Education Loan Finance Refinancing and Private Student Loans: 2022 Review

Full Review

ELFI began offering undergraduate private student loans in August 2019. Borrowers can choose from four repayments terms — more than many other lenders.

ELFI assigns all borrowers a student loan advisor that you can contact via email, phone and text during the application process.

ELFI private student loans at a glance

  • Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

  • No co-signer release program.

How ELFI could improve

ELFI could improve its private student loan product by:

  • Offering a co-signer release program.

  • Lending to students in associate degree programs.

ELFI private student loan details

Interest rates, fees and terms

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.

  • Loan terms: 5, 7, 10 or 15 years.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to the school’s cost of attendance.

  • Application or origination fee: None.

  • Late fees: Yes; 5% of the past-due amount or $50, whichever is less, after a payment is 11 days late.

Compare Education Loan Finance’s range of interest rates with other private student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate ELFI will offer you, apply on its website.


  • Minimum credit score: 680.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Not available.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Not available.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 55%.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after seven years have passed.


  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • DACA borrowers: Not eligible.

  • Location: Available in all 50 U.S. states, as well as the Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes, in a bachelor’s degree program.

  • Loan can be used for past due tuition: Yes, as long as student is enrolled at least half time for the current semester.

  • Types of schools served: Any school authorized to receive federal aid.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Not available.

In-school repayment options:

  • Immediate repayment: Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school.

  • Fixed repayment: Pay $25 every month while enrolled in school and during the grace period.

  • Interest-only repayment: Pay interest every month you’re in school and during the grace period.

  • Full in-school deferment: Yes.

Post-school repayment options

  • Income-based repayment option: No.

  • Academic deferment: Yes, borrowers can request to defer payments for up to three years when returning to school.

  • Forbearance: Borrowers are eligible for up to 12 months of forbearance. Education Loan Finance will review each case individually, and decisions are at the sole discretion of the lender.

  • Co-signer release available: No.

  • Death or disability discharge available: Education Loan Finance will review each case individually.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: Education Loan Finance will review each case individually.

Repayment preferences

ELFI requires all borrowers to pay via electronic or digital transfer.

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: American Education Services, or AES.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Yes, each customer gets a personal loan advisor for the duration of the student loan process.

  • Average time for approval: Typically 2 to 3 days.

Before applying for an ELFI student loan

You can apply for an Education Loan Finance student loan on its website. But before taking out an ELFI loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible for an ELFI student loan

If Education Loan Finance denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.


Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

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