SoFi Student Loans: 2020 Review

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SoFi started out in the student loan refinancing space but has since expanded its product line to include private student loans, law school loans, medical school loans, parent loans, personal loans, mortgages, investing, banking products and insurance.

SoFi could be a particularly good option for students looking for online resources and personalized help, since the lender is known for its extensive member benefits.

SoFi features

One of SoFi’s standout features is its unemployment protection program, which aims to help you with your job search, but students can also benefit from a $400 discount on ACT and SAT prep courses and one-on-one career coaching. Unlike many other lenders, SoFi also has an app, which allows you to more easily access deals, financial planning tools and educational resources.

SoFi offers student loan refinancing, parent loans and private student loans for undergraduates and graduates. Low rates, low fees, rate discount opportunities, a full menu of repayment options and exclusive member discounts make it worth consideration.

SoFi student loan snapshot

Loan types
Undergraduate, graduate, law, MBA, parent, refinancing
Loan amounts
$5,000 to 100% of the total cost of attendance
Interest rates
Private loans: 1.80% to 11.89% variable APR, 4.13% to 11.98% fixed APR (with autopay)
Refinancing loans: 2.25% to 7.04% variable APR, 2.99% to 7.04% fixed APR (with autopay)
Repayment terms
Private loans: 5 to 15 years
Refinancing loans: 5 to 20 years
Grace period
6 months
Co-signer required?
No

Pros and cons of SoFi student loans

SoFi offers a wide range of products that can help you fund your college education. Here are some pros and cons you should be aware of before applying.

Pros

  • No fees: You won’t be charged any student loan fees with SoFi, not even late fees.
  • Unemployment protection: SoFi is known for its Unemployment Protection Program, which puts your loans into forbearance in three-month increments if you lose your job through no fault of your own. SoFi also offers employment resources, such as resume-parsing technology, personalized strength assessments and one-on-one time with career coaches.
  • Discounts for co-signers: If you have a co-signer who is also a SoFi member, you could get a 0.125 percent discount on your private student loan.

Cons

  • Strict requirements to refinance: If you choose to refinance your student loans, you need to have graduated from an approved college of university, have a steady income or hold a job offer within 90 days of starting the job. And if you’re a medical resident looking to refinance, you’ll have to have at least $10,000 in federal loan debt and have up to four years left in your approved program.
  • High APR caps: SoFi’s loans may be more expensive than loans from competitors if you have subpar credit, particularly if you’re looking to take out a loan for graduate school.

SoFi student loan requirements

Eligibility requirements for a SoFi student loan vary slightly by loan type but share some common characteristics.

In order to apply for an undergraduate or graduate loan, students must:

  • Be the age of majority in their state of residence.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Be employed or have sufficient income from other sources.
  • Use the loan for qualified higher education expenses.
  • Be enrolled at least half time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution.
  • Meet SoFi’s underwriting criteria.
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress.

In order to refinance student loans, students must:

  • Be the age of majority in their state.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or visa holder.
  • Reside in a state where SoFi is authorized to lend.
  • Be employed or have sufficient income from somewhere else.
  • Have graduated with an associate degree or higher from a Title IV school.
  • Be refinancing educational debt that originated from an eligible, accredited Title IV school.

Medical residents looking to refinance their loans must:

  • Be a medical/dental resident or fellow with up to four years remaining in an approved program.
  • Be the age of majority in their state.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have graduated with an MD, DO, DMD or DDS from an eligible Title IV accredited university or graduate program in the U.S.

Dental residents must also provide documentation with proof that they are not taking on additional tuition liabilities.

Who is this loan good for?

SoFi is a good option for borrowers interested in an online lender with low rates, no fees and plenty of repayment options. But it’s also a good fit for those who need to refinance high-interest federal or private student loans. More than 250,000 members have refinanced with SoFi since it was founded, according to the lender.

SoFi also offers exclusive member benefits to its customers, including rate discounts, career coaching, financial advice, unemployment protection and a member community. If you want those types of perks, SoFi could be a good fit for you.

