SoFi Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

SoFi is a leader in the student loan refinancing space. It also offers private student loans for graduate students and undergraduates.
Cecilia Clark
By
Last updated on April 10, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Karen Gaudette Brewer
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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  • 35+ student loans lenders reviewed and rated by our team of experts.
  • 10+ years of combined experience covering higher education and student loans.
  • Objective, comprehensive star-rating system assessing 43 categories and 40+ data points across student loan origination and student loan refinance.
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NerdWallet's student loans content, including articles, reviews and recommendations, is produced by a team of writers and editors who specialize in consumer lending. Their work has appeared in The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Nasdaq, MSN, ABC News, MarketWatch and many other national and regional media outlets. They also have appeared on NerdWallet's “Smart Money” podcast, as well as local TV and radio.

Student loan ratings

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

5.0

NerdWallet rating
The Nerdy headline:

SoFi is a legitimate online lender that offers student loan refinancing and private student loans. Its refinancing loan is best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan. Its private loan is best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

Top Private Student Loan Lenders
Ad
2024 Best Private Student Loan Overall
College Ave Private Student Loan
5.0/5
NerdWallet rating
College Ave Private Student Loan
Fixed APR
3.99-17.99%
Variable APR
5.59-17.99%
Min. credit score
Mid-600s
on College Ave's website
on Credible’s website
Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan
Fixed APR
4.15-15.49%
Variable APR
5.37-15.70%
Min. credit score
Mid-600's
on Sallie Mae's website
on Credible’s website

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing review

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
650
Fixed APR
5.24-9.99%
Variable APR
6.24-9.99%
on SoFi's website

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Dedicated Student Loan Debt Specialist available for borrowers.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • Loan size minimum is higher than most lenders.

Best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.

Full Review

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

The typical credit score of approved borrowers is above 770, so you'll increase your chances of approval if you can build your creditworthiness before applying.

SoFi accepts borrowers whose highest education level is an associate degree.

SoFi at a glance

  • Personalized rate estimates without affecting credit.

  • No co-signer release option.

How SoFi student loan refinancing 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.

    • Loan terms: 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years.

    • Loan amounts: $5,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance.

    • Can transfer a parent loan to the child: Yes.

    • Application or origination fee: No.

    • Prepayment penalty: No.

    • Late fees: No.

    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: Does not disclose.

    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 770.

    • Typical income of approved borrowers: Does not disclose.

    • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Does not disclose.

    • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Does not disclose.

    Other

    • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Non-permanent residents, including DACA recipients, must show documentation of current immigration status, Green Card or I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence).

    • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 states.

    • Must have graduated: Yes, with an associate degree or higher.

    • Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes.

    • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Does 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.

    • Natural disaster forbearance: Yes.

    • Temporary reduce payment: Yes.

    • Skip-a-payment: Yes, borrowers can skip a payment due to a short-term economic hardship.

    • Disability deferment: Determined on a case-by-case basis and after specific requirements are verified.

    • Forbearance: Cases for hardship forbearance are evaluated on an individual basis so that SoFi can determine the best option.

    • Co-signer release available: No.

    • Death or disability discharge: Yes, for student borrowers. Loans are not discharged for parent borrowers.

    • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

    Repayment preferences:

    • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

    • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

    • Loan servicer: MOHELA.

    • In-house customer service team: Yes.

    • Process for escalating concerns: Does not disclose.

    • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Yes.

    • Average time from approval to payoff: Varies by borrower. Depends on the documentation provided and the unique circumstances of the borrower.

    • $100 monthly payments for medical residents while still in residency

    • Discounts on SoFi products, like no-fee investing, rate-discounts on other loans.

Before refinancing 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 aren’t eligible to refinance with SoFi

If SoFi denies your refinance application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or need a co-signer.

NerdWallet recommends prequalifying with multiple refinance lenders before you apply. This will let you know which lenders you may be eligible with, without affecting your credit.

STUDENT LOAN REFINANCE RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and the top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 41 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Compare private student loans
Lender
Fixed APR
Min. credit score
Variable APR
Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student LoanSallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan
4.5
GO TO LENDER SITEon Sallie Mae's website
on Sallie Mae's website
COMPARE RATESon Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
4.15- 15.49%
Mid-600's
5.37- 15.70%
College Ave Private Student LoanCollege Ave Private Student Loan
3.99- 17.99%
Mid-600s
5.59- 17.99%
Ascent Credit-based Student LoanAscent Credit-based Student Loan
3.79- 15.41%
Low-Mid 600s
5.99- 15.85%
Custom Choice LoanCustom Choice Loan
4.24- 14.14%
600
5.44- 14.91%
Education Loan Finance Private Student LoanEducation Loan Finance Private Student Loan
4.50- 14.22%
680
6.00- 14.22%

SoFi Parent PLUS Refinancing review

SoFi Parent PLUS Refinancing

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
650
Fixed APR
5.24-9.99%
Variable APR
6.24-9.99%
on SoFi's website

Pros

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans from the parent’s name to the student’s.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • Loan size minimum is higher than most lenders.

Best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.

SoFi Medical Professional Refinancing review

SoFi Medical Professional Refinancing

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
None
Fixed APR
5.24-9.99%
Variable APR
6.24-9.99%
on SoFi's website

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Dedicated Student Loan Debt Specialist available for borrowers.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • Loan size minimum is higher than most lenders.

Best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.

SoFi Medical Resident Refinancing review

SoFi Medical Resident Refinancing

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
None
Fixed APR
5.24-9.99%
Variable APR
6.24-9.99%
on SoFi's website

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Dedicated Student Loan Debt Specialist available for borrowers.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • Loan size minimum is higher than most lenders.

