If you’re contemplating taking out a private loan to fund your child’s education or consolidating and refinancing current student loan debt to pay a lower interest rate and make a lower monthly payment or pay off your loans faster, you may want to consider SoFi. Social Finance, Inc. or SoFi as it is commonly called, is an online personal finance company with core offerings of student loan refinancing, student loans for education, mortgages and personal loans. Since its launch in 2011, SoFi has provided $14 billion in student loan refinancing, a testament to its market reach and solid client base. Like most online lenders, SoFi has been able to pass on its cost savings to its customers because it is not a brick-and-mortar business.
SoFi Student Loan Services
Sofi has a range of services:
- Parent loans to fund a child’s education
- Student loan refinancing and consolidation
- Parent PLUS loan refinancing and consolidation
- Medical resident and fellow student loan refinancing and consolidation
SoFi Interest Rates and Details
Student loan refinancing takes place when you replace your current loan with a new, private loan at a lower interest rate. You can refinance and consolidate both federal and private student loans at SoFi. A lower rate means cost savings for you.
The interest rate on your SoFi student loan refinancing depends on your credit history, your income and employment history. Much also depends on whether you want a fixed rate or a variable rate from SoFi, and what repayment period you choose. Variable rates start out lower than fixed rates, but because they change according to market forces, your rate may vary from month to month, and it could increase substantially. Typically, if you’re pretty sure that you can pay off your loan quickly, then you may want to opt for the variable rate. If, however, you expect to pay off your loan over a longer period, then a fixed rate may be the better option because there are fewer risks and no surprises. Of course, your choice between a variable and a fixed rate will also be influenced by the specific rates you are offered.
In addition to refinancing current student loan debt with SoFi, parents may also take out a private loan for their children’s education.
Student Loan Refinancing
For general student loan refinancing, SoFi offers competitive rates with a .25% rate reduction with autopay enrollment. Autopay refers to an automatic deduction from your checking or savings account each month. Many other lenders also offer this. SoFi offers refinancing programs for:
- Parent PLUS Loan Refinancing
- Medical Residents Loan Refinancing
- Direct Parent Loans
Eligibility Criteria for SoFi Student Loans
Student Loan Refinancing Eligibility
- You are at least the age of majority in your state and able to enter into a binding contract.
- You are a US citizen, permanent resident or visa holder (H1-B, J-1, L-1, E-2 or E-3) 18 years or older.
- You must be employed, have sufficient income from other sources or have an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days.
- You have graduated with an associates’ degree or higher from a Title IV school.
- You live in any of the states or the District of Columbia.
- You want to borrow at least $5,000. This amount may be higher in some states due to legal requirements.
Medical Resident Student Loan Refinancing Eligibility
- You are at least the age of majority in your state and able to enter into a binding contract.
- You are a U.S. citizen.
- You are a medical resident or fellow with up to four years left in your approved program.
- You want to borrow over $10,000 to refinance your student loan debt. Some states require higher minimum loan amounts.
- You have graduated from a selection of Title IV accredited university or graduate programs in the U.S.
- You meet SoFi’s credit requirements.
- You live in one of 48 states but not Mississippi, Montana or the District of Columbia.
Parent Loan Eligibility
- You are at least the age of majority in your state
- You are a US citizen or permanent resident
- You must be employed, have sufficient income from other sources, or have an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days.
- Your child is a full-time student attending school from a selection of Title IV accredited universities or graduate programs.
- You meet SoFi’s credit requirements.
- You live in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.
- You want to borrow at least $5,000. Some states require higher minimums.
- Variable rate loans are not offered in Illinois or Ohio
Benefits of SoFi Student Loans
Career Advisory and Entrepreneur Programs
What sets SoFi apart from many other lenders is its career advisory program. SoFi offers career guidance and job hunt support such as resume preparation and other coaching resources as you go through your job hunt.
For clients who want to start their own businesses instead of seeking employment, SoFi offers an entrepreneur program. The program offers seed money from SoFi, access to investors, and mentorship and other start-up resources. Company-hosted community events offer networking opportunities, which can be a plus for those on a job hunt.
