SoFi Review: Private Student Loans 2023

Sparrow Team
Sparrow Team

This is the official Sparrow account.

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Edited by
Daniel Kahn
Daniel Kahn
Daniel is the co-founder and COO at Sparrow. Daniel is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a company, working closely with other members of the executive team to develop and implement strategies to support the growth and success of the company.
Daniel was a 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 lister in the Education category.  Daniel was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and graduated from Duke University in 2020.
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Reviewed by
Camden Ford
Camden Ford

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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August 30, 2023

SoFi Snapshot

SoFi began offering private student loans in 2019 and has quickly become a strong option for undergraduates, graduates, law and MBA students, and parents looking to fund the cost of their education. With competitive interest rates, a diverse set of repayment options, and exclusive member benefits, SoFi is a good fit for borrowers with a strong credit score or a creditworthy co-signer.

Fixed APR Range: 4.44% to 14.70%

Variable APR Range: 5.49% to 14.03%

Loan Amounts: $5,000 up to your total cost of attendance

Minimum Credit Score: 650

Best Features Drawbacks
• Competitive interest rates
• Variety of repayment options
• Co-signer release option after 24 months of timely repayment
• Offers borrower protections (forbearance and deferment) 
• Includes membership perks like career coaching, job search assistance, wealth management, and other personal finance services

• Unclear about credit requirements
• Not available to students who are enrolled less than half time
• High loan minimum of $5,000

What’s Inside

Best Features of SoFi Student Loans

Competitive interest rates and zero fees for qualified borrowers

When looking for a student loan, finding a low-interest rate is typically a top priority. Although SoFi has strict qualification requirements, the borrowers who do qualify have access to some of the best rates in the industry. SoFi’s variable and fixed interest rates are typically lower than competing student lenders. In addition, you won’t have to pay origination fees, application fees, prepayment penalties, late fees, or insufficient funds fees. 

Fixed APR*4.44% to 14.70%4.99% to 14.48%6.50% to 14.83%
Variable APR*5.49% to 13.97%5.99% to 13.97%6.32% to 14.03%
*Rates as of July 21, 2023. Rates include 0.25% AutoPay Discount, which requires you to agree to make your scheduled monthly payments by an automatic monthly deduction (ACH) from a savings or checking account.  

Variety of repayment options

SoFi offers you four repayment options for your student loans, with terms of 5, 10, or 15 years. If possible, it’s beneficial to make in-school loan payments in order to reduce the amount of interest you pay over time. 

Repayment OptionTermsProsCons
Immediate RepaymentMake full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school.You will minimize the interest you pay, resulting in the greatest savings. Because you’re paying down both interest and principal while you’re still in school, you’ll already have made a good start on repaying your loan by the time you graduate.For many students, it’s not realistic to make full monthly payments while still enrolled in college.
Interest-Only Repayment Pay only interest while you’re in school.Your monthly payments will be more manageable, and your loan balance won’t grow while you’re in school.You won’t make any progress paying down your loan balance while you’re a student. But at least you won’t owe more than you borrowed when it’s time to start making full payments.
Partial RepaymentPay $25 per month while you’re in school to reduce accrued interest.You can keep your loan balance in check, and reduce the total amount repaid.You’ll still owe more than you borrowed when you graduate, but your loan balance won’t grow as quickly.
Deferred RepaymentDon’t make any payments while you’re in school. Begin repayment after graduation or 6 months after graduation.You won’t have to make payments while you’re in school.You will likely pay the highest overall cost since unpaid interest will be added to your principal amount at the end of your grace period.
Note: Parents borrowing on behalf of students (i.e. a parent loan) are limited to interest only and immediate repayment options.

Co-signer release option after 24 months of timely repayment

If you need a co-signer for your student loan, SoFi might be a good option for you. Unlike several other lenders, SoFi allows you to release your co-signer after 24 months of timely payments. This can be helpful if you want to build credit in your own name. 

Offers additional borrower protections

While borrowing federal student loans gives you access to federal protections (income-driven repayment, loan forgiveness, and loan forbearance) that most private lenders cannot match, SoFi offers generous borrower protections such as deferment and forbearance. Check out the table below to see if you qualify for any of SoFi’s borrower protections:

• Returning to school
• Rehabilitation treatment for a disability
• Unemployment
• Economic hardship/job loss
• Military service
• Unemployment
• Economic hardship/job loss
• Military mobilization
• Natural disaster
• National emergency
Note: During deferment and forbearance, interest will still accrue, but the loan will be re-amortized. 

Includes membership perks like career coaching, job search assistance, wealth management, and other personal finance services

SoFi offers a variety of perks that help you take control of your financial future. 

  • Career services: SoFi offers you free one-on-one assistance when it comes to improving your resume, landing a promotion, or transitioning to a new job. 
  • Member events: SoFi organizes workshops, speaker series, and social events to help you build a strong community. 
  • No-fee wealth management: SoFi offers a no-fee wealth management and investing platform to help you get your money right.
  • Referral bonus: You can send a link to your friends to use SoFi’s student loan, investment, or credit card service and deduct up to $75 in student loans. The rules can be found here
  • Discount on other SoFi loans: SoFi offers its members a 0.125% discount on additional loans taken out through SoFi, including mortgages and personal loans. 