Interest rates and terms

SoFi offers a few discounts for its loans, including a standard 0.25 percent discount for setting up automatic payments. Current SoFi customers applying for a loan product of a different type may also be eligible for an additional rate discount of 0.125 percent, and if you use a co-signer who is already a SoFi member, you could take another 0.125 percent off of your rate.

Here are the rate ranges for each loan product at SoFi, including autopay discounts:

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Undergraduate student loans 1.90% to 11.66% APR 4.23% to 11.76% APR
Graduate student loans 1.80% to 11.73% APR 4.13% to 11.83% APR
MBA school student loans 1.97% to 11.89% APR 4.30% to 11.98% APR
Law school student loans 1.97% to 11.89% APR 4.30% to 11.98% APR
Student loan refinancing 2.25% to 6.09% APR 2.99% to 6.09% APR
Medical and dental resident loan refinancing 2.50% to 7.04% APR 3.24% to 7.04% APR
Parent PLUS loan refinancing 2.25% to 5.94% APR 2.99% to 5.94% APR

Fees and penalties

SoFi charges no fees whatsoever — no origination fees, insufficient fund fees or late fees.

What are repayment terms and grace period for SoFi?

SoFi’s private student loans come with repayment terms of five to 15 years. Its refinancing products have repayment terms of five to 20 years. All of its private loans have a six-month grace period, and SoFi will honor an existing six-month grace period for loans that it refinances.

Repayment options include:

  • Deferred: Make no principal or interest payments until six months after leaving school.
  • Interest-only: Make interest-only payments while you’re in school to reduce the overall cost of the loan.
  • Partial: Pay $25 per month on your loan while in school.
  • Immediate: Start making principal and interest payments as soon as you start school.

Customer service

SoFi gets an “A” score from the Better Business Bureau. The score considers complaint history and the institution’s response to those complaints.

The customer service department is available seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT Monday through Thursday and from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Friday through Sunday.

You can contact customer service by phone at 855-456-7634.

How to apply for a loan with SoFi

The student loan application process through SoFi, whether for an undergraduate loan, graduate loan or refinancing loan, can be completed entirely online. You can apply and get a decision within minutes, according to SoFi. The full process — from completing the application to SoFi sending the money to your school — takes anywhere from four to six weeks. If you’re refinancing, the funding process takes about seven to 15 business days.

Before applying, prepare your Social Security number, proof of income, bank account information, school name, cost of attendance, student status, existing financial aid, expected graduation date, references and co-signer information.

Here’s what the process looks like when applying for a student loan from SoFi:

  1. Start the process online and find out if you’re prequalified within a few minutes. The entire application can be filled out online.
  2. Choose an interest rate and repayment option. You have the option of variable or fixed rates and four different repayment options.
  3. If approved, sign the loan and accept. SoFi allows you to upload screenshots of your information and electronically sign paperwork.
  4. SoFi sends the loan application and information to your school for certification.
  5. SoFi sends money to your school within four to six weeks.

What to do if your application gets turned down

Get in touch with SoFi’s customer service department to get some clarification on why you were rejected. It’s possible there was a processing error on the lender’s end.

You also could have been rejected due to a low credit score, missed payments, low income, a high debt-to-income ratio, shaky job history or other financial blemishes.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take in order to help your chances of being approved at other lenders, such as improving your credit and getting a co-signer.

It’s also wise to shop around thoroughly and apply to other lenders. Discover, Ascent and Sallie Mae all offer competitive student loan products with low rates, low fees and generous repayment options.

How Bankrate rates SoFi

Overall Score 4.6
Repayment Options 4.4
Affordability 4.8
Customer Experience 4.8

Disclosure: UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.73% to 11.46% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.30% to 10.00% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.51% to 11.76% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.08% to 10.30% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.41% to 11.67% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 0.98% to 10.21% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.73% to 11.46% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.30% to 9.88% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 6/29/20. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.