SoFi vs. Laurel Road: Which is Better for Student Loan Refinancing?

Updated on April 15, 2019
By Jen Williamson

If you’re looking into refinancing your student loan, then you know every lender is different—and choosing the right lender is crucial.

A lower interest rate is the most obvious criteria you should look for when refinancing your student loan. But other factors matter as well. Finding the right lender often means finding the one that works best for you—not everyone else.

Here’s a closer look at two lenders—Laurel Road and SoFi—that are offering extremely competitive rates and novel refinancing packages right now. Which one is better for you?

Who should refinance with SoFi?

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If you're all about getting a great interest rate while climbing the career ladder, SoFi is a lender you should consider. 

SoFi is a major player in the student loan refinancing marketplace. They've helped borrowers refinance over $14 billion in student loans.

That's with good reason. SoFi is unique in that they throw a lot of resources behind their members—and these go beyond refinancing.

SoFi offers career advisory services, where you can work one-on-one with an advisor to develop a resume, transition your career, refine your personal brand, and get customized support.

In addition, they run events for members—including cooking classes, wine tastings, yoga classes, happy hour meetups, cycle classes, and financial planning sessions. These events take place coast to coast, in cities including New York, Oakland, Boston, and San Diego.

If you're a budding entrepreneur, know that SoFi may be able to provide seed capital. It also has an accelerator program, and a demo day featuring a select group of member companies. They also offer a six-month loan deferment for entrepreneurs getting their businesses off the ground.

SoFi is great for a lot of people—but especially for those looking for community and support in their job search, and for those interested in starting companies.

Who should refinance with Laurel Road?

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If you want to refinance to a better rate but you're worried about losing some of the benefits of federal loans, Laurel Road may be a good choice for you. 

Laurel Road also claims big savings from its members—more than $20,000 on average.

One thing that makes them stand out is their contingency plan for borrowers who hit hard financial times. Laurel Road provides up to one year of forbearance for those under economic hardship—which is an extremely rare benefit from a private lender.

They also offer death and disability loan forgiveness. That is, your loan could be forgiven if you pass away or become disabled before you've finished paying. 

See also: Should I Refinance My Student Loans?

Comparing interest rates and loan terms

SoFi offers fixed and variable rate loans. Their range is as follows:

  • Fixed-rate loans: 3.890%-8.074% APR
  • Variable-rate loans: 2.500%-7.115% APR

SoFi offers loans durations of five, seven, and ten years.

Laurel Road also offers both fixed and variable loans, with interest rates as follows:

  • Fixed-rate loans: 3.50%-7.02% APR
  • Variable-rate loans: 2.50%-6.65% APR

They offer terms of five, seven, ten, 15, and 20 years.

Laurel Road also specializes in refinancing medical school debt. 

What discounts are available?

Both lenders charge zero origination or pre-payment fees.

Both offer 0.25% discounts for AutoPay.

Whats the application process?

Both lenders keep it pretty simple.

Laurel Road lets you apply online. You’ll need two recent pay stubs or other proof of income, a photo ID, and payment statements for your student loans.

SoFi has an online pre-approval process that lets you find out if you qualify. Once qualified you will then gain access to the full application.

Which one is better for you?

So which of these lenders is better for student loan refinancing? The better question is, which one is better for you?

There are several factors that make each one stand out—the career and entrepreneurship support for SoFi, and the generous forbearance and forgiveness terms for Laurel Road, for example.

Both offer very competitive interest rates. It’s difficult to say which lender would give you a lower rate—as this depends on your finances and the company's own underwriting priorities.

The best way to decide is to carefully consider each lender’s strengths and drawbacks—and apply to find out how your finances might change.

Learn more about refinancing with SoFi

Learn more about refinancing with Laurel Road

Check out our Student Loan Refi Calculator to see how much you could save by refinancing your student loan.


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