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Student Loans Student Loan Repayment

Guide to MEFA Student Loans: What You Need to Know

  • Fixed rates only, which provide predictable repayment without variable rate options.
  • Most undergraduate loans require a cosigner, which MEFA refers to as a co-borrower, with both parties equally responsible for repayment.
  • Available in all 50 states.
  • 4.7-star rating on Trustpilot and an A+ rating with BBB highlight customer satisfaction.

About MEFA

The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) was founded in 1982 to help students and families in Massachusetts access and afford higher education. It aims to make college, graduate school, and other educational opportunities more attainable by offering various financing solutions.

MEFA’s offerings encompass private education loans and college savings plans. The organization’s undergraduate student loans, graduate student loans, and refinancing options support students’ educational pursuits. 

MEFA’s private loans are available to students attending an eligible not-for-profit, degree-granting college or university. Most undergraduate loans require a co-borrower. MEFA makes itself a valuable ally in navigating the financial complexities of pursuing education by providing resources, educational materials, and personalized customer service.

Our take on MEFA’s private student loans

Type of student loanOur rating (of 5)
Private student loan3.9
Check your rate without affecting your credit.

Our take is based on hours of editorial research into each type of student loan. In our findings, MEFA student loans did not earn a specific best-for designation

MEFA, with its undergraduate and graduate private student loan ratings of 4.2 out of five, didn’t earn this recognition because it didn’t stand out in any particular area. It also didn’t rate as well as any of our best private student loan companies, which earned ratings between 4.3 and 4.8:

LenderBest forRating (of 5)
MEFANone3.9View rates
College AveOverall5.0View rates
EarnestNo fees4.7View rates
Sallie MaeCosigners4.8View rates
Comparison of undergraduate student loans.

Rates, terms, and more

MEFA offers a variety of student loan options for undergraduate and graduate studies. Many of the terms are in line with industry standards. Certain features, such as the range of in-school repayment plans, are loan-specific. 

For example, an undergraduate loan borrower can choose between immediate full principal-and-interest payments, interest only, and deferred payments while in school, while graduate borrowers choose between interest-only and deferred. Such options allow for a tailored approach that gives you more control of your overall loan costs.

Here’s the list of terms for MEFA’s undergraduate student loans:

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance
  • Rates (APR): 5.35%7.95% (fixed)
  • Repayment terms: 10 or 15 years
  • In-school repayment options: Immediate (full principal and interest), interest only, or deferred (no payments while in school)
  • Grace period: Not disclosed
  • Cosigner release: Yes, after 48 months of on-time payments
  • Fees: None
  • Unique features: Check your rate without affecting your credit

MEFA’s graduate loan terms

MEFA’s graduate student loan terms are similar to its undergraduate terms, with the following exceptions:

  • Rates (APR): 6.55%7.95% (fixed)
  • In-school repayment plans: Interest only or deferred
  • Repayment terms: 15 years
  • Cosigner release: Not disclosed

The rest of the terms, including loan amounts and fees, are consistent with MEFA’s undergraduate loan offerings.

Who’s eligible for MEFA private student loans?

MEFA offers private student loans to many borrowers, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents. It doesn’t disclose details about minimum age, credit score, and income, but we know it emphasizes a clean credit history, particularly regarding education debt. 

If you’re unsure about meeting the credit requirements, applying with a cosigner (MEFA calls it a co-borrower) is worth considering.

The following eligibility criteria are consistent across MEFA’s undergraduate and graduate loans:

RequirementDetails
CitizenshipU.S. citizen or permanent resident
State of residenceAll 50 states and the District of Columbia
Minimum ageNot disclosed
Enrolled schoolEligible not-for-profit college or university in the U.S.
Enrollment statusAt least half-time 
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed

Must have no history of default on an education loan and no delinquencies on education debt in the last 12 months, and no history of bankruptcy or foreclosure in the last 60 months
Minimum incomeNot disclosed
OtherMaintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the college or university

MEFA has set comprehensive eligibility requirements that align with standard industry practice, ensuring prospective borrowers meet specific standards to qualify for its student loans.

