SoFi student loan refinancing review
Refinance your student loans through this top-rated lender with competitive rates and additional perks.
finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 5.0
- Best for fresh graduates seeking competitive rates and top-tier customer service.
- Pick something else if your credit isn't great and you don't have a cosigner.
2.25% to 6.59%
Full balance of your qualified education loans
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
|Product Name||SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)|
|Minimum Loan Amount||$5,000|
|Max. Loan Amount||Full balance of your qualified education loans|
|APR||2.25% to 6.59% |
|Interest Rate Type||Variable|
|Fixed rate||2.49% to 6.94%|
|Minimum Loan Term||5 years|
|Maximum Loan Term||20 years|
|Requirements||Must be an employed US citizen not living in Vermont with a minimum loan balance of at least $5,000.|
Aliyyah Camp is a writer and personal finance blogger who helps readers compare personal, student, car and business loans. Aliyyah earned a BA in communication from the University of Pennsylvania and is based in New York, where she enjoys movies and running outdoors.
If you just graduated and are looking for lower rates on your student loans, SoFi’s refinancing program may be able to help. With competitive rates and good customer service, SoFi stands out among a sea of refinancing options. Its member perks include career coaching and unemployment protection that allows you to pause repayments if you hit a financial setback.
However, you’ll need a credit score of at least 650 to be eligible. And it only considers your individual income, which means you might have trouble qualifying if you’re a stay-at-home parent who relies on your partner’s income. While you have the option of applying with a cosigner, it doesn’t offer cosigner release. This means you’ll have to refinance your loans again if you want to take your cosigner off your contract.
Not sure about SoFi? Compare other refinancing providers that might be a better fit.
Should I refinance with SoFi during COVID-19?
With most lenders, refinancing a federal student loan isn’t the right move at the moment. Federal student loans are on administrative forbearance at a 0% interest rate until at least September 30, 2021.
But SoFi’s new Rate Snooze offer allows you to keep those federal benefits until September, while also taking advantage of record-low rates by refinancing with this private lender. And it’s relatively risk-free. If you refinance now and change your mind, you can cancel at any time before September at no cost.
Still, SoFi CEO Anthony Noto warns that you should weigh your options before refinancing federal student loans. When federal student loan borrowers refinance, “they waive any current and potential future benefits and protections.” This could include federal student loan forgiveness and additional deferment options.
How does student loan refinancing through SoFi work?
SoFi student loan refinancing works similarly to debt consolidation — if you’re approved for a loan, you can use your funds to pay off your previous student loans, whether you have federal, private or a mix of both. This could result in a lower interest rate or smaller monthly payments. And with SoFi, you’ll have access to customer service every day of the week through email, live chat and social media.
The refinancing process is quite similar to any other loan application. Simply visit SoFi’s website and fill out the application. The application is split into two parts. In order to show you the rates you qualify for, SoFi will conduct a soft credit pull that won’t affect your credit score. If you choose a product and continue the application, SoFi will conduct a hard credit check, which can impact your credit score.
How much will I pay for SoFi student loan refinancing?
The total cost of refinancing will depend on your loan terms and the amount you need to borrow. If you opt for a variable interest rate, you may qualify for a rate anywhere between 2.25% to 6.59%. Fixed rates are slightly higher at 2.49% to 6.94%, but they come with the added benefit of not changing over the life of your loan.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll lower your monthly payment or save on interest, but if you choose the right deal, you may be able to make an impact on how much you’ll end up paying. Choose the option that best suits your finances, and don’t be afraid to contact SoFi if you have any questions regarding loan costs and payments.
What are my repayment options?
SoFi only offers standard repayment plans, which divide your loans into even repayments across your loan term. However, you can pause your repayments by applying for deferment in some situations. These include going back to school as a half- or full-time student, serving on active military duty or going through rehabilitation due to a disability.
Does SoFi offer financial hardship assistance?
Yes, SoFi members can qualify for up to 12 months of forbearance if they lose their job at no fault of their own. And SoFi has expanded its hardship program to include borrowers who have been hurt by the coronavirus.
“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.
Benefits of SoFi Student Loan Refinancing
- Member perks. As a member, you can enjoy an additional 0.125% rate discount on an additional loan product, customer service seven days a week, career strategy services, invitations to SoFi events and more.
- Unemployment protection. If you lose you job, SoFi can pause your loan payments for 3-month periods for a total of 12 months.
- Career support. SoFi provides career coaches that can help you advance in your job, build a personal brand and negotiate your salary.
- Wealth advisors. You can take advantage of SoFi’s wealth advisors to help make sense of finances and investments.
- Perks for referral. If you refer a friend to SoFi, you may be able to get a check of $300 for each person you refer.
- No hidden fees. You don’t have to worry about application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties.
- Limited-time deals. SoFi is offering $10 for checking your rate and $350 if your loan is approved and funded until April 30. It also offers $360 in SoFi Money when you refinance a student loan.
