When you looking for student loans, you’ll find a lot of different options out there. SoFi is just one of them; an online lender providing private student loans and student loan refinancing, among other financial services. Is SoFi worth your time? Let’s find out.
Student loan statistics make for some scary reading. According to the latest figures, more than 44 million Americans have student loan debt, coming to an eye-watering total of more than 1.56 trillion dollars.
That’s more than the country’s entire credit card debt. It’s quite astonishing. But it’s also a sign of how important education is to today’s young people and how essential student loans are in terms of providing access to that education to those who simply wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Review
SoFi is one of the industry leaders for student loan refinancing. It actually became the first to offer to refinance both federal and private loans back in 2012, barely a year after its founding in the summer of 2011.
Refinancing is a great option for graduates, allowing them to cut down their interest rates and potentially save thousands. But how does it all work with SoFi and is this the best option for federal student loan refinancing?
A Bit Of Background
First of all, let’s take a closer look at what exactly SoFi is all about. The brand’s name stems from a blending of the words ‘Social’ and ‘Finance’. As stated above, SoFi got started in 2011 and has grown exponentially ever since.
The latest reports show that SoFi boasts over half a million customers, and proudly states that 98% of them would recommend SoFi to friends and family. The has been responsible for more than $30 billion of funded personal loans, and over $18 billion refinanced loans.
In short, SoFi is one of the big names in this space. Over a quarter of a million customers have turned to SoFi for student loan refinancing, and SoFi offers some nice perks and low rates, if you meet all of the qualification criteria.
How to Qualify for SoFi Student Loan Refinancing
To qualify for SoFi’s student loan refinancing services, you’ll need to meet certain criteria:
- Credit Score – Your credit score needs to be at least 650, so all those with poor credit simply won’t be able to secure student loan refinancing with SoFi.
- Income – Interestingly, unlike with some other lenders, SoFi doesn’t impose any kind of minimum income requirement for loan refinancing. Instead, it takes a look at your average monthly cash flow. With that said, the average income of borrowers applying for this service is over $100,000.
- Citizenship – All applicants must either be US citizens or permanent residents, and SoFi refinancing is available across all 50 states.
- Education – To qualify for this service, you need to have actually graduated with a minimum of an associate degree, and you need to have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid as well.
- Status – All borrowers seeking SoFi student loan refinancing should be employed or be due to a job in the subsequent 90 days. You can also qualify if you demonstrate sufficient income from other sources.
- Anything Else? – You can qualify for this even if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, but you’ll need to wait for the bankruptcy to be removed from your credit report, which can take up to 10 years. SoFI will also take a look at your financial history to see how responsible you are with money, in order to determine your reliability in terms of making repayments.
Overall, SoFi is relatively strict with its requirements. The minimum credit score of 650 definitely excludes a lot of potential applicants, and the intense requirements partly explain the fact that most applicants are earning six-figure salaries. Still, if you have a decent income and a good credit history, you can qualify for SoFi’s refinancing, and it can provide a lot of perks.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Interest Rates, Fees, and Terms
When applying for any kind of loan refinancing, finding a rate and term that works for you in essential.
- Terms – SoFi offers the following loan terms: 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years.
- Minimum Amount – The minimum loan amount to qualify for SoFi student loan refinancing is $5,000. There are no maximum limits.
- Fees – There aren’t any application fees with SoFi for student loan refinancing, and you don’t have to worry about insufficient funds fees or origination fees either.
When considering any SoFi refinancing plan, or any other plan, it’s vital to compare your options. Fees, rates, and terms can vary in a big way from one provider to the next.
In the case of SoFi, your own financial situation has a large bearing on your overall rates, and you can go through the pre-qualification process on the SoFi site to find out exactly what rates you’d be getting.
How to Apply for Student Loan Refinancing with SoFi
The application process for SoFi student loan refinancing is one of the best parts of the process. It’s super simple from to finish, and SoFi prides itself on how fast and easy it is to send off your online application. The whole thing is as easy a 1, 2, 3.
- The first step is to seek pre-qualification. All of this is done online, and SoFi will actually provide you with an immediate response on whether or not you’ve qualified, before you’ve even finished the full application procedure.
- Next, it’s time to choose the rate and term that works for you. SoFi offers a variety of rates and terms, offering flexibility for borrowers to make monthly payments on their own terms.
- To finish the process, you’ll need to upload some screenshots of your details and sign the papers electronically. At that point, SoFi will pay off your existing loan and provide you with a new one at a more attractive rate.
Student Loan Refinancing Repayments with SoFi
SoFi prides itself on flexibility, aiming to offer customers a lot of options in terms of terms, and also in terms of repayment options:
- Payments – With SoFi, you can choose to pay more than the minimum through autopay if you like. You can also make bi-weekly loan payments.
- Deferment – There are several reasons SoFi accepts as valid for payment deferment or postponement. These include academic deferment for if you decide to go back to school and study further, disability deferment if you are undergoing treatment or for any kind of disability, and military deferment for those who head off on military duty.
- Medical – Those in the medical profession, specifically physicians and , can pay just $100 per month for their residency, for a period of up to four years.
- Job Loss – If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you can postpone your payments for up to three months each time, for a total of 12 months. There are some specifics around this, however, and you’ll need to communicate with one of SoFi’s career advice professionals to fully qualify.
What Makes SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Different?
The student loan refinancing industry is a competitive one, and every lender likes to try and offer unique services or aspects to help them stand out from the crowd. In the case of SoFi, prospective applicants should consider the following unique selling points:
- It’s All Online – One nice advantage of SoFi, in this day and age of hyper-connectivity and always-online attitudes, is that everything is done on the internet. You apply online, get approved online, and even sign your finance papers online. It’s a big time-saver and very convenient compared to other options.
- No Hidden Fees – SoFi is very transparent and honest about its fees and charges. You don’t have to worry about any application or origination fees, or any other hidden fees or penalties. Everything is very clear.
- Exclusive Member Perks – SoFi customers, or members, get access to a range of interesting and exclusive services including career coaching to help out with choosing and finding a job, and financial advice to better manage your money.
- Community Events – SoFi members also get exclusive invites to social events where they can meet up with like-minded people and make new friends, as well as a range of talks and workshops too.
The Pros and Cons of Student Loan Refinancing with SoFi
Clearly, choosing SoFi for student loan refinancing has its advantages, but it’s not all smooth sailing with the . There are some drawbacks to SoFi too that prevent this from being the perfect refinancing .
- Simplicity – Since SoFi lets you apply online and get approved very quickly, the whole process is exceptionally simple and convenient.
- Risk Free – You can head straight over to the SoFi site and go through the pre-qualification process without any risks of hard credit checks.
- Personalized Rates – SoFi offers personalized rates that can get you a great value loan deal, provided you have strong financial history and a good income.
- Bonus Perks – With SoFi, you’re also getting all the bonuses and advantages listed above like career guidance and financial advice.
- Limitations – With a minimum loan size of $5,000 and a minimum credit score of 650, among other requirements, SoFi is quite strict and limiting about who it accepts.
- Co-Signers – One other potential drawback to note with SoFi is that if you choose to have a co-signer on your application, you won’t be able to remove them from the loan later on.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing
SoFi is arguably the biggest name in student loan refinancing, almost putting refinancing on the map and making many people aware of this option. It’s a market leader, setting the standard in a competitive field, with plenty of plus points but a few drawbacks too.
Overall, if you’re in the specific niche that SoFi is targeting: someone who has a good credit score, a reasonable or very good income, and a desire to cut down their interest rates and get their loans paid off more quickly and efficiently, it’s definitely a good option.
As with anything in life, however, there are some caveats and it’s really important for every individual to consider their own personal situation and requirements. For some people, SoFi student loan refinancing will be the right option. For others, it simply won’t. Either way, it’s wise to compare rates and search around to get the best deals and save the most money.
SoFi Private Student Loan Review
As well as helping to refinance student loans, SoFi also provides them. The only started up offering private student loans in 2019, but has already established itself as a major player, offering competitive rates and some strong advantages.
Just like in the refinancing sector, SoFi is becoming an industry leader in the world of private student loans, offering three separate loan types in total: undergraduate loans, graduate loans, and parent loans.
If you’re looking for money to cover the costs of education, SoFi might be worth considering. When compared to some of the other student loan companies out there, its rates are highly attractive and it offers some unique perks you might not be expecting from a lender. Let’s take a closer look.
SoFi Private Student Loan Types
SoFi’s private student loans are broken down into the following three categories:
- Undergraduate Loans – This is the most common type of student loan, aimed at undergraduates who are heading to college and need financial assistance to cover the costs of their education. SoFi offers fixed and variable rate undergraduate loans with several different repayment options: deferred, interest online, partial, and immediate.
- Graduate Loans – Aimed at graduates who are continuing on into grad school to possibly obtain a master’s or doctoral degree. The same repayment terms and rate options for undergraduate loans are available with graduate loans from SoFi.
- Parent Loans – A unique offering from SoFi, parent loans allow parents to cover the costs of their child’s education by taking out loans in their own name. Both fixed and variable rate parent loans are available, with two different repayment options: interest only and immediate.
How to Qualify for SoFi Private Student Loans
SoFi offers highly competitive and flexible student loans, but in order to qualify, you’ll need to meet some strict criteria. As we’ve seen when discussing refinancing from this , SoFi really looks to get ‘high quality’ borrowers every time it lends money, so the bar for entry is set quite high.
- Credit Score – The average credit score of borrowers for private student loans with SoFi is over 700, and that tells you all you need to know. SoFi doesn’t expressly state that it refuses all applicants with lower credit scores, but the general consensus with this is that your score needs to be very good (a minimum of 700). Those with lower scores can ask for help from co-signers with stronger scores.
- Status – All borrowers need to be American citizens, and these loans are available in all 50 US states.
- Education – You’ll need to be enrolled at least half-time to get approved for a private student loan with SoFi, and students of all schools that are authorized to get federal aid qualify.
SoFi Private Student Loan Interest Rates, Fees, and Terms
If you do choose to go ahead with a SoFi private student loan, you’ll have a few different options in terms of rates and terms.
- Terms – If you’re taking out a private student loan with SoFi, you can choose between a 5-year, 10-year, or 15-year term.
- Fees – Easily one of the more attractive elements of SoFi’s loans is that they don’t charge any fees. So you’ll have no worries about application fees, late fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.
- Minimum Amount – Any student loan with SoFi needs to be at least $5,000.
In terms of rates, fees, and terms, SoFi performs strongly. The rates, especially for those with good credit history, can be very attractive and compare favorably to other lenders. The fact that you have no fees to worry about is another nice feature.
How to Apply for Private Student Loans with SoFi
SoFi is a fully digital lender, so everything is done online, including the application process:
- To off, you can simply go through the pre-qualification and application processes on the SoFi site. This is where you’ll find out exactly what rate you’ll be getting, as well as whether or not you’re actually approved for the loan in the first place. The process is straightforward and speedy, being done in minutes.
- Once you’ve been approved, you’ll have to choose whether you want a fixed or variable rate loan. In general, fixed rate is the safer option. You’ll also be able to choose between the different repayment options.
- Finally, the process can all be confirmed by simply uploading some screenshots of all your details and digitally signing the documents. After that, you can sit back and relax, with SoFi handling the rest.
Private Student Loan Repayments with SoFi
If you’re taking out an undergraduate or graduate student loan with SoFi, you’ll have four different repayment options to choose between. The variety on offer is a nice aspect of the SoFi , providing flexibility to the user and letting borrowers choose how they want to make their payments.
- Deferred – This option lets you pay principal and interest payments six months after you leave school, meaning you won’t have to worry about making any payments while still in school. It does, however, come with the highest cost.
- Immediate – The exact opposite of the Deferred plan, the Immediate repayment option means you pay everything straight away, while still in school. In the long run, this means you’ll pay off your loan faster and your total repayment cost will be the lowest, but it relies on you finding the money to cover those costs while also studying.
- Interest Only – With this option, you’ll only pay interest payments while still in school. It cuts down the total cost of your payments, so it’s seen by some as a good compromise option between the Immediate and Deferred plans.
- Partial – Finally, the Partial repayment plan means you make fixed $25 payments each month while in school. This is a relatively small monthly cost, so it shouldn’t affect the quality of life of an average student, and it goes some way to reducing the overall cost of the loan repayments.
What Makes SoFi Private Student Loans Different?
Part of what helped SoFi stand out from the crowd and become the leading name in loan refinancing was its bonus services like careers guidance to help borrowers actually move up the professional ladder, earn more money, and pay off their loans more easily. In the same vein, SoFi also offers a range of extras for borrowers taking out private student loans.
- Career Coaching – Just like with loan refinancing, SoFi provides career coaching for students too. This service lets you work together with a professional careers advisor to plan out your professional path, look for jobs, and altogether have better professional prospects both during and after your studies.
- Exclusive Events – SoFi also runs exclusive workshops, talks, dinners, and other events for its members, designed with networking in mind. As with the careers coaching, this service is all about giving SoFi borrowers better prospects, having more opportunities to connect with people who might be able to aid their academic and professional development.
The Pros And Cons Of Private Student Loans With SoFi
No review would be complete without a pros and cons list. are the plus points to SoFi private student loans, as well as a few drawbacks that shouldn’t be overlooked:
- Simplicity – Since SoFi’s application is all done online, it’s really quick and easy. Plus, SoFi offers full customer and support as and when you need it.
- Rates – The rates for SoFi can be very attractive when compared to other options.
- Flexibility – With four different repayment plans and several terms to choose from, plus both fixed and variable loan options, SoFi lets you pay the way you want.
- Safe – SoFi offers strong safety nets for life’s unforeseen situations. If you lose your job, for example, you can defer payments for a full year, or until you find another job. Plus, you never need to worry about putting down any collateral, again reducing the risk.
- Strict – SoFi has some high barriers in its application process that not everyone will be able to overcome.
SoFi Private Student Loans
SoFi is a well-known brand in the world of private student loans, but its competitive rates and useful perks are already catching the eye of a lot of undergraduates, as well as graduates and even parents.
As with the brand’s student loan refinancing, SoFi’s loans are best-suited to those in strong financial situations. The better your situation, the better the rate you’ll get and the more likely you are to have a highly positive experience.
However, even those in not-so-strong situations can get a lot out of SoFi loans. The careers guidance and networking events can help ambitious students aim even higher, and if you’re looking for a flexible student loan, this is worthy of your attention.