How do you repay private student loans from MEFA?

Repaying private student loans from MEFA involves specific terms and options that may vary based on the borrower’s repayment plan. Certain repayment terms are standardized across all MEFA loans, but others can be customized to suit the borrower’s financial situation and preferences. 

Understanding these nuances will guide you in making informed decisions. The following sections break down the key aspects of MEFA’s repayment process:

When does repayment begin?

The starting point of repayment on a MEFA student loan is based on the in-school repayment plan you select. 

For your undergraduate student loan, you can choose from the following:

  • Immediate (full principal and interest): Repayment begins around 30 days after MEFA disburses your loan funds and extends to the end of your repayment term.
  • Interest only: Repayment of the interest on your student loan begins around 30 days after MEFA disburses your loan funds, and full payments begin after you leave school.
  • Deferred: No payments are due while you’re in school, and full payments begin once you leave school.

For a graduate loan, you can choose interest only or deferred payments, and repayment begins as it does for those options for the undergraduate loan.

If you do not choose the immediate in-school repayment option, most lenders offer a six-month grace period between when you leave school and full payments are due, but we couldn’t confirm MEFA’s grace period.

In the table below, you can see examples of in-school monthly payments on a $10,000 student loan at 6.55% APR and a 10-year repayment term:

In-school payment planMonthly payment
Immediate $113.57
Interest only$54.58
Deferred$0.00

How long does repayment last?

The repayment length depends on your chosen repayment term and whether you pay off the loan early. MEFA provides options for 10 or 15 years for undergraduate loans—the term for graduate loans is 15 years—and assesses no early payment penalties. 

The repayment length can affect monthly payments and total costs, with longer terms resulting in lower monthly payments but higher total interest costs.

Type of student loanRepayment terms
Undergraduate10 or 15 years
Graduate15 years

The ability to choose the repayment term or pay off the loan early allows the borrower to align the loan with their financial goals.

Are there repayment assistance programs?

MEFA doesn’t offer much information about repayment assistance programs, but deferment is available in undisclosed situations—perhaps limited to when the student is in school—subject to a maximum period of: 

  • 60 months (undergraduate) 
  • 36 months (graduate)

We recommend contacting MEFA for more information about available assistance.

Our take on MEFA’s refinance student loans

Type of student loanBest forEditorial rating (of 5)
Refinance student loanNone4.1

Our evaluation of MEFA’s student loan refinance options comes after rigorous hours of editorial research. MEFA’s refinance product didn’t stand out in a way that would earn it a best-for designation in our review.

Rating at 4.1 out of five, MEFA’s offering falls short of our best refinance lenders, which scored 4.2 or better. This rating signifies that MEFA’s refinance loan is satisfactory but didn’t excel in any particular area.

For comparison, here’s a look at how MEFA compares to three top-rated refinance lenders:

LenderBest forRating (of 5)
MEFANone4.1View rates
SoFiOnline lender4.9View rates
CredibleMarketplace4.8View rates
EarnestSkip-a-payment benefit4.8View rates

Rates, terms, and more

MEFA only offers fixed rates. Many other lenders provide fixed and variable options. 

MEFA’s lack of disclosed rate discounts and cosigner release details may raise questions, while the absence of fees is a welcome feature. 

Several of its features align with industry standards, but the absence of detailed information about repayment assistance and cosigner release requires consideration.

Here’s a glance at MEFA’s refinance student loan terms:

  • Loan amounts: $10,000 minimum
  • Fixed rates (APR): 5.75%8.50%
  • Repayment terms: 7, 10, or 15 years
  • Cosigner release: Not disclosed
  • Fees: None
  • Unique features: View your rate with a soft credit check

MEFA’s refinance student loans offer flexibility and simplicity, but the lack of information in certain areas might require you to seek additional details from the lender.

Who’s eligible to refinance student loans with MEFA?

MEFA’s refinancing options cater to a wide range of borrowers. The requirements cover various aspects, from citizenship to credit history. 

One standout feature of MEFA’s refinance loans is that a degree isn’t mandatory. However, the debt must have funded the cost of attendance at an eligible not-for-profit, degree-granting institution. 

