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Paying for College

Got a question about college loans?

Student and father using a laptopWith the year coming to a close, you may find yourself in need of additional funding to pay the spring semester bill. Whether you’ve incurred some unexpected charges or haven’t yet solidified your financing plan, you can rest assured knowing that MEFA loans are available all semester. Even if you’ve borrowed in the past, you may have some questions about how private loans work. Check out some of our frequently asked inquiries below.

Q: I have some cash on hand to pay for the spring semester, but not the full amount needed. Should I just take a loan for the full amount of the spring bill and pay it all off later?


A: It’s ultimately your decision how you will finance the college bill, but if you have some cash on hand, it would be helpful to use it for part of the bill, and then borrow the rest. You should try to borrow as little as possible, as you’ll have to pay back the loan with interest. Most schools also offer an interest-free payment plan, which you can also use to pay part of the bill.


Q: I see that the credit decision for a MEFA loan application is instant - how much time does it take from when I apply until the loan funds are sent to the college?


A: The length of time is dependent upon how quickly you sign and return your loan documents and then how quickly the college certifies, or formally accepts, the loan. As long as these steps go smoothly, the entire process takes about 7-10 business days.


Q: We paid in cash for the fall semester, and our plan is to borrow a loan for the spring. This will likely be our pattern every year. Do we need to figure out our loan amounts for all 4 years now? Or do we take this year by year?


A: When applying for student loans, you can borrow on a yearly or semester basis, but it’s not possible to take out loans for more than one year at once. So you will need to revisit your financing plan each year, and apply for a new loan each year. It’s perfectly fine to pay for the fall semester in cash and then use a loan for the spring.


Q: If I decide to take a deferred repayment loan, but end up wanting to pay it off early, is that okay?


A: You can certainly prepay any MEFA loan without incurring any penalty. You’ll save money on interest as your prepay.


Q: We’re planning to borrow $7,500 for the spring semester. How can I find out the projected interest on that loan amount?


A: Use our Loan Payment Calculator to calculate the total amount your loan will cost over its lifetime, which will include the interest paid. You can also find out your monthly payment amount. To use the calculator, type in your intended loan amount and the number of years until the student’s graduation. You’ll receive information instantly for all 5 types of undergraduate MEFA loans.


Q: I’ve used the Loan Payment Calculator to calculate the monthly payment for my son’s freshman year loan. Do I just double that figure to find out my total payment for two years’ worth of loans if I plan to borrow the same loan amount for his sophomore year?


A: You can double that monthly payment amount to get a rough estimate of your payments for two years’ worth of loans. To get a bit more accurate figure, enter the intended loan amount again within the calculator but change the “Years before graduation” from “4 years” to “3 years.” This will give you the monthly payment for your son’s sophomore year loan. Add those two monthly payments together to get your total payment amount.


To get complete information about our loans, including interest rates, repayment options, and loan terms, visit our Undergraduate Loans page. And if you’d like to speak with someone one on one about your financing plan, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to provide information and guidance. You can reach us at (800) 449-MEFA (6332) and collegeplanning@mefa.org.





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