What Is the Minimum Down Payment for an FHA Loan?

Saving up for a down payment is a common challenge for many prospective homebuyers. FHA loans allow qualifying borrowers to put as little as 3.5% down on a property, helping lower the barriers to homeownership for many.

With an FHA loan, borrowers may also be eligible for down payment assistance. But there are other out-of-pocket expenses to keep in mind when considering an FHA loan. Let’s take a closer look at FHA loan down payment requirements and how much money you’ll need to get to the closing table.

What Is an FHA Loan?

An FHA loan is a type of mortgage that’s issued by a lender, such as a bank or credit union, but insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The purpose of the FHA mortgage program is to make homeownership more affordable for low- to moderate-income buyers.

Since FHA loans are government-insured, they offer more flexible eligibility requirements for borrowers who might not qualify for a conventional home loan. FHA loans have lower minimum down payment and credit score requirements, making them popular with first-time homebuyers and applicants with limited savings or poor credit. Compared to conventional mortgages, FHA loan interest rates are typically lower, but will vary depending on the lender and on the borrower’s credit score and finances.

💡 Quick Tip: Buying a home shouldn’t be aggravating. SoFi’s online mortgage application is quick and simple, with dedicated Mortgage Loan Officers to guide you through the process.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.

FHA Loan Income Requirements

There aren’t any minimum or maximum income requirements to qualify for an FHA loan. However, there may be income limits for borrowers receiving down payment assistance through a state or local program.

In any case, lenders will look at an applicant’s ability to manage monthly mortgage payments and ultimately repay the FHA loan. Besides savings and assets, lenders assess an applicant’s debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which measures the percentage of monthly income that goes toward debt payments. A lower DTI ratio is typically viewed as favorable. Depending on the lender, borrowers can get an FHA loan with a DTI ratio of up to 50%. In comparison, conventional loans typically require a DTI ratio of 43% or less.

Recommended: How Much is a Down Payment?

What Is the Down Payment Required for an FHA Loan?

Down payments are calculated as a percentage of the home purchase price. Historically, lenders looked for buyers to put down one-fifth of a home’s purchase price upfront. But you no longer always need to put down 20% on a house. The minimum down payment percentage for FHA loans depends on a borrower’s credit score.

The average down payment on a house in the U.S. was 13% in 2022. But with an FHA loan, borrowers with a credit score of 580 or more may qualify for a down payment of 3.5% of the home purchase price. Those with credit scores between 500 and 579 will need to put 10% of the home price towards a down payment. For a $400,000 house, this translates to $14,000 for a 3.5% down payment and $40,000 for a 10% down payment.

💡 Quick Tip: Generally, the lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better loan terms you’ll be offered. One way to improve your ratio is to increase your income (hello, side hustle!). Another way is to consolidate your debt and lower your monthly debt payments.

What Other Cash Will I Need to Close?

Besides the down payment, the remaining amount you need to close on a house will depend mainly on the home’s purchase price. Taking out an FHA loan requires paying an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) of 1.75% of the loan total. It may be possible to roll this cost into the loan, which would increase the loan principal and monthly payment amount.

Buyers will also be on the hook for FHA loan closing costs, which typically range from 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price. Borrowers can potentially avoid the upfront expense by rolling closing costs into an FHA loan. By financing closing costs, borrowers will pay a portion of the costs each month, plus interest. Note that financing closing costs can increase a borrower’s DTI ratio and potentially impact their ability to qualify for an FHA loan.

An alternative option to cover closing costs would be to ask for seller concessions. FHA loans allow the seller to contribute up to 6% of the home value for closing costs as a seller concession.

Recommended: What Do You Need to Buy a House?

How to Save for an FHA Loan Down Payment

Understanding how much house you can afford is a useful place to start to determine your housing budget and savings goal. Using an FHA loan mortgage calculator can help crunch the numbers to determine your down payment and monthly payment based on different loan terms. Not sure you will choose an FHA loan? Use a home affordability calculator to determine how much house you can afford.

