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MEFA Loans

Undergraduate Student Loans

For more than 35 years, MEFA has been offering low-cost fixed interest rate undergraduate loans to help families pay for a college education.

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Why choose MEFA for undergraduate loans?

  • Fixed interest rates from 3.75% to 5.75% APR*** for multiple repayment options with no fees
  • Fixed interest rate ensures stable, predictable monthly payments for the life of the loan
  • No origination fee, application fee, or prepayment penalty
  • Available to families across the country

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Low Rates
Details
Eligibility
Repayment
Next Steps
Disclosures

Undergraduate Loan Rates

Immediate Repayment (10-year term) Immediate Repayment (15-year term) Interest-Only Repayment (15-year term) Deferred Repayment (15-year term) Student Deferred Repayment with Co-Borrower Release* (15-year term)
Interest Rate Fixed interest rates as low as 3.75% Fixed interest rates as low as 3.95% Fixed interest rates as low as 4.25% Fixed interest rates as low as 4.55% Fixed interest rates as low as 4.80%
APR*** 3.75% - 5.30% 3.95% - 5.35% 4.25% - 5.40% 4.38% - 5.50% 4.62% - 5.75%
Monthly Payment Per $10,000 Borrowed As low as $100.98 As low as $74.43 As low as $35.79 in-school, then payments step up to as low as $79.90 at the end of the in-school period** As low as $84.87 As low as $86.43

*The co-borrower may request release after the first 48 consecutive on-time monthly installments have been made and if meeting then-current underwriting standards.

**In-school period is the period as defined in the MEFA Undergraduate Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure

***The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is designed to help consumers understand the relative cost of a loan and reflects the loan's interest rate, timing of payments, and fees.

Details of MEFA Undergraduate Loans

  • You may apply for an undergraduate student loan for one academic year. 
    If you need a loan for more than one year, you must reapply each year.

  • Maximum undergraduate student loan amount: 
    100% of the cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses) minus financial aid received for the academic period.

  • Minimum undergraduate student loan amount: 
    $2,000 for a private school, $1,500 for a public school.

  • Most undergraduate students will need a co-borrower. 
    Student applicant and all co-borrowers are equally responsible for loan repayment. Typically the parent or other credit-worthy individual is the "notice borrower" and will receive the billing statement and other notices.

  • No origination fee, application fee, or prepayment penalty

  • Deferred loans are subject to a maximum deferral period of 60 months

Undergraduate Loan Eligibility


To be eligible for a MEFA Undergraduate Loan, the student must:

  • Be enrolled at least half time in an accredited degree-granting undergraduate program at an eligible non-profit college or university in the United States. If the student is currently enrolled for the current academic year, a student may:
    • Borrow a MEFA Loan for the summer session
    • Borrow a MEFA Loan to cover a past due balance within the current academic year
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the college or university.

All borrowers must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

The loan application must meet MEFA's current credit approval standards.

Repayment Options for MEFA Undergraduate Loans

  • Immediate: Interest payment and principal repayment begin on the 28th day of the month following the final disbursement. Loan must be fully repaid within 10 or 15 years (depending on loan type) of final disbursement.

  • Interest-Only: Interest payment begins on the 28th day of the month following the month of the final disbursement and principal and interest repayment begins after the end of the undergraduate anticipated in-school period. Loan must be fully repaid within 15 years of final disbursement.

  • Deferred: Repayment of principal and interest is deferred until six months after the student graduates, leaves the program, or reduces hours to less than half-time. Loan must be fully repaid within 15 years of final disbursement. Deferred loans are subject to a maximum deferral period of 60 months.

  • Deferred with Co-Borrower Release: Repayment of principal and interest is deferred until six months after the student graduates, leaves the program, or reduces hours to less than half-time. Loan must be fully repaid within 15 years of final disbursement. The co-borrower may request release from AES, MEFA's loan servicing provider, after the first 48 consecutive on-time monthly installments have been made after the student has left school, and if the student is meeting then-current underwriting standards. All borrowers will need to complete and sign a co-borrower release application. Deferred loans are subject to a maximum deferral period of 60 months.

