ELFI Student Loans and Refinancing Review in 2020

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ELFI Student Loans and Refinancing Review in 2020

ELFI student loans are provided by the Education Loan Finance division of the Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank. They provide private student loans and student loan refinancing for parents, graduates, and undergraduates.

ELFI is known for its customer service and helps you figure out how to pay for college. It’s best for students with a big spending gap.

Read on to get more details on ELFI’s private student loans and refinancing.

Education Loan Finance Private Student Loans

ELFI student loans are best for students and borrowers who have a huge funding gap. You can apply for the loan directly on their website.

ELFI Student Loans Details and Interest Rates

ELFI provides several in-school and post-school repayment options and good interest rates. Whether you choose the fixed interest rate or the variable interest rate loan, your soft credit check will determine what rate you’ll get.

Here is a summary of the loan details:

  • Loan Terms: You can set the loan terms for 5, 7, 10, or 15 years.
  • Loan Amounts: The minimum loan amount is $10,000 up to the cost of attendance of any approved school.
  • Minimum Credit Score Required: A minimum credit score of 680 is required.
  • Residency Requirements: You have to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. If you have a co-signer, they should also be a permanent resident or U.S. citizen
  • Repayment Options: There are several in-school and post-school repayment plans, depending on your preference.
  • Fees: There are no disbursements, application, or origination fees. However, if your payment is 11 days late (or more), there is a late fee of 5% of the due amount, or $50 (whichever is less).
  • Penalties: There are no outstanding penalties such as a prepayment penalty.

There are no automatic payment discounts and there is no co-signer release, regardless of which repayment term you opt for.

The loan servicer is the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) or the American Education Services (AES).

ELFI Private Student Loan Review

ELFI is one of the few loan providers that offer personalized rates based on a soft credit check. However, the high minimum borrowing limit may be a little too much for some.

Eligibility Requirements

You need a minimum credit score of 680, a decent credit history, and a minimum income of $35,000. The maximum debt-to-income ratio is 55% and if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, you can qualify after 7 years of doing so.

The loan is available in all states, along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. You must be enrolled at least half-time in a bachelor’s degree program at any school authorized for financial aid.

Repayment Options

If you choose the in-school repayment options, you can go for immediate repayment and start making full monthly payments while in school. Or, you can opt for interest-only repayment – where you pay the interest during school so your loan balance doesn’t inflate.

You can also opt for fixed repayment terms where you pay $25 during school. If you don’t want to make any payments, you can opt for deferment. However, that would increase your student loan debt and the life of the loan.

If you go for post-school repayment options, you will get a grace period of 6 months. You can apply for academic or military deferment, and apply for forbearance where you may not have to make loan payments with proof of financial hardship.

Competitors of ELFI Student Loans

Here are a couple of ELFI’s private loan competitors and how they hold up against the company.

SoFi: Best for borrowers who want a fast payoff.  These are some of the lowest rates for private loans. They also provide additional perks like job search assistance, entrepreneurship support, and career planning.

MEFA: Best for borrowers attending a nonprofit or public university.  There are no outstanding fees and co-signer release is available after 48 consecutive payments.

ELFI Student Loan Refinancing

ELFI student loan consolidation is best for people who value good customer service, parents who took out loans for their children, and people with large loan balances.

ELFI Refinancing Loan Details and Interest Rates

With several refinancing options, you can refinance all federal student loans, parent loans, and other private loans at competitive interest rates.

Here is a summary of the loan details:

  • Loan Terms: You can set the loan’s terms for 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years (5,7, and 10 years for parent loans).
  • Loan Amounts: You can refinance a minimum of $15,000.
  • Loan Types: You can refinance any private loan or federal loan, including parent PLUS loans.
  • Minimum Income Requirement: The minimum income amount is $35,000.
  • Minimum Credit Score Required: A minimum credit score of 680 is required.
  • Residency Requirements: You have to be a permanent resident or a U.S. citizen.
  • Loan Transfer/Death Discharge: The parent loan can’t be transferred to a child. However, there is death discharge which means the co-signer is released from the loan if the borrower dies.
  • Fees: There are no disbursements, origination, or application fees.
  • Penalties: There are no outstanding penalties such as a prepayment penalty.

There is no auto-pay discount or a co-signer release option. However, you can apply for 12 months of forbearance due to economic hardship. Furthermore, variable rate loans are always capped at 9.95%.

ELFI Student Loan Refinance Review

ELFI is a good choice for borrowers who can make consistent credit card payments and those that value good customer support.

Qualifying for Refinance

The general qualification criteria are the same as that of ELFI’s private student loans. However, for the application process, you will need some extra things like your most recent pay stubs for the last 30 days.

You should also have copies of your most recent billing statement. Additionally, you need a payoff letter from your existing private lenders.

Last, but not least, you will need a certificate to prove your higher education level.

Repayment Options

You can only make payments through an automatic balance transfer or online. According to ELFI, they provide a lower interest rate rather than an auto-pay discount.

You can opt for an academic or military deferment. Furthermore, you can also apply for 12 months of forbearance with proof of financial hardship.

ELFI Student Loan Refinancing Competitors

Here are a couple of ELFI’s loan refinancing competitors and how they hold up against the company.

Earnest: It’s best for borrowers who want a custom repayment term. The fixed-rate is 2.94% and the variable-rate starts at 1.89%. There is also a 0.25% auto-pay discount. You can refinance between $5,000 and $500,000 on 5 to 20-year loan terms.

Citizens Bank: It’s best for refinancing large loan balances. The fixed-rate is 3.08%. The variable rate is 2.09%. You can refinance between $10,000 to $500,000 on 5 to 20-year loan terms. You also get a co-signer release option after 36 consecutive payments.

Pros and Cons of ELFI

Like all other loan programs, ELFI has pros and cons that you should consider before making a decision.

Pros of ELFI

The following are some reasons why you should consider ELFI.

  • You are assigned a personal loan advisor who helps set up the loan and repayment terms, and lays out all options for you.
  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.
  • The customer support is better than other refinancing companies.
  • The requirements are disclosed so you can see whether you’ll qualify for a loan or not.

You will also find a lot of information on subjects like how to refinance student loans.

Cons of ELFI

The following are some reasons you might want to consider looking at alternatives.

  • The minimum loan amount is much larger than other private lenders (as much as 10 times).
  • There is no co-signer release program.
  • The minimum refinancing amount is also more than most companies.
  • You can’t postpone payments if you return to school.
  • There aren’t many repayment options for parents refinancing PLUS loans.

There is no student loan interest deduction of any sort because there are no discounts, like auto-pay discounts.

Should You Go for ELFI?

While ELFI does have some strict financial requirements, the easy repayment options and soft credit checks make up for it. While there are no scholarships, discounts, or any form of interest rate reduction, you do get a personal loan advisor whose job is to make sure you have an appropriate student loan plan that won’t burden you with exorbitant payments.

ELFI’s rates are relatively low compared to others, which gives it an edge. However, since there is no co-signer release option, it may pose a problem for many borrowers.

The company can reduce minimum loan balances and serve borrowers who didn’t graduate. However, since they don’t, it’s best you take a look at alternatives as you may find a more suitable option.

If you’re still confused about your decision, let FutureFuel help you figure out how to pay off student loans, as well as, help you determine which options you can go for.

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