Drawbacks of SoFi Student Loans

Unclear about credit requirements

While SoFi used to have a minimum credit score requirement of 650, the company no longer shares an explicit minimum credit score. SoFi only shares that “good or excellent” credit scores will be approved, and for student loans, this usually means those around or above 700. If you do not have a strong credit score, a cosigner with a good credit score will likely be necessary.

Don’t have a strong credit score? Complete Sparrow’s two-minute form to check rates with 15+ different lenders. It’s quick, easy, and does not impact your credit score.

Not accessible to students enrolled less than half-time

If you are not enrolled in school at least half-time, you are ineligible for SoFi student loans.

Enrolled less than half-time? Complete Sparrow’s two-minute form to check rates with 15+ different lenders. It’s quick, easy, and does not impact your credit score.

High loan minimum of $5,000

SoFi does not offer private student loans below $5,000. If you need less than $5,000 to cover the cost of your education, you may be better off looking at other lenders that offer smaller loans.

Looking for a loan that’s less than $5,000? Complete Sparrow’s two-minute form to check rates with 15+ different lenders. It’s quick, easy, and does not impact your credit score.

SoFi: The Nuts and Bolts

Interest Rates, Fees, and Terms

Fixed APR Range4.44% to 14.70%
Variable APR Range5.49% to 14.03%
Loan Terms5, 10 or 15 years.
Loan Amounts$5,000 up to your cost of attendance.
Ability to transfer a parent loan to the studentNo.
Application or Origination FeeNo.
Prepayment PenaltyNo.
Late FeesNo.

Eligibility Requirements – Financial

Minimum Credit Score650.
Minimum IncomeDoes not disclose.
Typical Credit Score of Approved Borrowers or CosignersDoes not disclose.
Typical Income of Approved BorrowerDoes not disclose.
Maximum Debt-to-Income RatioDoes not disclose.
Ability to qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcyYes, after 7 years.

Eligibility Requirements – Personal

CitizenshipMust be a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident or non-permanent resident alien.
LocationAvailable in all 50 U.S. states.
Must be enrolled half-time or moreYes.

School requirementsAny school authorized to receive federal aid. Most four-year public and private institutions are accepted.
Percentage of borrowers who have a cosigner83%.

Repayment Options

In-school DefermentYes.
Military DefermentYes.
Disability DefermentYes.
ForbearanceYes, up to 12 months.
Cosigner ReleaseYes, after 24 months.
Death or Disability DischargeYes, loans will be forgiven due to a borrower’s death while in school and/or repayment.
Loan discharge if cosigner dies or becomes disabledNo.
AutopayAllows for surplus payments via autopay: Yes.
Allows for biweekly payments via autopay: No.

Customer Service

Loan ServicerMOHELA.
In-house Customer Service TeamYes.
Process for Escalating ConcernsYes.
Borrowers get assigned a personal customer service representativeNo.
Average time from application to approvalWithin minutes.

Before you take out a loan from SoFi

Complete the Sparrow form to compare pre-qualified rates from 15+ different lenders to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible. 

See real rates, not rate ranges or estimates: Sparrow’s rates mimic those of our lenders so you know what rate you’re getting from each lender.  

No impact on your credit score: Checking your rates on Sparrow won’t impact your credit score.

Data Privacy: Sparrow doesn’t sell your information, so don’t worry about getting calls from that random number that won’t leave you alone. 


Is SoFi a legitimate lender?

Yes, SoFi is one of the largest online lenders in the industry with millions of customers. The company offers student loans and student loan refinancing, along with other financial services such as mortgages, personal loans, insurance, and investment accounts. 

Is SoFi available in all 50 states?

Yes, SoFi student loans are available to borrowers in all 50 U.S. states.

How long does it take to get a SoFi student loan?

Submitting an application through SoFi takes a few minutes. Once you’ve submitted your loan application, SoFi will instantaneously return a decision about your eligibility. If you qualify, you will receive the rate and terms of your loan.

It may take some time to actually receive your loan:

Refinance: You can speed up the process by requesting debt payoff letters from your existing lenders and loan servicers.

In-School Loans: Your school must approve the loan which may take between four to six weeks. 

What happens if I don’t qualify for a SoFi student loan?

If you don’t qualify for a SoFi student loan, the company will inform you why. Depending on the reason, you may consider applying with a qualified cosigner or trying with a different lender. To check your rates across multiple lenders at once, try using Sparrow’s free search engine. In just two minutes, you can receive real, pre-qualified rates from over 15 different lenders ready to help you. And best of all, it won’t impact your credit score.

Are SoFi student loans federal or private?

SoFi’s loans are private loans. Before you take out a private student loan, we recommend that you exhaust your federal funding options, including grants and scholarships.

Does applying for a loan through SoFi hurt my credit score? 

In order to estimate what rate you qualify for, SoFi conducts a “soft credit check” — this does not affect your credit score. If you choose to accept the SoFi loan, the company will conduct a hard credit check to verify your information. A hard credit check may temporarily impact your credit score.

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