Refinancing your student loans can potentially help you save money, achieve more flexibility with your monthly payments and even eliminate your student debt more quickly. But it's important to take your time to compare multiple student loan refinance options to determine which is the best fit for you and your needs and goals. In this SoFi student loan refinance review, you'll learn about how the company operates, how it can help you refinance your debt and the unique features it offers that are worth considering. Here's everything you need to know about SoFi student loan refinancing. SoFi student loan refinancing: Company overview SoFi is short for Social Finance. The company was founded in 2011, originally focusing on helping Stanford business school graduates get help with student loans via the alumni community. A year later, the company became the first to refinance federal and private student loans. Since then, SoFi has funded more than $50 billion in loans, albeit not just student loans and student refinance loans, and has more than 2.5 million members. In addition to private student loans and student refinance loans, SoFi now offers a wide variety of financial services and products, including: Personal loans Mortgage loans Auto loans Auto refinance loans An investing platform A cash management account for banking A credit card Business financing Small business financing SoFi also offers various workforce benefits through its SoFi At Work program. Employers can partner with SoFi to provide student loan and 529 plan contributions, as well as resources and educational tools. In other words, while SoFi originally started out as a student loan refinance company, it's now a full-blown financial services company with a lot to offer to its customers. The company became a publicly traded company in June 2021. SoFi Student Loan Refinance Review SoFi refinances undergraduate student loans and graduate student loans, as well as parent loans. If you're considering refinancing with SoFi, here's what you need to know before you pull the trigger on an application. Loan amounts SoFi offers student loan refinancing for both federal and private student loans starting at $5,000, though that minimum can be higher in some states due to local legal requirements. Unlike many other student loan refinance companies, SoFi has no maximum loan amount, so as long as you qualify, you can refinance the full balance of your student loan debt. Repayment terms include 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years, so you'll have some flexibility with your monthly payments and how long it'll take to pay off your debt. You can refinance both federal and private student loans, including Parent PLUS Loans and parent private loans. If you're a parent who borrowed money to help your child get through school, you can transfer the debt to their name through SoFi, although they'll need to be on board and be able to qualify on their own or with you or someone else as their cosigner. Interest rates As with any lender, interest rates with SoFi will depend largely on your creditworthiness. However, the lender provides a range for its student refinance loans. As of Dec. 9, 2021, here's what to expect if you're a college graduate or a parent who borrowed on behalf of their child broken down by program: Loan type Fixed APRs Variable APRs General 2.49% - 6.94% 1.74% - 6.59% Law or MBA 2.49% - 6.94% 1.74% - 6.59% Medical and dental 2.49% - 6.94% 1.74% - 6.59% Parent 2.49% - 5.97% 1.74% - 5.52% To qualify for the best rates, you'll typically need a high credit score and a high income, though SoFi doesn't disclose its preferences. If you can't qualify on your own, or if you want to maximize your savings, consider getting a cosigner with an excellent credit history and a high income to apply with you. Just keep in mind that your cosigner will be equally responsible for paying the debt if you can't. Also, note that the lowest rates also include an autopay discount, which knocks 0.25% off your interest rate. Autopay is also a good idea because it can help you avoid accidentally missing a payment, and it'll save you the time it would take to make your payments manually. As you compare student loan refinance rates, SoFi offers a rate match program. The program will not only match the lowest rate you receive from another private student loan refinance lender, but it'll also give you a $100 bonus (though the bonus is not available to Ohio residents). To get the bonus, you must provide eligible documentation of the competing rate within 30 days of getting a prequalified rate from SoFi. You can call 855-456-7634 or chat with an agent through the lender's website to find out how to send your documentation. You'll also need to meet SoFi's criteria for getting approved for a SoFi refinance loan. Fees SoFi doesn't charge late fees, application fees, origination fees, or disbursement fees. There's also no penalty if you choose to pay off your student refinance loan early. All of this is standard for most private student loan refinance companies. SoFi's unique features If you're considering SoFi student loan refinancing, here are some of the benefits you can get as a SoFi member that you might not be able to get elsewhere: Financial planning: You can set up a phone appointment with one of SoFi's financial advisors and receive personalized advice for your situation at no cost to you. The lender's