MEFA Student Loan Refinance Review

Last Updated: September 21, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Our Rating: B- (Compare)

Loan Limits $10,000+
Fixed Rates 3.05% – 5.55%
Variable Rates 3.05% – 5.55% (20.00% Cap)
Terms 7, 10 or 15 years
Min. Credit Score 670
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Skip to: Rates & Fees | Eligibility Requirements | Repayment Options | Consumer Reviews & Complaints | FAQ

The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) has been a nonprofit direct lender since 1982. This lender works solely with education loans and claims its refinance loans reduce student interest rates by an average of 28%.

Loan Refinancing Options
Private student loans
Private parent loans (in parent’s name only)
Federal student loans
Federal Parent PLUS loans (in parent’s name only)

MEFA Refinance Rates & Fees

MEFA offers consistent loan rates for student and parent refinance loans. Fixed and variable rates start at 3.05% and 5.55%.

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
7 Year 3.05% – 5.10% 3.05% – 5.10%
10 Year 3.05% – 5.15% 3.05% – 5.15%
15 Year 3.05% – 5.55% 3.05% – 5.55%

Bar Graph: MEFA Median Average Annual Percentage Rates for All Terms, Student Loan RefinanceAdditional information about MEFA refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with MEFA will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • MEFA does not offer a discount for setting up auto-pay.
  • Variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR rate (0.086% as of this writing) as published by The Wall Street Journal. This means that as the LIBOR changes, increasing or decreasing, your variable rate will change, increasing or decreasing correspondingly.
  • Variable rates are capped at 20.00%.

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 MEFA.

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 fees that MEFA does or does not charge.

Fee Type Amount Charged
Application Fee None
Loan Origination Fee None
Disbursement Fee None
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Payment Fee None
Returned Payment Fee None
Collection Fee Not specified
  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.
  6. Returned payment fee – fee for failed payments due to insufficient funds, also known as a “bounced check”.
  7. Collection fee – fee for collection activity on a defaulted debt; MEFA promises to “charge only those collection fees that are reasonable in relation to the cost of collecting the debt”.[1]

Current Promotions & Offers

MEFA is typical of many nonprofit lenders in that it does not offer special promotions or discounts.

MEFA Refinance Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for refinancing with MEFA, loans must be actively in repayment and must have been repaid on time in each of the previous 12 months. Additionally, all borrowers must meet the criteria below.

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
  • Income Requirement: $24,000 minimum income.
  • Credit Score Requirement: 670 minimum credit score.
  • Graduation Requirement: no graduation requirement.
  • Location Requirement: none specified.

Additional restrictions apply for certain individuals and loans.

  • Loans must have been used to attend an eligible, not-for-profit, degree-granting university as defined by MEFA.
  • Borrowers must have no history of default on an education loan.
  • No delinquencies on education debt in the past 12 months.
  • No history of bankruptcy or foreclosure in the past 60 months (5 years).

MEFA Student Loan Repayment Options

Lenders vary greatly on the benefits and options provided to borrowers during the loan servicing period. Additionally, benefits may only be available on a case-by-case basis. MEFA does not offer any specific relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

In the event that borrowers have difficulty making payments, MEFA appears to direct them to the company’s loan servicer, American Education Services (AES).

AES offers relief under several conditions, nearly half of which allow for terms of deferment or forbearance due to economic hardship.

See AES’s conditions for deferment and forbearance below. Note that MEFA does not claim to guarantee any of these terms.

American Education Services Postponement Options
Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school (half- or full-time basis) Deferment
Disability rehabilitation Not specified
Active military duty Deferment or Forbearance
Involuntary unemployment Deferment or Forbearance
Economic hardship Deferment or Forbearance
Natural Disaster Forbearance
Temporary Hardship Forbearance

Additional Options

MEFA may offer some opportunities to modify a refinance loan contract.

  • Co-signer release is not available for MEFA refinance loans.
  • Death / disability discharge is available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.

MEFA 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.

MEFA Online Reviews

Few MEFA customer reviews are readily available on public forums. We have included this material for its value as unedited, uncensored, and unsolicited user experience. Note that these reviews are unverified, may include inaccuracies, and may provide outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.).


“I originally refinanced my loans about a year and a half ago and got a 4.37% fixed rate (with autopay) from LendKey. I’ve paid ~$18.5k in principal and ~$4k in interest since then, bringing my current balance to ~$56k. I decided to take a stab at refinancing again, and found MEFA via credible.

I was quoted a pre-qualification rate of 3.7% fixed for a 7 year term. I went through the actual application process and that’s the exact rate that I ended up getting. 10/10 recommend refinancing again if you have paid down a decent amount of principal or if you haven’t done it in awhile.”eyelashchantel on reddit, 12/3/2019


“I just refinanced my [private loans] using MEFA last week. They will be serviced by AES Success. My [credit score] was 702 and I got 5.2% fixed rate (down from 12% variable from [another well-known lender], ugh). Maybe you’ll get a better rate now that it came down? [A large national bank] was my original PL service, and my variable rate was low, I think around 4%. When it was sold to Navient after 5 yrs, they jacked it up every month for 2 years.”Countrygrlinthecity on reddit, 3/18/2020

MEFA CFPB Complaints

As consumer finance companies, student loan refinancing lenders fall under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency. As part of its mission, the CFPB allows consumers to log official complaints. These complaints are publicly available on the CFPB official website.

Since January 2012, the CFPB has logged 8 complaints about Massachusetts Education Financing Authority (MEFA) student loan refinancing. The bureau has received a total of 125 complaints about the company in general; 112 of those have to do with MEFA’s student loan products and services specifically.

