If you're looking for lower monthly payments, better interest rates or simplified payments for your student loans, it might be time to refinance. When you refinance student debt, you replace your existing loans with a new private loan — ideally one with better terms. SoFi was one of the first fintech companies to offer student loan refinancing, starting in 2012. Now, the online bank offers several banking account and loan options, and it’s known for its membership benefits and competitive rates.
Take a look at our SoFi student loan refinance review to learn more about the offerings and determine whether SoFi is the right refinancing lender for you.
Best student loan refinancing with membership benefits
When you’re looking for the best student loan refinance option, you’ll find that SoFi stands out for all the perks it offers members. These include several free tools for financial planning, career planning and member rate discounts.
Members can speak to a financial advisor for help making money decisions or a career coach for employment advice. SoFi’s college hotline can assist with exploring options for paying for your education. Additionally, the online community and networking events allow you to connect with others and learn money management tips.
SoFi’s perks extend to helping you earn or save money and better handle financial strains. Examples include referral bonuses, interest rate reductions, and discounts on travel and estate plans. Plus, if you lose your job, you can get support through the lender’s unemployment protection program to set up more manageable payments.
SoFi student loan refinance pros and cons
- Access to financial planners
- No fees, including late fees
- Parent loan refinancing
- High credit score required
- No option to release a cosigner
Access to financial planners
As mentioned above, SoFi is unique for its suite of member benefits. If you take out a loan through SoFi, you have access to financial planning to talk about budgeting, investing and saving for the future with a professional. These planners aren’t going to push SoFi products on you; they’re fiduciary agents who are legally required to provide advice based on what’s best for you.
In addition to financial planning, there’s also career coaching, referral bonuses and discounts on estate planning.
When you refinance student loans, some lenders may charge origination fees to process your application and provide the loan funding. And most lenders do charge late fees if you send your payments in late.
SoFi keeps things simple and doesn’t charge any of these fees. While this saves you money, keep in mind that late payments can still affect your credit score so that future borrowing becomes harder and more expensive.
Parent loan refinancing
Parents who want to help their child pay for undergraduate studies can borrow from the federal government through what’s called the Parent Plus program. These loans are in the parent’s name, and they affect the parent’s credit history — not the student’s.
Many students want to take over payments on their parent’s loans after they graduate and are in better financial standing. SoFi allows this through its refinance products.
High credit score required
While SoFi does not disclose the minimum credit score required for approval, the lender has a reputation for focusing on borrowers with advanced degrees, high salaries and strong credit. In fact, a 2021 analysis of recent refinance loans SoFi originated shows that 82% of borrowers had a FICO score above 740 and the average credit score was 779.
No option to release a cosigner
If you’re interested in refinancing student loans through SoFi, you may need a cosigner if you don’t have acceptable credit, you want the best interest rate or you don’t meet other requirements. That person would agree to handle your debt payments throughout the loan term if you couldn't.
While other lenders may let you remove that cosigner after a certain number of on-time payments, SoFi only allows this for regular in-school student loans. To remove a co-signer from SoFi refinanced loans, you would need to refinance again without the person’s name.
SoFi student loan refinance offerings
SoFi offers student loan refinance programs with fixed and variable interest rate options. The minimum loan amount is $5,000 unless other state requirements apply. Loan terms range from five to 20 years for all programs except for Parent Plus refinancing, which has term options of five to 15 years.
Fixed-rate student loan refinancing
One of the benefits of fixed student loan interest rates is that you’ll pay the same interest rate during your whole loan term. This means you can budget for payments and calculate your total interest more easily. SoFi currently offers starting fixed rates that are lower than its starting variable rates for most programs, and you won’t have to worry about market changes raising your initial rate. As of December 2023, fixed rates on SoFi refinance loans started at 5.24% (with an autopay discount).
Variable-rate student loan refinancing
Variable-rate student loans come with more risk and unpredictability. Depending on market changes, your interest rate and payment can adjust up or down over your loan term. While you could save when rates decline, you’ll pay more when they rise. A loan cap should apply to limit the changes. As of December 2023, variable rates started at 6.24% (with an autopay discount).
SoFi student loan refinance pricing
You won’t incur any student loan refinance fees with SoFi, including application or origination fees, prepayment penalties, or late fees.
