Education Loan Finance, known as ELFI, is one of the newer companies to hit the student loan refinance industry. As a division of Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank, it focuses on helping borrowers restructure and potentially save on their monthly student loan payments. The company started lending in 2015 but its leadership team has over 30 years of experience in the student loan business.
This refinance lender focuses on college graduates who have a good credit history and a stable job. It lends in all 50 states and doesn’t charge application fees or origination fees.
To help you determine if it’s the right fit for you, let’s look more closely at what it takes to refinance your loans with ELFI.
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ELFI Student Loan Refinancing
ELFI is transparent about disclosing its main requirements, which can help would-be borrowers determine whether it’s a good fit. To qualify for a ELFI student loan refinance, you need to have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and you must have a bachelor's degree or higher. There is no maximum limit on how much ELFI will refinance if you are approved.
ELFI is ideal for borrowers who have a job and a consistent source of income. And it will only refinance loans for college graduates, so if you took out student loans but never graduated, then you won’t be eligible.
ELFI offers some of the most competitive interest rates currently on the market, with variable rates starting at 2.55% APR and fixed rates starting at 3.09% APR.
ELFI offers flexible repayment terms for student loan refinancing and lets borrowers choose either 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20-year repayment terms. Keep in mind, if you choose the 20-year repayment term, your monthly payments might be lower, but you’ll pay more in interest over time. However, if you decide to pay your loans off faster than your loan term, there are no prepayment penalties.
When you refinance with ELFi, it will replace your current student loan servicer with MOHELA. ELFI has gotten high marks on consumer review websites for customer service.
ELFI also offers 12 months of student loan forbearance but does not offer academic deferment. And if you refinance federal loans into a private student loan, whether with ELFI or another private lender, you will lose access to certain benefits like income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness.
If you previously obtained your loans with a cosigner, you can refinance your loans to remove the cosigner if you qualify on your own.
ELFI offers a referral bonus of $400 to customers who refer friends. Those who are referred must complete the ELFI signup process to qualify. Learn more here: https://elfi.com/referral-program/
Parent PLUS Loan Refinancing
ELFI also offers Parent PLUS refinancing options. Parent PLUS loans, which are a type of federal student loan, tend to have higher interest rates than other federal loans – with a fixed APR of 7.6% and a 4.248% origination fee.
So it might be worthwhile for Parent PLUS borrowers to look into refinancing their loans with ELFi if they can qualify for the lower interest rates. Variable rates start at 2.55% APR and fixed rates start at 3.09% APR. Repayment terms can be 5, 7, or 10 years and the minimum loan amount must be $15,000.
Alternatives to ELFI
ELFI might be a good option for borrowers with a stable income and good credit score. However, you should always do your homework before committing to taking out any new loans. Make sure to receive quotes from multiple lenders so you can see who is offering the best terms and interest rates.
You can compare some of these alternative options on our Best Student Loan Refinance page.
ELFI is a modern company that offers reasonable student loan refinancing options. It focuses on lending to college graduates who have a stable income and at least $15,000 in student loan debt.
If you meet the criteria, ELFI can be worth considering. Its interest rates are competitive, it has a history of providing good customer service, and it even offers Parent PLUS refinancing.
However, it’s still important to compare your options and make sure you’re finding the plan that is best for you – including the one that offers you the lowest interest rates. When you refinance your loans, you’re taking on a new lender, so you want to be sure you’re making the right choice.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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