The allegations made in these complaints are unverified, are not necessarily representative of all consumers’ experiences with MEFA, and may contain outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.). Note that a lender with a large customer base is likely also to have a higher number of complaints when compared with smaller lenders.

Line Graph: MEFA Consumer Complaints, Public Complaints Filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 125 total

Below we’ve included the 3 most recent complaints (as of this writing) in which the consumer consented to share their details.


Complaint 4422477
6/1/2021
Delaware

“I applied to refinance my private student loan with MEFA and was denied. The reasons for the denial are unacceptable. My credit score is XXXX. They stated that I do not meet their minimum qualifications. There is no explanation what exactly they based their decision on.. I believe they denied my application due to age discrimination.”


Complaint 4366900
5/11/2021
Massachusetts

“Prior to the start of the fall semester in XXXX, a private student loan was taken out in the amount XXXX to attend XXXX University. This loan was paid for in full with a check from XXXX XXXX attached in the amount of {$13000.00} to MEFA on XX/XX/XXXX. However, when trying to find a record with the loan company, we have been told numerous times that there is no record of it being paid in full and because of that, it had been reported to a national debt recovery service. I have had to put a pause on my education because we don’t know where the money has gone along with the negative impact it has had on my credit report. I have not been eligible to return back with financial aid and continue my studies because it still shows that I have not paid this loan at all so there has been a hold put on my ability to apply for any aid along with showing I have an ongoing dispute with XXXX XXXX XXXX about this issue. This has made it extremely difficult to afford my education so I haven’t been able to continue.”


Complaint 4297959
4/14/2021
Maine

“I want to preface this complaint with I’m a XXXX XXXX, so I do understand the need of guidelines in which to approve and deny loans. I currently have approximately {$43000.00} in outstanding private student loans, these are JUST in my name, no co-borrower. I pay $ XXXX monthly for these, as my average interest rate is 6.15 %. Recently, I tried to refinance these with the same company. MEFA is the overarching company, however they’re serviced by XXXX. On Monday XX/XX/XXXX I was pre-approved to lower my interest rate to 3.80 % and lower my term two years, and keep approximately the same payment. I think it was a {$40.00} a month increase. I have as provided by MEFA a XXXX credit score, and good payment history for over a year with them … ..as suggested by my score and I can provide proof of Both. I was denied due to my Debt to Income ratio, which I understand it a problem, I own a house, have a car, and student loans. HOWEVR, I’m refinancing with the SAME company and trying to lower my rate and make them easier to pay! I think this is SO SO SO wrong in SO many ways. I was basically told to get a co-signer or get lost or get more income. I’m not going to add a co-signer as no one should be on the hook for my college debt if I was to pass away. So, now they’ve basically ensured they will get more money from me for a greater length of time.”


For a full list of 134 complaints made against MEFA in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, click here.

MEFA Lawsuits

While MEFA hasn’t faced any recent litigation, the organization has been the plaintiff in several collections lawsuits starting in 2019. Many of these suits are, in effect, “inactive” due to the current moratorium on federal student loan debt collection.[2]


Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Is MEFA good for refinancing student loans?
    MEFA may be a good option for nongraduates who attended public and/or nonprofit private schools and have an established credit history.
  • Are MEFA loans federal?
    MEFA loans are not federal. MEFA has no affiliation with the federal government or the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Does MEFA charge a prepayment penalty?
    There are no penalties for early payments or repaying a loan in full before its term is over.
  • Does checking your rates with MEFA hurt your credit score?
    For their prequalification process, MEFA performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, MEFA will perform a hard credit check which may affect your credit score.
  • Does MEFA charge a late fee?
    There are no penalties for late payments or returned payments.
  • Is MEFA a bank?
    MEFA is not a bank nor is it affiliated with any bank. MEFA is a lender that deals solely in education loans.
  • Can I refinance a MEFA loan?
    You can refinance a MEFA student loan or a student loan from another private lender. There is no limit to the number of times a borrower may refinance with MEFA. Note, however, that every new line of credit requires a hard credit check that may affect your FICO score.
  • Can I refinance just some of my loans with MEFA?
    Yes, you can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with MEFA. 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?
    Yes, you can refinance loans as many times as you want with MEFA. Note that each time you refinance, you will have to submit a new application; every application requires a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Can my spouse and I refinance our loans together with MEFA?
    MEFA does not combine spouses’ student loan debts for refinancing unless the spouse is a co-signer on the original loan..
  • How long does it take to refinance with MEFA?
    The entire process from prequalification until the day the first payment is due takes between 6 and 10 weeks
  • Who services MEFA refinance loans?
    American Education Services (AES) services all MEFA loans.
  • Does MEFA offer a grace period?
    MEFA refinance loans do not include a grace period.
  • How often do variable rates change?
    MEFA adjusts variable rates monthly according to the 1-Month LIBOR.
  • What happens if I file for bankruptcy?
    According to MEFA, “filing for bankruptcy does not necessarily discharge refinance loans.”
  • Is MEFA a Credible lender?
    Yes, MEFA partners with Credible and is part of the Credible lender marketplace.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

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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+
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UW Credit Union A

Sources

  1. MEFA, Guiding Principles
  2. Law Office of Adam S. Minsky, Who is MEFA – Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority
  3. Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, Student Loan Refinancing
  4. MEFA, Refinance Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure
  5. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Consumer Complaint Database
  6. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory
  7. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities