Editorial Review

MEFA Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

MEFA loans don't offer deferment or forbearance, so they're best for borrowers with strong job security or prospects.

Ryan Lane, Cecilia ClarkJune 18, 2020

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Student loan ratings

MEFA
  • Student loan refinancing

  • Private student loan

The bottom line: The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, known as MEFA, offers student loan refinancing and private student loans for undergrads and graduate students across all 50 U.S. states. Its refinancing loan is best for borrowers with a stable income who don't have a degree. Its private student loan is best for students who expect stable income after graduation.

Student loan refinancing review

MEFA Student Loan Refinance

MEFA Student Loan Refinance

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR

3.60 - 5.65%

Variable APR

4.65 - 6.15%

Min. Credit Score

670

Pros

  • No late fees.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • No formal deferment/forbearance options.
  • No co-signer release.

Best for borrowers with a stable income who don’t have a degree.

Full Review

Unlike most other private lenders, MEFA doesn’t have a formal program that lets borrowers pause payments temporarily through deferment or forbearance. That means refinancing with MEFA is best for those with stable income who don't foresee needing breathing room in the future.

You don't have to have graduated to refinance with MEFA. But you must have made one year's worth of on-time payments toward your loans. You're also ineligible if you've defaulted on student loans in the past.

MEFA student loan refinancing at a glance

  • Borrowers without a degree can refinance.

  • No late fees.

  • Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

How MEFA could improve

MEFA could improve its student loan refinance product by offering:

How much can refinancing save?

MEFA student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.

  • Loan terms: 7, 10 or 15 years.

  • Loan amounts: $10,000 up to your total outstanding debt.

  • Can transfer a parent loan to the child: No.

  • Application or origination fee: No.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: No.

Compare MEFA'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 MEFA will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 670.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 per year.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after five years.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 U.S. states.

  • Must have graduated: No.

  • Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.

You must have repaid loans for at least 12 months before you can refinance them with MEFA and have no history of student loan default.

Many lenders are offering relief related to COVID-19. Check this list of private loan relief options to see what this lender offers.

  • Academic deferment: No.

  • Military deferment: Yes.

  • Forbearance: No, but MEFA says it will work with borrowers on a case-by-case basis to modify their payment plans if long-term affordability is a concern.

  • Co-signer release available: No.

  • Death or disability discharge available: Yes.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows bi-weekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: American Education Services.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Average time from approval to payoff: Varies.

Before refinancing with MEFA

You can apply for a MEFA refinanced student loan on its website. 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 aren’t eligible to refinance with MEFA

If MEFA denies your refinance application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or need a co-signer.

NerdWallet recommends prequalifying with multiple refinance lenders before you apply. This will let you know which lenders you may be eligible with, without affecting your credit.

How does this loan compare?

PenFed Student Loan Refinance
LendKey Student Loan Refinance
Check RateCheck Rate
Fixed APR

3.23 - 5.53%

Fixed APR

3.19 - 7.75%

Variable APR

2.18 - 5.54%

Variable APR

2.61 - 5.25%

Min. Credit Score

670

Min. Credit Score

660

Private student loan review

MEFA Private Student Loan

MEFA Private Student Loan

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR

3.75 - 5.75%

Min. Credit Score

670

Pros

  • No late fees.

Cons

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Only one repayment plan offers co-signer release.

Best for students who expect stable income after graduation.

Full Review

MEFA private student loans don't offer a formal deferment or forbearance program if you have trouble affording payments. That makes MEFA a good choice only for those who expect a stable income after graduation.

Despite being a state-based organization, MEFA private student loans are available to students no matter where they go to school. MEFA offers fixed interest rates only, which means they'll stay the same over the life of the loan.

MEFA private student loan at a glance

  • Offers fixed interest rates only.

  • Co-signer release is only available if you select the deferred repayment with co-signer release option when you apply.

  • No deferment or forbearance programs are available.

How MEFA could improve

MEFA could improve its student loan product by:

  • Offering formal forbearance for borrowers facing an economic hardship.

  • Offering co-signer release on all repayment options.

  • Allowing borrowers to make greater-than-minimum and biweekly payments via autopay.

MEFA private student loan details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.

  • Loan terms: 10 or 15 years.

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 minimum for a public school; $2,000 minimum for a private school. Borrowers can take out up to the school's cost of attendance, minus other aid received.

  • Application or origination fee: No.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: No.

Compare MEFA's range of interest rates with other private student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate MEFA will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 670.

  • Minimum income: $26,200.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after five years have passed.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Location: Available in all 50 U.S. states.

  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.

  • Types of schools served: Any school authorized to receive federal aid.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 98%.

Many lenders are offering relief related to COVID-19. Check this list of private loan relief options to see what this lender offers.

In-school repayment options

  • Immediate: Begin making full monthly payments while still in school. Choose between 10-year and 15-year terms.

  • Deferred: You won’t be required to make any payments until your six-month grace period ends, but you can choose to make payments if you’d like. Interest will accrue while you’re in school and will capitalize, or get added to your principal balance, at the end of your grace period. This option comes with a 15-year term.

  • Deferred with co-signer release: Similar to the option above, but this plan allows a co-signer to request release after 48 consecutive on-time payments have been made. This option comes with a 15-year term.

  • Interest-only: Pay only the interest while in school. Begin paying down the principal balance after you graduate or leave school. This option comes with a 15-year term.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months, but only for the deferred repayment options.

  • In-school deferment: Borrowers can request to defer payments for up to 12 months if they return to school to complete their degree.

  • Military deferment: Yes.

  • Forbearance: No.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 48 consecutive on-time payments, but only with the deferred with co-signer release repayment plan.

  • Death or disability discharge available: Yes.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: No.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: American Education Services.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Average time from application to approval: Did not disclose.

Before applying for a MEFA student loan

You can apply for a MEFA student loan on its website. Before taking out a MEFA student loan or any other private loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible for an MEFA student loan

If MEFA denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider lenders that don’t require co-signers or specialize in bad or no credit student loans.

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

Frequently asked questions