SoFi is a great option for student loan borrowers. Traditionally, the lender focused on helping borrowers refinance their existing loans. Then in April 2019, SoFi added private student loans to the mix.
The company is a great option for anyone who wants flexible lending options. Getting prequalified is easy and won’t require a hard pull on your credit. Plus, the lender offers additional perks like job application assistance and ongoing career support.
SoFi does tend to cater to high-income borrowers, but there are no minimum income requirements stated. Whether you’re looking to take out additional private loans or refinance your loans, it’s worth taking the time to see if you meet SoFi’s lending requirements.
Student Loan Refinancing Application Requirements
Here is an overview of the requirements you’ll need to meet to take out student loans with SoFi:
- You must be a U.S. citizen, resident, or visa holder.
- You have earned at least an associate’s degree from an eligible, accredited Title IV school.
- SoFi doesn’t disclose any minimum income requirements, but the average SoFi borrower earns an annual income of over $100,000.
- Your credit score needs to be at least 650, but the average SoFi borrower has a credit score of 700 or higher.
- Must be able to show proof of employment or that you’re starting a job within the next 90 days.
- The minimum loan amount is $5,000 which can be a combination of both federal and private student loans.
- If you’ve previously filed for bankruptcy, you’ll need to wait until it drops off your report to apply. For a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this will take at least seven years; for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’ll need to wait at least ten years.
Types of Student Loans Available
There are many different options available for borrowers looking to take out loans or refinance their student loans through SoFi. Let’s look at an overview of each option below.
Private Student Loans
In April 2019, SoFi began offering private student loans to borrowers. It’s a good option for anyone who needs to cover the gap in what their federal loans won’t cover.
Unlike many private student loan lenders, you can get pre-approved through SoFi without having it negatively impact your credit. That’s because the lender will do a soft pull on your credit.
You can apply for five, 10, or 15-years loan terms and can receive a minimum of $5,000 or up to the total cost of attendance. There are no application, origination, or prepayment fees. And if your credit history is limited, you can apply with a creditworthy cosigner.
Student Loan Refinancing
SoFi offers student loan refinancing on a variety of student loan products, including unsubsidized Direct Loans, Graduate PLUS loans, and private student loans.
If you have multiple student loans, SoFi will allow you to considate them into a single loan at a lower interest rate. This can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. And you can refinance at a fixed or variable rate.
If you refinance your federal loans through SoFi, it’s possible that you’ll earn a lower interest rate. However, you will lose access to federal protections, including student loan forgiveness programs, income-driven repayments plans, and federal forbearance. So you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of refinancing federal loans.
Parent PLUS Refinancing
SoFi also offers refinancing to parents who have outstanding balances on their Parent PLUS loans or qualified private education loans. You can choose either fixed or variable rates.
The application process and eligibility requirements for refinancing Parent PLUS loans is similar to regular student loan refinancing.
Medical/Dental Resident Refinancing
Unless you live in Missouri or Montana, you may be eligible to apply to refinance your medical or dental student loans. To qualify, you must have less than four years left to complete your professional degree program.
You also must carry at least $10,000 in student loan debt, though this number may be higher in certain states. You should also be on track to graduate with an MD, DO, DMD, or DDS from a Title IV accredited university or graduate program.
Fees and Rates
- There are no application or origination fees when you apply for private loans or student loan refinancing. And there are no prepayment penalties for borrowers who pay off their student loans early.
- Compared to other lenders, SoFi has competitive interest rates on all its student loan products. Your rate will depend on a variety of factors, including your gross monthly income, and credit score.
- Borrowers who sign up with autopay can receive a rate discount of 0.25%.
- SoFi does charge late fees. You’ll be charged $5 once your loan is 15 days overdue. This is still a relatively low fee compared to other lenders.
SoFi’s Student Loan Application Process
If you’re interested in student loan refinancing or taking out a private student loan through SoFi, you’ll start by applying on the lender’s website. The company will do a soft pull on your credit, so you can get a personalized rate offer without taking a hit to your credit.
If you choose to accept the rate, you’ll continue the process. This includes submitting the following information:
- Paystub or income verification (must be within the last 30 days or less.)
- ID (birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, certificate of nationalization, driver’s license, military ID, US Passport, or social security card.)
- Loan statement
- Proof of address (bank statement, credit card bill, utility bill)
If you’re refinancing your loans, you’ll need to submit a 10-day payoff number. SoFi will need to know the exact payoff amount so it can pay off your existing loan balance.
Fixed Rate vs. Variable Rate Student Loan
Lastly, you’ll need to decide whether you want to refinance with a fixed-rate or variable-rate loan.
A fixed-rate loan has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the period of the loan. This means that your first payment will be the same as your last. This is preferable to people who like knowing exactly how much they need to set aside each month to cover their payments.
A variable-rate loan means that the interest rate will change over the term of the loan, causing your payment amounts to fluctuate. For SoFi loans, the rate may change monthly, so each payment could be different. The good news is that the rate is capped at either 8.95% or 9.95%, depending on the length of the loan term you choose.
If you’re not a fan of surprises, choose a fixed rate. If you want to take advantage of possible savings, then choose the variable. If your finances can handle SoFi’s maximum rate of 8.95% or 9.95% or you plan on paying off your student loan debt quickly, you might consider choosing a variable-rate loan.
Deferment Options – Loan repayment options, such as loan deferment, are available if you go back to graduate school at least half-time, enter disability rehabilitation, or enter into active military duty.
At the end of your deferment period, your principal balance is re-amortized. To initiate deferment for any of those reasons, you must first sign a loan deferment request form, as well as submit any requested documentation.
Unemployment Protection – If you lose your job through no fault of your own, SoFi has an unemployment protection program. If you qualify, SoFi puts your loans into forbearance. Loan forbearance allows you to stop making payments on your loan for a period of time, but the drawback is that interest will continue to accrue.
If you choose, you can make interest-only payments while your loan is forbearance so the total balance on your loan does not increase. SoFi offers loan forbearance in three-month increments and caps it out at 12 months.
Rate Discount for New Loans – SoFi is unique in that realizes it’s easier to keep an existing customer than get a new one. Perhaps that’s why they offer a 0.125% discount on other loans for current members interested in additional financing.
Even if you have completely paid off your original loan, you’re eligible to receive the discounted rate. Whether it’s a personal loan or mortgage, the discounted rate applies to all of SoFi’s loan products.
Career Counseling – If needed, another unique feature about SoFi is that you can discuss your career with a career coach. Career coaching is one-on-one, and you can discuss any career-related topics during a session. Your coach will ask you sets of guided questions to determine if you’re in the right line of work and what you consider to be a success.
Many members discuss career changes with their coach, how to negotiate and network, and personal branding. It doesn’t matter what level you’re on in your career path. Top or bottom, your career coach can help you take the next step forward.
Referral Bonus – Refer a friend to SoFi and both you and your friend will get some extra money: $300 for you and $100 for your friend.
Financial Advising – As a SoFi member, you’ll also get complimentary financial advising to help meet your future goals. They also waive any fees if you choose to invest with SoFi Wealth.
SoFi student loans are a good option for moderate to high-income borrowers. The company allows you to apply for private loans or refinance your existing loans. If you have a strong credit history, then it’s likely you qualify for competitive interest rates.
If you have limited credit history or your credit score is on the low side, then it may be harder to qualify for a loan through SoFi. However, you can substantially improve your odds by applying with a creditworthy cosigner.
It’s a good idea to get pre-approved with multiple lenders and see what kind of offers you receive. This will allow you to compare your options and choose the lender that’s right for you.