Other rules apply. For example, you must be the borrower on all loans being refinanced and have made six on-time payments in the most recent six months on all loans you wish to refinance.

Here’s a closer look at what you need to qualify for refinancing student loans with MEFA:

RequirementDetails
CitizenshipCitizen or permanent resident of the United States
State of residenceAll 50 states and the District of Columbia
Graduation statusNo degree required, but MEFA specifies the debt must have funded attendance at an eligible not-for-profit, degree-granting institution
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed

No history of default on an education loan, no delinquencies on education debt in the last 12 months, and no history of bankruptcy or foreclosure in the last 60 months
Minimum incomeNot disclosed
OtherMust be the borrower on all loans being refinanced

Must have made 6 on-time payments in the most recent 6 months on all loans you are refinancing

MEFA’s eligibility requirements can accommodate many borrowers, but it’s wise to consult with MEFA if you have specific questions or unique situations.

How do you repay MEFA refinanced student loans?

Repaying refinance student loans from MEFA is straightforward, but terms can vary based on the loan’s details. All loans from MEFA have the same basic structure, but you can choose certain options to fit your needs. Let’s dive into the details.

When does repayment begin?

Repayment begins one month after disbursing your refinance loan (i.e., after the lender has paid off the loans you’re refinancing.) MEFA’s refinance loans don’t have a grace period.

How long does repayment last?

The length of repayment depends on the terms you choose. With MEFA, repayment terms can be seven, 10, or 15 years. You can select your preferred term when you accept the loan, and paying off the loan early does not incur any penalties. 

The length of the repayment period affects the monthly payments and the total cost of the loan—shorter terms often mean higher monthly payments but lower overall interest.

Are there repayment assistance programs?

Repayment assistance programs aren’t uncommon among student loan lenders, but MEFA does not disclose specific programs. 

These programs can help borrowers who face financial hardship, allowing temporary pauses or reductions in payment. They can ease the burden in the short term but might also extend the repayment period or increase the total cost of the loan.

Remember, each lender’s approach to repayment assistance might vary, so it’s always wise to consult with MEFA if you have specific concerns or need more detailed information about its refinance student loans.

How can MEFA improve its student loans?

MEFA’s student loans and refinance program offer several attractive features, such as fixed rates for predictable repayment, no fees, availability in all 50 states, the ability to refinance without a degree, and its nonprofit status, focusing on serving borrowers rather than profits.

However, MEFA falls short in several areas and could improve to enhance its value to borrowers. Here’s what you should know:

No disclosed deferment or forbearance program

If you need more flexible options during financial hardships, consider: 

  • SoFi (we determined best private student loan for career services and best online lender for refinance): It offers unemployment protection, career coaching, and financial planning.
  • RISLA (we determined best private student loan for Rhode Island students and best hardship protections for refinance): Its robust protections include income-based repayment plans, military benefits, and unfortunate incident benefits.

Certain terms aren’t disclosed on the website

Transparency is essential when choosing a lender. Knowing all the terms upfront helps you make an informed decision.

If you want a more transparent loan servicer, check out:

  • College Ave and Earnest, two of our highest-rated companies for private student loans. Both of their websites lay out most of the details you need to know about their student loan and refinancing products.
  • Credible (we determined best marketplace for student loan refinance), where you can get transparent rate quotes and terms from several lenders at once.

Fewer repayment options than many other lenders

If flexibility in repayment is a priority, look to:

  • Nelnet Bank (we determined best term lengths for refinance student loans) due to the number of term lengths it offers.
  • Earnest (we determined best private student loan for no fees and best skip-a-payment benefit for refinance), which offers as many as five terms. 

No option for variable rates 

If you’re interested in variable-rate loans, consider the following lenders, which offer fixed and variable rates:

  • College Ave (we determined best overall private student loan).
  • Earnest (we determined best private student loan for no fees and best skip-a-payment benefit for refinance).
  • SoFi (we determined best private student loan for career services and best online lender for refinance).

MEFA’s student loans have several positive aspects, but they might not be the best fit for everyone. MEFA could improve its flexibility and transparency. If those are vital to your loan selection, other lenders may provide a better match for your needs.

