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  • Writer's pictureNathan Zarcaro

Refinancing Your Student Loans With Education Loan Finance (ELFI)

Updated: May 19, 2023

Founded in December 2015, Education Loan Finance is a relative newcomer to the student loan refinancing space. Headquartered in Knoxville, TN, the company is a subsidiary of SouthEast Bank.

Students sitting at college graduation

This article will cover:

Education Loan Finance logo

​Minimum Loan Amount


​Maximum Loan Amount


​Variable APR

Starting at 2.48%

​Fixed APR

Starting at 4.29%

​Term of Loan

​5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years

Student Debt Destroyer Rating


What is Education Loan Finance?

Education Loan Finance, often abbreviated ELFI, is one of America's largest student loan refinancing companies. ELFI offers student loan refinancing and private student loans to Americans nationwide, though this article will only discuss the refinancing experience.

Known for consistently having some of the lowest rates in the industry, refinancing with ELFI saves the typical customer $286 per month off their student loan payment, according to their website. After you refinance, your loan will be serviced by either MOHELA or American Education Services (AES).

ELFI allows you to check your interest rate now, without a hard credit check, meaning that your credit score will not be impacted.

When you refinance using our link, you'll earn a $100 bonus, and we'll earn $400. We don't think this is fair, so we'll split our reward with you. You'll walk away with $300, and we'll keep the other $200! Just use our contact form to let us know you've used our link, and we'll get in touch.

ELFI student loan refinancing eligibility

As is the norm, ELFI has slightly different eligibility requirements than other private lenders like PenFed or SoFi.

To start with, ELFI's base requirements are a minimum income threshold of $35,000 and credit score of 680. Beyond this:

  1. You must be a United States citizen or permanent resident

  2. You must have a college degree (bachelor's degrees and higher)

  3. You'll need at least 36 months of credit history

  4. You outstanding loan balance must be at least $15,000

  5. The college you attended must be on ELFI's approved schools list

Another interesting aspect to refinancing with ELFI is that you retain eligibility, even if you have declared bankruptcy in the past.

Applying for Education Loan Finance (ELFI) refinancing

As you apply, be prepared to produce any or all of the following documents that may be required to refinance your loans.

  1. Recent pay stubs

  2. Your most recent W-2 form

  3. Tax returns (if self-employed)

  4. Government identification

  5. Current statements/payoff letters for your current loans

Once you've provided your basic demographic information on your application, a "soft" credit pull will be conducted. Soft credit pulls may show on your credit report, but they will not impact your score in any way.

After this, you'll be given a preliminary refinancing offer, which you can accept or reject.

Of course, the interest rate that you receive is largely dependent on a number of criteria, like your income/credit history, and whether you are applying with a cosigner.

If you accept and decide to move forward with the process, ELFI will request final documents to verify things like your income and employment status. At this point, there will be a hard credit inquiry, which may temporarily hit your credit score.

Once ELFI completes all of their data verifications, you will receive your formal loan offer, which you'll need to sign to get the loan funded. Click here when you're ready to get started!

ELFI loan terms, fees, and details

At this time, Education Loan Finance offers loan terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years, a very flexible set of terms to choose from. Additionally, there are no origination and application fees when you refinance, meaning that you'll be able to keep your costs as low as possible.

The only fee other than your monthly payment is a late fee that will be assessed once a payment is more than 10 days late. It is equal to the lesser of 5% of the late balance and $50.

How much money can you save by refinancing?

Refinancing your student loans with ELFI can help you to save a lot of money in the long run. Imagine that you already have $40,000 in private student loan debt at an interest rate of 7% with a 10-year term, but are able to refinance with ELFI at 4.29%.

According to our calculations, you'd have a monthly payment of $464 per month before you refinance, but your payments would drop to $410 after. You'd then be able to take this extra $54 per month and use it to pay off other debts, save in an emergency fund or retirement account, or spend it on what you want!

Pros and cons to refinancing with Education Loan Finance

There are many perks to using ELFI to refinance. Among these are:

  • Good customer service

  • Complimentary student loan advising

  • The flexibility to refinance Parent PLUS loans into the student's name

1. Known for customer service

We're going to handle the first two bullet points here. ELFI is widely known for offering good customer service, including pairing you with a student loan advisor as you work through the process.

Your advisor will be there to help you throughout the refinancing process, and will be your point of contact with any questions or concerns you have throughout the process.

2. You can refinance Parent PLUS loans

ELFI is also one of the few lenders out there that allows you to refinance Parent PLUS loans.

By doing so, you'll be able to transfer any parent loans that you have into your child's name, assuming they were the dependent that the loans were taken out for.


Of course, no lender is absolutely perfect. A couple of areas where it would be nice to see Education Loan Finance improve are:

  • Offering cosigner release

  • No academic deferment options

1. No cosigner release

This may seem like nit-picking a little, but it would be nice to see ELFI come out with a cosigner release option.

They do offer conventional cosigning options, so there is still the option to save money by having a family member or friend with better income and credit sign your loan for you. The only difference is that his or her name has to remain on your loan until it is successfully repaid, which may or may not be an issue for the person you need to cosign.

2. ELFI does not offer academic deferment

One factor to consider as you plan to refinance is whether your lender offers anything in the way of academic deferment in the event that you return to school. ELFI does not, but this will not be much of an issue at all if you are sure that you won't be returning to school during this loan's term.

Of course, you still can return to school during this time, but you just won't be able to pause your payments.

Is refinancing with ELFI right for you?

We're well accustomed to the world of student loan refinancing, so we know that this can feel like information overload. If you're still wondering whether refinancing with Education Loan Finance is right for you, we built this checklist to help you decide:

  • Can your new interest rate save you money? Most people refinance for one of two purposes: to save money each month or to shorten their repayment term. In certain situations, both may be possible. Regardless, if you're looking to open up some additional cash flow each month, you'll want to make sure that your new rate can save you money.

  • Do you need a cosigner? Another question to ask yourself is whether you'll need a cosigner. Remember - ELFI does allow cosigners, but they do not have an option for cosigner release. So, if you have a cosigner lined up but he/she wants to be released as soon as eligible, you'll likely need to consider another private lender.

  • Are you okay without an academic deferment option? When you refinance with a private lender, you'll play a game of trade-offs. And ELFI is no exception to this. In our past experience, you may qualify for lower rates with ELFI than you may with other lenders, but it does come with slightly lower flexibility than you may find elsewhere.

Download our refinancing calculator

Still wondering whether student loan refinancing is right for you? Recently, we built a student loan refinancing calculator to help borrowers learn:

  1. Whether refinancing with ELFI can save you money each month

  2. What your new monthly payments will be with your new loan rate and term

  3. How to open up the maximum monthly cash flow possible

Our calculator just may save you thousands of dollars!

student loan refinancing calculator

Other student loan refinancing lenders

If, for whatever reason, you decide that Education Loan Financing is not the lender for you, you'll likely want to consider the following lenders instead:

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and has worked for industry leaders in both finance and healthcare.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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My friends over at Student Loan Planner have consulted with over 13,000 clients, saving them over $783 million off their student loan repayments.

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