Education Loan Finance (ELFI) Student Loan Refinance Review

Last Updated: October 4, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Our Rating: A- (Compare)

Loan Limits $15,000+
Fixed Rates 2.47% – 5.99%
Variable Rates 2.39% – 6.01% (9.95% Cap)
Terms 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
Min. Credit Score 680
Apply Link

Skip to: Rates & Fees | Eligibility Requirements | Repayment Options | Consumer Reviews & Complaints | FAQ

Education Loan Finance (ELFI) has refinanced undergraduate and graduate student loans since 2015. This private lender also refinances Parent PLUS loans and originates direct student loans. ELFI is a division of SouthEast Bank, an Educational Services of America, Inc. company.

Loan Refinancing Options
Private student loans
Private parent loans (in either name)*
Federal student loans
Federal PLUS loans (in either name)

*Parents may refinance their own parent loans or transfer the debt to their child.

ELFI Refinance Rates & Fees

ELFI offers fixed annual percentage rates between 2.47% and 5.99% and variable rates between 2.39% and 6.01% for student loan refinancing.

Student Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 2.47% – 5.99% 2.39% – 4.99%
7 Year 2.68% – 5.99% 3.94% – 5.14%
10 Year 2.88% – 5.99% 4.05% – 5.39%
15 Year 2.98% – 5.99% 4.30% – 5.75%
20 Year 3.18% – 5.99% 4.64% – 6.01%
Parent Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 2.47% – 5.99% 2.39% – 4.99%
7 Year 2.68% – 5.99% 3.94% – 5.14%
10 Year 2.88% – 5.99% 4.05% – 5.39%

Additional information about ELFI refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with ELFI will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • Because ELFI requires electronic payment, there is no additional discount for setting up auto-pay.
  • Variable rates are calculated using the 3-month LIBOR rate (0.13% as of this writing) plus a 2.15% to 5.77% margin. This means that as the LIBOR changes, increasing or decreasing, the variable rate will change, increasing or decreasing correspondingly.
  • Variable rates are capped at 9.95%.

Student Loan Refinancing Calculator

Based on advertised rates, use the calculator below to determine what your new monthly payment and potential savings may be if you refinance with ELFI.

Additional Fees

Beyond interest rates, there are a number of fees a refinance lender may charge up-front or during the loan servicing period. Below is a list of these fees that ELFI does or does not charge.

Fee Type Amount Charged
Application Fee None
Loan Origination Fee None
Disbursement Fee Undisclosed
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Payment Fee $50.00 or 5.00% of the overdue amount
Return Payment Fee $30.00
Collection Fee Undisclosed
  1. Application fee – fee to apply for rates & approval.
  2. Loan origination fee – fee to create the new loan.
  3. Disbursement fee – fee for distributing funds to lenders to pay off loans that have been refinanced.
  4. Prepayment penalty – fee for making extra payments to reduce a refinance loan balance or pay it off early.
  5. Late payment fee – fee for making a late payment; ELFI does not charge a late payment fee for individual monthly payments received within 9 days of the due date.
  6. Return payment fee – charge for insufficient funds from the account used to make payments sometimes referred to as a returned or “bounced” check.
  7. Collection fee – fee for collecton activity on a defaulted debt.

Current Promotions & Offers

Applicants who use a referral link and have no previous business with ELFI receive $100 credit toward their loan balance when they refinance. Some restrictions apply.

ELFI Refinance Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for refinancing with ELFI, all borrowers must meet the criteria below.

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
  • Income Requirement: $35,000 minimum annual income.
  • Credit Score Requirement: 680 with a minimum 36-month credit history.
  • Graduation Requirement: bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Location Requirement: refinancing available to borrowers in all U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • Borrowers with lower credit scores may be required to use a co-signer.
  • Maximum loan approval varies according to borrower credit; borrowers with higher credit scores, for example, may qualify to refinance higher loan balances than borrowers with lower credit scores.

ELFI Student Loan Repayment Options

Lenders vary greatly on the benefits and options provided to borrowers during the loan servicing period. ELFI does offer some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

If unexpected financial hardships make it difficult or impossible to continue making timely payments in full, borrowers may be able to postpone payments for a limited period.

ELFI’s postponement options vary on a case-by-case basis. Borrowers may apply for up to 12 months of forbearance during their loan term. Loans in forbearance always continue to accrue interest.

See ELFI’s conditions for deferment and forbearance below.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school (half- or full-time basis) Undisclosed
Disability rehabilitation Undisclosed
Active military duty Undisclosed
Involuntary unemployment Undisclosed
Economic hardship Undisclosed
Natural disaster Undisclosed
Temporary Hardship Undisclosed

Additional Options

Some lenders offer additional types of assistance to borrowers.

  • Co-signer release is not available with ELFI. Borrowers must apply for a new refinance loan, but there is no limit to how many times a borrower may refinance through ELFI.
  • Death / disability discharge is available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.

ELFI Reviews, Complaints & Lawsuits

Beyond our own findings, our team also collected the most genuinely insightful customer experiences we could find, including any instances of legal action against the company in which the details became public.

ELFI Online Reviews

Below are 3 samples of ELFI customer reviews we found on public forums, included here for their value as unedited, uncensored, and unsolicited user experiences. Note that these reviews are unverified, may include inaccuracies, and may provide outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.).