With a savings goal in mind, calculate how much you can set aside each month after paying for debts and expenses. Consider cutting discretionary spending, such as dining out and travel, to increase monthly savings.

Buyers can also get the money they need for an FHA down payment in the form of a gift from family, friends, employer, charitable organization, or government program. Gifted funds need to be accompanied by a gift letter to show the lender that the money is going toward the down payment and doesn’t need to be repaid.

Is Down Payment Assistance Available for FHA Loans?

Borrowers who can’t afford a down payment on an FHA loan may be eligible for financial assistance. Down payment assistance can come in several forms, including grants and forgivable loans. These programs are available through local, state, and federal government programs, as well as nonprofit organizations.

Most down payment assistance programs are geared towards first-time buyers. They may include additional eligibility requirements, such as income limits and participation in homebuyer education courses. Consult a list of first-time homebuyer programs and loans to see what you might be eligible for. If it has been more than three years since you have owned a home, you may qualify for first-time homebuyer status.

Additional Cost Considerations for FHA Loans

In addition to the upfront costs of a down payment, closing costs, and MIP, there are other expenses to plan for.

The MIP includes an additional annual fee besides the 1.75% that’s required for closing. Annual payments range from 0.15% to 0.75% depending on the loan terms and loan-to-value ratio. The total annual cost is divided by 12 and spread out across the monthly payments in a given year. Note that MIP usually spans the life of the FHA loan unless a borrower refinances.

Depending on the property location, borrowers may also need to pay for flood insurance to get an FHA loan.

Pros and Cons of an FHA Loan

FHA loans are popular for their lower down payment mortgage requirements, but they’re not for everyone. Here are some advantages and drawbacks to consider when comparing home mortgage loan options.


•   Smaller down payments

•   More lenient credit score requirements

•   No income limits

•   Can finance closing costs


•   Required to pass an inspection and appraisal

•   Must be used for a primary residence.

•   Loan limits of $472,030 to $1,089,300 for a single-family home, depending on the cost of living by state.

•   Can require an inspection and stricter standards for the condition of the property.

The Takeaway

What is the minimum down payment for an FHA loan? Borrowers with credit scores of 580 or more can put just 3.5% down, while those with scores between 500 to 579 need to put 10% toward a down payment. The combination of lower minimum credit score and low down payment make FHA loans one attractive option for first-time homebuyers.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.


What is the lowest down payment for an FHA loan?

The lowest down payment for an FHA loan is 3.5% of the loan amount. Borrowers can explore down payment assistance programs to help cover the cost.

What is the down payment for an FHA loan 2023?

The down payment for an FHA loan in 2023 ranges from 3.5% to 10% depending on the borrower’s credit score.

What will disqualify you from an FHA loan?

Borrowers could be disqualified from an FHA loan based on a high debt-to-income ratio, poor credit, or insufficient funds to pay for the down payment, closing costs, and monthly mortgage payment.

Photo credit: iStock/Edwin Tan

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.

*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

¹FHA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by FHA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. FHA loans require an Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP), which may be financed or paid at closing, in addition to monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP). Maximum loan amounts vary by county. The minimum FHA mortgage down payment is 3.5% for those who qualify financially for a primary purchase. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.


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Creative DIY Nursery Room Ideas

When you have a new baby on the way, you may be eager to create a nursery that’s comfortable, functional, and stylish. You can drop big bucks to turn a spare room into a dream nursery. But if you’re willing to put in some elbow grease and think outside the box, you could get the job done for much less.

Here are some creative DIY nursery ideas that won’t break the bank.

Use Paint to Make a Big Impact

If home improvement shows have taught us anything, it’s that paint can be a powerful — and cheap — way to change things up. In fact, for the cost of a few gallons of nontoxic paint, a roll of painter’s tape, and drop coverings, you can completely transform any room.