financial planners don't sell SoFi products. Referral program: You and your friend or family member will receive $300 if you refer them to any of SoFi's products and they get approved. Experiences and events: SoFi members get invites to once-in-a-lifetime in-person and virtual events around the country, including dinners, happy hours and networking events. You'll also get expedited stadium entry and access to the SoFi Member Lounge at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Exclusive Facebook group: The lender has a members-only Facebook group, where you can enter surprise swag giveaways and learn about money. Career advice: SoFi's career team offers helpful tools and resources, as well as one-on-one coaching to help you develop a career plan or to answer any of your questions. There's also an interactive tool to help you determine your value as an employee and create an action plan to get a raise. Unemployment protection program: If you've lost your job involuntarily and you've had a SoFi student refinance loan for at least nine months, SoFi may modify your loan payments to make them more affordable. The program is offered in three-month increments for up to 12 months in total. SoFi eligibility To qualify for the best student loan refinance rates, you typically need to make a strong impression. SoFi offers student refinance loans in all 50 states, and while the lender doesn't provide all of the specifics for what you need to be eligible for a student refinance loan, here are some of the criteria it does share with the public: You must be at least the age of majority in your state of residence. You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or a visa holder (E-2, E-3, H-1B, J-1, L-1, or O-1), though you can apply with a cosigner who is a citizen or permanent resident. If you're a permanent resident, you must be able to show an image or scan of your permanent residency card (Green Card), and your Green Card must have a total validity (from issuance to expiry) of more than 2 years. If you are a visa holder, you must be able to show an image or scan of your valid visa and proof of an approved application for a Green Card, including either an I-140 approval notice (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker), or receipt or approval of an I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence). You must be employed, have sufficient income from other sources or have an employment offer for a job you'll start within the next 90 days. You must have at least an associate degree from a Title IV educational institution. When you apply, the lender will review your credit score, financial history, monthly income and expenses and other factors to determine whether you qualify for a loan and what your interest rate will be. If you have a cosigner, SoFi will also consider their information on the application. Note that SoFi does not offer cosigner release, so if you want to remove your cosigner from the loan at some point in the future, you'll need to refinance the debt again. The good news is that you can get prequalified for a SoFi student refinance loan without a hard credit check. This can give you the information you need to compare the lender's interest rates with the best student loan refinance rates from other lenders to determine the best fit. Pros and cons of SoFi student loan refinancing If SoFi is on your list of refinancing options, it's important to know both the benefits and the drawbacks of working with the lender. Here are some to consider as you make your decision. Pros Competitive interest rates: SoFi may not have the best interest rates on the market, but they're competitive, especially on the higher end. What's more, the rate match guarantee that the lender offers can come in handy if you want the benefits SoFi offers but happen to find a better deal somewhere else. Ample member benefits: Regardless of the type of loan, not many lenders offer nearly as many unique perks as SoFi. If you like what you see with the lender's member benefits, that could outweigh some of the lender's drawbacks. Also, if you want to keep more of your finances under one roof, SoFi has excellent options for banking and investing. Flexible options for parents: Not all student loan refinance lenders allow you to refinance parent loans, and many also don't allow parents to transfer student loan debt to their child. With SoFi, you can do both. No bachelor's degree requirement: Some student loan refinance companies require borrowers to have a bachelor's degree to get approved for student loan refinancing. In contrast, SoFi will refinance your debt if you have an associate degree or higher. No loan maximum: If you have a sizable student loan balance, you may have a hard time finding a lender that won't cap how much of it you can refinance. With SoFi, you can refinance up to the total amount that you have, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. Unemployment resources: It's not uncommon for lenders to offer some form of forbearance or loan modification if you lose your job. But SoFi also offers resources to help you get back into the workforce, which can make it easier for you to get back on your feet. Cons No cosigner release: Cosigning a loan is a significant commitment. Not only is your cosigner equally responsible for the debt, but it'll also show up on their credit report. If your cosigner tries to apply for