Compare SoFi vs. Laurel Road student loan refinancing

Competitive student loan refinancing rates with no origination or prepayment fees.

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Looking at your student loan statement, you can feel like you’re at the bottom of a financial hole without a shovel. One way to regain control is to refinance or consolidate your existing student loans.

SoFi and Laurel Road are both solid places to start when you’re considering refinancing. But how do they compare?

Winner snapshot

sofi-logo
Lowest rates
  • Winner
Strongest reputation
  • Winner
Widest lending limits Tie Tie
Lowest fees
  • Winner
Fastest turnaround
  • Winner
Go to SoFi's site
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An overview of SoFi and Laurel Road

Online providers SoFi and Laurel Road are both online lenders that offer student loan refinancing, personal loans and mortgages. Aside from competitive rates and no fees, SoFi’s main draw are its fees and things offers special perks to borrowers who want help getting ahead in their career. But Laurel Road might be a better choice if you need help paying off loans during a medical residency or want to refinance a parent loan.

How are SoFi and Laurel Road different?

Although they have a lot in common, you’ll find distinct differences between the two.

For one, SoFi offers an extra 0.125% rate discount if you have an existing loan with them. It may also forgive your loan if you go into teaching, public interest work or start your own business.

Offering loans nationwide, Laurel Road allows you to defer your loan for up to one year if you’re facing economic hardship. And if you’re working toward becoming a dentist or a doctor, you may be able to pay only $100 monthly while in residency.

First, am I eligible for a student loan with SoFi or Laurel Road?

Eligibility requirements are just about the same, no matter which lender you go with.

SoFi

To be eligible for a SoFi student loan you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old and a US citizen.
  • Apply for a $5,000 minimum loan balance.
  • Have an associate’s degree or higher.
  • Be employed or have a job start date within 90 days.
  • Have good to excellent credit.

Laurel Road

To be eligible for a Laurel Road student loan you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old and a US citizen.
  • Apply for a $5,000 minimum loan balance.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Have a credit score of 680 or higher.

Which lender offers lower interest rates?

SoFi

Student loans from SoFi start at fixed rates of $5,000 and variable rates of 2.14%.

Laurel Road

Student loans from Laurel Road start at a variable rate of 2.14%, with fixed rates being slightly higher.

  • Winner: SoFi

    While both lenders offer competitive rates, SoFi could save you more money if you’re eligible for its best rates.

Which comes with fewer fees?

Neither lender charges application or origination fees or penalizes prepayments.

SoFi

SoFi gives you a 15-day grace period on late payments before it charges a late fee of $5 or 4% of the payment, whichever is less.

Laurel Road

You’ll also get a 15-day grace period with Laurel Road, but after that you’re slapped with a late fee of $25 or 5% of the missed payment, whichever is less.

  • Winner: SoFi

    Since neither lender charges origination or application fees, SoFi’s lower late fees take this round. Don’t let this influence your decision too much, however — if you’re expecting to be paying even one late fee, you might want to reconsider taking on new debt.

Case study: Summer refinances her student loans

Summer took out a $50,000 loan for to help pay for college, but it’s now come time to start paying it off. To avoid getting stuck with a higher interest rate down the road, Summer’s interested in refinancing her full loan at a lower fixed rate.

She’s heard good things about SoFi, but she’s new to online lending. She decides to compare SoFi with Laurel Road to see who offers lower rates and fees when it comes to refinancing $50,000.

SoFi Laurel Road
Variable rate starting APR Starts at 2.14% Starts at 2.25%
Borrowing range $5,000 and up. $5,000 and up.
Ease of application Easy online application with money disbursed in 7–10 days Easy online application with money disbursed in 14–30 days

After weighing her options, Summer finds that she’s able to get a better deal with SoFi. Not only will she potentially pay a slightly lower rate on her loan, but she’ll also be able to fully pay off her refinanced repayments earlier.

Which has a better reputation?

