Upon graduating from nurse anesthesia school in August 2014, I promptly looked into whether I would qualify for the Public Loan Forgiveness Program. After investigating the issue, I realized I wasn’t going to benefit from the program at all. When I did the numbers, I could either pay 5-7% on my federal student loans over 10 years only to “possibly” qualify for loan forgiveness, or I could refinance and consolidate my pre-existing loans to a lower interest rate and pay off the loans in a shorter time frame. Enter SoFi. In October of 2015, I submitted my application to refinance with SoFi and opted for a 10 year term at a 3.4% variable interest rate.
You can easily see if you qualify for student loan refinancing and consolidation by going on Sofi’s website. The application process is fairly simple and straightforward. Just make sure you have all of your student loan information handy because that’s the most time consuming part of the application; having to input each individual loan you are looking to refinance and consolidate. The entire process takes about 15-20 minutes.
Excellent Customer Service
One great aspect of SoFi is their customer service. Over this past year, I found it very easy to communicate with account representatives using all forms of communication (from e-mail, instant messaging, and telephone). In addition, I found that they were pleasant to talk to, patient with my numerous complicated questions, and very helpful overall.
The reason I am emphasizing this is because my previous loan provider (whom will remain nameless) had a customer service department that was difficult to connect to and many of the staff I encountered were outright rude. So, it was a bit of a surprise to come across a loan service provider who placed an emphasis on great customer service.
I opted for a variable 10 year loan at a 3.44% variable interest rate. It was the lowest rate I could get, and I was okay with the risk of taking on a variable interest rate. Furthermore, if the interest were to rise to such a degree that it would exceed the fixed interest rate percentage, then I could refinance my loans again without paying a penalty or fee (as verified through several conversations with SoFi representatives).
Criteria to Qualify
A typical borrower profile includes individuals with an annual income above $100K as well as a FICO credit score above 750. However, it is my understanding that as of January 2016, SoFi no longer looks at your credit score to determine whether they will assist you. They take into consideration income, employment history, and one’s record of meeting financial obligations. So, if you’re concerned that your credit score is 700, don’t fret. So as long as you’ve developed a track record of paying your debt on time and you have a steady job (which you should have since you’re in health care), SoFi will help you.
Origination and Early Payment Fees
SoFi does not assess an origination fee to cover the cost of processing the loan nor do they assess a fee if you end up paying off your loans earlier than the term you signed up for.
Grace Periods From Previous Loans
If your loans have a 3 to 6 month repayment grace period post graduation, SoFi honors them.
SoFi loves to send its members little gifts ranging from a soft cotton T-shirt to some interesting paraphernalia to promote the business. I received 5-6 shirts from SoFi!
SoFi also offers career coaching to help members with the development of job building skills and the like.
Additionally, SoFi hosts a number of network gatherings in certain major cities. I’ve received numerous invitations to attend dinners, sporting events and other “happening” activities where one can mingle with other like-minded professionals.
I have nothing to say but great things about SoFi. The process of getting a loan through the SoFi was simple, fast and easy. If customer service is a big priority to you then SoFi is one company to consider. If having a low interest rate is important to you, SoFi offers one of the lowest competitive rates out there. However, there may be other companies (like FRB) that offer lower rates. The decision of choosing between which loan service provider to go with depends on what you want out of your relationship with them.
As of July 2016, I terminated my relationship with SoFi and went with First Republic Bank. I went from a 10-year variable interest rate of 3.4% with SoFi to a 5-year fixed interest rate of 1.95% with First Republic Bank.
Overall, I was satisfied with my experience with SoFi. I went with First Republic Bank because of a lower interest rate and because I’d be able to pay off my loans more quickly.