How have MEFA student loans evolved over the years?

MEFA’s approach to student loans and refinance options has seen notable transformations over the years, reflecting responsiveness to market trends and borrowers’ needs. Here’s how the evolution has unfolded:

  • Transition to fixed rates (2009): MEFA used to offer fixed and variable rates but made a significant shift when it moved to fixed rates only. This change brought about more predictable repayment structures, catering to borrowers looking for stability in their financial planning.
  • Expansion to refinance options (2016): MEFA broadened its offerings by including student loan refinance options in addition to its student loans. This extension allowed MEFA to support borrowers in various stages of their educational and financial journeys.
  • Expanded geographical availability (2019): Initially, MEFA’s loans were exclusive to residents of Massachusetts and those attending schools in the state. But in a pivotal move to expand its reach, MEFA made its loans available to all 50 states. This change made MEFA’s products accessible to a much wider audience.

These evolutionary steps reflect MEFA’s commitment to adapting its products to meet borrowers’ changing demands and preferences, making it a relevant choice for many students and graduates today.

Is MEFA a reputable lender?

SourceCustomer ratingNumber of reviews
Better Business BureauN/A0
Trustpilot4.6 stars388

Ratings collected on February 3, 2024.

MEFA’s reputation in the lending industry shines through its reviews and ratings. The company is not Better Business Bureau (BBB)-accredited but holds an A+ rating. A notable aspect of its profile with BBB is a single complaint regarding loan deferment: 

Source: Better Business Bureau

MEFA’s response to the complaint indicates its willingness to engage with customer concerns.

On Trustpilot, MEFA enjoys an “Excellent” rating. Several reviewers highlighted MEFA’s informative webinars, expressing appreciation for the annual updates provided. This proactive approach to customer engagement sets MEFA apart from many other private lenders. 

Many reviewers also praised the ease of applying with MEFA, showcasing a streamlined and user-friendly process. We consider Trustpilot’s reviews trustworthy because it requires users to have a verified purchase or experience with the company. 

The absence of Google reviews doesn’t affect our overall assessment of MEFA’s reputation. We think the overwhelmingly positive feedback from Trustpilot offers substantial insights into the company’s standing as a reputable lender.

Does MEFA have a customer service team?

MEFA ensures accessible customer service for its loan products and works with American Education Services (AES) as its loan servicer. AES assists MEFA loan borrowers experiencing economic hardship, and you can reach it at the provided contact details if you face such challenges. 

MEFA also maintains distinct contacts for undergraduate, graduate, and refinancing loans to provide specific assistance.

MEFA demonstrates its commitment to customer service through various channels of communication available to customers:

  • For MEFA undergraduate or graduate loans:
    • Phone: 800-266-0243 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern)
    • Email: [email protected] 
  • For MEFA education refinancing loan:
    • Phone: 855-433-REFI (7334) (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern)
    • Email: [email protected] 
  • For assistance with economic hardship (serviced by AES):

These comprehensive contact options, including the dedicated servicer AES, ensure customers can reach MEFA with ease and have their concerns addressed.

How to apply for a MEFA student loan

Applying for a student loan or refinance on MEFA’s website is straightforward.

Source: MEFA

Apply for a MEFA refinance loan

  • Start the application: Click the “Find my rate” button on MEFA’s website to create an account.
  • Provide information: Share demographic, financial, and loan details.
  • Soft credit check: A soft pull on your credit to provide offered interest rates.
  • Conditional approval: If approved, MEFA runs a hard credit pull and asks for documents.
  • Final approval: E-sign loan documents after a final review.

Time to apply: 10-15 minutes for conditional approval, final review within 10-14 days, and disbursement within five days.

Apply for a MEFA undergraduate or graduate student loan

  • Online application: Apply on MEFA’s website for one academic year. (Reapply for multiple years.)
  • Add a co-borrower if needed: Most undergraduates need one; graduate students might not.
  • Select rate and term: Choose your interest rate and repayment term.
  • E-sign documents: Sign the loan agreement and, if required, the self-certification form.
  • School certification: The college certifies the loan amount and preferred disbursement date.
  • Wait for confirmation: Receive an email about loan certification.
  • Funds sent: MEFA sends loan funds to the college on the selected disbursement date.

