SoFi Student Loans Review: Great Rates, Stiff Requirements

SoFi stands for – Social Financing and what started as a small company offering just one product, Student Loan Refinancing, has today turned out to be a pretty well-known student lender for refinancing products and private loans as well.

They also offer mortgages, investment accounts, and insurance products too, and they are perfect for borrowers who are looking for the best rates for student loans. Now, although they have ventured into other fields, SoFi Student Loans still remains as one of the best options for loan refinancing.

They also have some excellent perks that makes them the number one choice for students, which are;

  • Career Coaching – you shall get to work with an advisor on a one-on-one basis, to plan for your career transition, improve your branding and search for a job.
  • Community events – you shall get to attend workshops, social events such as dinners and happy hours and also speaker series.
  • No-fee Investing – their wealth management platform is free of charge.
  • Referral Bonus – this is the best perk of all, you get to earn $10,000 for referring family members and friends to any SoFi products by following a unique referral link that is available on the website.

SoFi Student Loans Rates and Terms

Rates and TermsRefinancing LoanPrivate Loans
Loan amounts
  • $5,000 – up to the total amount of your outstanding balance
  • From $5,000 up to the total cost of school attendance.
Fixed APR
  • 3.20 – 6.48%
  • 4.73 – 11.99%
Variable APR
  • 2.31 – 6.48%
  • 3.11 – 11.37%
Fees
  • Origination fee: None
  • Late fee: Yes. $5 fee if your loan is 15 days late
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Origination fee: None
  • Late fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: None
Time to Funding
  • One week
  • It takes just a few minutes for approval.
Loan Terms
  • 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
  • 5, 10 or 15 years.
Soft credit check?
  • Yes
  • Yes

SoFi Student Loans Requirements

Here are the main requirements for both refinancing and private loans:

RequirementsRefinancing Private Loans
Minimum credit score
  • 700+
  • 700+
Citizenship
  • American
  • American
Location
  • All states
  • All states
Must have graduated
  • Yes, should have an associate degree or higher.
  • Must be enrolled in school, either part-time or Full-time.
Co-signer?
  • Yes
  • Yes
Deferment
  • Yes. Academic and Military Deferment
  • Yes. In-school deferment
Bankruptcy?
  • Yes. After 7 years
  • Yes. After 7 years

 SoFi Refinancing

This is basically the backbone of their business, and they are a top choice for students who wish to refinance their loans.

They have great rates for refinancing and qualify students for the exact amount of money that will completely cover their outstanding liabilities.

How Can You Qualify For Refinancing With SoFi?

One of the main criteria that they consider for underwriting is cash flow. If you have a stable and high income and do not have too many debts, you are likely to qualify for refinancing. In addition, they will also consider your credit history and any other bad debts you have.

They do not use the traditional credit score system, but they generally use the FICO system. If your score is above 700, you shall qualify for their loans.

In the past, SoFi was one of the toughest lenders when it came to qualifying people for refinancing, but in the last couple of years, they have seriously loosened their standards, although low credit scores typically do not qualify.

Other than meeting the financial and credit score criteria, you must also be a naturalized US citizen or a permanent resident of the US.

Benefits & Limitations of SoFi Student Loans

Before making a final decision, it’s important you’ll be aware of both the pros & cons. Let’s start with the benefits:

Competitive Rates

The reason why this company is a market leader is that their student loan rates are worthy of your attention.

If you have strong credit, then you will qualify for the lowest interest rates.

In fact, parent borrowers tend to receive even lower rates than the fixed APRs from federal loans, which is unheard of!

Additionally, if you are a graduate seeking a loan, the company promises the lowers loans, especially if you are taking a medical or business degree.

UndergraduateGraduateParent
Fixed5.05% to 11.71%4.33% to 11.99%5.05% to 11.71%
Variable3.65% to 11.25%2.93% to 11.57%3.65% to 11.25%

Prequalify Without Affecting Your Score

SoFi will do a soft credit pull in order to pre-qualify you for a loan. The beauty of this is that a soft credit pull does not affect your credit score in any way.

You can actually complete the process from your mobile phone.

They also allow you to upload pictures and sign your application form electronically.

Now, please note that; while the pre-approval process can take literally minutes, the timeline for your formal application could take up to 6 weeks.

Membership Perks

Borrowing loans with SoFi gives you access to perks that you will probably not find anywhere else such as;

  • Unemployment Protection  – If you happen to lose your job when you are still repaying your loan, you can postpone your payments per month up to 12 months.
  • Career Advice – Whether you are employed or not, SoFi entitles you to a one-on-one coaching session at their talent management firm, where you get to speak with a mentor.
  • Financial Planning – The SoFi mobile app Relay can schedule for you a 30-minute session with a financial planner. He will discuss with you about your loans and other money-related goals.

Strict Eligibility Rules

Not everyone can qualify for a SoFi loan.

You must be a US citizen and attend college for at least have of the time, have a high credit score of more than 700 points and you must also be free of bad debts.

Limited Repayment Safeguards

SoFi’s program for unemployment protection usually goes above and beyond to provide the safety of their borrowers who suffered a job loss.

They, however, do not consider safeguards for general economic hardships. If you happen to have a voluntary career change or a medical emergency, this can easily make your repayment challenging to maintain.

Cosigner Release

If you do not have good credit, and still wish to apply for a SoFi loan, you shall probably require to have a cosigner, who shall agree to repay the loan in case you are unable to repay.

Unfortunately, SoFi shall only release this cosigner after 2 years even if you have been making prompt payments each month.

Repayment Options

So-Fi has got flexible repayment options for their student lenders which enable them to repay the loans at a relaxed atmosphere that is not too pressurized.

Deferment

Borrowers can postpone their payments if they go back to school, the company also offers military deferment to borrowers who want to postpone their payments while they are on active duty with the military.

If you are undergoing rehabilitation for a disability, you can also postpone your payments.

Reduced Payments

SoFi shall reduce your payments for dental and medical residents.

These professions can pay $100 only per month when they are doing their residency and it can go up to 4 years.

Forbearance

If you happen to lose your job through no fault of your own, you are eligible to postpone your payments for the next three months up to 12 months in total.

You must, however, work with SoFi’s career advisors to qualify.

Customer Service and Complaints

SoFi loans are usually serviced by a company known as MOHELA, although they have their in-house customer services team who are responsible for escalating customer complaints and concerns.

On the BBB – Better Business Bureau site, SoFi student loans have an A- rating and 131 reported complaints from customers of which 54 of them are already resolved.

Conclusion

SoFi student loans have low-interest rates, no processing fees and highly flexible to student needs.

Although they have very strict approval requirements, they still remain as one of the most reliable student refinancing companies in the US.

The perks they offer students is also part of what makes them great. SoFi will give you financial advice, career advice and give you a huge bonus for referring your friends and family. If you are considering a refinancing option, this is a good company to put in your sights.