With its competitive interest rates and strong customer service, Education Loan Finance — also known as Elfi — is an ideal student loan refinancing option for borrowers with stable finances. It doesn’t offer as many flexible repayment options as some other lenders, but its customers are less likely to need them.
A division of Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank, Education Loan Finance offers robust customer service. It pairs all of its student loan refinance customers with a dedicated, highly trained personal loan advisor. Borrowers can call, text or email their advisors to ask questions throughout the refinancing process.
Education Loan Finance at a glance:
- Personalized rate estimates without affecting credit.
- Borrowers can refinance their parents’ PLUS loans.
- Borrowers can’t postpone payments if they return to school.
|Reviewed loan||Student loan refinancing|
|Interest rates||Fixed: 3.39% - 6.69%
Variable: 2.8% - 6.01%
|Loan terms||5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years|
|Loan amounts||$15,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance|
|Co-signer release available||Yes, but you must apply again without your co-signer.|
|Can transfer a parent loan to the child||Yes|
How Elfi scores
NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see whether Education Loan Finance ranks below average, average or above average compared with other student loan refinance lenders.
Enables faster repayment:
Lenders score highly if they offer a variety of term lengths and make extra payments easy.
Discloses requirements, limits costs:
Lenders score highly if they limit fees and interest rates, are transparent about their underwriting criteria and allow borrowers to get personalized rate estimates before applying.
Serves range of borrowers:
Lenders score highly if they cater to customers in varying locations, in different financial situations, and with varying citizenship statuses.
Offers payment flexibility:
Lenders score highly if they offer longer than 12-month forbearance periods, in-school and military deferment, and any other flexible policies that help borrowers during tough times.
Lenders score highly if they assign borrowers an advisor, offer multiple ways to get in touch, and have in-house customer service. Websites should display full APR ranges, fees and forbearance policies.
How Elfi could improve
Education Loan Finance would score higher if it offered additional programs such as:
- Academic deferment.
- More than 12 months of forbearance.
- Biweekly student loan payments via autopay.
- Refinancing for applicants whose highest level of education is an associate degree.
Elfi student loan refinancing details
- Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.
- Application or origination fee: No.
- Prepayment penalty: No.
- Late fees: Yes; a fee equal to 5% of the past due amount or $50, whichever is less, applies after a payment is 11 days late.
Compare Education Loan Finance’s range of interest rates with other student loan refinance lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Education Loan Finance will offer you, apply on its website.
- Minimum credit score: 680.
- Minimum income: $35,000 per year.
- Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 774.
- Typical income of approved borrowers: $133,532 per year.
- Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50%.
- Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after at least 7 years have passed.
- Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
- Must have graduated: Yes, must have at least a bachelor’s degree.
- Must have attended a Title IV-accredited school: Yes. It must be nonprofit school on Education Loan Finance’s approved schools list.
- Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.
- Academic deferment: No — borrowers cannot defer payments if they return to school.
- Military deferment: Yes, borrowers can postpone payments while they’re on active military duty.
- Forbearance: Yes, borrowers may postpone payments for up to 12 months if they’re experiencing a hardship such as a financial or medical issue. Education Loan Finance will review each case individually and decisions are at the sole discretion of the lender.
- Are loans discharged in the event of death/disability of borrower?: Education Loan Finance will review each case individually.
- Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.
- Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.
- Loan servicer: MOHELA.
- In-house customer service team: Yes.
- Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
- Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Yes, each customer gets a personal loan advisor for the duration of the refinancing process.
- Referral bonus: Get $400 cash for every person you successfully refer to Education Loan Finance, and they’ll get $100. To get the bonus, the person you refer must apply and be approved within 90 days of registering with Education Loan Finance. There’s no limit to the number of people you can refer.
How to refinance with Elfi
Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple student loan refinance options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer borrowers who are struggling to make payments.
If you’re ready to borrow with Education Loan Finance, you can apply on its website.
STUDENT LOANS RATINGS METHODOLOGY
NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s student loan ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines. — Among the very best for consumer-friendly features
— Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features
— Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features
— Good; may not offer something important to you
— Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features
— Poor; proceed with great caution