Created by the Massachusetts state legislature in 1982, MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority), offers student loan refinancing to residents of all 50 states.As part of its mandate, MEFA offers low interest rates, with the catch being that it has tight eligibility requirements. In addition to student loan refinancing, MEFA offers new student loans and two savings plans – one nationwide and the other exclusive to Massachusetts residents.
Loan types: Refinance federal, private and PLUS loans
APRs: Starting from 3.05% (fixed rate only)
Repayment terms: 7-15 years
Refi amount: From $10,000 up to full balance of existing loans
Origination fees: No
MEFA only offers fixed rates, with no variable-rate option. Borrowers pay 3.05% to 5.55% APR, and typically end up paying less than the rates charged by other lenders. This is both good news and bad news. If you qualify, then you’re guaranteed a competitive rate. However, it does mean you need great credit to get approved for a loan.
Borrowers have three repayment term options: 7 years, 10 years, or 15 years.
Unfortunately, MEFA doesn’t appear to offer much in the way of forbearance or deferment options.
MEFA offers two tax-advantaged savings plans that are suitable for starting a new graduate degree, one for Massachusetts residents and the other nationwide. U.Plan Prepaid Tuition (Massachusetts only) is a prepaid tuition program that offers tax advantages and lets you save for an undergraduate or graduate degree while locking in today’s rates. U.Fund College Investing Plan (nationwide) is a 529 college savings plan offering flexibility and tax advantages.
It takes around 10-15 minutes to submit an application for conditional approval if you apply alone, and longer if you have a cosigner. After you have received a conditional approval and submitted all of your requested financial documents, the final review of your application should be completed within 10-14 days. Once the loan is approved and you have e-signed your loan documents, the loan will disburse within the next 5 days.
You may refinance student loans that:
To qualify for a refinancing loan, you must:
MEFA recommends bringing along a co-signer (which it actually refers to as a “co-borrower”) to help meet the credit requirements. MEFA doesn’t offer a cosigner release option, which means that the cosigner must stay on until the end of the repayment term.
As the Massachusetts authority on educational financing, MEFA offers guidance and support to students in Massachusetts and other states. To speak to a MEFA expert about loans or other forms of student financial assistance, call Monday to Friday, 8am-8 pm ET, or email at anytime. They have a 'Contact Us' with updated contact info.
Although it caters mainly to Massachusetts students, MEFA makes competitive student loan refinancing available to borrowers across the country. It isn’t easy to qualify. However, if you have strong credit (or can bring a cosigner with strong credit), then the fixed-rate APRs you’ll find at MEFA are as good as those you’ll find virtually anywhere else.