What sets MEFA apart is its affordability, combined with limited fees and below-average rates. The service is fast, too – you can have your student loan refinanced within days.
The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) offers student loan refinancing as well as new undergraduate and graduate school loans. You do not have to live in Massachusetts to take advantage of financing from this private lender, but you do have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Affordability is the biggest benefit of using MEFA for student loans or refinancing. The company’s rates are below industry averages for all loan types, especially if you have excellent credit. You can refinance your loan in days rather than waiting weeks to save with other private lenders.
A loan from MEFA comes with fewer costs than you might have with its competitors, with no origination fees or prepayment penalties. However, most private lenders have formal deferment and forbearance programs in case you lose your income. MEFA has a military deferment, but no hardship programs.
Products & Services
Student Loan Refinancing
You can potentially lower your interest rate and monthly payment by refinancing your student loans with MEFA, as long as you have at least $10,000 in qualifying loans. The company offers repayment terms of 7, 10, and 15 years, each with a fixed interest rate for the life of your refinance loan.
You can refinance both undergraduate and graduate loans through MEFA, as well as both federal and private student loans. You can even qualify to refinance if you didn’t finish your degree, an option not every lender provides.
Undergraduate Student Loans
MEFA offers fixed-rate student loans with 10-year and 15-year repayment terms available. Depending on your financial situation, you can decide to begin repaying your loan right away, pay only interest until you graduate, or defer payments completely while in school. You can also choose a loan that has a slightly higher interest rate but releases your cosigner automatically after 48 on-time consecutive payments.
MEFA allows you to borrow from $1,500 up to the total annual cost of attending college or university after accounting for your available financial aid. The lender uses the certified cost of attendance provided by your financial institution to set the maximum for your loan. This number includes tuition and fees as well as reasonable living costs, books, and supplies.
Graduate Student Loans
You can obtain a fixed-interest graduate school loan with a 15-year repayment term from MEFA. As with undergraduate loans, you can borrow up to 100% of your school’s certified cost of attendance from MEFA.
Rates and Terms
MEFA provides an interest rate quote in seconds without affecting your credit score. Depending on your financial situation, you can refinance your student loans at 2.50% to 5.70% APR. These rates align with the national average student loan refinance rate of 3.4%.
Undergraduate loans through MEFA have interest rates of 3.75% to 5.75%, well below the average rate of about 5.8% for all current borrowers. Unlike many competitors, MEFA does not charge an origination fee or application fee for undergraduate loans. It does not have prepayment penalties, which means you can save on interest if you decide to pay off your loan sooner.
MEFA’s graduate school loans range from 4.50% to 5.65% APR. These competitive rates also offer an affordable alternative to the nationwide average of about 6.16% for graduate student borrowers.
Application Process and Qualifications
You’ll have to create an account with MEFA to get a student loan rate quote. This requires a simple one-page form that collects your contact information.
If you decide to move forward with MEFA after receiving your refinance quote, you’ll be asked to provide:
- Legal identification, such as a passport or driver’s license
- Proof of your Social Security number
- Proof of current address
- Pay stubs, W-2 forms, or other proof of monthly income and employment
- Documents that prove housing costs, such as lease or mortgage paperwork
- Current billing statements for the loans you want to refinance
You must be a U.S. permanent resident or citizen to obtain or refinance student loans through MEFA. The lender requires a credit score of at least 670 and $24,000 or more in documented annual income. These requirements are similar to those of other private student lenders.
The company only refinances loans used to attend accredited, degree-granting nonprofit colleges and universities, not for-profit institutions. Your payments must be current on the loans you want to refinance, with no late payments in the past six months. You can’t qualify for refinancing with MEFA if you defaulted on a student loan in the past or have had a foreclosure or bankruptcy in the past five years.
You cannot refinance loans that belong to someone else, such as a spouse or child, unless you cosigned the original loan. This includes loans taken by your parents to fund your education, such as Parent PLUS loans.
Most undergraduate loans require a parent or cosigner. As a younger student, you may not have the available credit to qualify for financing.
Once you submit all required documents for your student loan refinance application, you should receive approval within 10 to 14 days. After approval and signing, it takes about five days to get your funds from MEFA, compared to three to four weeks for most private lenders. You use the money to pay off your old student loans and begin making payments on the new loan.
MEFA provides same-day approval for undergraduate loans. It disburses the funds directly to your college or university before tuition payments are due.
You can only apply for one academic year of funding with MEFA. Many competitors have multi-year approval which means you only need to apply once to finance your entire degree program.
MEFA has both phone and email support. You can reach a customer service representative from Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern standard time, while many competitors close their service departments at 5 or 6 p.m.
MEFA is a solid choice for affordable, fast student loan refinancing, as long as you have good credit and steady income or a cosigner for your loan. It offers a straightforward, transparent process without the expensive fees common in the private student loan industry. You can see your rates in seconds without impacting your credit score, which makes it easy to research your options.
You should look at this lender if you want to refinance federal and private loans or undergraduate and graduate loans together, since not every company provides the option to do so. However, you can’t refinance less than $10,000 in loans with MEFA or refinance loans under the name of another family member, such as your parent, child, or spouse.
Is MEFA a good company?
MEFA ranks among the best private student lenders because of its transparency and affordability.
Is MEFA a government loan?
MEFA offers private student loans, not government loans. To obtain a federal student loan, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before the start of each academic year.
Does MEFA require a cosigner?
You do not need a cosigner to get a student loan through MEFA if you have a steady income and a credit score of at least 670. Otherwise, you must have a cosigner who meets these requirements. The company says 98% of undergraduate loan borrowers apply with a cosigner.
How long does it take to get a MEFA loan?
You can get approval for a loan within 10 to 14 days. From there, it takes about 5 days to get your funds for a refinance loan. Undergraduate and graduate loans are disbursed directly to your college or university.