Best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.

SoFi Law and MBA Refinancing review

SoFi Law and MBA Refinancing

4.5
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
None
Fixed APR
5.24-9.99%
Variable APR
6.24-9.99%
on SoFi's website

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • Loan size minimum is higher than most lenders.

Best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.

SoFi Undergraduate Student Loan review

SoFi Undergraduate Student Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600s
Fixed APR
4.19-14.83%
Variable APR
5.74-15.86%
on Credible’s website

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only and flat-fee, and deferred for undergrad and grad students.

Cons

  • Does not offer bi-weekly payments via autopay.

Best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

Full Review

SoFi began offering private student loans for undergraduates in April 2019. It's a solid option for borrowers who have exhausted their federal student loan options and need additional money to fund college costs.

You can make greater-than-minimum payments via autopay through SoFi — a great option for borrowers who want to pay off their student loans quickly. As SoFi offers several other financial products, it is also a good choice for borrowers who want a one-stop-shop for their financial services.

SoFi private student loans at a glance

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only, partial and deferred.

How SoFi could improve

SoFi, like other five-star lenders, isn’t perfect. SoFi could improve its private student loan product by offering bi-weekly payments via autopay.

SoFi private student loan details

    • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.

    • Loan terms: 5, 7, 10 or 15 years.

    • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to your total cost of attendance less aid.

    • Application or origination fee: No.

    • Prepayment penalty: No.

    • Late fees: No.

    Compare SoFi's range of interest rates with private student loan 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: Does not disclose.

    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.

    • Typical income of approved borrowers: Does not disclose.

    • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Does not disclose.

    • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Does not disclose.

    Other

    • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident or non-permanent resident alien.

    • DACA borrowers: Eligible with current immigration documentation.

    • Location: Available in all 50 U.S. states.

    • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes, unless you are in your final semester of a degree-seeking program.

    • Loan can be used for past due tuition: Yes, for balances within the past 12 months.

    • Types of schools served: Any school authorized to receive federal aid. Most four-year public and private institutions are accepted.

    • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 83%.

  • In-school repayment options:

    • Interest-only repayment: Pay only interest while you're in school.

    • Partial repayment: Pay $25 a month during school.

    • Immediate repayment: Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school.

    • Full in-school deferment: Yes.

    Post-school repayment options

    • Grace period: Six months.

    • Income-based repayment option: No.

    • In-school deferment: Yes.

    • Natural disaster forbearance: Yes.

    • Temporary reduce payment: Yes.

    • Skip-a-payment: Yes, borrowers can skip a payment due to a short-term economic hardship.

    • Military deferment: Yes.

    • Forbearance: Yes, up to 12 months.

    • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 12 months for residents of Colorado, Connecticut or Maine and after 24 months for residents of all other states.

    • Death discharge: Yes, loans will be forgiven due to a borrower's death while in school and/or repayment.

    • Disability discharge: Yes, but on a case-by-case basis.

    • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

    Repayment preferences

    • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

    • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

    • 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 application to approval: Many applicants can get conditional approval within seconds.

    • $500 referral bonus.

    • Financial advising.

    • Discounts on SoFi products, like no-fee investing, rate-discounts on other loans.

    • Less than half-time enrollment for students in their final semester.

    • Earn rewards points that can be used to pay down your student loan.

Before applying for a SoFi student loan

Before taking out a SoFi student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible for a SoFi student loan

If SoFi denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider lenders that don’t require co-signers or specialize in bad or no credit student loans.

STUDENT LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

SoFi Graduate Student Loan review

SoFi Graduate Student Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600s
Fixed APR
4.74-14.83%
Variable APR
5.74-15.86%
on SoFi's website

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only and flat-fee, and deferred for undergrad and grad students.

Cons

  • Does not offer bi-weekly payments via autopay.

Best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

SoFi Law School Loan review

SoFi Law School Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600s
Fixed APR
4.74-14.83%
Variable APR
5.74-15.86%
on SoFi's website

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only and flat-fee, and deferred for undergrad and grad students.

Cons

  • Does not offer bi-weekly payments via autopay.

Best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

SoFi MBA Loan review

SoFi MBA Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600s
Fixed APR
4.74-14.83%
Variable APR
5.74-15.86%
on SoFi's website

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only and flat-fee, and deferred for undergrad and grad students.

Cons

  • Does not offer bi-weekly payments via autopay.

Best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

SoFi Health Professionals Loan review

SoFi Health Professionals Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600s
Fixed APR
4.74-14.83%
Variable APR
5.74-15.86%
on SoFi's website

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only and flat-fee, and deferred for undergrad and grad students.

Cons

  • Does not offer bi-weekly payments via autopay.

Best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

SoFi Parent Loan review

SoFi Parent Loan

5.0
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score
Mid-600s
Fixed APR
6.25-14.83%
Variable APR
6.07-15.86%
on SoFi's website

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only and flat-fee, and deferred for undergrad and grad students.

Cons

  • Does not offer bi-weekly payments via autopay.

Best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

Find the Right Student Loan

Private student loansStudent loan refinancingCalculate monthly paymentsGraduate school loansStudent loan interest rates

Frequently asked questions

  • SoFi offers a soft credit check to estimate the rate you might qualify for; a soft credit check will not affect your scores. If you choose to apply, SoFi will conduct a hard credit check to verify your information. That may temporarily ding your credit score.

  • SoFi offers private student loans and refinancing. It does not make or service federal loans.

  • SoFi is an established online student loan refinance lender. In 2012, it became the first company to refinance federal and private student loans together. It began offering private student loans in April 2019. It also offers mortgages, personal loans, insurance and investment accounts, as well as SoFi Money online cash management accounts.

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