Education Loan Finance is a nationwide student loan debt consolidation and refinance program offered by Tennessee based SouthEast Bank. ELFI is designed to assist borrowers through consolidating and refinancing loans into one single loan that effectively lowers your cost of education debt and/or makes repayment very simple.
One of the biggest myths is that refinancing student loans is expensive, often due to it being confused with other types of refinancing, such as mortgage refinancing, which has fees such as closing costs.
Unlike other types of refinancing, most lenders don’t charge any application or origination fees for student loan refinancing – and with Education Loan Finance, there are no prepayment penalties, so you’re free to pay off your new loan as soon as you’d like.
A bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved institution is required to refinance with Education Loan Finance. View additional eligibility requirements here.
Spouses are eligible to serve as a cosigner on an application, but we do not consolidate student loan debt among multiple borrowers.
Consolidating or refinancing your education loans may be the right decision for you if:
- You’d like to lower your monthly payments by choosing a longer repayment term.
- You have additional income because you can shorten the life of the loan.
- You want the simplicity of consolidating your loans into a single monthly payment.
To learn more, check out this blog on consolidating and refinancing.
Additionally, check out this guide to learn more about the signs that you should refinance student loans.
Some forms of loans can take months to process, but student loan refinancing is different. You can complete the application in minutes, and you can do everything online. Once you submit your application, the lender will review your information and make a decision. In some cases, you’ll find out whether or not you’re approved in as little as one business day, depending on whether you’ve submitted all of the required documentation.
If approved, the lender will work to disburse your loan. It can take a few days to a few weeks for that process to be completed, so keep making payments on your current debt until you receive a notification that the loan was disbursed. If you refinance your student loan with ELFI, you’ll have a Student Loan Advisor who will be your guide throughout the entire process.
You may think that student loan refinancing isn’t worth the work because it won’t save you enough money. But taking just a few minutes to submit a refinancing application can potentially help you save thousands over your loan repayment term.
In a 2021 survey, ELFI customers reported that they are saving an average of $286 per month or that they will save an average of $22,500 over their loan term after refinancing.1
(1)Average savings calculations are based on information provided by SouthEast Bank/ Education Loan Finance customers who refinanced their student loans between 11/01/2021 and 12/15/2021. While these amounts represent reported average amounts saved, actual amounts saved will vary depending upon a number of factors.
Refinancing may not be right for you if:
- You only have a couple more years or a few thousand more dollars left until you pay off your student loan.
- You’re using benefits provided by your current lender. Switching to a new lending institution may eliminate existing benefits. It’s crucial to investigate how refinancing will affect your student loans.
- You do not want to change the terms of your existing student loan.
- You have federal student loans and would like to take advantage of federal programs and benefits such as income-driven repayment plans, federal loan forgiveness programs, and potential government programs that could be offered in the future.
To learn more about refinancing and consolidating your loans, check out this blog post.
Some people hold off on student loan refinancing because they’re afraid it will damage their credit. However, lenders like ELFI allow you to get a rate quote (prequalify) with just a soft credit inquiry, which doesn’t affect your credit score.
If you find a quote that works for you and submit a refinancing application, the lender will then complete a hard credit inquiry, which can impact your credit. However, the effect is usually minimal. According to myFICO — the organization behind the FICO credit score — one hard credit inquiry will typically take less than five points off your FICO credit score.
If you are unable to repay the loan because of financial hardship or medical difficulty, Education Loan Finance may grant forbearance for up to 12 months. Forbearance is at the discretion of Education Loan Finance.
No, you don’t have to refinance or consolidate all of your student loans at once. During the application process, you will be asked to indicate the dollar amount and number of loans you want to refinance. If approved, Education Loan Finance will only pay off the loans you indicate. Learn more about how you can partially refinance student loans.
You don’t have to have a cosigner when applying to refinance your student loan with Education Loan Finance. If you have limited credit history and income, a cosigner with a good credit history can improve your chances of obtaining a refinanced student loan.
In most instances, a cosigner can’t refinance student loans on their own. When a borrower initially agrees to take on a student loan, they own the obligation to repay it, and therefore, the power to refinance it.
Yes, you can consolidate federal and private loans. No other consumer debt, such as credit card, auto, or mortgage, can be included even if it was used to pay education expenses. If you consolidate federal student loans, you may lose some alternative repayment plans associated with the federal government loan program. Learn more about how to consolidate student loans with ELFI.
Yes, we can refinance student loans in all U.S. states and Puerto Rico.
A Payoff Verification Statement is a statement prepared by the lender or servicer showing the remaining total amount due as of a specific date for a student loan. The payoff amount takes into account the loan balance, interest, fees, and the future payoff date provided.
We will use this Payoff Statement to finalize the loan for you so that we can pay off your current lenders and become your new lender.
Refinanced student loans can be considered student loans for tax purposes, but certain limitations apply. We are not tax professionals, so we recommend you consult a tax advisor for more information.
Yes, we can refinance your loan if you have already refinanced with another lender.
Removal of a cosigner from an Education Loan Finance loan is not possible, but you can apply for a new loan that does not include your cosigner.
If you already refinanced your loans once, you may think you’re out of luck, and you’re stuck with your current interest rate. However, there’s no limit to how many times you can refinance your loans.
If your credit score improves or you get a raise at work, you can refinance your loans again to see if you qualify for a lower interest rate. As you progress in your career and your finances stabilize, refinancing multiple times can help you pay off your debt even faster.
To qualify for refinancing or student loan consolidation through Education Loan Finance:
- Must have at least $10,000 in student loan debt.
- Must have graduated with at least a bachelor’s degree from a Title IV non-profit college or university.
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Must be at the age of majority or older at the time of the refinance.
