Education Loan Finance (ELFI) Review: Private Student Loans & Refinancing
ELFI offers student loans to pay for college and refinances existing loans. Rates are competitive and there are many benefits.
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- ELFI offers both student loan refinancing and private student loans to pay for college.
- There are private student loans for undergraduates, graduate students, and parents.
- There is a minimum income of $35,000 for all loans, but cosigners are allowed if you don’t meet this requirement.
Education Loan Finance, or ELFI for short, has a long history of offering student loan refinancing to graduates. More recently, the lender started offering student loans to pay for college as well.
As a division of Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank, ELFI offers loans in all 50 states and doesn’t charge application or origination fees.
The application for both private student loans and student loan refinancing can be done completely online, and borrowers can enjoy flexibility in their rates, repayment terms, and conditions.
This ELFI student loans review will help you decide if it is the right lender for you.
In this review:
ELFI Student Loan Refinancing Review
What we like:
Can transfer Parent PLUS Loans to child
|Fixed Rates (APR)||3.29% – 6.69%|
|Variable Rates (APR)||2.80% – 6.01%|
|Loan Terms||5, 7, 10, 15, 20 year|
|Loan Amounts||$15,000 – up to your total outstanding loan balance|
ELFI’s student loan refinancing product offer competitive rates, a variety of repayment terms, and no fees.
You can refinance your entire student loan balance, including both federal and private student loans. Before refinancing federal student loans, make sure you are aware of what federal benefits you are giving up.
ELFI Student Loan Refinancing Details
|Information||Refinancing for Students||Refinancing for Parents|
|Fixed Rate||3.29% – 6.69%||3.39% – 6.69%|
|Variable Rate||2.80% – 6.01%||2.80% – 5.39%|
|Loan Amounts||$15,000 – Total outstanding loan balance||$15,000 – Total outstanding loan balance|
|Term Lengths||5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years||5, 7, or 10 years|
Pros & Cons of Refinancing With ELFI
- Competitive rates: ELFI offers some of the most competitive interest rates currently on the market.
- Great customer reviews: ELFI has gotten high marks on consumer review websites for customer service.
- Generous deferment & forbearance options: ELFI also offers 12 months of student loan forbearance but does not offer academic deferment.
- Remove your cosigner: You can refinance your loans to remove a cosigner if you qualify on your own.
- Generous referral program: Referral bonus of $400 to customers who refer friends.
- High minimum loan amount: There is a minimum loan amount of $15,000 required to refinance.
- No cosigner release: If you apply for ELFI refinancing with a cosigner, you will not be able to release them from your loan.
ELFI Refinancing Eligibility Requirements
ELFI is transparent about disclosing its main requirements, which can help would-be borrowers determine whether it’s a good fit.
|ELFI Student Loan Refinance|
|Minimum Credit Score||680|
|Minimum Annual Income||$35,000|
|Minimum Loan Amount||$15,000|
If you meet the requirements above, and are interested in refinancing with ELFI, you can click the button below to apply on their website.
Alternatives to ELFI Student Loan Refinancing
ELFI might be a good option for borrowers with a stable income and good credit.
However, you should always do your research before 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.
Check out these resources if you are interested in comparing additional options:
ELFI Private Student Loans Review
What we like:
|Fixed Rates (APR)||4.99% – 11.99%|
|Variable Rates (APR)||3.95% – 11.54%|
|Loan Terms||5 – 15|
|Loan Amounts||$1,000 up to 100% of school-certified cost of attendance|
ELFI offers a variety of private student loans to help pay for college. Rates are competitive and borrowers can choose from a variety of repayment terms.
