process and the information you need before clicking Apply Online.
  4. Answer the eligibility questions and click Continue.
  5. Complete the application with information about your personal finances, employment and debt obligations.
  6. Review your answers before submitting your application.

You should receive an instant decision. If you get the green light, MEFA provides instructions for which documents to upload to verify your income and other information you entered on the application.

Once you’re officially approved, review MEFA’s offers and select the one with the most favorable rates and terms. You can sign your loan documents online, after which MEFA connects with your current lenders to pay off your student loans.

Documents required

At the very least, MEFA asks to see:

  • Your and your cosigner’s two most recent pay stubs.
  • Current billing statements for the loans you want to refinance.

More about MEFA

The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority is a nonprofit, state-based, self-funded and self-chartered institution. The Massachusetts state legislature created MEFA in 1982 with the purpose of providing affordable financing options for college students across the state.

In addition to refinancing, it offers private student loans and services to help Massachusetts families plan, save and pay for school.

Bottom line

MEFA student loan refinancing could be a good option for anyone paying off private student debt on an undergraduate or graduate degree from a Massachusetts school. With no limit to how much you can borrow, this could be a particularly attractive option if you attended law or medical school.

But with only two repayment terms to choose from, it might not be right for everyone — especially if you can’t afford to pay off your loans over the next 10 years or 15 years.

Find out how MEFA stacks up against the competition by reading our guide to student loan refinancing.

Frequently asked questions

Anna Serio

Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.

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