The options are limited only by your imagination. Paint all four walls the same shade to create a cohesive look, or focus the color on one wall to make a real statement. Use painter’s tape to create shapes or patterns, like stripes or chevrons, that pack the same punch as wallpaper but without the mess. If you’re artistic, paint a mural with animals or popular cartoon characters. Or considering all the time your baby will spend in their crib, you may decide to spiff up the ceiling with a pop of color.

Price tag: $125 to $250

💡 Quick Tip: Need help covering the cost of a wedding, honeymoon, or new baby? A SoFi personal loan can help you fund major life events — without the high interest rates of credit cards.

Get a Soft Rug

If you have hardwood floors, a soft rug won’t just help your feet stay warm when you come in for late-night feedings. You’ll also want a cozy surface for your baby to play, and later, learn to crawl.

You can get an area rug at a local hardware or furniture store that can bring out some of the colors in your decor and provide a soft buffer between your baby and the floor.

Price tag: $200

Make Your Own Art

Blank walls are boring, but art can be expensive to buy. So why not make your own creations?

One idea: Get jumbo letters from the local craft store that spell out your baby’s name and hang them on the wall.

Or figure out the theme of the room to help you come up with other ideas. For example, you can go to the zoo with a camera and then print out pictures of animals for an animal-themed room. Or become inspired by the night sky and put up sparkly stars and a moon on the walls. You can also find cool fabric and tack it onto a canvas for a fabric panel.

Price tag: From $25

Help Baby Sleep

Having a newborn goes hand in hand with frequent wake-up calls. But there are ways you can help baby settle down after a 3 a.m. feeding or stay asleep during a mid-afternoon nap.

Blackout curtains are a great way to prevent sunlight from seeping through window coverings — and interrupting a good nap. Making a set is doable with the help of a sewing machine and a trip to the local fabric store.

Hanging a mobile above the crib can also keep your little one entranced until their eyes start to close. You can make your own with everyday household and craft supplies, like pom poms, fabric, or paper. Simply attach the items to a string or embroidery floss, attach to a lightweight frame or embroidery hoop, and hang.

Price: From $10

Get Creative With Storage

Even if you’re a minimalist, chances are your baby will require a lot of stuff: clothes, toys, diapers, pacifiers, books…you get the idea. As you’re putting together your nursery, be sure you have ample places to store all those things. Bins, boxes, shelves, and drawers can make clean-up a breeze.

Storage systems don’t have to be expensive. You can get budget-friendly ones at local discount furniture stores. Or check online or garage sales for a used piece of furniture that you can refinish or repaint.

Just remember to fasten all the furniture to the wall so that when your baby starts pulling themselves up and walking, nothing topples over on them.

Price: From $100

Recommended: 25 Tips for Buying Furniture on a Budget

How Do You Pay for a Nursery Room Renovation

DIY-ing a nursery may save you money, but you’ll still need to make room in the budget. This can be a challenge if you’re also trying to balance the cost of hospital bills, doctor’s visits, and pricey essentials like a stroller, car seat, or crib. Here are some options you may want to consider.

Personal Savings

Tapping into your savings allows you to access the cash you need right away. However, if you’re planning to take unpaid maternity leave or are budgeting for medical expenses, you may decide it makes more sense to leave your emergency fund untouched.

Credit Card

Like personal savings, a credit card lets you pay for DIY nursery supplies now. However, at the end of the month, you’ll be billed for whatever you’ve spent. It’s important to make at least a minimum payment by the due date to avoid a late fee. But to avoid paying interest entirely, you’ll need to pay off the balance in full each month.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Personal Loan

Generally speaking, a personal loan can be used for virtually anything, including decorating a nursery. Interest rates are relatively low, which means that you can likely get a loan at a low rate compared to a credit card. For that reason, it might be a much better idea than putting the expenses on a credit card, which typically have higher interest rates.

A typical term length for a personal loan is anywhere from one to 10 years. Extending your repayment over multiple years could reduce your monthly payments. But keep in mind, the longer the term length, the more you’ll pay in interest over the life of your loan.

