Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial research influence how products appear on a page. Student Loans College Ave vs. SoFi: Who Offers Better Student Loans? Updated Jun 22, 2023   |   10-min read Written by Jeff Gitlen, CEPF® Written by Jeff Gitlen, CEPF® Expertise: Student loans, personal loans, home loans, insurance, credit cards Jeff Gitlen, CEPF®, is the director of content operations at LendEDU. He graduated from the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics at the University of Delaware. Learn more about Jeff Gitlen, CEPF® If you’re in need of a private student loan or want to refinance an existing student loan, two popular online lenders to consider are College Ave and SoFi. In this College Ave vs. SoFi comparison, you’ll see which lender offers better terms, which to choose in different scenarios, and we’ll explain which lender performed best in our analysis. To get started, click the product below that you’re interested in comparing. Private student loanRefinance student loan College Ave vs. SoFi private student loans: At a glance 4.8 View Rates 4.6 View Rates Rates (APR) 4.44% – 15.99% 4.24% – 13.55% Rates (APR) Rates (APR) 4.44% – 15.99% 4.24% – 13.55% Loan amounts $1,000 – 100% of certified costs $5,000 – 100% of certified costs Loan amounts Loan amounts $1,000 – 100% of certified costs $5,000 – 100% of certified costs Repayment terms 5, 8, 10, or 15 years 5, 7, 10, or 15 years Repayment terms Repayment terms 5, 8, 10, or 15 years 5, 7, 10, or 15 years See the best student loans. Which lender has better rates and terms? If you’re considering a private student loan from College Ave or SoFi, it’s important to understand the terms being offered by each lender fully. After several hours of research, we viewed College Ave’s private student loan terms better than SoFi’s. College Ave stood out over SoFi due to the possibility of obtaining lower rates, a lower minimum loan amount, and more repayment terms (plus the ability to choose your term). College AveSoFiFixed rates (APR)3.34% – 12.99%4.32% – 11.25%Variable rates (APR)1.04% – 11.98%1.87% – 11.66%Loan amounts$1,000 – total cost of attendance$5,000 – total cost of attendanceRepayment terms5, 8, 10, or 15 years5, 10, or 15 yearsDiscountsAutopay: 0.25%Autopay: 0.25%SoFi member as cosigner: 0.125%FeesLate paymentNone Which lender has better repayment terms? Both College Ave and SoFi offer similar repayment terms on their private student loans. However, a few small differences led us to choose College Ave as the better option for repayment. The main differences are that College Ave offers an extra repayment term (plus the option to choose your term) and the ability to apply for an additional six-month grace period. College AveSoFiRepayment terms5, 8, 10, or 15 years5, 10, or 15 yearsIn-school repaymentFull, partial, interest-only, or deferredFull, partial, interest-only, or deferredGrace period6 months, plus option to extend6 monthsDefermentIn-school & militaryIn-school & militaryForbearanceUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsCosigner releaseYesYesDeath dischargeYesYesDisability dischargeYesYes Are you eligible with both lenders? Each lender has nearly identical eligibility requirements, with the one exception being the minimum annual income requirement. College Ave requires borrowers or their cosigners to make at least $35,000 per year, while SoFi does not have a set minimum. If you or your cosigner don’t have an annual income above $35,000, you’ll want to see if you prequalify with SoFi. College AveSoFiMinimum credit scoreNot disclosedNot disclosedMinimum annual income$35,000NoneEligible statesAll statesAll statesInternational studentsYes, with eligible cosignerYes, with eligible cosignerEnrolled half-time or moreYesYesSoft credit checkYesYes Which lender offers better benefits or perks? While the sections above should be where you focus most of your attention when comparing these two lenders, some borrowers may like to know what added benefits they can expect working with each lender. Both lenders have in-house customer service teams that can assist you with getting your loan setup, but that’s where College Ave’s extra benefits end and SoFi’s begins. SoFi has built a platform that aims to create a community for its members. This includes community events, such as workshops, social events, and more. Additionally, SoFi aims to support its members with career coaching that can help you find you find a new job or map out the next steps in your current one. College AveSoFiIn-house customer service teamYesYesCareer coachingNoYesCommunity eventsNoYes Scenarios in which College Ave or SoFi’s private student loans are better We know that you have a lot of information to digest and compare between these two lenders, so we’ve highlighted some different scenarios in which one lender was better than the other to help you with your decision. If you want to work with a lender that solely focuses on student loans: College Ave Some borrowers may prefer to work with a lender whose sole purpose is to offer student loans rather than one where student loans are one product amongst many others. If you’re one of those borrowers, then College Ave would be your choice. Since 2014, the only thing College Ave has focused on is offering student loans for all levels of schooling. SoFi, on the other hand, offers over 14 different financial products. One reason someone may prefer a lender that solely focuses on student loans is the expectation that all of their resources will be dedicated to keeping up with market trends and assisting their borrower’s needs. While this is certainly not a guarantee, it’s a fair expectation. If you’re worried about missing a payment: SoFi If you have concerns that you’ll miss a payment when repaying your loan, you should consider a lender that doesn’t charge any late payment fees. Between these two lenders, SoFi is the only one that doesn’t charge this fee. Another way to ease some of your concerns is to create a plan ahead of time that you’ll follow to ensure you always have enough money each month to meet your minimum monthly payment. By doing this, you can worry less about late payment fees and more about which loan is the most affordable. If you value member benefits: SoFi While finding a loan with the lowest rate should be your main priority, working with a lender that offers additional perks certainly can’t hurt. While College Ave doesn’t offer many added benefits to its borrowers, SoFi offers several perks. Some of these perks include: Career services: Includes career tools and coachingUnemployment protection: Apply to temporarily pause loan payments and get help with your job searchCommunity