Foreign Student Refinancing
Foreign students who continue to work in the US after graduation can apply to SoFi for refinancing their loans if they hold INS-issued work visas in specific categories. This segment of borrowers is often disqualified from borrowing, but they now have options with SoFi. Note, however, that if you’re applying under SoFi’s Medical Residency program, you’ve got to be a US citizen or permanent resident.
SoFi doesn’t charge application fees, origination fees or prepayment/early payment penalties.
Flexible Loan Periods
For both its student loan refinancing and medical resident refinancing, SoFi offers loan periods of five, seven, 10, 15 and 20 years. For its Parent PLUS program, borrowers can choose to pay back in five, seven, 10 or 15 years.
Loan Deferment and Hardship Forbearance
SoFi offers loan deferment for borrowers who return to graduate school on a half- or full-time basis. Loan deferment is also possible for those who undergo disability rehabilitation or serve on active military duty. At the end of any deferment, the total loan balance will be re-amortized over the remaining term of the loan. Note that deferment is not available for SoFi’s medical residency program nor for its Parent PLUS program. If you’re undergoing economic hardship, SoFi offers up to 12 months of partial or full forbearance.
Like many student loan refinancing lenders, SoFi assesses your creditworthiness by looking at your credit score, education, work history, and estimated cash flow. It is also similar to some of its competitors in that it pauses your payments in the event you lose your job. Its interest rates are market-competitive, and its borrowing terms are generally on par or better.
Things of which You Should Be Aware
- Parent loans to fund your child’s education may not be transferred to your child’s name after graduation.
- Even if you get the interest rates you were hoping for, you must carefully consider the impact of refinancing a federal student loan. When you refinance with a private loan from a lender such as SoFi (which allows you to consolidate your private and government loans for refinancing), you lose certain federal protections for which you might qualify (such as income-driven repayment and loan forgiveness programs). If you’re unsure about the details of your federal loans, you can look them up at this Department of Education website.
- SoFi requires high credit scores and debt-to-income ratios from its applicants for student loan refinancing. One solution is to get a cosigner to help you qualify. Be aware, however, that SoFi doesn’t offer a cosigner release.
- To refinance with SoFi, you must graduate with at least an associate’s degree. If you did not complete the education for which you took on student loan debt, you will not qualify for refinancing with SoFi.
How to Apply for a SoFi Student Loan
For refinancing, apply through this page. You can also check for current interest rates on the SoFi website. It takes mere minutes for you to get pre-approved with the basic information you provide. You will be asked for your current debt amount, your employment, your education history, your residential address and your citizenship/green card/immigration visa status. There is no need to upload any documents such as a photo I.D. at this initial stage of the process.
Like most lenders, SoFi at first pulls a “soft” credit score which will not impact your credit score. If you are eligible, however, and you begin the process for taking out a loan then a more thorough (“hard”) credit check will be done, and more detailed documentation will be required from you, but it’s still a simple process. A hard credit pull will impact your credit score, as is the case throughout the industry. When you are approved for refinancing, you’ll have to sign a promissory note which is a legal contract containing your refinancing and repayment details. SoFi will then pay off the student debt that you are refinancing, and you will begin your payments to them.
You can reach SoFi’s customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855.465.7634 Monday through Thursday from 4 am to 9 pm PST and Friday through Sunday from 4 am to 5 pm PST. SoFi also has live chat via its website.
A Strong Choice if You Qualify
For those who qualify, SoFi is a solid choice for student loans and refinancing. Its rates are highly competitive for those who qualify, and customer support is responsive and helpful. The application process is quick and straightforward with no hidden fees, and prepayment comes with no penalties. SoFi also offers generous deferments and forbearance in certain circumstances. One of the most interesting aspects of SoFi is its highly innovative programs to support its customers who are starting careers or wish to start their own businesses.
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Student Debt Relief Loan Refinancing Advertiser Disclosure
College Ave: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
1 – The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
2 – $5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. Information advertised valid as of 04/26/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 – This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
CommonBond: Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate.
Splash Financial: Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval.com
Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/23/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice.
Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.