SoFi private student loans review
Undergrad and graduate financing with no late fees.
finder.com’s rating: 4.6 / 5.0
- Best for students looking for career advice and networking events once they graduate.
- Pick something else if you want a 20-year loan term.
1.87% to 11.66% with autopay
Full cost of attendance
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
|Product Name||SoFi Student Loans|
|Minimum Loan Amount||$5,000|
|Max. Loan Amount||Full cost of attendance|
|APR||1.87% to 11.66% with autopay|
|Interest Rate Type||Variable|
|Minimum Loan Term||5 years|
|Maximum Loan Term||15 years|
|Requirements||650+ credit score, employed or receive income from other sources, enrolled at least half time at an eligible degree-granting program, use funds for qualifying higher education expenses, maintain satisfactory academic progress, US citizen, age of majority in your state — or bring on a cosigner who’s a US citizen to help you meet age, credit and income requirements|
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
SoFi’s private student loans could be a helpful supplement to federal student aid, especially if your parents rely on nontraditional sources of income. There are no fees — not even late fees. And your variable rate never rises above 13.95%. It also includes perks like networking events to jumpstart your career after graduation.
But SoFi only offers terms of up to 15 years. And with credit requirements on the high side, you may find more competitive rates elsewhere.
Still on the fence? Check out our list of other lenders that might be a better fit for you.
First, am I eligible?
SoFi requires all borrowers to meet the following criteria:
- Credit score of at least 650
- Regular income from a job or other source
- Enrolled at least half time in eligible degree-granting program
- Use the funds for qualifying higher education expenses
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress, as defined by your school
- US citizen
- Age of majority in your state
Don’t qualify on your own? That might not be a problem. “We accept cosigners for our private student loan and student loan refinance borrowers,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto tells Finder. You can bring on a cosigner who’s a US citizen and the age of majority in their state to help you meet the age, credit and income requirements. But you must meet the other criteria on your own.
What states are SoFi student loans available in?
SoFi student loans are available to residents in all 50 states.
Does SoFi offer COVID-19 hardship assistance?
Yes, SoFi has expanded its hardship assistance programs to help borrowers affected by the coronavirus outbreak. “For our student loan holders, we are providing forbearance of payments for a minimum of 90 days; an initial 60 days with an optional 30-day extension available to those still impacted,” Noto tells Finder.
If you or your cosigner lost a job due to the coronavirus outbreak, you could also qualify for three months of forbearance under SoFi’s Unemployment Protection Program.
How do SoFi student loans work?
SoFi’s student loans are designed to cover what federal aid can’t. “We always encourage families to exhaust federal options first as they come with protections and deferments not widely available in the private market,” says Noto.
Its private student loans run from $5,000 up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance — which typically includes expenses beyond tuition, like textbooks and transportation.
It offers both fixed and variable rates with terms of 5 to 15 years. This new product was previously only available to undergraduate students. But SoFi recently started to offer financing for graduate degrees at rates starting at 3.73% with autopay.
Does SoFi offer parent loans?
Yes, SoFi offers parent loans with your choice of fixed or variable interest rates that start lower than federal Parent PLUS Loans. You won’t be on the hook for any fees, unlike federal loans, and you can choose between two different repayment options:
- Interest-only repayments. Only pay the interest that adds up each month while your child is in school.
- Immediate repayments. Begin making full principal and interest repayments as soon as the funds are disbursed to your child’s school.
How much do SoFi student loans cost?
It depends on the rate you get. SoFi doesn’t charge fees, leaving interest your main cost to consider.
Rates fall into two types: fixed and variable.
|Degree and rate||APR range|
|Fixed undergraduate||4.73% to 11.71% with autopay|
|Fixed graduate||4.73% to 11.99% with autopay|
|Variable undergraduate||1.87% to 11.66% with autopay|
|Variable graduate||3.42% to 11.7% with autopay|
Fixed rates won’t change over the course of repaying your loan. Variable rates can increase or decrease depending on the lending market, though they’re capped at 13.95% — maybe lower depending on your state regulations.
SoFi calculates your variable rate by adding the one-month LIBOR rate to a fixed rate of 2.74% to 9.99%. Learn more about how this works in our guide to student loan interest rates.
“Loan rates are determined by a variety of factors, only one of which is the Fed funds rate,” Noto tells Finder. “Other factors include credit performance, marketing and operational costs and the competitive environment. So while the Fed rates remain low, it is reasonable to expect interest rates for newly originated loans to remain low as well, but there are no guarantees.”
Does SoFi offer any discounts?
