MEFA, short for Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, offers private, fixed-rate student loans to students in all 50 states. It caters mainly to borrowers with co-signers with strong credit. Its rates are highly competitive, with many student loan borrowers receiving lower rates than they would at other lenders. It also offers two savings plans – one nationwide and the other exclusive to Massachusetts residents.
Loan types: Undergraduate, graduate
APRs: 5.35% - 7.95% Fixed
Repayment terms: 10-15 years
Loan amount: Up to 100% of cost of attendance
Origination fees: No
MEFA only offers fixed rates, with no variable-rate option. Borrowers will pay up to 6.99% - which is significantly less than the typical 10-12% maximum rate charged by other student lenders. This is both good news and bad news. If you qualify, then you’re guaranteed a competitive rate. However, it does mean you and your co-signer need very good credit to get approved for a loan.
Interest rates are determined by the following factors: the co-signer’s and borrower’s credit profile (with the co-signer being the most important), the repayment term, and the repayment type. See the next section for more information on the repayment terms and options.
Undergraduates are given five repayment options:
Graduate borrowers have two options:
MEFA offers two tax-advantaged savings plans, one for Massachusetts residents and the other nationwide. U.Plan Prepaid Tuition (Massachusetts only) is a prepaid tuition program that offers tax advantages and lets you save for college while locking in today’s rates. U.Fund College Investing Plan (nationwide) is a 529 college savings plan offering flexibility and tax advantages.
MEFA’s online loan application portal makes it easy and fast to apply for a student loan. Once you and your co-signer have completed all sections of the applications, MEFA will provide an instant credit decision. You can exit and resume your or your co-signer’s application at any time.
To qualify, you must:
MEFA recommends bringing along a co-signer (which it actually refers to as a “co-borrower”) to help meet the credit requirements. Under the Student Deferred Repayment with Co-Borrower Release program, the co-signer/co-borrower may request release after the first 48 consecutive on-time monthly installments have been made and if meeting then-current underwriting standards. All other loan options require the co-signer/co-borrower to stay on until the end of the repayment term.
As the Massachusetts authority on educational financing, MEFA offers guidance and support to students in Massachusetts and other states. To speak to a MEFA expert about loans or other forms of student financial assistance, call 800-266-0243, Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm ET, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Massachusetts state legislature created MEFA in 1982 at the request of colleges and universities across the state. From the start, MEFA’s mandate has been to offer low-cost college financing to families of aspiring college students. Today, MEFA offers student loans and savings plans to students nationwide, with additional savings plans and guidance exclusive to Massachusetts students.
Although it caters mainly to Massachusetts students, MEFA makes competitive fixed-rate loans available to borrowers across the country. It isn’t easy to qualify. However, if you have a co-signer such as a friend or relative with strong credit, then the fixed-rate APRs here are as good as you’ll find virtually anywhere else.