Time to apply: Application and decision review can occur in one day; disbursement timing varies by school.

What if I’m denied a student loan from MEFA?

If you’re denied, MEFA should provide a reason for the denial, which allows you to address the specific issue. 

For example, it might be related to your credit history or income level. If you can correct the issue, you may be able to reapply.

If reapplying is not an option or you continue to face denial, we recommend considering alternative resources. Here’s a guide to help you navigate those alternatives:

  • Best private student loans: If you’re looking for similar options to MEFA, exploring other private lenders might be a solution. These can suit those with a good credit history or a credit-worthy cosigner.
  • Best student loan refinancing: For those looking to refinance, other lenders may offer competitive rates and terms that align with your financial situation.
  • Best no-cosigner loans: If you don’t have a cosigner or co-borrower, several lenders specialize in no-cosigner loans, ideal for independent students.

These alternatives can be a lifeline if a MEFA loan isn’t an option, but it’s essential to review the terms and consult with a financial professional to ensure they align with your financial goals and capabilities.

MEFA FAQ

Does MEFA offer private or federal student loans?

MEFA offers private student loans for undergraduate, graduate, and refinancing purposes. These loans are provided by MEFA and are not part of the federal student loan program. They are designed to fill the gap when federal aid and scholarships aren’t sufficient to cover the total cost of education.

Does applying with MEFA hurt my credit?

MEFA can grant conditional approval without a hard pull on your credit that won’t initially affect your credit score. However, if you decide to proceed with the loan, MEFA will perform a hard credit check for final approval, which may have an impact on your credit score.

Does MEFA require a cosigner?

A cosigner isn’t always required when applying for a MEFA student loan. However, most undergraduate students will need a cosigner to qualify. Even if not required, a creditworthy cosigner can enhance the chances of approval and may lead to a lower interest rate. 

The requirement for graduate student loans may vary, and having a cosigner often depends on the individual’s credit history.

Does MEFA allow cosigners to be released?

Cosigner release on MEFA’s undergraduate student loans is possible after 48 months of on-time payments. 

For graduate student loans and refinance loans, we couldn’t confirm the information regarding cosigner release. If you have questions about cosigner release for graduate or refinance loans, we recommend consulting with MEFA.

What can MEFA student loans be used for?

You can use MEFA student loans for various educational expenses, including tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, and other related costs. You must use the funds for legitimate educational purposes, and MEFA will send the disbursement to the college to ensure proper use. The school will then pay out any leftover funds to you.

How long does it take to receive funds from MEFA?

The time to receive funds from MEFA depends on the type of loan and the college’s process. Applicants can complete the required steps for undergraduate and graduate student loans in one day, and MEFA will send the loan funds on the college’s selected disbursement date. 

For refinancing loans, once approved and documents are signed, disbursement occurs within five days.

Is MEFA responsible for paying off my current student loans?

When you refinance with MEFA, it is responsible for paying off the student loans you wish to refinance. The process involves applying for a MEFA refinancing loan, and upon approval, MEFA will pay off the loans, consolidating them into one new loan—ideally with lower rates or different terms.

Can MEFA student loans be forgiven?

MEFA student loans are private loans and do not qualify for federal loan forgiveness programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness. It’s essential to review your loan agreement or consult with MEFA to understand any specific forgiveness or discharge provisions that may apply to your particular loan.

How we rated MEFA student loans

We designed LendEDU’s editorial rating system to help consumers identify companies that offer the best financial products. Our experts spend hours researching these companies each year to ensure our ratings are fresh and accurate.

Our most recent evaluation compared MEFA to several lenders across a number of factors, including rates, repayment terms, customer reviews, and benefits. We weighted, scored, and combined these factors to produce a final editorial rating. This rating is expressed on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible score. We rounded all ratings to the nearest tenth decimal place.

Student loanOur rating
Private student loan3.9View rates
Student loan refinance4.1View rates