Yes. You can shave 0.25% off your interest rate by signing up for automatic repayments from a checking or savings account.
If you or a cosigner is already repaying a SoFi loan, you may qualify for an additional 0.125% interest rate discount.
What are my repayment options?
SoFi offers four repayment options while you’re in school and over the six-month grace period after you drop below half time:
- Deferred. Hold off on making repayments until your grace period is up.
- Interest-only. Make repayments on interest only until your grace period ends.
- Partial. Make $25 fixed monthly repayments while you’re in school and during your grace period.
- Immediate. Start full repayments on interest and principal after your school gets the funds.
After that grace period is up, everyone is responsible for making full repayments. While deferred repayments give you the lowest short-term cost, it can make your loan more expensive in the long run. That’s because SoFi adds any unpaid interest to your balance, so you’re essentially paying interest on interest.
Immediate repayments give you the lowest total loan cost. But even partial repayments can significantly lower the cost, if making full repayments immediately doesn’t fit your budget.
Does SoFi offer deferment or forbearance?
Yes. SoFi offers two options to put your repayments on hold:
- Hardship forbearance. Pause student loan repayments if you lose your job or face another temporary drop in cash flow.
- In-school deferment. Put your repayments on hold if you decide to go to graduate school or get another type of degree.
Top reasons to consider SoFi
From its lack of late fees to its low variable-rate cap, you can expect a few perks when taking out a student loan from SoFi:
- No fees. You won’t pay a fee to apply or repay your loan early. And you aren’t on the hook for late or insufficient funds fees should you miss a payment.
- Cosigner release. Apply to take your cosigner off your loan without having to refinance after at least two years of on-time repayments.
- Low variable rate cap. Many student loan providers have a maximum variable rate of 18%. SoFi’s is 13.95%.
- No-risk prequalification. SoFi can prequalify you with a soft credit pull, which doesn’t affect your credit.
- Employment not required. As long as you or your cosigner earn enough steady income from another source, you don’t need to have a job.
- Membership perks. Being a SoFi borrower qualifies you for discounts, networking events and other services to help you along your career path.
Drawbacks to borrowing from SoFi
Consider these potential pitfalls before taking out a private student loan with SoFi:
- New product. While experienced with other types of lending, SoFi’s just entered the private student loan market. There’s not much out there as far as first-person reviews.
- For US citizens only. Permanent residents and international students aren’t eligible to borrow.
- No 20-year term. Unlike other private student loan providers, SoFi offers terms of up to 180 months only.
Compare more private student loan options
SoFi reviews and complaints
|BBB customer reviews||1.75 out of 5 stars, based on 117 customer reviews|
|Trustpilot Score||3.6 out of 5 stars, based on 2,492 customer reviews|
|App Store Score||4.8 out of 5 stars, based on 48,292 customer reviews|
|Google Play Score||4.2 out of 5 stars, based on 5,213 customer reviews|
|Customer reviews verified as of||16 October 2020|
What to expect when signing up
Make sure you and your cosigner meet SoFi’s eligibility requirements before applying:
- Go to the SoFi website and click Find My Rate.
- Select Private Student Loans.
- Enter your personal information and a password to create your account.
- Read the disclosures and check I Agree. Click Continue.
- Select I’m the student or I’m the parent if you’re the cosigner. Click Next.
- Follow the directions to complete the form with information about yourself, your cosigner and your program.
- Click Check My Rate.
If you’re accepted, review your potential rates and repayment options before completing your application.
SoFi typically requests documents to verify your income and other aspects of you and your cosigner’s finances. It will also reach out to your school to verify your enrollment status, academic progress and financial aid package.
The whole application process can take four to six weeks.
What information do I need to apply?
Have the following information on hand to complete the application:
- You or your cosigner’s income before taxes
- How much you need to borrow
- You and your cosigner’s contact information
You might need to provide additional information after you prequalify, such as proof of income.
Who services SoFi student loans?
SoFi uses student loan servicer Mohela to handle repayments on its student loans. So if you want to sign up for autopay or request deferment or forbearance, you’ll need to reach out to Mohela — not SoFi.
More about SoFi
SoFi launched in 2011 as a peer-to-peer lender that specializes in private student loan refinancing for high-credit borrowers. It’s since expanded to fund its own loans and offers a range of financial products, from mortgages to insurance. It generally earns positive customer reviews, though the FTC filed a complaint against the lender in 2018 over its advertising practices.
Becoming a SoFi borrower makes you a member, which unlocks access to career help, financial advisers and other services designed to help you reach financial independence.
Learn more about how SoFi compares to other options in our guide to student loans.
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