There is no penalty for early repayment on undergraduate loans. Learn more about managing your loan repayment.

After you apply for a MEFA Loan:

  1. Once you select your interest rate and repayment term, all borrowers will need to log in separately to e-sign the loan document.

  2. MEFA will ask the college to certify the loan. Some schools don't start certifying until close to the start of the semester, so keep this in mind if you apply early.

  3. Once the school certifies your loan, you will receive an email letting you know.

  4. Your loan funds will be sent to the college on the college's selected disbursement date (this date differs from school to school).

MEFA Undergraduate Loan Disclosures

Our Loan Disclosure and Self-Certification Form provide all the important details about our loans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a MEFA Loan to pay for off-campus housing?

Yes, as long as the college considers off-campus housing as part of their cost of attendance. Colleges will only certify a loan amount under the amount of the cost of attendance minus any financial aid. If the off-campus housing is included in the college's cost of attendance (and it usually is), and the school certifies for the requested loan amount that includes funds for that off-campus housing, we will lend it. Talk to the financial aid office at your college and find out if they will certify for off-campus housing.

I am a citizen of a foreign country and want to attend school in the U.S. Can I apply for a MEFA Loan?

Unfortunately, all parties on a MEFA Loan must be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents. If you need financing to attend college, we suggest you contact the colleges in which you are interested. They could give you guidance on what other international students have done to finance their education at their school.

How long does the process of getting a MEFA Loan take?

All applicants on a MEFA Loan can complete the required steps in one day. The application is quick and easy and can be done online at mefa.org. Applicants should receive a decision momentarily after all parties have submitted the requested information. Assuming the loan application is approved, the primary borrower will need to choose a loan repayment option, and then all borrowers will need to electronically sign the MEFA Loan Agreement and the primary borrower will sign the Self Certification Form. The college must then certify the loan amount and let us know of the date on which to send the loan funds (their preferred disbursement date), which is usually when the bill is due. Contact your financial aid office to find out your school's timing and process.

Should I apply for a loan for one semester at a time or for the whole year?

We recommend that families borrow for the full academic year. When the school certifies your loan they will generally split the loan into two disbursements, one for each semester. As a result of this split, the interest on your spring semester loan will not begin to accrue until later in the academic year, usually January. You should be able to estimate your costs for the year based on your fall semester charges and the cost of attendance provided by the school. If you wind up needing additional funds for the spring semester, you can always submit a new application. Please note that if you would rather borrower for one semester at a time, you are permitted to do so.

If I haven't received my bill should I estimate how much I need to borrow?

It's usually best to wait until you have received your bill before applying for a loan so you have a better of the amount you need. But if you need to apply before you receive your bill, yes, you should estimate how much you'll need to borrow. You are permitted to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any financial aid you receive, but we recommend that you keep your debt to a minimum and only borrow what you think you will need. The cost of attendance includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, personal costs, housing, and your meal plan. It usually includes off-campus housing, though check with the financial aid office to be sure. We have a tool, our College Cost Calculator, that can help you determine how much you may need to borrow.

Which MEFA Loan should I choose if I want my child to be responsible for loan repayment?

Our loan products are family loans; hence everyone on the loan is equally responsible for repayment. Most students will not qualify for a MEFA Loan on their own due to lack of credit history and income. The bill will always go to a non-student borrower (called the "Notice Borrower"), but all co-borrowers, including the student, will receive a billing notification letter. We advise that all borrowers review their loan documents throughout the application process. The Student Deferred with Co-Borrower Release Loan offers a co-borrower release option after the first 48 consecutive on-time payments, though our other loan options may offer a lower interest rate.

Where do I find a list of my existing MEFA Loans?

You can find all information about your existing MEFA Loans by signing up for Account Access on the website of American Education Services (AES), our loan servicing provider. AES handles all loan payment collection and servicing responsibilities for MEFA Loans. Once you establish your AES Account Access username and password, you can view information about your MEFA Loans 24/7. Within AES Account Access you can also make a MEFA Loan payment, set up direct deposit, and contact AES through a secure email box.

Questions?
Call us at (800) 266-0243 Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm ET or email us anytime at mefaloans@mefa.org
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