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SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Review

SoFi refinances college loans for borrowers who have an associate degree or higher and offers perks like career coaching.
Aug. 24, 2018
Loans, Student Loans
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5.0 NerdWallet rating

SoFi is a leading student loan refinance lender. In 2012, it became the first company to refinance federal and private student loans together.

The average income among approved borrowers is over $100,000. However, SoFi could also be a fit for borrowers with more modest lifestyles; it has no specific minimum income requirement and accepts borrowers whose highest education level is an associate degree.

SoFi at a glance:

  • Personalized rate estimates without affecting credit.
  • Perks include free career coaching, no-fee investing.
  • No co-signer release option.
SoFi
Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 3.899% - 7.979%
Variable: 2.47% - 6.99%
includes autopay discount of 0.25%
Loan terms5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
Loan amounts$5,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance
Co-signer release availableNo
Can transfer a parent loan to the childYes

How SoFi scores

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see whether SoFi ranks below average, average or above average compared with other student loan refinance lenders.

Enables faster repayment:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they offer a variety of term lengths and make extra payments easy.

Discloses requirements, limits costs:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they limit fees and interest rates, are transparent about their underwriting criteria and allow borrowers to get personalized rate estimates before applying.

Serves range of borrowers:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they cater to customers in varying locations, in different financial situations, and with varying citizenship statuses.

Offers payment flexibility:
Average
Lenders score highly if they offer longer than 12-month forbearance periods, in-school and military deferment, and any other flexible policies that help borrowers during tough times.

Supports customers:
Average
Lenders score highly if they assign borrowers an advisor, offer multiple ways to get in touch, and have in-house customer service. Websites should display full APR ranges, fees and forbearance policies.

How SoFi could improve

SoFi, like other five-star lenders, isn’t perfect. SoFi could improve by offering additional programs such as:

  • More than 12 months of forbearance.
  • Co-signer release.
  • Refinancing for borrowers who didn’t earn a degree.

SoFi student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes
  • Application or origination fee: No
  • Prepayment penalty: No
  • Late fees: Yes; $5 late fee if your loan is 15 days past due.

Compare SoFi’s range of interest rates with other student loan refinance lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate SoFi will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Minimum income: No minimum. SoFi looks at borrowers’ free cash flow, or the amount left over after you’ve covered monthly expenses.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: $100,000+
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after the bankruptcy drops off your credit report. This happens after seven years for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and after 10 years for Chapter 7.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Permanent residents must have more than two years until their status expires or have filed an extension.
  • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 states.
  • Must have graduated: Yes, with an associate’s degree or higher.
  • Must have attended a Title IV-accredited school: Yes
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.

Additionally, borrowers must be employed, have enough income from other sources or have a job offer to start within the next 90 days.

  • Academic deferment: Yes, borrowers can postpone payments if they return to school.
  • Military deferment: Yes, borrowers can postpone payments while they’re on active military duty.
  • Disability deferment: Yes, borrowers can postpone payments while they’re undergoing rehabilitation for a disability.
  • Reduced payments for medical and dental residents: Physicians and dentists can pay $100 per month during their residency for up to four years.
  • Forbearance: Borrowers who lose their job through no fault of their own are eligible to postpone their payments for three months at a time, for up to 12 months total. They must work with SoFi’s career advisors to qualify.
  • Are loans discharged in the event of death/disability of borrower? Contact customer service for eligibility requirements.
  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes
  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: Yes

  • Loan servicer: MOHELA
  • In-house customer service team: Yes
  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes
  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No
  • Average time from approval to payoff of the refinanced loans: One week

SoFi offers its borrowers the following perks:

  • Career coaching: Work with a one-on-one advisor to plan a career transition, search for a job and improve your personal branding.
  • Community events: Attend workshops, speaker series and social events such as happy hours and dinners.
  • No-fee investing: Use SoFi’s wealth management platform without paying any management fees.
  • Entrepreneur Program: Apply to SoFi’s accelerator program to get seed financing, mentorship and access to venture capitalists.

How to refinance with SoFi

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple student loan refinance options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

If you’re ready to borrow, you can apply on SoFi ’s website.

STUDENT LOANS RATINGS METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s student loan ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best for consumer-friendly features

4.5 stars out of 5 — Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features

4 stars out of 5 — Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features

3.5 stars out of 5 — Good; may not offer something important to you

3 stars out of 5 — Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features

2.5 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution

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