Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing Review

Loans, Student Loans
elfi-student-loan-review

Elfi, or Education Loan Finance, is a student loan refinancing option available through Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank. Although Elfi is new to the student loan refinance market — it started offering loans in December 2015 — SouthEast Bank’s holding company, Educational Services of America Inc., has been around for much longer.


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At a glance

  • Fixed rates: 3.19% to 6.69% APR. Variable rates: 2.39% to 6.01% APR.
  • Five-, seven-, 10-, 15- and 20-year loan terms (five-, seven- or 10-year terms for parents)
  • Eligible loan balances: $15,000 and up (no maximum)

Elfi’s services are available to borrowers in 48 U.S. states, excluding Arizona and Wisconsin. As with many student loan refinance lenders, you can refinance with Elfi if you have debt from your undergraduate or graduate education. You can also refinance with Elfi if you’re a parent and took out student loans for your child’s college.

Do you qualify?

 Minimum qualifications
Credit score680
Income$35,000
EducationBachelor’s degree or higher from an approved school.

» COMPARE: Student loan refinancing options

If you didn’t graduate, try Citizens Bank, Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) or Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA). Those lenders don’t require a degree for refinancing.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

You’ll need the following when you apply:

  • Copy of your most recent billing statement or a payoff letter from your existing lender or servicer for each loan you want to refinance
  • Most recent pay stubs for the past 30 days or other proof of employment
  • W-2s
  • Tax returns, if you’re self-employed
  • Valid ID, such as a driver’s license or passport
  • Billing account information for automatic debit

Where Elfi student loan refinancing shines

Low interest rates: Getting a lower interest rate is the main benefit of refinancing, and Elfi offers some of the lowest rates in the market. If you choose a variable rate, it may go up or down throughout the life of the loan as the market indicator it’s tied to fluctuates. Elfi’s variable rates won’t increase more than once every three months and will never exceed 9.95%.

Where Elfi student loan refinancing falls short

No co-signer release option: Unlike many student loan refinance lenders, Elfi doesn’t offer borrowers the option to release their co-signer after a certain period of on-time payments.

More details

Fees: Elfi doesn’t charge application or origination fees or prepayment penalties. It will charge a late fee if you don’t make your full payment within 10 days of your due date. The late fee will be 5% of the past-due amount or $50, whichever is less.

Loan servicing: If you refinance with Elfi, your loan will be serviced by Mohela, a nonprofit company that services both private and federal student loans. That means you’ll make your monthly payments to Mohela. You can direct questions you have about your loan to either Mohela or Elfi.

Deferment and forbearance: You can pause your loan payments for up to 12 months if you’re going through a financial hardship or have a permanent disability. Interest will continue accruing during periods of deferment or forbearance.

Next steps

If you’re ready to get started with Elfi, you can apply on its website. It’s a good idea to compare multiple refinance options before you choose a lender; weigh each lender’s rates and the repayment options they offer, along with other factors that are important to you.

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