- Must have a debt-to-income ratio that indicates you can repay the loan.
Check out our eligibility requirements to see if you could qualify for refinancing.
All loans are subject to credit approval. Additional terms and conditions apply.
You must have a minimum amount of $10,000 in qualified student loan debt to refinance with us. Maximum loan amounts will vary based on eligibility.
To speed up your Student Loan Refinance application, you will need to have the following documents:
If applying without a cosigner:
- Paystubs documenting the last 30 days of payment (if you are employed)
- Previous year W-2
- Government-issued Identification
If applying with a cosigner
- Paystubs documenting the last 30 days of payment (if you are employed)
- Previous year W-2
- Government-issued Identification
Potentially, some additional documents may be required depending on the source of your income or your cosigner’s income. Your ELFI Student Loan Advisor will contact you with details should this be the case.
During prequalification, to provide you with preliminary rates and terms that you may qualify for, Education Loan Finance will perform a “soft credit inquiry.” A soft credit inquiry will not affect your credit score. However, once you choose your loan product and submit an application, Education Loan Finance will request to view your full credit report, which will show up as a hard credit inquiry. These inquiries are common among lenders and necessary for Education Loan Finance to make final rate and product offers.
We recommend you check out our blog post about what actions you should take before applying. To process your application, we will need copies of your most recent billing statements or payoff letters from each of your student loan servicers showing the following information:
Current balance or payoff amounts
Payment mailing address
Please note that each statement should not be older than 30 days. If you plan to exclude some loans from a single servicer, you will need to provide one of the following:
- Sequence numbers
- Loan IDs
- Or any identifying number
Click here to view sample statements.
- Your reference can be anyone over the age of 18 that does not live at the same address as you or your cosigner (if you apply with one).
- Your reference cannot be the same person as your cosigner.
- You and your cosigner cannot use the same reference.
No, the borrower, cosigner, and references cannot have the same email address.
The application process is quick and easy. After filling out some personal, financial, and student loan information, you’ll upload documents and submit the application.
When going through the application process, there is an option to add a cosigner. The application will then prompt you to add the cosigner’s name and email address. Your cosigner will receive an email with instructions to upload the necessary information.
No, we still have to go through the underwriting process to determine if a borrower is eligible for a loan. Prequalification does not automatically qualify you for a final offer.
The interest rate is the percentage of the loan amount charged for borrowing. The APR (Annual Percentage Rate) reflects not only the interest rate but also includes specific fees charged by the lender. Education Loan Finance does not charge any origination or other finance fees, so the interest rate and APR on your loan will be the same.
ELFI does not require you to do anything extra to get the best rate we can offer. All borrowers are required to make payments with an electronic or digital transfer. Therefore the auto pay discount is already reflected in your approved interest rate.
Yes. Borrowers who take out a variable rate loan will never have their rate exceed 9.95% APR*.
Education Loan Finance’s variable rate loans are based on either the 3-Month LIBOR or the Prime Rate of Interest (please see below for clarification). The interest rate on an Education Loan Finance variable rate loan may increase or decrease as the 3-Month LIBOR index or the Prime Rate of Interest increases or decreases. These indexes can be found in resources like The Wall Street Journal.
Please Note: New variable rate ELFI loans applied for after 7:00 PM EST on January 7, 2022, will use the Prime Rate of Interest appearing in the Money Market section of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as the benchmark rate index. Borrowers who have an existing variable rate ELFI loan(s) that use the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) as the benchmark rate index will continue to have LIBOR as the benchmark rate index on their loans. ELFI will notify borrowers with existing variable rate loans originated prior to 7:00 PM EST on January 7, 2022, of the expected change from LIBOR to an alternative benchmark rate index in the future.
Rates are subject to change without notice, until a Student Loan Approval Disclosure is provided by Education Loan Finance. After receiving a variable rate loan, the rate is subject to change quarterly on January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st. For more information about how variable rates are calculated, please view the Application and Credit Agreement.
FEES & PAYMENTS
If Education Loan Finance does not receive any part of a payment within ten days after the due date, it may assess a late fee of 5% of the past due amount or $50, whichever is less. The borrower may be charged $30 for any payment (including electronic payments) that is returned unpaid for any reason.
Factors that determine monthly payments include the amount of the loan, the type of loan product, the term of the loan, and interest rate (fixed or variable). To get an estimate of what you can expect and what term might be right for you, try out our Payment Calculator.
There is no penalty for paying off loans early. You can pay more than the monthly amount if you would like without incurring a penalty.
Typically, it will take 30-45 days for the existing loan provider to receive the payment and apply it to your account. It is essential to check with your current provider to see if the payoff is applied to your account.
To avoid missing a payment, you will have to continue paying your current lender until disbursement goes through. Education Loan Finance will apply any amount overpaid to your current lender to the principal balance on your new loan.
The monthly payment amount is in the Truth in Lending Approval disclosure sent by Education Loan Finance upon loan acceptance. Once this document is approved, one of our servicing partners, either MOHELA or AES, will reach out to set up your account payment information.
Education Loan Finance has two loan servicing partners, MOHELA (Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority) and AES (American Education Services). Once you finish refinancing your student loans, your assigned loan servicer will reach out to you directly. At this point, you will set up an account with them to make your monthly payments.
Yes, we highly recommend you sign up for the convenience of e-statements. It is quick and easy to sign up through your loan servicer. Your servicer, either MOHELA or AES, is assigned to you upon successfully refinancing your student loans with ELFI.
Yes, the Education Loan Finance Referral Program rewards customers who successfully refer people to refinance a student loan with us. A new customer must use the referral link and complete and close an Education Loan Finance loan within 90 days of registering. Once completed, the referrer will receive a $400 referral bonus via check! Learn more and see the terms and conditions of our referral program here.