SoFi
Earning a score of 9.5 on Trustpilot as of December 2018, SoFi’s online reviews are mostly positive, with customers saying they find its services professional and helpful. Users point to SoFi’s unemployment protection and career support as something that sets it apart. Entrepreneur program and member events like baseball games, dinners, workshops and more contribute to overall customer satisfaction.
Laurel Road
Laurel scores just slightly below SoFi on Trustpilot, with a 9.2 out of 10. Customers were particularly happy with how much they saved in interest by refinancing — particularly parents looking to refinance the loan in their child’s name.
  • Winner: SoFi

    In addition to upholding high customer satisfaction, SoFi puts its footwork into programs that can bridge the gap between lenders and borrowers.

How much can I borrow with each lender?

SoFi
SoFi refinances student loans starting at $5,000 with no maximum.
Laurel Road
Laurel Road also refinances student loans starting at $5,000 with no ceiling — ideal if you’re studying to be a doctor or accumulated high student loan debt.
  • Winner: Tie

    If you have an least $5,000 to refinance, either SoFi and Laurel Road can help up to the total amount of your student debt.

What are the perks with each lender?

SoFi and Laurel Road share a lot of the same benefits you’ll find with many legitimate online lenders.

Here are a few of the perks you’ll get when consolidating your federal or private loans with either SoFi or Laurel Road:

  • Autopay discount. Starting rates reflect a discount of 0.25% that comes with monthly automatic withdrawals.
  • Referral bonus. Get $300 for each new borrower you refer for refinancing.
  • Roll over existing grace periods. Both SoFi and Laurel Road will honor grace periods set up by your previous lender.
  • Transfer a Parent PLUS loan. Refinance a Parent PLUS Loan into the student’s name — often at a lower rate.
  • Deferment and forgiveness. Defer payments for up to six months if you become unemployed, with the possibility of debt forgiveness in the event of death or disability.
  • Be aware that if you refinance your federal loans with a private lender, you could lose some of the benefits that come with all federal loans, including longer deferment, income-based repayment plans and other protections.

Which lender can get me money faster?

Dedicated online lenders, both SoFi and Laurel Road provide easy applications and preapproval with rates typically within a day’s time. Once you complete the preliminary process, these lenders conduct a soft credit pull to offer you conditional rates and loan terms. If you decide to move forward, they perform a hard inquiry to give you the most accurate rates and terms they can offer.

If you have your documents in order, SoFi typically disburses money to cover your previous loan in seven to 10 days, whereas Laurel Road disburses your funds within two to four weeks.

  • Winner: SoFi

    If you need refinancing as quickly as possible, SoFi may be able save you a few days time.

Which is more cosigner-friendly?

SoFi
SoFi allows borrowers to apply with a creditworthy cosigner to help you qualify for a more favorable rate. However, you need to be able to meet its basic eligibility requirements on your own.It also doesn’t offer cosigner release, so you’ll have to refinance again if you want to take your cosigner off your loan.
Laurel Road
Laurel Road allows you to apply with a cosigner to increase your chances of getting approved or get a more favorable rate. Borrowers can apply for cosigner release after making 36 months of consecutive on-time repayments.
  • Winner: Laurel Road

    On top of letting you bring on a cosigner help you meet its eligibility requirements, Laurel Road also lets you move the loan into your name without having to refinance again.

Go to SoFi's site
Read the Laurel Road student loan refinancing review

Bottom line

If you’re studying to become a doctor or a dentist, Laurel Road’s specialized program could help you pay off your loans faster with monthly repayments of $100 during your residency.

Otherwise, SoFi could be your better option: Its customer service and perks give it a bump ahead of Laurel Road.

If neither lender sounds tailored for your situation, shop around for a student loan refinancing option that best fits your specific needs.

See how other top student loan providers compare

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Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer

SoFi student loan refinance

Fixed rates from 3.460% APR to 7.944% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.140% APR to 7.944% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.140% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.04588% plus 0.100% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. 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. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

All rates, terms, and figures are subject to change by the lender without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the lender's website directly.

SoFi unemployment protection

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.

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