SoFi, which is short for Social Finance, is a very different type of student loan provider. It is organized very differently than a conventional bank, uses different qualifications for its borrowers and offers very different products and perks from most other student loan companies. Nonetheless, it can make an excellent option for many borrowers. To make it easier to see what benefits you could get from financing your education with SoFi, we’ve put together this SoFi student loan review that analyzes the company and its offerings and helps you decide if it is the right choice for you.
SoFi Student Loan Review
SoFi is a slightly different student loan company than most others in the segment. Founded by a group of former Stanford business students, it is less of a bank and more of a social club. The central idea behind it is that it helps students get a better start by reducing their loan payments, and they, in turn, will invest their money into SoFi to help fund loans for future students and receive a percentage of the dividends.
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Borrowers who refinance their student loans with SoFi are referred to as ‘members’, and get access to many perks that conventional banks don’t offer, such as networking social events, investing and financial planning seminars and even job search assistance.
However, unlike most student loan providers, they do not offer direct loans to students. They can refinance existing loans as well as provide loans for parents of students, but first-time student loan borrowers will need to look elsewhere for their student loans. They also offer several other loan options, such as mortgages or personal loans, offering you interest rate discounts. You can also invest your money in one of the several investment vehicles they offer.
Fixed Rates: 3.25% to 7.75% APR;
Variable Rates: 2.89% to 8.00% APR;
Loan Terms: 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years;
Minimum Amount: $10,000 for medical or dental school loans, $5,000 for other loans.
Maximum Amount: Full amount of qualifying student loans.
SoFi Student Loan Requirements
One of the big things that makes SoFi different and plays a big role in the final verdict of our SoFi student loan review is their requirements and acceptance process. Following their trend of looking at things a little differently, SoFi does not follow the same guidelines as other lenders when determining your eligibility for refinancing.
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In addition to your credit score, income and amount of debt, they take a variety of holistic factors into account such as your employment history or cost of living where you live. Overall SoFi is considered to be one of the pickiest student loan refinancers, with higher average credit scores and incomes accepted than many other lenders.
Credit Score: Depends on other factors, though most accepted applicants are over 700;
Annual Income: Varies, with the average approved applicant making over $100,000 annually;
Citizenship: Only available to US citizens or permanent residents;
Application Fee: None;
Other requirements: Graduated from an eligible Title IV school;
We Liked SoFI Student Loans Because…
- It has a unique, customer-driven business model;
- They offer an impressive range of perks for borrowers that are not found elsewhere;
- Variable rates are pegged to LIBOR instead of the prime rate;
- Responsive customer service that is based in the US;
There is a lot to like about SoFi, as we found while compiling information for this SoFi student loan review. The unique approach that SoFi takes to lending makes the company feel much more like a partner than an adversary, which improves the overall feeling of working with them as well as reducing some of the stress usually associated with student loans.
The perks that you get when you are a SoFi borrower are a big part of that. The social events help you feel like you are a part of a community, while the various coaching and mentorship programs they have available can be used to help you grow and develop personally and financially. No other lender offers that.
A more technical advantage of SoFi loans is that their variable-rate offerings are pegged to the LIBOR bank rate instead of the US prime rate, which is somewhat rare among student loans. Over the long term, the difference between the two is small, but could end up saving you a little extra on your student loans over time. The last, though far from least, bright spot in our SoFi student loan review was their customer service line. Staffed by real people in California instead of machines, it was easy to reach and pleasant to work with.
Not So Sure About…
- Loans have strict requirements;
- Low transparency when it comes to decisions;
- Value of perks can vary depending on your location and business area;
- No conventional student loans offered;
The biggest reason why you may not end up going with SoFi for your student loan refinancing is entirely out of your hands: their strict requirements. Compared to most other student loan refinance companies, SoFi typically demands much higher income and much better credit scores, which can easily end up disqualifying a lot of borrowers who might qualify for the same or similar interest rate with another lender.
The other downside to this process is that SoFi is not very transparent about how they decide to approve or reject applications. Most banks simply want you to meet credit score and income cutoffs that are either publicly available or easy to find out online. With SoFi, meanwhile, many people with excellent credit scores and high incomes can find themselves rejected for no clear reason. This means that while SoFi is a great option to consider, it may not be one that you could rely on, even with excellent credit.
The perks offered by SoFi can be pretty great, but they tend to be focused on major cities and people in finance or business. As such, depending on your situation, you may find SoFi’s perks either irrelevant to you or not available in your area. Finally, the fact that it does not offer regular student loans is a very large hole in its portfolio.
Online SoFi Student Loan Reviews Say That
SoFi tends to be very divisive among online reviewers. Reading through the various SoFi student loan reviews online, one comes across two views. Many Sofi Student loan reviews praise its hands-on process and large savings that they attained by refinancing with the company. On the other hand, many other reviews are very negative, and are usually written by people with excellent credit and income credentials being declined for unknown reasons. In short, those who were accepted by SoFi tend to like it, while those who were declined tend to hate it.
SoFi Student Loans Contact Details
Phone: (855) 456-SOFI (7634)
SoFi is very different from a conventional student loan company, which makes offering a definitive rating in our SoFi student loan review difficult. However, its various perks and the very competitive rates that it offers compared to the competition make it an excellent lender to explore for anyone looking to refinance their student loans. However, be aware that getting accepted for a loan with them could be difficult even for very qualified borrowers. What has your experience with SoFi been like? Get in touch and let us know!