Social Finance (SoFi) is a financial organization that offers private student loans and student loan refinancing among other types of loans. Their student loans include an online prequalification option and access to incentives such as free career and financial coaching. To qualify, international students must have a US citizen cosigner. SoFi offers four repayment options. Forbearance is limited to only 12 months. This lender doesn't charge application, origination, or prepayment fees on loans, but it does charge late fees.
International Student Qualifications
To qualify, international students must have a credit-worthy US citizen cosigner.
To qualify for a SoFi student loan or refinance loan, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or hold an eligible visa. To qualify, international students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients require a U.S. citizen co-signer.
- Meet income and employment requirements. If you don’t, your cosigner must earn sufficient income from employment
- Meet financial history and credit score requirements (670 or higher on an 850-point scale)
- Be enrolled at least half-time at a qualifying four-year college for private student loan (associate’s degree students are not eligible), or have at least an associate’s degree from a qualifying university for refinance loans.
International Student Loans From SoFi
Here are some features of SoFi loans to consider as you do your research.
- Loan Amounts: $5,000 up to the total cost of attendance
- Repayment Terms: 5, 7, 10, or 15 years
- Cosigner requirements: Required for international students
- Cosigner release: After 24 full, on-time monthly payments
- Repayment options: Principal-and-interest, deferred, fixed, interest
- Loan Refinancing: Borrowers can refinance a minimum of $5,000
- Discounts: 0.25% interest rate reduction for autopay
- Forbearance: 3-month increments, up to a total of 12 months
Best Features of SoFi Student Loans
- Access to career coaching for SoFi members
- No application, origination, or late fees for undergraduate loans
- Pre-qualification with a soft-credit check that won’t affect your credit score
Types of International Student Loans Offered by SoFi
- Undergraduate private student loans: Variable interest ranging between 3.43% and 11.03% APR and fixed rates ranging between 5.05% and 11.71% APR
- Graduate school loans: Interest rates ranging from 3.11% to 11.37% APR for variable-rate loans, and 4.73% and 11.99% APR for fixed-rate loans
- Private Loans for Parents: Variable interest rates ranging from 3.43% APR to 11.03% APR. Fixed interest rates range from 5.05% to 11.71% APR
SoFi student loans offer the following repayment options:
- Immediate: You start paying on your loan right away. This option carries the highest monthly payment but saves you the most money.
- Interest-only: While in school, you pay the accrued interest. This lowers your overall payments.
- Partial: You pay a flat rate of $25 while in school. This helps minimize monthly payment but you will end up paying more over time due to accrued interest.
- Deferred: This plan allows you to postpone loan repayment until after graduation. It ends up costing more over the duration of your loan.
Perks and Benefits
SoFi borrowers enjoy benefits that include career coaching, free financial planning, and rate discounts on other SoFi products.
Other perks include:
- Cosigner release after 24 months of full, on-time payments.
- Unemployment protection program that puts your loan into forbearance for three-month increments, up to a total of 12 months.
How to Apply for a SoFi Student Loan
To apply for a student loan from SoFi, you need to enter basic personal info on the SoFi website for a soft credit check. This enables the company to make a preliminary interest rate offer that doesn't affect your credit score or appear on your credit report.
If you wish to proceed, SoFi will conduct a hard credit check. This can temporarily drop your credit score by up to 5 points.
To complete the online application, you'll need the following information:
- Official Identification documents
- Your and your co-signer’s Social Security numbers (SSNs)
- Proof of income for you and your co-signer
- Your planned graduation date, upcoming academic, and financial aid
- A payoff statement for each of the student loans you want to refinance
- The amount you plan to borrow or refinance
SoFi has to verify the school information you've provided, which could take up to a few weeks. It may take four to six weeks from application to receiving funding, depending on your school's process.
For successful refinance loans, SoFi will pay off your prior loans 7 to 15 business days after your application. Your first payment to SoFi will be due 30 to 45 days later.