When looking for a loan, you may want to look into securing a fixed interest rate so that you can lock in your low rate over the life of your loan.

💡 Quick Tip: Some personal loan lenders can release your funds as quickly as the same day your loan is approved.

The Takeaway

When you’re expecting a new baby, you naturally want to give them the world. This may include a room they’ll be happy to call their own. Fortunately, you can get the nursery of your dreams without having to spend a lot of money. There are creative, affordable ways to create a statement, like painting the walls or ceiling a fun shade or designing an adorable mural. Not as crafty? Explore simple, inexpensive projects, like making a mobile to hang over the crib.

If much of your budget is already earmarked for baby essentials and medical bills, you may want to explore alternate ways of paying for a nursery renovation. You could draw from your personal savings, use a credit card, or explore taking out a personal loan.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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How Much Does It Cost to Start a Business?

Looking to start your own business? You’re not alone. Some 76% of Gen Z and millennials dream of being their own boss, according to a 2022 Microsoft report.

While launching your own business allows you plenty of professional freedom, it can also be expensive. As you’re creating your business plan, one question you’ll likely face early on is, how much does it cost to start a business?

The average small business owner spends around $40,000 in their first full year. But that amount can vary based on a number of factors, including the size, type and location of your business.

Let’s take a closer look at the startup costs of different types of businesses and common ways to cover the expenses.

Typical Small Business Startup Costs

The old adage is true: You have to spend money to make money. And unfortunately, some of the biggest business costs can come during the startup phase, when you are defining your business goals, finding a location, purchasing domain names, and generally investing in the infrastructure.

In order to make sure your business is on firm financial footing, it’s important to estimate your small business startup costs in advance. Here are some common ones to keep in mind:


Many small businesses start out as a company of one. But if you’re planning on having employees, salary will likely be one of the biggest costs you’ll have. After all, offering an attractive pay and benefits package can help you recruit and retain top talent.

In addition to wages, you might also want to budget for other types of payroll costs, such as overtime, vacation pay, bonuses, commissions, and benefits.

Office Space

No matter what your business is, you’ll need somewhere to work. Are you leasing a storefront, or will you buy a membership to a co-working space or startup incubator? If you’re planning to work from home, consider whether your new business will increase your internet or utility bills.

And don’t forget about the supplies you’ll need to do the work. Depending on your business, this could include things like computers, phones, chairs and desks, paper supplies, or filing cabinets.

💡 Quick Tip: Some lenders can release funds as quickly as the same day your loan is approved. SoFi personal loans offer same-day funding for qualified borrowers.


If you’re starting a business that sells products, you’ll need to have some inventory ready to go. Calculating stock as part of your start-up costs ensures that you can buy your product in advance, so that you’re ready to serve customers from day one.

Licenses, Permits, and Insurance

Some businesses, especially storefronts and restaurants, require more legal leg work than others.

For example, if you’re starting a native-plants landscaping business, will you need a permit? If you’re starting a new bar, will you need a liquor license? Licenses and permits vary by city and state, but most come with an application fee.

Likewise, your new business may require one or more insurance policies to protect you in case of future litigation, so be sure to factor in the cost of monthly premiums.

And don’t forget about the costs associated with registering your business. Whether you plan to set up shop as a sole proprietorship, corporation, limited liability corporation or other business entity, you’ll need to pay a nominal fee. The amount will depend on the state where you operate.

And if you plan on enlisting the help of a lawyer, accountant or tax professional to get your business up and running, add those potential costs to your budget as well.


Getting the word out about your new business is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that business starts off strong. Whether you want to advertise on social media or take out a billboard, your startup costs should reflect money you plan to put toward taking out ads for your business.

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Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $250 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!1

Differences in Startup Costs Based on Industry

The actual cost of starting a small business can vary by business and industry. Here’s what you might be looking at if you want to start a few common types of small businesses.

