Borrower tip: Refinancing federal student loans into a private student loan can make you ineligible for certain types of protections, such as income-driven repayment plans, federal debt forgiveness programs and forbearance/deferment options through the Department of Education.
Find the Best Student Loans for You
MEFA has three types of student loans:
- Undergraduate student loans.
- Graduate student loans.
- Student loan refinancing.
Borrowers must complete an online loan application and agree to a credit review. If you pass the credit check, then you will have a chance to compare loans.
After you choose a loan, you will review and sign loan documents, including the loan approval disclosure, MEFA loan agreement and Department of Education self-certification. All borrowers need to sign off on the loan.
For student loan refinancing, you will apply online for conditional approval and provide financial documents. Your application’s final review will take 10 to 14 days. The loan is disbursed within five days of receiving approval and signing loan documents.
Choose from 10- or 15-year fixed-rate undergraduate student loans or fixed-rate graduate student loans with 15-year terms.
Annual percentage rates for undergraduate loans range from 3.75% to 5.75% based on your credit history and whether you are applying with a creditworthy co-borrower, which MEFA recommends. MEFA’s graduate student loans also charge APRs that hinge on credit, and rates are between 4.5% and 5.65%.
Repayment terms for refinancing loans are seven, 10 or 15 years. Fixed rates range from 2.68% to 5.08% APR. The lowest rates are available to the most creditworthy applicants, according to MEFA.
Undergraduate and graduate loans start at $1,500, with a maximum amount of the school’s cost of attendance minus financial aid. Borrowers do not pay application, origination or late fees, or returned check charges.
MEFA does not offer autopay or other interest rate discounts on student loans.
A MEFA undergraduate or graduate student loan requires enrolling at least half-time in an accredited degree-granting program at an eligible college or university and maintaining satisfactory academic progress as defined by your college or university.
Undergraduates enrolled for the current academic year may take a MEFA loan to cover the summer term or a past-due balance from the present academic year. Graduate students enrolled or planning to enroll at least half-time during the regular academic year may use a MEFA loan if enrolling for less than half-time during the summer.
All borrowers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and all loan applications must meet MEFA’s credit approval standards. MEFA notes that most undergraduate students will need a creditworthy co-borrower, who will be equally responsible for repayment. Credit score requirements for loans are not disclosed.
Eligibility criteria for student loan refinancing includes:
- Being a borrower on all loans you intend to refinance.
- Having an established credit history with no history of bankruptcy or foreclosure in the last five years.
- Having no record of student loan default and no student loan delinquencies in the last year.
- Having a perfect six-month payment history on all loans being refinanced.
- Having education debt from funding the cost of attendance at an eligible nonprofit degree-granting college or university.
MEFA does not disclose credit requirements for student loans or student loan refinancing.
MEFA originates undergraduate, graduate and refinancing loans nationwide.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received 15 student-loan-related complaints in 2021 about MEFA. Top issues were dealing with the lender or servicer and struggling to repay the loan. MEFA provided a timely response to each complaint and closed all complaints with explanation.
You can connect with MEFA’s customer service in several ways, including setting up a one-on-one virtual appointment. Request the appointment using a form on MEFA’s site, and someone will get back to you within 48 hours to schedule it.
Alternatively, applicants can message firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about applying for undergraduate or graduate loans or email@example.com about refinancing student loans. You will need to log into your American Education Services account online and message the loan servicer with questions about repaying your MEFA loan.
MEFA also provides phone support. Call 800-266-0243 with questions about applying for undergraduate or graduate student loans or 855-433-7334 with questions about student loan refinancing from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday. For questions about repaying a MEFA loan, call 800-233-0557 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.
MEFA offers a number of digital tools, including an online calculator to estimate monthly student loan payments based on loan amount, years until graduation and credit profile. An online student loan refinancing calculator can estimate payments based your credit profile and the total to refinance, the refinance term and the current monthly payment.
You can check your rate online without harming your credit score for student loan refinancing only.
Borrowers and co-borrowers can complete loan applications online, with phone support if needed, and electronically sign documents. MEFA will request documents when you are refinancing, which you can upload online.
Once you have AES account access, you can make loan payments online. Sign into your account and select Payments and Billing to get started.
Repayment options depend on the type of loan. Undergraduate borrowers can choose from 10- and 15-year immediate, interest-only and deferred repayment plans, while graduate borrowers have 15-year terms with interest-only or deferred repayment. Deferred repayment with co-borrower release is available for one undergraduate repayment plan.
Only immediate repayment is available for student refinancing loans.
Borrowers can defer undergraduate loans for up to 60 months and graduate loans for up to 36 months.
Pandemic relief options are available through MEFA’s loan servicer, American Education Services. A representative can work with you to create a solution that meets your needs or develop a modified payment plan to temporarily reduce what you pay.
Entering a COVID-19 forbearance does not preclude you from seeking relief if you are later struck by another economic hardship, according to MEFA.
The nonprofit mentions as a guiding principle to forgive the loans of a “deceased or totally and permanently disabled student borrower who is the beneficiary of the loan proceeds and proactively inform borrowers or family members who are eligible for forgiveness.” A co-signer should also be released from the loan.
- Students who want to limit loan fees.
- Students with creditworthy co-borrowers.
- Undergraduate students who want a co-borrower release feature.
Find the Best Student Loan Refinance Lenders