credit, that debt and monthly payment could potentially impact their ability to get approved. While some student loan refinance companies allow you to release your cosigner after you've made a certain number of payments and meet the creditworthiness criteria, SoFi isn't one of them. No option for borrowers without degrees: Millions of student loan borrowers don't have a degree. This may be because they dropped out of school or because they use student loans to get a certificate or to pursue vocational training. Unfortunately, SoFi doesn't offer refinance loans to borrowers who don't have an associate degree or higher. Who should refinance student loans with SoFi? SoFi was the first lender to refinance federal and private student loans, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best lender for everyone. You'll want to consider SoFi if you: Have a high student loan balance Have an associate degree or higher Are a parent who wants to refinance or transfer student loan debt to your child upon graduation Want to take advantage of all of the benefits SoFi provides for its members That said, SoFi likely won't be right for you if you have a cosigner and they're uneasy about the lack of a cosigner release program. It's also not an option at all if you don't have a degree. Take your time to research SoFi competitors and compare student loan refinance rates and other features to find the best one for you. Should you refinance your student loans? There are many reasons to consider refinancing your student loan debt, but there are also reasons why you should consider holding off, at least for now. Here are some of the benefits to consider: Lower interest rates: If you qualify, you could get a lower interest rate than you currently have, which could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Lower monthly payments: If you can secure a lower interest rate, your monthly payment may go down automatically. However, you could also reduce your monthly payment by picking a longer repayment period. Ability to pay off debt early: If you can afford it, choosing a shorter repayment period could help you eliminate your debt sooner and save more money on interest along the way. Other features: Depending on the lender, you may be able to take advantage of certain features, such as interest rate discounts, unemployment benefits, financial resources and more. On the flip side, federal student loan borrowers will lose access to certain benefits if they refinance their debt with a private lender. Here are some potential pitfalls associated with refinancing federal loans: Forgiveness or repayment assistance: Federal student loan forgiveness and repayment assistance programs require that you have federal student loans. If you're eligible for one of these programs, it's best to keep your debt where it is. Income-driven repayment plans: For people who are struggling financially, federal income-driven repayment plans can reduce your monthly payments down to 10% to 20% of your discretionary income. If you refinance with a private lender, you won't be able to rely on income-driven repayment plans anymore. Deferment and forbearance: The federal government isn't the only lender that offers deferment and forbearance for its borrowers, but the terms are generally more generous than what you might get after refinancing your debt. If you're a federal student loan borrower, think carefully about what you might lose when refinancing with a private lender. How to compare SoFi student loan refinance rates Before you submit an application with SoFi, it's a good idea to shop around and compare the best student loan refinance rates from other lenders like Earnest, ELFI, and more. As with SoFi, many lenders allow you to get prequalified with just a soft credit check, allowing you to review an initial loan offer. But going through the prequalification process with each individual lender can be time-consuming. To speed up the process and make it easier to compare offers side by side, consider using Purefy's rate comparison tool. With the tool, you'll be able to get prequalified with multiple lenders at once in just a few minutes. From there, you can compare the different rate offers side by side and also review other features that are important to your student loan payoff plan. As you compare interest rates, though, make sure you're looking at the right rates. Many lenders offer both fixed and variable interest rates. While variable rates start off lower, they can fluctuate over time along with market rates. And since we've seen record low student loan refinance rates in 2021, it's likely that those rates will go up significantly over time. As a result, you're likely better off with a fixed interest rate. Once you determine which lender is the right one for you, you can click through and apply directly with the lender. The bottom line SoFi is one of the top student loan refinance companies and offers several benefits that are unique to the lender. It also provides competitive interest rates, as well as a rate match guarantee if you find a lower rate elsewhere. However, the lender doesn't offer cosigner release, and there are no refinance options for people who don't have a college degree. Before you apply with SoFi, take your time to shop around and compare multiple options to determine which one is the best match for you, your current situation and your short- and long-term goals.