What to watch out for
- Not great for low credit. If you don’t have good to excellent credit, you won’t qualify for SoFi’s student loan refinancing opportunities.
- You’ll lose federal benefits. While refinancing your federal loans could potentially make monthly payments easier or even lower your rates, you’ll lose key federal benefits like forgiveness program and flexible repayment options.
- No cosigner release. If you want to apply with a cosigner now and take them off your loan later, you’ll have to refinance your student loan again.
- Only considers individual income. SoFi doesn’t consider your household income when you apply, so you might have a difficult time qualifying if you’re a stay-at-home parent or otherwise rely on a partner for financial support.
Case study: Britny’s experience
I decided to refinance my federal Parent PLUS Loan because I was looking for a better interest rate, lower monthly payment and a provider that could put the loan in my name, rather than my parents’ names. After looking at my options, I chose SoFi.
During the application process, I was able to review multiple term and interest rate options to decide what would work best for my situation. It also offered an autopay discount that lowered my interest rate by 0.25%. And SoFi has no prepayment penalties, which was an important feature for me.
By transferring to SoFi, I lost certain federal protections like income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. But overall the pros outweigh the cons for my situation and I’m happy I refinanced.
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Refinancing for medical and dental residents
SoFi has a special loan for medical and dental graduates that allows them to make repayments as low as $100 a month while completing a residency. Fixed rates run from 2.87% to 6.24% APR with autopay and variable rates range from 2.38% to 6.24% APR with autopay. Residents have a choice between terms of five, seven, 10, 15 and 20 years.
To qualify you must have no more than four years left in your residency program and at least $10,000 in debt. It’s an affordable option in the short-term, though the interest that adds up during your residency gets added to your loan balance, ultimately increasing your debt load.
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|
|Customer reviews verified as of||16 October 2020|
FTC complaint against SoFi
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint against SoFi in 2018 over the way it advertised an average customer’s savings. The FTC claims that the savings SoFi advertised for its student loan refinancing product were inflated and didn’t represent a true average of savings per month or over the lifetime of a loan for a customer.
Its online savings tool also didn’t inform customers when a loan would actually increase the lifetime or monthly cost of the new loan. SoFi settled by agreeing to an order barring them from making further misleading claims.
Am I eligible?
Before you apply for student loan refinancing through SoFi, you’ll have to meet its strict eligibility criteria.
- You must have a valid bank account.
- You must have a regular source of income or an offer of employment that starts within 90 days.
- You must have a minimum loan balance of $5,000.
- You must have graduated from a selection of Title IV accredited universities or graduate programs.
- You must be a US citizen, a permanent resident or in the US on a valid long-term visa.
- You must not be living in Vermont.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
How can I apply for SoFi student loan refinancing?
You can apply for SoFi student loan refinancing by visiting its website once you’ve checked to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. To speed things up, have the following documents and information on hand:
- Your name, contact information and date of birth
- How much you want to borrow and the purpose of the loan
- Your credit score range
- Your annual individual income
- Your school or university information
Steps to apply
Once you’ve gathered everything you need, you’re ready to apply. Here’s what you need to do in three steps:
- Select the Go to site button above. On the SoFi page, hit Find My Rate. This step involves a soft credit pull, which won’t affect your credit score.
- Enter your basic personal information, create a password, read and agree to the terms of applying before hitting Continue.
- Fill out more personal, school and employment information before hitting Check My Rate.
Review your options and continue by uploading your documents and formally submitting your application. If approved, wait for SoFi to reach out to you with your acceptance packet. Read it carefully before e-signing and submitting it. Then you’ll just need to wait for SoFi to disburse your funds.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi. Now what?
Now it’s time to start making repayments through SoFi’s servicer. Once your funds are disbursed, your servicer will contact you to set up your account. SoFi only offers standard repayments, which stay the same over time if you have a fixed-rate APR or fluctuate if you went with the variable option.
Consider setting up autopay. You’ll get a 0.25% discount on your interest rate and won’t have to worry about remembering to make your monthly repayments. And if you go back to school or start a business, you can apply to defer your student loans for a period of time. To do so, reach out to SoFi’s customer support team.
I didn’t qualify. What can I do?
First, reach out to SoFi to see why you were rejected. If you were rejected over an inaccuracy in your application — which is more common than you’d think — then feel free to apply to SoFi or another student loan refinancing provider again.
If it’s more serious, consider taking steps to improve your credit. This can include paying off your credit card debt, reviewing your credit report for mistakes or even taking on a side job to improve your debt-to-income ratio.
Who is SoFi’s servicer
SoFi uses student loan servicer MOHELA to handle all repayments on its student loans. You can learn more about how this servicer works — and what borrowers say — check out our review of the company.
See how SoFi stacks up to the competition with our guide to student loan refinancing.
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