Education Loan Finance Review 2023

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.

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Fixed APR
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Loan options from ELFI include:

  • Undergraduate.
  • Graduate.
  • MBA.
  • Law school.
  • Health care and medical resident.
  • Parent loans.
  • Student loan refinancing.

Prequalifying allows you to see what interest rates you could secure. The process takes a few minutes, and you’ll need to provide some basic information through ELFI’s online application. ELFI will then perform a soft credit pull and show your interest rate options. Next, you’ll choose terms that fit your needs and finish by uploading required documents, such as pay stubs, a W-2 and a government-issued ID.

Once you sign and submit the application, the company will do a hard credit pull that will affect your credit score. You’ll be assigned a student loan advisor, who can answer questions throughout the process.

ELFI will send the funds after your school approves the loan amount and you accept the loan terms.

Student loans: For undergrad and graduate student loans, the company’s variable APR starts at 4.73%, and its fixed APR starts at 4.48%. Terms range from five to 15 years. The minimum loan amount is $1,000, and the maximum is the amount approved by the school for qualified education expenses.

Student loan refinancing: Its variable APR starts at 5.03%, and its fixed APR starts at 5.08%. Terms range from five to 20 years. Parent loan refinancing is available for terms of five to 10 years. The minimum refinancing amount is $10,000, and maximum loan amounts vary based on eligibility.

No application or origination fees apply. After a 10-day grace period, ELFI charges a late fee of 5% of the past-due amount, with a $50 maximum. Borrowers pay a $30 fee for returned payments.

ELFI’s Referral Bonus program offers $400 for every new borrower you refer. For you to earn the bonus, the new borrower must be approved within 90 days of registering with ELFI.

Borrowers or their co-signers must have at least a 36-month credit history and earn at least $35,000. Both borrowers and co-signers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Students must be enrolled at least half time in a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree program at an eligible institution. To qualify for refinancing through ELFI, borrowers must have graduated from a Title IV-accredited nonprofit school.

You or your co-signer needs a FICO credit score of at least 680 to qualify.

ELFI offers student loans and refinancing in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

ELFI has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau but isn’t BBB-accredited. ELFI has an excellent rating on Trustpilot, with a score of 4.9 out of 5.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received no complaints about ELFI or SouthEast Bank in 2020.

You can reach customer service via phone or text at (844) 601-3534, by email at, or through the company’s online chat. Representatives are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time from Monday to Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The application and funding process is entirely online, and applicants upload required documents to their account for final loan approval. You can get an APR estimate online through the prequalification process before deciding to apply. ELFI requires borrowers to set up electronic payments.

ELFI’s website has loan and refinancing calculators that display what your monthly payments would be based on different scenarios. The company doesn’t have a mobile app, but its website is optimized for mobile devices.

ELFI has immediate, fixed, interest-only and deferred options for student loan repayment.

With deferred repayment, the borrower starts paying principal and interest six months after graduating or after switching to less than a half-time course load. All other repayment options usually begin 30 to 45 days after the loan is approved.

ELFI may offer forbearance due to financial hardship or medical difficulty, for up to 12 months.

Borrowers should contact the lender to learn whether they qualify for a loan discharge.

  • Borrowers who need to finance at least $1,000 or refinance at least $10,000 in student loans.
  • Borrowers who want to work with an online lender supported by a traditional bank.
  • Borrowers who have at least a 680 FICO credit score.

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