Sallie Mae vs SoFi: Which is Better for Student Loans?

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Abigail Eun
Abigail Eun
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Abigail Eun is a freelance writer and personal finance expert. Through diligent research and continuous learning, she has honed her knowledge in budgeting, saving, investing, and debt management. Abigail is passionate about helping people get their finances in order. She believes that everyone should have access to the information they need to make sound financial decisions. Her goal is to provide clear and concise information that is easy to understand.

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Emma Östlund
Emma Östlund
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Emma Östlund works as a business operations analyst at Sparrow. Emma studied Psychology, Computer Science, and Markets & Management at Duke University. With a well-rounded background in business and analytics, Emma strives to deliver data-driven conclusions and insights.

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Camden Ford
Camden Ford
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Camden leads Sparrow’s business operations – everything from product management to business analytics. After graduating Cum Laude from Duke University where he studied Civil Engineering, Camden worked as a Consultant for A.T. Kearney where he worked in their Strategic Operations practice. With a strong background in analytics, Camden strives to deliver data-driven conclusions and insights.

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Updated
December 15, 2023
On a similar note

Best Private Student Loans of 2023

November 14 · 20 min read

Sallie Mae and SoFi are two reputable lenders in the private loan industry, so you truly can’t go wrong with either. If you’re debating Sallie Mae vs SoFi, here’s what you should know about their private student loans before borrowing with either lender.

Sallie Mae vs. SoFi: A Side-by-Side Comparison

The table below offers an overview of what Sallie Mae and SoFi have to offer.

Sallie Mae

SoFi

Loan Terms

10 to 20 years

5, 10, or 15 years

Loan Amounts

$1,000 to your school-certified, total cost of attendance

$5,000 up to your school-certified, total cost of attendance

Minimum Credit Score

Mid-600s

Mid-600s

Minimum Income

No minimum income requirement

No minimum income requirement

Cosigner Release Options

Yes, the cosigner can be released after 12 months.

Yes, the cosigner can be released after 24 months of timely payments.

Ability to Transfer a Parent Loan to a Student

No

No

Student Status

Students enrolled at a degree-granting institution qualify for student loans.

Must attend an institution that is authorized to receive financial aid

State Restrictions

None

None

Sallie Mae: The Pros and Cons

Sallie Mae student loans are good options for DACA recipients, international students, and individuals who want a short turnaround for cosigner release.

Pros
  • prosOffers competitive interest rates.
  • prosHas 4 different repayment plans.
  • prosSallie Mae offers private loans to international and DACA students.
  • prosCosigners can be released from a student loan after 12 months of timely payments.
  • prosOffers a variety of borrower perks, including career coaching, wealth management, job search assistance, and other personal finance resources.
Cons
  • consSallie Mae does not offer biweekly student loan payments via autopay. Payments must be paid on a monthly basis.
  • consSallie Mae does not offer loan prequalification, meaning that borrowers must submit a formal application and incur a hard credit check to see what they qualify for.
  • consLoans are not accessible to students who are enrolled less than part-time.

SoFi: The Pros and Cons

SoFi student loans are fitting for borrowers who are interested in having a variety of borrower benefits and strong borrower protections.

Pros
  • prosSoFi tends to offer lower interest rates than its competitors.
  • prosHas 4 different repayment plans. 
  • prosCosigners can be released from a student loan after 24 months of timely payments.
  • prosSoFi offers generous forbearance and deferment options.
  • prosOffers a variety of borrower perks, including career coaching, wealth management, job search assistance, and other personal finance resources.
Cons
  • consBorrowers must have “good” or “excellent” credit scores.
  • cons$5,000 minimum loan amount.
  • consLoans are not accessible to students who are enrolled less than part-time.
  • consYou will only receive a 6-month grace period if you have the deferred repayment plan.
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Sallie Mae vs. SoFi: Which is Better for Student Loans?

In the battle of Sallie Mae vs. SoFi, there is no objectively “better” option for borrowing student loans.

If additional borrower perks like job assistance and career coaching are important to you, you may prefer SoFi. For DACA recipients and international students, Sallie Mae would be the more fitting option.

If you plan to have a cosigner on your student loan, consider asking your cosigner whether they prefer a shorter or longer cosigner release option. Sallie Mae has a cosigner release option after 12 months of timely payments, while SoFi offers the option after 24 months.

Closing Thoughts From the Nest

Both Sallie Mae and SoFi are great, reputable lenders. To compare personalized loan offers from both companies, consider submitting a free application with Sparrow. Your credit score will not be negatively affected by your pre-qualified offers.

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