SoFi Student Loans for Parents: A Lower-Interest Rate Choice

sofi student loans

In 2017, 35 percent of parents said they were worried about not being able to pay for their children’s college educations, according to a Gallup poll. Parental fears about covering costs have persisted for decades. In fact, since 2001, Gallup polls have consistently shown that paying for the costs of a child’s college education is a top worry across all income levels.

sofi student loans

Image credit: Gallup

If your child is nearing college age and you’re exploring your options for how to help your son or daughter pay for school, SoFi student loans for parents are worth considering. SoFi is a private student loan lender that offers loans to parents that might be more affordable than Parent PLUS loans under certain circumstances.

Read on to find out about whether a SoFi student loan for parents might be a good choice for you and learn the five key steps you need to take if you want to use SoFi parent loans to help cover the cost of your child’s education.

1. Determine if SoFi student loans for parents are the right choice

The first step for parents is determining if SoFi loans are the best choice for covering the costs of a child’s college education. SoFi Parent Loans should be compared with Parent PLUS loans from the Department of Education, as well as with other parent loans offered by different private lenders.

SoFi claims its loans can save parents an average of $3,637 over the costs of Parent PLUS Loans from the Department of Education during the life of the loan. To find out if SoFi loans could indeed save you money over PLUS Loans, or could save you money in comparison with other private loans, you should compare:

  • Interest rates
  • Loan terms
  • Origination costs

The table below shows different interest rates for SoFi versus Parent PLUS loans, with rates current as of January 2018.

SoFi Parent Loan Parent PLUS Loan
Fixed-Rate APR 4.350% APR 7.00% APR
Variable-Rate APR 4.020% APR with autopay Not available

The Parent PLUS loans offered by the Department of Education also have a 4.276% origination fee, while SoFi student loans do not charge an origination fee.

The quality of the application process and loan servicing process is something to consider as well when comparing SoFi student loans with other alternatives. Parents who’ve borrowed from SoFi have had mixed experiences with the process.

One reviewer from November of 2017 indicated the following in a review left on Credit Karma: “It was very easy to apply for a loan through SoFi,” and stated that “we received a great interest rate, so very satisfied with the loan and the process.” However, others have experienced difficulty with the loan application process, or with getting a loan approved.

“I was refinancing and consolidating student loans of our daughter’s and get 22 days into the project and were told they cannot do that type of loan,” said one reviewer on Consumer Affairs.

Another complained, “They only ask you for a little bit of information when you first apply. Then, after they made a hard inquiry on your account, they start asking for more.” The reviewer also expressed frustration at facing requests for one document at a time, rather than finding out up front all the documents that would be needed. “It is the worst loan application process I have ever experienced,” said the reviewer.

Visit SoFI Parent Loans

2. Determine how much to borrow

If you’ve decided to apply for a SoFi student loan, you should determine the total amount you want to borrow. The minimum amount you can borrow is $5,000, and you can borrow up to the total cost of attendance for your child’s school.

Typically, parents should take out private loans only after their child has exhausted options for federal student loans. Federal student loans available to your son or daughter have a number of benefits private student loans from SoFi don’t have including:

  • Income driven-repayment plans
  • Subsidized interest on some loans so interest does not begin accruing until after graduation
  • Deferment and forbearance options in case of financial hardship
  • Loan forgiveness options for working in eligible public service jobs

If your child cannot obtain any more federal loans, and you’ve exhausted other options like scholarships, grants, and work-study programs, you might decide to borrow the difference between financial aid your child has received and the costs of attendance.

However, you should be very careful not to compromise your retirement security. Although you want to help your child pay for school, borrowing so much money that you cannot fund your retirement could create a dire financial situation for you.

You should also look into other options, such as having your children take out student loans in their name, to ensure that borrowing through a parent loan is your best course of action.

3. Determine whether to apply for a fixed or a variable rate loan

When you use SoFi parent loans to pay for your child’s education, you’ll need to choose between a fixed or a variable rate loan.

  • Fixed rates typically have higher initial rates than a variable-rate loan, but fixed rates don’t change over the course of the loan. As of January 2018, the starting rate for a fixed-rate Parent Loan through SoFi is 4.250% APR with autopay.
  • Variable-rate loans might have a lower initial rate, but your rate can adjust upward or downward during the loan term. As of January 2018, SoFi parent loan rates for a five-year, variable-rate loan start at 4.020% APR with autopay.
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4. Apply for a loan

Once you know what kind of loan you want and how much you hope to borrow, it’s time to go through the application process. You’ll do this by visiting the SoFi Parent Loan page, scrolling down through the loan information, and clicking Get Started.

sofi student loan rates

Image credit: SoFi

You’ll be taken to a form to complete to begin the application process. You must input:

  • Your name
  • Your state of residence
  • Your email
  • A secure password you create
sofi student loans review

Image credit: SoFi

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll need to select the loan you are applying for. Choose the box for Parent (In School) Loan if you’re applying for a loan while your child is in school, or select Parent Plus Refi if you want to refinance PLUS Loans you’ve already taken out.

sofi student loans

Image credit: SoFi

You’ll need to complete a detailed application including:

  • Your mailing address
  • Your phone number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your citizenship status
  • Whether you own or rent a home
  • Information about where you went to school and your graduation date
  • Employment information
  • Total individual annual income
  • Years of work experience
  • Information about the student whose education you’ll be paying for
  • Your child’s expected graduation date
  • The university your child will be attending

SoFi provides information about your rate, which doesn’t require a hard credit pull and won’t impact your credit score. You also won’t pay any loan application fees to initiate this process.

You’ll receive details about your rate and eligibility immediately upon submitting your application in most circumstances unless you need to provide additional documentation. SoFi considers your credit score, income, and the amount you wish to borrow in deciding if you’re eligible for a loan and in setting your loan rates.

If you wish to continue with the application process after seeing your rates, you’ll need to move forward with uploading documents to provide proof of income. Once approved, your loan will be disbursed directly to the school your child is attending within seven to 10 days after you’ve signed for the loan.

Apply for a sofi parent loan

5. Begin repayment

SoFi student loans for parents do not have a grace period. You’ll need to begin repayment within 30 to 45 days after the loan is disbursed.

This is an important consideration when deciding if SoFi parent loans can help pay for your child’s education. However, most private loans for parents do require immediate repayment, so you’ll need to be prepared to begin making payments monthly if you’re going to take out loans to help fund your child’s schooling.

If you can repay your SoFi parent loan early, you can reduce the total amount of interest paid, so making extra payments is often worthwhile if there is room in your budget. By repaying loans as aggressively as possible, you can keep the costs of using a SoFi student loan for parents down overall.

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