Online Business Startup Costs

Like brick and mortar stores, the cost of doing business online varies depending on the type of business you have. But in general, you’ll need to budget for things like:

•   Web hosting service and domain name

•   Web design and optimization

•   E-commerce software

•   Payment processing

•   Content creation and social media

If you’re selling products, you will need to invest in inventory and shipping. If you’re providing services, you may need to hire employees. All of these costs can be significant.

However, one benefit of starting your small business online is that you may be able to keep other costs low. For example, if you can conduct business from home, you may not need to rent office space, which can be a major savings. If you’re able to do the work without purchasing inventory or hiring employees, the startup costs can be even lower.

Average startup cost: $500 to $20,000 or more (depending on your business)

Storefront Startup Costs

If your business idea requires a physical space, your startup costs might range from $1,000 for a small kiosk inside a mall or park to more than $69,000 for something like a home goods store.

Although $69,000 might seem like a daunting number, remember that many smaller, independently owned stores began with a much smaller budget.

Average retail startup cost: $39,210

Restaurant Startup Costs

If you’re betting on bringing in bank by selling your grandma’s famous bánh mì, you could be looking at startup costs of anywhere from $40,000 for a used food truck or cart to up to $3.7 million to buy a franchise restaurant. Typically, small restaurant costs, including coffee shops, fall somewhere in the $80,000 to $3000,000 range.

Average startup cost: $375,000

How to Finance Your Startup Business

Many who want to start a business are overwhelmed by the initial costs, but there are several ways to fund your passion project.

Friends and Family

Perhaps one of the most common ways to raise money for your small business is to ask friends and family to invest in you.

Friends and family loans can be ideal for financing a new small business because you can negotiate low-interest rates, flexible pay-back schedules, and avoid bank fees. Of course, borrowing money from friends and family can quickly become complicated by family drama, so make sure to agree on conditions before taking out a family loan.

Outside Investors

When we hear about startup companies, we frequently hear about so-called “angel investors” sweeping in to fully fund new businesses. But there are other practical ways to fund your small business with outside investors.

Some small businesses use crowdfunding platforms to find investors who each contribute a small amount, and others use startup funding networks to find investors looking to fund their specific type of business. Outside investors want to know that your business is likely to succeed, so you’ll need a solid business plan to land outside funders.

Personal Savings and Investments

Most people end up covering some of their small business start-up costs out of their own pocket. Self-funding your new business venture can be the most convenient option. After all, if you’re your own funder, you don’t have to worry about family drama or picky investors. And putting your own money on the line can be an extra motivation to make sure that your business is set up to succeed.

Of course, it can seem overwhelming to save up enough money to fund your small business. Luckily, there are simple strategies to effectively manage your money.

Business Loans

If you’re looking to purchase equipment, inventory, or pay for other business expenses, a business loan might make sense for you.

There are various types of small business loans available, each with different rates and repayment terms. Note that in some cases, lenders may be reluctant to give loans to a brand-new business. You might need to put up some type of collateral to qualify for funding.

Personal Loans

A personal loan can be used for just about any purpose, which can make it attractive for entrepreneurs who want to turn their passion project into a reality. These loans are usually unsecured, which means they’re not backed by collateral, like a home, car, or bank account balance.

Personal loan amounts vary. However, some lenders offer personal loans for as much as $100,000. Most personal loans have shorter repayment terms, though the length of a loan can vary from a few months to several years.

While there’s a great deal of latitude with how you use the funds, you might need to get your lender’s approval first if you intend on using the money directly for your business.

💡 Quick Tip: Before choosing a personal loan, ask about the lender’s fees: origination, prepayment, late fees, etc. One question can save you many dollars.

The Takeaway

Going into business for yourself can be personally and professionally fulfilling. But it can also be expensive, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Estimating your startup costs early on can help ensure you’re on solid financial ground from the get-go. Labor, office space, and equipment are among the biggest expenses facing many entrepreneurs, but there are smaller fees and charges you’ll likely need to consider.

