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When you refinance your student loans you can consolidate all your loan payments into one with a lower interest rate — which can make your loan repayment both cheaper and easier. The refinancing process also allows borrowers to choose a new loan term. Whether you choose to shorten or lengthen your repayment term depends on your financial situation and how fast you want to pay off your new loan.
Refinancing definitely has its perks. But there's a big reason why federal student loan borrowers should pause: Refinancing your federal loans with a private lender means you lose access to federal loan protections, such as income driven repayment plans, student loan forgiveness and deferment/forbearance options.
There are some private lenders that offer their own refinancing protections, and SoFi is one of them. SoFi Student Loan Refinancing offers borrowers everything from unemployment protection to Covid forbearance and loan deferment. Plus, SoFi will honor any pre-existing grace period you have on the loans you refinance. While federal student loan borrowers aren't advised to refinance right now, anyone with private loans should take time to consider their options.
Read on for the full details of SoFi's Student Loan Refinancing, including the APRs, perks, fees, loan amounts and term lengths. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best student loan refinance companies.)
No origination fees to refinance
Federal, private, graduate and undergraduate loans, Parent PLUS loans, medical and dental residency loans
Variable and fixed
Variable rates (APR)
From 2.24%; from 2.37% for medical/dental residents (rates include a 0.25% autopay discount)
Fixed rates (APR)
From 2.99%; from 3.12% for medical/dental residents (rates include a 0.25% autopay discount)
5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
From $5,000; over $10,000 for medical/dental residency loans
Minimum credit score
Allow for a co-signer
SoFi offers both variable and fixed APRs. Variable interest rates fluctuate over the life of the loan, while fixed rates stay the same for the duration of the loan term.
SoFi's variable rates start at 2.24% and at 2.37% for medical/dental residents. Fixed rates start at 2.99% and at 3.12% for medical/dental residents.
Both variable and fixed APRs automatically include a 0.25% autopay discount.
Borrowers typically need good credit in order to qualify for student loan refinancing, but SoFi allows you to apply with a co-signer who meets the credit and income requirements. A co-signer is then liable for any payments until the loan is fully paid off. SoFi does not offer a co-signer release option.
When it comes to payment protections for borrowers, SoFi offers some of the most extensive options of all private lenders. Borrowers who find themselves unexpectedly unemployed can request loan forbearance offered in three-month increments, capped at 12 months. Amid the continuing pandemic, SoFi also offers Covid protection, with forbearance of payments for a minimum of 90 days if a borrower is experiencing financial hardship. Lastly, SoFi offers loan deferment on your refinanced loan if you go back to school, plus it will honor the first six months of any pre-existing grace period that you had on your loans before you refinanced.
SoFi members can take advantage of free career coaching and financial advice from planners; the Career Advisory Group can help you look for new employment. There are also monetary benefits like receiving a 0.125% interest rate discount on any additional SoFi lending product.
SoFi does not charge borrowers any application or origination fees to take out a refinancing loan. There are no early payoff penalties.
Loan amounts vary from a minimum of $5,000 to over $10,000 for medical/dental residency loans, with no maximums.
Borrowers can chose from 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 year loan terms.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing is a great option for borrowers looking to refinance at a lower rate while also having some protections should something in their financial situation change.
To get even better refinancing terms or lower rates, applicants with a lower credit score can also apply for with a co-signer.
But if you're looking for having a co-signer release option when you are ready to make payments on your own, check out CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing. And for those with fair credit who don't have a co-signer readily available, consider Earnest Student Loan Refinancing. Both made Select's list of the 5 best student loan refinance companies.
To determine which student loan refinance companies are the best for borrowers, Select analyzed and compared private student loan funding from national banks, credit unions and online lenders. We narrowed down our ranking by only considering those that offer low student loan refinancing rates and prequalification tools that don't hurt your credit.
While the companies we chose in this article consistently rank as having some of the more competitive interest rates for refinancing, we also compared each company on the following features:
- Broad availability: All of the companies on our list refinance both federal and private student loans, and they each offer a variable and fixed interest rate to choose from.
- Flexible loan terms: Each company provides a variety of financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and how long you need to pay back your student loan.
- No origination or signup fee: None of the companies on our list charge borrowers an upfront "origination fee" for refinancing your loan.
- No early payoff penalties: The companies on our list do not charge borrowers for paying off loans early.
- Streamlined application process: We made sure companies offered a fast online application process.
- Co-signer options: Each company on our list allows for a co-signer if the direct borrower does not qualify for refinancing on their own.
- Autopay discounts: All of the companies listed already calculate autopay discounts into their advertised rates.
- Private student loan protections: Though you lose federal student loan benefits when you refinance, each company on our list offers some type of their own financial hardship protection for borrowers.
- Loan sizes: The above companies refinance loans in an array of sizes, from $5,000 to $500,000. Each company advertises its respective loan sizes, and completing a preapproval process can give you an idea of what your interest rate and monthly payment would be.
- Credit requirements/eligibility: We took into consideration the minimum credit scores and income levels required if this information was available.
- Customer support: Every company on our list provides customer service available via telephone, email or secure online messaging. We also opted for lenders with an online resource hub or advice center to help you educate yourself about the student loan refinancing process.
After reviewing the above features, we sorted our recommendations by best for overall refinancing needs, having a co-signer, applying with a fair credit score, refinancing parent loans and medical school loans.
Note that the rates and fee structures for private student loan refinancing are not guaranteed forever; they are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate in accordance with the Fed rate. Choosing a fixed-rate APR when you refinance will guarantee that your interest rate and monthly payment will remain consistent throughout the entire term of the loan.
Your refinanced rate depends on your credit score, income, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, savings, payment history and overall financial health. To refinance your student loan(s), lenders will conduct a hard credit inquiry and request a full application, which could require proof of income, identity verification, proof of address and more.