Student Loan Refinancing
How to Pay off Student Loans Fast
Managing Your Student Loan Debt
Parent PLUS Loan Refinancing
Why Parents Should Refinance Student Loans
How to Refinance Parent Student Loans
Parent’s Guide to Student Loans
When to Apply for Private Loans
How to Pay for College Tuition
Applying for Student Loans Guide
Student Loan Process Checklist
Student Loan Refinance 101
Student Loan Glossary
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Finding the right lender to help finance your education or refinance your existing student loans with can feel like a daunting task. With so many options available, you want to make sure you get the best deal while also setting yourself up for success with your student loan repayment plan.
Education Loan Finance (ELFI) is one of the many student loan companies to consider. In this ELFI student loan review, you’ll learn about the lender, what sets it apart from the rest, and whether it’s the right path forward for you.
ELFI is owned by Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank, and unlike some other student loan companies, which also offer other financial products and services, it only specializes in private student loans and student loan refinancing.
ELFI was launched by SouthEast Bank in 2015, and by 2022, it has surpassed $2 billion in student refinance loans. The lender also offers a variety of in-school student loans for undergraduates, graduates and even their parents.
For both in-school and refinance loans, ELFI offers competitive interest rates and some features that aren’t available with all lenders. But there are also some drawbacks that may make you think twice.
If you’re still in school or you’re a parent with a college-aged child, ELFI provides a few different student loan options from which you can choose. While it’s generally best for students to exhaust their allotment of federal student loans before they resort to private student loans, the latter can help if you still have a gap after you’ve used up all of your financial aid.
Many of the benefits you get as an ELFI borrower are also available with other private lenders, but this lender also has some solid features that can set itself apart from some of the alternatives:
As previously mentioned, a lot of private student loan companies offer some of the same features and benefits. However, there are some private student loan companies that set themselves apart from the others.
For ELFI, that includes its four repayment options, including:
Additionally, the lender will assign you a student loan advisor who will help you throughout the entire loan process.
As you compare private student loan companies, it’s crucial that you take the time to look at each feature, not just the interest rate. Here are some of the features you’ll find with an ELFI student loan:
ELFI private student loans are available to college students and their parents in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, so you don’t have to worry about being disqualified based on your state of residence. If you want a good interest rate, you’ll typically need a good credit score or a cosigner who has one.
Here are the eligibility requirements the lender provides:
For parent loans, there are additional requirements, specifically to prove that the student is dependent on you as the borrower.
For starters, you must be the mother or father, stepmother or stepfather, the adoptive mother or adoptive father, the foster mother or foster father, the grandmother or grandfather, the brother or sister, the half-brother or half-sister, the stepbrother or stepsister, or the aunt or uncle of the dependent student.
Additionally, you must meet the following criteria:
If you’re not certain about your eligibility, the good news is that you can get prequalified with the lender with no hard credit check.
As with refinancing, it’s crucial that college students and parents take their time to shop around and compare interest rates before they apply with ELFI (or any other lender, for that matter).
You can compare rates and other features with each lender individually, or you can use an online comparison tool to help you. The important thing is that you know what you’re comparing.
For instance, lenders typically offer lower upfront rates on variable rate loans, so don’t get duped by a lower offer if it’s a fixed rate loan you’re looking for.
Also, many lenders offer discounted rates if you already have a relationship with them or if you set up automatic payments. If those factors apply to you, make sure you incorporate these discounts into your comparison.
Finally, while interest rates are generally the most important factor, don’t forget other features, such as cosigner release and eligibility requirements. You should also look up ELFI student loan reviews and reviews for other lenders online to get a sense of what the customer experience is like and what options are available if you can’t pay.
This process can be time-consuming, but it’s critical to ensure that you get the best offer that you’re eligible for based on your financial situation and credit history.
ELFI offers competitive interest rates and features for both college students and parents alike. The flexible repayment options can make it easier for you to develop the right payoff strategy, and the transparent eligibility requirements make it easy to know whether or not you’ll qualify without spending time on an application.
However, ELFI’s lack of a cosigner release program makes it less appealing than some of its competitors if you need a cosigner to get approved. The student loan will show up on their credit report as long as the loan is still outstanding, and if you want to remove the cosigner after you graduate, you’ll have to refinance the debt with another lender.
Take your time to understand what ELFI offers and what you can expect from other lenders in order to choose the lender that best fits your needs.
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