events: Experience networking events, dinners, and happy hours If you want to choose your repayment term: College Ave Since your student loan will be a part of your life for several years, you should have a say in how many years that is. If you borrow with College Ave, you’ll get to choose the loan term that works for you. Final verdict: College Ave vs. SoFi for private student loans After comparing both lenders’ private student loans, we viewed College Ave’s private student loans as the better overall option. In fact, in an analysis of several popular student loan lenders, we found College Ave to be the best overall. The opportunity to earn lower rates, select your repayment term, take out a smaller loan if needed, and ability to work with a lender that specializes in student loans are a few of the main reasons why College Ave stood out as the superior product. If you’re ready to check your rates with College Ave, you can visit its website by clicking, here. College Ave vs. SoFi student loan refinancing: At a glance Which lender has better rates and terms? SoFi is our choice as the lender with better rates and terms. Both lenders have a lot in common, but SoFi will refinance your total loan balance, while College Ave has an upper limit. Additionally, and usually most importantly, when refinancing, SoFi offers borrowers the opportunity to receive some of the lowest rates available. And if you don’t get a lower rate with SoFi, the lender is willing to match a lower rate you’ve received elsewhere, plus you’ll get $100 when your loan is funded. This rate match benefit made choosing SoFi an easy choice when it comes to rates and terms. College AveSoFiFixed rates (APR)2.99% – 4.89%2.74% – 6.94%Variable rates (APR)2.94% – 4.79%2.25% – 6.59%Loan amounts$5,000 – $300,000$5,000 – total outstanding balanceRepayment terms5 – 20 years5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 yearsDiscountsAutopay: 0.25%Autopay: 0.25%FeesLate payment feeLate payment feeTransfer parent loan to childNoYes Which lender has better repayment terms? Picking between the two lenders based on repayment terms can be a bit tricky. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. But, after a lengthy review, we gave a slight edge to College Ave. For the average borrower, having more repayment terms to choose from gives you more control over the total cost of your loan. Plus, being able to release your cosigner is a great feature that can remove the financial risk they’ve taken to help you get a loan. However, if you think you may go back to school, are worried about suffering a future disability, or are a medical or dental student that wants a reduced payment during residency, SoFi would be the better option. College AveSoFiRepayment terms5 – 20 years5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 yearsDefermentMilitaryIn-school, military, & disabilityForbearanceUp to 12 monthsUp to 12 monthsResidency benefitNoYes, $100 monthly paymentsCosigner releaseYesNoDeath dischargeYesYesDisability dischargeYesYes Are you eligible for both lenders? Based on available information, SoFi seems to be less strict with their eligibility requirements than College Ave. College AveSoFiMinimum credit scoreNot disclosed650Minimum annual income$38,000NoneEligible statesAll states, minus MaineAll statesInternational studentsNoYes, with eligible cosignerMust have graduated?Yes, associate’s degree or higherYes, associate’s degree or higherSoft credit checkYesYes Which lender offers better benefits and perks? While the benefits and perks offered by a lender should certainly not be the main driver of your decision on which loan to take out, the benefits offered by SoFi are hard to ignore. The main reason for this is the Guaranteed Rate Match benefit. If you get a lower rate with another lender, SoFi will match that rate and give you $100 when your loan is funded. In addition to this great benefit, SoFi members can take advantage of career coaching and community events. College AveSoFiIn-house customer service teamYesYesGuaranteed Rate MatchNoYesCareer coachingNoYesCommunity eventsNoYes Scenarios in which College Ave or SoFi’s refinance student loan are better If you’re still having trouble deciding which lender is best for you, check out some of the scenarios below to help with your decision. If you want to choose your repayment term: College Ave If you want to choose your own repayment term from a wide range of options, College Ave can offer you just that. With College Ave, you have the choice between 16 different term lengths. SoFi only offers five options. If you have a balance over $300,000: SoFi If your outstanding loan balance is over $300,000, you’ll want to go with SoFi as your lender. SoFi is willing to refinance your entire outstanding loan balance, while College Ave has a maximum amount of $300,000. If you want to transfer a parent loan to a child: SoFi For parents who took out a parent PLUS loan to pay for their child’s education, some private lenders allow you to transfer the loan to your child when you refinance. SoFi, unlike College Ave, is one of those lenders. If you want to release your cosigner from the loan: College Ave Cosigning a loan does present some financial risk for the cosigner if the primary borrower doesn’t keep up with repayment. To help remove this risk, some lenders allow borrowers to release cosigners after meeting certain eligibility requirements. College Ave will allow borrowers to release their cosigners after certain terms are met. SoFi, on the other hand, doesn’t offer this option. If you value member benefits: SoFi It’s clear that SoFi offers its members several added benefits, such as career coaching and community events, but remember, you are refinancing to lower the cost of your loan. Make sure the lender you work with offers the lowest rate possible. If SoFi does that — and it may with its Guaranteed Rate Match feature — then the added benefits are a cherry on top. Final verdict: College Ave vs. SoFi for student loan refinancing Considering all of the information above, our choice between these two lenders for refinancing your student loans would be SoFi. SoFi has low rates, competitive repayment terms, fair eligibility requirements, and a Guaranteed Rate Match benefit. With the Guaranteed Rate Match benefit, the lender will match a lower rate you receive elsewhere, plus give you $100 when your loan is funded. On top of the benefits just mentioned, SoFi lets federal borrowers who want to refinance lock in low rates today while keeping your CARES Act benefits of a 0% interest rate until September 20, 2021, and no payments until October. To check your rate with SoFi, visit its website by clicking, here.