Education Loan Finance — known as Elfi — refinances federal and private student loans used to pay for undergraduate and graduate programs, and loans that parents borrowed to pay for their child’s college.
Student loan refinancing means replacing one or more student loans with a single, lower-rate loan. Refinancing with Education Loan Finance, a division of Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank, may be right for you if you:
- Have private loans
- Have federal loans and don’t plan to use federal benefits such as income-driven repayment and loan forgiveness — you’ll lose access to those programs if you refinance
- Have good credit, a stable income and a history of paying your debt on time
- Want to transfer your parents’ PLUS loan to your name
|Type of loan||Student loan refinancing|
4.0 out of 5.0 stars
|Interest rates (APR)||Fixed: 3.09% - 6.69%
Variable: 2.69% - 6.01%
|Loan terms||5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years|
|Loan amounts||$15,000 up to the full loan balance|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn a $200 sign-up bonus when you apply using the NerdWallet button below|
|Rates updated May 1, 2018.|
Can you qualify?
You’ll likely get approved if you:
- Have good credit. Education Loan Finance requires borrowers to have at least a 680 credit score. If you don’t meet this requirement, you can apply with a co-signer who does.
- Have enough income to make loan payments. Education Loan Finance requires that borrowers or their co-signers earn at least $35,000 annually.
- Graduated from an eligible school. You must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a school that’s on Education Loan Finance’s approved school list. Schools on this list are nonprofit and Title IV-accredited and have graduates with relatively low student loan default rates.
- Are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
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How to refinance student loans with Education Loan Finance
Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple 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 for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.
If you’re ready to refinance with Education Loan Finance, you can apply on the Education Loan Finance website. You’ll be assigned one of the lender’s loan advisors to help you through the refinancing process. Here’s how to apply:
1. Check your rate. This won’t affect your credit score. Education Loan Finance will do what’s known as a soft credit pull to pre-qualify you. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number, and information about your education, income and housing.
2. Choose a loan term and interest rate type. You’ll save the most money by choosing a loan with the shortest term you can manage. You can choose a fixed rate, which will stay the same throughout the life of your loan, or a variable rate, which could be lower at first but will fluctuate with economic conditions.
3. Complete the application. You’ll need to enter your driver’s license number, contact information for two references and details about your employment. You’ll also have the option to add a co-signer — you don’t have to, but it could help you get a lower rate.
Your reference can be anyone over age 18 who is not your co-signer and doesn’t share an address with you or your co-signer. You and your co-signer can’t have the same reference.
4. Authorize a hard credit check. This might slightly hurt your FICO score, but most lenders need to review applicants’ credit histories before approval.
5. Upload the necessary documents. You’ll need:
- Current billing statements or payoff letters for each of the loans you want to refinance. They must include your account numbers, current balance and payment mailing address.
- Proof of income: You’ll need to provide pay stubs from the last 30 days and your W-2 form from the previous year. If you’re self-employed, upload signed tax returns from the last two years.
- Identification: This could be a driver’s license, passport, military ID, or U.S. permanent resident card I-551, also known as a green card.
6. Approval. Once you’re approved for the loan, you’ll need to sign your new loan agreement and set up auto-debit payments — Education Loan Finance requires that borrowers make monthly payments electronically.
7. Loan payoff. It can take 30 to 45 days for Education Loan Finance to pay off borrowers’ original lenders or servicers and for the payment be applied to the borrower’s account. Continue making payments on your existing student loans until you receive confirmation that they’ve been paid off. Then you’ll begin making loan payments to Education Loan Finance through the lender’s third-party loan servicer, MOHELA.
Education Loan Finance student loan refinancing details
- Loan servicer: MOHELA
- 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.
- Co-signer release option: Education Loan Refinance cannot remove a co-signer from a loan, unlike some lenders. But borrowers can refinance the loan again without a co-signer if they qualify on their own.
Repayment options for struggling borrowers
Throughout your loan term, you may need some breathing room on payments. Education Loan Finance offers the following options:
- Forbearance: You may be able to postpone loan payments for up to 12 months if you experience an economic hardship such as unemployment, a medical emergency or a disability.
Education Loan Finance extras
Education Loan Finance offers borrowers the following perks:
- Fast Track Bonus program: Get a $200 cash bonus if you’re a new Education Loan Finance borrower, and you get approved and accept your loan terms within 30 days of your initial application.
- 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.
- Can I apply with a co-signer? Yes.
- Is there a co-signer release option? Education Loan Refinance cannot remove a co-signer from a loan, unlike some lenders. But borrowers can refinance the loan again without a co-signer if they qualify on their own.
- Can I qualify if I’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past? No.
- Can I qualify if I didn’t go to a Title IV-accredited school? No.
- Can I qualify if I didn’t graduate? No.
Contact Education Loan Finance
Call or text: 1-844-601-3534
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 private student loans 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