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College Ave and SoFi are two of the most well-known private student loan companies. Both lenders offer loans for undergraduates and graduates seeking money for college funding. While both lenders offer a good range of loan amounts and repayment terms, they have different benefits and unique features, especially for graduate students and returning borrowers. To know which is right for you, compare all of the lenders’ features and get quotes to see your rates.
- College Ave is better for graduate students looking for generous repayment options, and SoFi is a better fit if you prioritize discounts or membership perks.
SoFi vs. College Ave
|Details accurate as of June 13, 2023.|
|Interest rates||5.99% to 13.97% Variable APR; 4.44% to 14.70% Fixed APR (with Autopay)||5.49% to 16.99% Variable; 4.41% to 16.99% Fixed (with Autopay)|
|Repayment terms||5 to 15 years||5 to 20 years|
|Loan amounts||$1,000 to full cost of attendance||$1,000 to full cost of attendance ($150,000 maximum for some graduate degrees)|
|Benefits||No fees required; membership rewards program; career coaching and financial planning assistance services||Quick initial application; long grace period for some loans; scholarship opportunities|
|Drawbacks||Short grace period; potential for high interest rates||Limited eligibility disclosures t; $150,000 loan cap for some graduate degrees|
SoFi student loans: Pros and cons
SoFi offers student loans for undergraduates and graduate students, as well as specific loans for MBA programs and law school. It could be a good choice for students who want to take advantage of the SoFi membership program; here’s what to know about the benefits and drawbacks of the company.
- No fees required: You aren’t required to pay any fees with SoFi, not even if you make a late payment.
- Career coaching and financial planning: Whether you’re looking for help with your resume or planning your personal finance strategy, SoFi’s membership program offers access to career services at no additional cost.
- Unemployment protection: If you lose your job, SoFi’s unemployment protection policy can make your life more manageable by adjusting your payments while you get back on your feet.
- Several discounts: In addition to a standard 0.25 percent discount for setting up autopay, borrowers can receive a 0.125 percent discount if they have a checking account, auto loan or other financial product with SoFi.
- Repayment period: The maximum loan term for private student loans is capped at 15 years. Some competitors offer longer periods to make the monthly loan payments more affordable.
- Limited eligibility disclosures: SoFi does not indicate if there’s a minimum credit score requirement to qualify for student loans.
- Relatively short grace period: SoFi’s loans come with a six-month grace period, meaning you will have to start repaying your loan six months after graduating or dropping below half-time enrollment. Other lenders offer longer grace periods, particularly for graduate school loans.
College Ave student loans: Pros and cons
College Ave’s student loan portfolio includes undergraduate loans, graduate school loans, MBA loans, medical school loans, dental school loans, law school loans and health professions loans. This wide range means that almost every type of student can find a suitable loan with College Ave, though it’s still important to consider the pros and cons of the lender.
- Streamlined application process: It takes just three minutes to apply. Or you can get prequalified and view potential loan offers without impacting your credit score.
- Wide range of repayment terms: Borrowers can choose a repayment term of five, eight, 10 or 15 years, and some graduate school students have an additional 20-year repayment term option. This gives borrowers flexibility and can help them find a monthly payment that’s right for them.
- Extended grace period for certain borrowers: While most College Ave loans come with a standard six-month grace period, law school borrowers get a nine-month grace period, dental school borrowers get a 12-month grace period and medical school borrowers get a 36-month grace period before repayment begins.
- Promotions and giveaways: College Ave runs regular promotions, such as college scholarships and textbook giveaways.
- Limited eligibility disclosures: Like SoFi, College Ave provides limited information regarding eligibility requirements for student loans. The website discloses that it’s based on your creditworthiness, enrollment status and financial history.
- Potential for high interest rates: Some of College Ave’s loans have interest rates that can max out at a little over 15 percent, which can make repayment much harder.
- Loan cap on certain degrees: Borrowers taking out loans for dental school, law school, medical school or business school will face a loan cap of $150,000. This should be sufficient for most students, but it’s a limitation that few other lenders impose.
Which is better: SoFi vs. College Ave?
SoFi and College Ave offer very similar loan experiences with various repayment options and a wide range of loan amounts.
Do you have excellent credit or a co-signer with excellent credit. If so, either lender can offer you low interest rates to pay for college. Deciding between the two hinges on a few questions.
Program of study
Are you attending a specialized graduate program, like medical school or dental school? If so, College Ave is a better fit, since the company has a 20-year repayment term for some graduate programs and grace periods that extend up to 36 months. Both options can make it easier and more affordable on a month-to-month basis to repay a large amount of debt.
Do you want a company with a lot of bonus resources and discounts? In this case, SoFi is likely a better choice. The company’s career counseling and financial planning programs set it apart from other student loan companies, and borrowers who want to take out several student loans with the company — or other financial products — could lower their interest rate significantly through membership discounts.
Interest rates and terms
If you have the time, it’s a good idea to get quotes from both companies to see what interest rates and terms they offer you.
Both companies boast a three-minute prequalification process, so you can compare offers with relatively little time commitment and no impact to your credit score. Taking advantage of prequalification from both SoFi and College Ave ensures that you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision about your student loans.
The bottom Line
College Ave and SoFi student loans have their share of benefits and drawbacks to consider when deciding between the two. So, it’s vital to get loan quotes from both and assess borrowing costs and perks of each before formally applying.