ELFI, a student loan company, is offering $50,000 to pay off one contestant's student loan debt if they win the refinancing video contest.

A student loan borrower could win the jackpot to pay off their student loans by entering Education Loan Finance’s (ELFI) new video contest. The student loan company’s contest, dubbed “Empower A Brighter Future,” focuses on student loan debt refinancing and consolidation success stories.

You can submit a 20-second to two-minute video explaining how refinancing your student loan helped (or would help) you towards a better future.

Videos will be accepted now through June 29, 2018. Entrants must be a primary borrower of at least $15,000 in student loans. Multiple entries can be submitted, but only one per day is allowed. Once videos have been submitted, entrants can rally votes through family, friends, and social media from July 10 to July 22, 2018. Seven finalists will be selected for final judging with the $50,000 winner announced on July 31, 2018.

“We are excited to be able to offer this prize in support of borrowers who have pursued higher education and all individuals who have incurred student loan debt in pursuit of their undergraduate or post-graduate degrees,” Barbara Thomas, Head of the ELFI Division and Executive Vice President of SouthEast Bank said in a press release.

Producing a Winning Video

If you think you have a great story, get your camera ready. Entries need to include some of the following:

  • At least one reference to how refinancing a current student loan helped or would help empower a brighter future and how the prize would enhance that empowerment.

  • The content must be consistent with ELFI’s values and mission.

  • The video must be in English and it must be owned and originally created by the entrant.

  • The entry (including the video) must not previously have been published, used, or circulated in any commercial or personal manner, or won any award.

A complete list of requirements can be found here.

What a winning video will look like is hard to say but the first round’s judging will award points for these attributes: appropriateness to the contest’s subject, video originality (including creativity), and video quality. For intrigued students, take a look at this contest.

MUST READ:
Student Loan Default Rate Creates Concern in American Economy

This isn’t the first student loan payoff contest to crop up this year either. In January, the beer brand Natural Light (“Natty Light”) hosted a contest giving away $1,000,000 to 25 winners to help them pay off their student debt. Entrants submitted short videos highlighting a green tab from a Natty Light can and sharing what made their college experiences special. These winners could help inspire some ideas.

What Is Student Loan Refinancing and Consolidation?

For those who don’t know, refinancing student loans through private bank may reduce your monthly payments by virtue of a lower interest rate. In short, you apply for a new loan that consolidates all previous loans, and that refinance loan comes with a new interest rate and repayment term. The end goal is to reduce your overall costs and save money.

The catch is you must qualify for a lower interest rate in a refinance loan application; the lowest rates may only be offered to applicants with high incomes and excellent credit. Less qualified applicants could still get approved for student loan refinancing, but they may not receive the low interest rate that’s needed to justify the move.

Alternately, there is another incentive to refinancing which is to extend your repayment term. Doing so can reduce your monthly payment, but there’s another catch to remember – a longer repayment term is often associated with a costlier loan (interest can accrue on the balance for a longer period).

Despite this, a longer repayment term and lower monthly payment could mean the difference between missing a payment next month or staying on track. With that in mind though, a student loan borrower with only federal student loans may want to consider a federal consolidation loan through the government over a refinance loan with a private bank.

The federal direct consolidation loan program allows student borrowers to combine loans for one monthly payment, and you could reduce that payment by extending the repayment term. But just know that this won’t save you money in the long run if you pay according to schedule – the interest rate is only a weighted average of all previous federal loans.