“I’ve been so happy with my experience at Elfi. I shopped around for the best rate, and was happy to see that I could get it from Elfi since I knew that they also had some of the best customer service. I was dreading the process of refinancing because it seems so complicated, but Elfi made it super easy. Plus it was all digital and organized, so I didn’t have to spend time answering phone calls or waiting on other people. I highly recommend checking them out!” Adrienne on TrustPilot, 10/30/2020


“When I first graduated around half of my loan was in Parent PLUS at a disgusting ~6% rate. The portion that was mine was ~5%. I checked almost every month for refinance deals and my parent was kind enough to cosign, I ended up refinancing with [a different lender] the first time at around 4.5% on a variable rate for a 5yr term. The payments were HUGE! But I was very serious about tackling the debt so paid the roughly $1800/mo to my student loan. Over time though I found each month that passed my rate went up by about 0.1%. Which led me to…

Keep checking refinance rates! After about a year I was able to re-refinance using a little known company named Elfi that gave me a stellar 3.18% fixed rate over 5-years. Incredible. I ended up paying very little interest in the grand scheme of things

In addition the side benefit of refinancing imo was having one big hairy sum to tackle rather than 5-6 smaller ones. It gave me clearer goals to hit which is really important..”questions21 on reddit, 8/27/2020


“I refied with [ELFI] and had a great experience. I think I refied just over $20k at just over 2% variable for a five year term. paid it off in about two years. my last payment kind of went wonky as last payments can do sometimes and they were great and apologetic (despite the fact that I think that the error may have actually been my fault) and I had the money I overpaid back in about ten days. I would totally recommend them.

note that if you refi you will lose federal protections on your loans. I qualified for PSLF but my interest rates were quite high (grad loans) so refinancing was actually smarter for me long term than was PSLF. this was a decision I made for myself after doing math and considering how secure I was on my career trajectory. please ensure that you are taking all of your options into consideration before refinancing. this post is not advice but reflects my experiences.”suddenlymary on reddit, 12/2/2018


More (unfiltered) customer reviews of ELFI are available at TrustPilot.com (4.9 out of 5).

ELFI Consumer Complaints

As consumer finance companies, student loan refinancing lenders fall under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency. The CFPB allows consumers to log official complaints. These complaints are publicly available on the CFPB official website, and most companies have at least one or two.

Since the company’s founding in 2015, zero (0) consumers have filed complaints with the CFPB regarding ELFI. In addition, ELFI’s parent companies SouthEast Bank and Education Services of America, Inc. also have no complaints registered with CFPB.

ELFI Lawsuits

ELFI has never been subject to any major legal action. Rather, ELFI Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at SouthEast Bank Barbara Thomas is considered an authority on lender ethics.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions consumers have about student loan refinancing with ELFI.

  • Is ELFI good for refinancing student loans?
    ELFI may be a good student loan refinance option for borrowers with good credit and more than $15,000 in loans to refinance.
  • Are ELFI loans federal?
    No, ELFI loans are not federal. ELFI is a private student loan lender and has no affiliation with the federal government or the US Department of Education.
  • What happens if I miss a payment?
    ELFI charges a late payment fee (the lesser of $50 or 5% of the overdue amount) when a payment is more than two weeks overdue. To avoid missing a payment, borrowers in sudden financial difficulty may apply for up to 12 months of loan forbearance.
  • What’s the maximum amount I can refinance?
    The maximum amount borrowers may refinance at ELFI depends on eligibility. Applicants with an established credit history and high credit ratings will be eligible to refinance larger balances than applicants with little to no credit history.
  • Can I refinance an ELFI loan?
    ELFI refinances federal and private student loans from all qualified lenders.
  • Can I refinance just some of my loans with ELFI?
    You can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with ELFI. You may choose to refinance your private loans only or refinance private and federal loans together.
  • Can I refinance loans that have already been refinanced?
    There is no limit to the number of times borrowers may refinance loans with ELFI.
  • Can I refinance less than $15,000?
    No, you cannot refinance less than $15,000 with ELFI. Not only is that ELFI’s base limit, refinancing lower balances usually doesn’t benefit borrowers much if at all.
  • Can my spouse and I refinance our student loans together with ELFI?
    ELFI does not offer refinance loans to multiple borrowers. Spouses may be eligible to serve as co-signer.
  • How often do variable rates change?
    Variable rates change four times per year. ELFI adjusts its variable rates on the first day of each financial quarter – the first days in January, April, July, and October – and according to the current 3-month LIBOR.
  • How long does it take to refinance with ELFI?
    ELFI’s student loan refinance process generally takes about 8 to 16 weeks from prequalification to your first payment due date. Borrowers with special circumstances or specific needs may experience longer processing times.
  • Is ELFI a bank?
    ELFI is not a bank but a private lending company. ELFI is a division of SouthEast Bank, a local bank in Farragut, Tennessee.
  • Who services ELFI’s refinance loans?
    ELFI refinance loans are serviced by Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) and American Education Services (AES).
  • Can I get any special rates or discounts with ELFI?
    ELFI partners with certain organizations to offer their employees, members, and their families special terms or one-time exclusive offers. Check with your organization to find out if they are an ELFI partner.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

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CommonBond A+
Discover D+
Earnest B+
EDvestinU B
ELFI A-
First Republic Bank B
First Tech Federal C-
iHelp D
Laurel Road A-
MEFA B-
NaviRefi D-
Navy Federal C+
Nelnet Bank D-
PenFed B+
PNC Bank C
RISLA A
SELF Refi C+
SoFi B-
UW Credit Union A

Sources

  1. Education Loan Finance (ELFI), Student Loan Refinancing Options
  2. ELFI, Student Loan Financing Requirements Explained
  3. ELFI, Terms
  4. Farragut Life, SouthEast Bank Constructs A Future-Proof Building
  5. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Consumer Complaint Database
  6. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory
  7. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities