SoFi Refinancing and Private Student Loan: 2022 Review




Full Review

SoFi began offering private student loans for undergraduates in April 2019. It’s a solid option for borrowers who have exhausted their federal student loan options and need additional money to fund college costs. It also offers perks like career coaching, community events and no-fee investing.

Compared with the largest private student loan companies in the industry, SoFi stands out by offering personalized rate estimates without affecting your credit. This allows you to shop for the best rate without penalty. SoFi is also a good option for borrowers who want to pay off their student loan quickly — you can make greater-than-minimum payments via autopay. As SoFi offers several other financial products, it is also a good choice for borrowers who want a one-stop-shop for their financial services.

SoFi private student loans at a glance

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only, partial and deferred.

How SoFi could improve

SoFi, like other five-star lenders, isn’t perfect. SoFi could improve its private student loan product by:

  • Lending to international students.

  • Offering more repayment options for borrowers who are struggling.

SoFi private student loan details

Interest rates, fees and terms

  • Get a personalized rate before applying: Yes.

  • Loan terms: 5, 10 or 15 years.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 up to your total cost of attendance.

  • Application or origination fee: No.

Compare SoFi’s range of interest rates with private student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate SoFi will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Does not disclose.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after the bankruptcy drops off your credit report. This happens after seven years for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and after 10 years for Chapter 7.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a US citizen, permanent resident or visa holder (E-2, E-3, H-1B, J-1, L-1, or O-1). Non-permanent resident alien (or DACA recipient) without a valid visa must apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a US Citizen or permanent resident.

  • DACA borrowers: Eligible with a qualifying co-signer who is a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident.

  • Location: Available in all 50 U.S. states.

  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.

  • Loan can be used for past due tuition: Yes.

  • Types of schools served: Any school authorized to receive federal aid. Most four-year public and private institutions are accepted.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 97%.

In-school repayment options:

  • Interest-only repayment: Pay only interest while you’re in school.

  • Partial repayment: Pay $25 a month during school.

  • Immediate repayment: Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school.

  • Full in-school deferment: Yes.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months, but only for the deferred repayment option.

  • Income-based repayment option: No.

  • In-school deferment: Yes.

  • Forbearance: Yes, up to 12 months.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes.

  • Death discharge: Yes, loans will be forgiven due to a borrower’s death while in school and/or repayment.

  • Disability discharge: Reviewed on a case-by-case basis and offers forgiveness when requirements are met..

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Average time from application to approval: Many applicants can get their approval decision within minutes.

SoFi offers its borrowers the following perks:

  • Career coaching: Work with a one-on-one advisor to plan a career transition, search for a job and improve your personal branding.

  • Community events: Attend workshops, speaker series and social events such as happy hours and dinners.

  • No-fee investing: Use SoFi’s wealth management platform without paying any management fees.

Before applying for a SoFi student loan

Before taking out a SoFi student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible for a SoFi student loan

If SoFi denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

STUDENT LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

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