Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority is a not-for-profit organization that specializes in helping families cover their educational costs in the best way possible.
While you do need to have a connection to Massachusetts either in school attendance or residency for student loans, any U.S resident is eligible to refinance existing student loans through MEFA. Plus, they offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms that are extremely attractive to borrowers.
If you want to refinance your student loans or take out new loans in Massachusetts, you should definitely keep reading to learn more about MEFA.
Student Loan Application Requirements
Perhaps the biggest application requirement for a MEFA student loan is that you must have a specific affiliation with the state of Massachusetts. Make sure you fit one of these criteria before moving on with the application process:
- Be a Massachusetts resident attending and college in the U.S. OR
- Be a student from anywhere in the U.S. who attends college in Massachusetts
Once you can check off one of those boxes, you’ll next need to attend an accredited institution at least half-time. As you start taking classes, you should also meet or exceed your school’s satisfactory academic progress requirements. Finally, at least one borrower on the loan should meet MEFA’s credit requirements.
Refinancing Application Requirements
MEFA’s requirements for refinancing are quite different than new student loans, especially since there are no restrictions surrounding Massachusetts residency. The only residency requirements are that you’re either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You should also have an established credit history; if you don’t, you can still apply with a cosigner to qualify.
A few other credit requirements include having no record of default on an educational loan and no bankruptcy or foreclosure in the last 60 months. Finally, you have to be a signer on all of the existing student loans you wish to refinance with MEFA.
Types of Student Loans Available
Qualifying borrowers can get three types of loans with MEFA: undergraduate, graduate, and refinanced student loans. Here are the details on each one.
MEFA is unique in that it offers a lower rate while you’re still attending school to help you from accumulating too much interest. Fixed interest rate starting at 4.5% (5.63% APR) during the in-school period and 5.4% (6.03% APR) during the post-school period. There is no variable rate option for undergraduate loans, so you don’t have to worry about your interest creeping up and adding more to your principal if rates rise over time.
Undergraduate loans can last either 10 or 15 years and you have three different repayment options.
- Immediate Repayment: Start making your full principal and interest payments while in school. You’ll get better interest rates and pay off your student loans more quickly. You can choose a 10- or 15-year repayment term.
- Interest-Only Repayment: You can only choose the 15-year repayment term and will only make payments on your interest while attending school. This prevents your loan principal from growing while attending.
- Deferred Repayment: You could qualify with or without a cosigner with this option, which comes with a 15-year term. It defers all payments until you graduate, although interest will continue to accrue.
Graduate loans are available to students who meet the same residency requirements as those for MEFA’s undergraduate loans, meaning you must either maintain residency in Massachusetts or go to school there. Fixed rate loans are available with APRs starting between 7.5% and 7.75% for in-school and post-school periods. For repayment, you can choose either to defer payments completely or make interest-only payments while pursuing your degree.
MEFA only awards graduate loans one year at a time, so if you need financing for multiple years, you’ll have to reapply. The maximum deferral period is 36 months. If you don’t finish your program within three years, you’ll be required to start making payments.
The minimum amount for a MEFA graduate loan is $2,000 for a private school or $1,500 for a public school.
Education Refinancing Loans
MEFA offers attractive rates and terms for refinancing your student loans, stating an average monthly savings of $206. To qualify, however, your existing loans must meet a few eligibility requirements:
- Must be federal or private student loan, such as Federal Direct Undergraduate and Graduate Loans, Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, or Graduate PLUS Loans
- Is current and in its repayment term
- Cannot be in grace period, forbearance, or deferment
- Funded a degree from an eligible institution
- On-time payments made on all student loans for the last 12 months
- Refinanced amount is at least $10,000
Rates and Repayment
Fixed interest rates start at 4.45% APR while variable interest rates start at 4.55% APR. Repayment terms can last either 10 or 15 years.
Undergraduate and graduate loans come with a 4% origination fee when you choose MEFA. Refinancing, on the other hand, does not come with an origination fee.
None of MEFA’s loans require an application fee.
MEFA’s Student Loan Process
You can get a credit decision instantly by applying for a MEFA loan online. Alternatively, you can also call them to start the process over the phone. Either way, you’ll go through a five-step process, which includes the following:
Information Submission: You’ll need a few pieces of information regarding all of the borrowers on the student loan (including cosigners). Make sure you have on hand your:
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Phone number and email address
- Current and prior addresses
- Monthly income
- Housing costs
- Employment information
- Payoff statement (refinancing only)
Credit Review: Next MEFA will review your credit. They may request additional information at this time.
MEFA Loan Selection: If your credit has been approved, you’re ready to review your loan offers. Compare loan terms and costs to determine which is the right one for you.
Loan Document Completion: Once you choose a loan, you’re ready to review and sign your loan documents. This includes the loan approval disclosure, MEFA loan agreement, Department of Education self-certification, and electronic delivery options.
Loan Fund Receipt: Finally, MEFA will disburse your loan funds to your college or university if you’re taking out a new loan. If you’re refinancing, MEFA will pay off your existing loans and you’ll begin your new repayment period with them.
Mobile App – You can manage your loan payments on the go with MEFA’s app, which is available both at the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Deferment Available – If you’re having trouble making your payments, you may qualify for deferment. Reasons to apply include enrolling in school, experiencing an economic hardship, becoming unemployed, or being deployed in the military.
Forbearance Available – Forbearance is also an option with MEFA student loans. Reasons beyond those listed for deferment include going through a natural disaster or another temporary hardship.
Video Resources – The MEFA website has tons of educational resources, but some of their best content comes in video form. They provide videos on anything from tips for applying to how refinancing with MEFA works.
MEFA offers a fair amount of flexibility, particularly if you’re interested in refinancing your student loans. Plus, the rates are competitive and can result in significant savings. Pair that with a number of repayment choices and you can easily find a new student loan or refinance existing student debt through MEFA.