Whether you’re looking for a private student loan as an undergraduate or a loan to help pay for your law or MBA degree, SoFi may have options for you. SoFi offers competitive interest rates and a variety of repayment options, but it’s the perks and discounts it offers members that stand out.
SoFi customers can enjoy member benefits like interest rate discounts, career guidance, and free advice from certified financial planners, making it a top choice among top student loan lenders for extra perks.
SoFi Student Loans Overview
Founded in 2011 as a student loan refinancing company, SoFi has expanded its services to include on-campus private student loans. It offers loans to undergraduate, graduate and parent borrowers and allows borrowers to choose between fixed and variable interest rates.
- no maximum loan amount
- Deferment Options for Borrowers Experiencing Financial Difficulty
- SoFi members get extra benefits
- Not all borrowers can get a loan
- Very good to excellent credit required
- Higher than typical minimum loan amounts
Students who attend private colleges or attend law or medical school can quickly reach their federal loan and some private loan maximum loan limits. But with SoFi, students can borrow up to the total cost of attendance certified by the school.
SoFi offers a number of options for borrowers experiencing financial problems, such as deferring payments if you lose your job or your home is damaged. As a SoFi member, you also enjoy benefits such as financial advice, career guidance, estate planning and an exclusive member experience.
However, not all borrowers qualify for a SoFi loan. To qualify for private student loans, you must be in a four-year program at least half-time. Those pursuing an associate degree are not eligible.
Borrowers typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for a loan. SoFi doesn’t specify its minimum credit score or income requirements. However, SoFi reported a weighted average FICO credit score of 774 for borrower-originated student loans in 2021. According to Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, the score of 774 is in the “very good” range. If your credit score is in the poor to fair range, you may need a cosigner to get a loan.
Also keep in mind that the minimum loan amount to refinance a private student loan or SoFi Student Loan is $1,000. Other lenders have minimum loan amounts as low as $1,000.
SoFi is best known for student loan refinancing, but it also offers many types of private student loans. SoFi offers loan options for undergraduates, graduate students, medical and law school students, and parents who want to help their children pay for college.
With SoFi’s private student loans, you can borrow up to $5,000 up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance. Loan terms range from 5 to 15 years, and all loans (except parent student loans) have four repayment options:
- Deferred Payments: With SoFi’s deferred payment plan, you have no payments while you are in school, and there is a six-month grace period after you graduate or leave school before you must begin making principal and interest payments.
- Interest-Only Payments: When you are enrolled in an interest-only program at your school, you only pay accrued interest.
- Partial Payment: If you choose a partial payment plan, you make fixed payments of $25 per month while you are in school.
- Immediate: Immediate repayments have the lowest total cost, but you must start paying the debt while you are in school.
Parent student loan borrowers are only eligible for interest-only and instant loans.
Borrowers, especially those with no credit history, can improve their chances of qualifying for a loan by adding a co-signer to their loan application. As borrowers build their credit score and income, they may be eligible for a co-signer release, in which case they remove the co-signer from the loan. After 24 consecutive months of on-time repayment, the borrower can apply to release the guarantor.
SoFi charges no origination fees when you take out a private loan, and there are no late or prepayment penalties.
What do they not offer?
Although SoFi has a variety of loan options, there are some limitations to consider:
International students are not eligible for loans: To qualify for a SoFi loan, you must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or non-permanent resident alien (including DACA recipients and asylum seekers).
Borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time: Borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time. Part-time students are not eligible for SoFi loans.
Students must be pursuing a four-year or graduate degree: SoFi student loans can only be used to pay for four-year college and graduate programs. If you’re planning to earn an associate’s degree, you’ll have to look for other lenders.
SoFi is subject to the regulations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which regulates non-bank loan servicers, because SoFi’s loans are serviced by a third-party student loan servicer, MOHELA. These rules are designed to ensure that all large servicers play by the same rules in the student loan servicing market.
In January 2022, SoFi obtained regulatory approval to become a bank holding company and acquired Jintai Bank. SoFi, which rebranded itself SoFi Bank, took advantage of the development to expand its offerings to include credit cards and checking accounts, and to fund its loans.
Licensing and Registration
SoFi holds state licenses in all 50 states, so it can make loans nationwide.
Awards and Certifications
Investor’s Business Daily named SoFi the winner of the Best FinTech award, scoring highly for customer satisfaction and ease of use.
third party rating
While SoFi’s mortgage products are rated, its student loan options have not been rated by credit rating agencies.
SoFi has dealt with some regulatory issues regarding its loan refinancing marketing. But it has not yet faced any regulatory action related to its on-campus private student loans.
In the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) complaint database, between June 12, 2019 and June 12, 2022, there were 628 consumer complaints about SoFi. Of those, 166 were related to student loans and credit reports. The most common complaints involve problems with getting a loan and incorrect information appearing on credit reports.
Accessibility Features for SoFi
SoFi aims to provide comprehensive customer support through educational resources and live customer service personnel.
SoFi does not operate physical branches or facilities. Users apply for private student loans entirely online.
SoFi’s website is easy to navigate, and you can use the prequalification option to review your rates without affecting your credit score. You can fill out the form to see available options in minutes.
After selecting a loan and submitting an application, SoFi will conduct a hard credit inquiry.
SoFi also provides users with a robust library of educational resources on student loan debt, refinancing, and other financial topics. Options include articles and loan calculators, and users can also use their SoFi membership to get free, personalized advice from a certified financial planner.
SoFi does not offer 24/7 customer support, and its team can only answer questions about the application and payment process. After taking out a loan through SoFi, you must work with another company.
Like many lenders, SoFi does not service the loans it originates. Instead, it contracts with third-party companies to handle loan servicing. If you are a SoFi borrower and have questions about your monthly payment, interest, or repayment options, you must contact the Missouri Higher Education Authority (MOHELA).
You can contact MOHELA at 877-292-7470 or send a secure message online. MOHELA’s customer support team is available Monday through Thursday from 7:00am to 9:00pm CST and Friday from 7:00am to 5:00pm CST.
SoFi’s Customer Satisfaction
In general, SoFi has positive reviews for its student loan unit’s customer support. However, it offers a range of other products, including life insurance, investment options and mortgages, so some of its ratings have been downgraded due to common problems with these products.
SoFi has a Better Business Bureau rating of 1.26 out of 5, based on approximately 100 reviews. Common issues reported to the BBB relate to SoFi’s banking products and loan denials.
third party rating
While SoFi isn’t rated by a third-party agency specifically for its student loan offerings, it ranked highly in the 2022 JD Power U.S. Consumer Loan Satisfaction Study.
The study rates leading personal lenders based on customer satisfaction with the loan application process, loan management, shopping, and loan terms. SoFi ranked eighth out of 22 banks in the study. It scored 738 out of 1,000, which is above average for the segment.