Let’s take a look at the details of each of these loans:
ELFI Student Loans Overview
|Loan amounts||Term lengths||Fixed rates||Variable rates|
|Undergraduate Student Loan||$10,000+||5 – 15 years||4.99%+||3.95%+|
|Graduate Student Loan||$10,000+||5 – 15 years||4.99%+||3.95%+|
|Parent Student Loan||$10,000+||5 – 10 years||4.99%+||3.95%+|
|MBA Student Loan||$10,000+||5 – 15 years||4.99%+||3.95%+|
|Healthcare Student Loan||$10,000+||5 – 15 years||3.29%+||2.80%+|
|Law School Loan||$10,000+||5 – 15 years||4.99%+||3.95%+|
ELFI offers several different student loan options for various types of borrowers, including students pursuing advanced degrees in law, healthcare, and business.
None of the loans covered in the table above charge any fees other than a late payment fee of 5% or $50, whichever is less. And apart from a difference in the degree requirements each loan type relates to, these loan options come with the same basic eligibility criteria.
We’ll look at that criteria next.
Eligibility & Application Information
It is possible to apply for an ELFI student loan either as a student borrower or as a cosigner. Cosigners can help students get approved for a loan if the student isn’t able to qualify on his or her own.
ELFI borrowers (or their cosigner) need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Be U.S. citizens or permanent resident.
- Be enrolled at least half-time in a bachelor’s degree program or higher.
- Have a minimum annual income of at least $35,000.
- Have a minimum credit score of at least 680.
- Have a minimum credit history of at least 36 months.
- Be seeking a loan amount of at least $10,000.
How to apply
- Create an ELFI account or log into your account if you already have one.
- Choose the option to either view previous loans you’ve already taken out or to apply for a new loan. If you’re looking to get a loan to fund your education, rather than refinance existing debt, the button you’d want is the one labeled “In-School Loan.”
- Specify whether you are a student or are a cosigner.
- Complete the pre-qualification form by entering your personal information, including your name; address; place of birth and social security number; the school you will be attending or are attending; and your enrollment date.
- Choose from among the loans offered to you. If you’re eligible for an ELFI student loan, you’ll be given a choice of fixed or variable rate loans with different repayment terms. Each of these terms have differing interest rates and monthly payment amounts.
- Complete the disclosure verification form.
If you are happy with the interest rates and loan terms you are offered, you’ll need to go through the rest of the formal application process including specifying:
- The amount you want to borrow
- Whether you’ll make any payments while you’re still in school
- What your employment status is.
- You’ll also need to upload any requested documents, including a recent paystub a W-2 Form, and government-issued ID.
You will not be provided with your final rate until after completing the full application, as your rate could change based on a full review of your financial credentials.
Pros & Cons of ELFI Student Loans
- Online application: ELFI allows you to quickly get a rate quote and complete the application process entirely online.
- Competitive rates: Not only do you get to choose between a fixed and variable rate, but the rates offered by ELFI are comparable to or lower than many competitors.
- No fees: You won’t any application, origination, or prepayment fees with ELFI.
- In-school repayment flexibility: While in school, students have the option to defer payments until after graduation, make fixed monthly payments, pay only the interest that accrues, or make full payments.
- Stringent eligibility requirements: Many students will not make enough income or have enough credit history to qualify for an ELFI loan without a cosigner. If you fall in this boat, you may want to check out our student loans without a cosigner guide.
- High minimum loan amount: ELFI’s minimum loan amount of $10,000 is higher than many competitors, such as College Ave, that offer loans as low as $1,000.
- No cosigner release: If you apply for an ELFI student loan with a cosigner, you will not be able to release them from your loan after a certain time of on-time payments.
Where to Find ELFI Student Loan Alternatives
If you’ve already maxed out your federal student loans, a student loan through ELFI may be just the source of funding you’re looking for.
ELFI is a great option if you want to apply quickly online for a loan, you have enough income or have a cosigner, and you want as much control as possible over how your private loans are repaid.
However, we always recommend comparing quotes from at least three lenders to make sure you’re getting the best rates. You can see our choices for the best private student loans here. Or, you can check out a side-by-side comparison of ELFI vs. SoFi.
>> Read More: Student loan companies4.5 ELFI Student Loan Refinancing
Author: Jeff Gitlen, CEPF®