MEFA Student Loans
Paying for college is not easy. After exhausting all forms of free money through grants and scholarships, as well as low-cost federal student loans, you may still need additional help. Private student loans are offered through financial institutions and organizations. Most states have specific resources open to their residents as well. If you live in Massachusetts or plan on attending a Massachusetts college or university, the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, or MEFA, can help. MEFA offers low and fixed interest rate loans to both graduate and undergraduate students.
MEFA Loan Terms and Products
There are three main MEFA student loan products and payment options to choose from: immediate repayment, interest only, and deferred student loans. If you choose to begin paying your loan back immediately, you may qualify for fixed interest rates as low as 5.49 percent while in school and 6.24 percent after your Anticipated In-School Period for a 10-year loan. If you wish to have a longer loan term of 15 years then your interest payments may be as low as 5.99 percent during your Anticipated In-School Period and 6.74 percent thereafter. You can also choose to pay only your interest while attending school, and interest rates may be 6.84 percent while in school and 7.79 percent after.
Another option is to defer your payments altogether until after leaving college, which will result in slightly higher interest rates starting as low as 7.19 percent. The maximum deferment period is five years plus a six-month grace period after graduation, withdrawing from school, or dropping below half-time status. Interest rates are based on credit and may differ for each individual borrower.
MEFA loans have a 4 percent origination fee with a co-signer and 7 percent fee without one. You must borrow a minimum of $2,000, or $1,500 if attending a public school, and maximum amounts are based on the total cost of attendance at your school minus any other financial aid you are receiving.
In order to be eligible for a MEFA loan, you must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident as well as reside in the state of Massachusetts or plan on attending school in Massachusetts. You have to be registered at least half-time in a degree-granting and accredited program at an eligible non-profit school. You will also be required to retain acceptable academic progress as determined by your college or university. MEFA loans are based on an approval of credit as well.
How to Apply
There are two easy ways to apply for a MEFA student loan: online or by phone. You will need the following materials and information ready when you apply:
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number
- Current and previous addresses
- Housing costs
- Email address
- Phone number
- Employment information
- Monthly income
Your information will be submitted for a credit review, and you will receive an instant credit decision on whether or not you qualify. Using a co-signer may make you eligible for better rates. After you are approved, you are given the option to choose the loan product that best suits your needs and then you will sign a MEFA Loan Agreement in which you agree to the terms and conditions set forth by the loan. You will also need to verify the cost of attendance at your chosen school and the amount of financial aid you are requesting. Your school will also certify this information and the funds will be disbursed directly to the school to pay for your tuition and other education-related expenses on your behalf.