SoFi student loan refinance interest rates vary across refinance programs. They’ll also depend on whether you choose a fixed- or variable-rate product, how long your term is and what your financial profile looks like.
While you’ll need a personalized quote for accuracy, you can expect to pay the lowest rates through SoFi if you have a high credit score, choose a short term and fixed rate, and agree to autopay. Rates generally increase with the term length for both variable and fixed options. Additionally, medical and dental residents tend to pay the highest rates.
SoFi student loan refinance financial stability
SoFI has served more than 450,000 student loan refinance customers and provided over $30 billion in loan funding. While there aren’t any industry ratings for its student loan offerings, SoFi’s mortgage portfolio has a AAA credit rating from Fitch.
SoFi student loan refinance accessibility
SoFi is an online-only institution with student loan refinance products available in the District of Columbia and all 50 states. Availability also depends on your ability to qualify. This includes having attended an eligible school and program, earning a sufficient income and meeting any SoFi student loans credit score requirements.
SoFi has a 24/7 chatbot for help with common concerns during the application process. If you need live help, you can chat online with a representative or call the SoFi student loan finance phone number at 855-456-7634 during business hours. These run from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST Monday through Thursday and 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. PST Friday through Sunday.
After you get your refinance loan, SoFi's loan servicer, MOHELA, provides customer service. You can sign in to your MOHELA account to send a secure message. You can also call 877-292-7470 Monday through Thursday between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CST and on Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.
The lender’s website starts with a two-minute rate-quote tool that gathers information about your refinancing goals, current student loans, employment and financial situation. After submitting your information, you can see potential rates based on different terms and learn how refinancing student loans can save money in your situation.
In addition to a straightforward application process, the website also includes helpful tools such as the SoFi student loan refinance calculator for estimating your payoff date. You can also use the user-friendly SoFi app to monitor your accounts, earn rewards, get financial advice and submit applications.
SoFi student loan refinance customer satisfaction
While the Better Business Bureau doesn’t currently accredit SoFi, it does give the company an A+ rating. The average review score for 178 reviews is 1.27 out of 5. Some negative reviews of SoFi student loan refinancing mentioned limited hardship options and the expiration of quoted interest rates. A positive SoFi student loan refinancing review highlighted the interest savings.
You should also be aware that SoFi has faced regulatory action based on some of its previous student loan refinance marketing. In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission issued an order that prohibits SoFi from misrepresenting how much consumers stand to save by refinancing.
SoFi student loan refinance FAQs
Will SoFi student loans be forgiven?
Is SoFi a private student loan?
Does SoFi refinance private student loans?
Is SoFi good for refinancing student loans?
How we evaluated SoFi student loan refinance
When evaluating SoFi’s student loan refinance options, we considered several factors, including:
- Membership perks: We looked at the extras SoFi offered to members, including financial education tools, discounts on loan products and financial hardship protection.
- Loan options: We looked at the types of student loan refinancing options available, including any special programs for medical residents and parents with Parent PLUS loans.
- Fees: We checked for application, origination and late fees along with prepayment penalties.
- Interest rates: We researched SoFi's fixed and variable interest rates versus competitors, as well as the availability of rate discounts.
- Repayment terms: We explored the repayment term options for each of SoFi's refinancing options to assess flexibility.
- Application processes: We looked at how easily borrowers could apply online for refinancing through SoFi and the support available during the process.
- Customer service: We assessed SoFi's options for online and phone support during the application and repayment processes.
- Payment assistance options: We researched whether SoFi provided options to modify or pause payments during financial hardship.
- Eligibility criteria: We checked SoFi's requirements for the types of qualifying schools, programs and education-related costs.
- Customer satisfaction: We looked at reviews on trusted sites such as the BBB to identify positive and negative customer experiences.
Summary of Money's SoFi student loan refinance review
If you’re looking into student loan refinance, SoFi’s competitive interest rates, multiple repayment term options and lack of fees make it a good choice, as long as you can get a better rate than what you currently pay. The extensive membership benefits, including free financial planning, are also a unique perk. Additionally, SoFi offers a streamlined application process and multiple customer service options to improve the experience.
But if you don't owe enough to qualify or have a strong credit score, you’ll need to shop around for other student loan refinancing options. Additionally, be careful if you have federal student loans since using SoFi or another private lender comes with several disadvantages.