Fortunately, small business owners have no shortage of options when it comes to covering startup costs. Dipping into personal savings, or asking friends and family to invest are popular choices. Taking out a business loan or personal loan is another way to help finance a new business. The money can be used for a variety of purposes, and that flexibility can be especially useful when you’re just starting out.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2023 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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Top Medical School Scholarships For Students

Top Medical School Scholarships For Students

Attending medical school can be an extremely rewarding path, but it can also be an expensive one. Luckily, there are some great medical school scholarships that can help ease the financial burden. Students thinking about attending medical school, or those who are currently enrolled, may want to look into scholarships for medical school.

There are plenty of scholarships for medical students as well as general scholarships that could help you cover the cost of college. Here’s a roundup of the best medical student scholarships, how much they’re worth, and how to apply for them.

Brown Medical and Educational Foundation Scholarship

Dollar amount: Approximately $1,000

Application process: To apply for this scholarship, students must complete an application, submit an official college or university transcript in a sealed envelope, and submit three letters of recommendation.

Eligibility: To qualify for this scholarship, which could help with paying for college, students must be an undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a degree at a U.S. based four-year university while studying a healthcare degree such as nursing, dentistry, medicine, and allied health. They must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Recipients must also identify as a member of select ethnic groups and must be U.S. citizens.

Recommended: Finding Free Money for College

Chinese American Physicians Society Scholarships

Dollar amount: $3,000 to $5,000

Application process: The application for the 2023-2024 school year is set to open in December 2023. Applicants can expect to submit essays as a part of the application.

Eligibility: To receive a Chinese American Physicians Society Scholarship, applicants must be a student at a U.S.-based medical school. Applicants are judged on their financial needs, academic achievements, essays, and community service records. Special credit is given to applicants who are planning to serve Chinese communities after they graduate.

Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund

Dollar amount: Covers the cost of tuition, plus an additional stipend for living expenses

Applicant process: The Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund requires students to submit their application through the dean of the university at the school they are attending for graduate studies. Students can connect with their school’s fellowship or financial aid office to learn more about what the application process looks like for students at their school. Only certain schools participate in this program.

Eligibility: Students must be U.S. citizens and attend a U.S.-based accredited and designated higher education institution as a graduate student in the fields of humanities, social sciences or natural sciences. They must have an outstanding record as an undergraduate and have financial need. National descent is not taken into consideration.

Recommended: Finding & Applying to Scholarships for Grad School

The Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship

Dollar amount: For the 2023-2024 school year, the National Hispanic Health Foundation will give awards of $5,000 annually for up to four years, plus individual scholarship awards of $2,00 each. Overall, the NHHF has awarded $1,954,000 to 346 awardees as of January 2023.

Application process: By September 15, 2023, applicants must submit the following supporting documents as a part of their application for the The Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship:

•   Personal statement or essay that is double-spaced and a maximum of two pages outlining their career goals

•   Curriculum vitae that shares up to date employment experience, education history, extracurricular activities, and awards

•   One letter of recommendation

•   Proof of their U.S. citizenship DACA status, or residency

•   Unofficial copy of their school transcripts

•   Proof of enrollment

Eligibility: To be eligible for this scholarship opportunity, students must have a 3.0 GPA and be currently enrolled full time in a U.S. graduate program studying one of the following subjects:

•   Medicine (allopathic or osteopathic)

•   Dentistry

•   Pharmacy

•   Nursing (including BSN)

•   Public Health

•   Physician Associate

Joseph Collins Scholarship

Dollar amount: $10,000

Application process: Applicants for the Joseph Collins Scholarship must demonstrate an interest in the arts and letters or another type of cultural pursuit that falls outside of the field of medicine and needs to show an intent to specialize in psychiatry, neurourology, or become a general practitioner.

Eligibility: The moral character of the applicant and their scholastic record will be taken into account. Students who are attending medical schools east of the Mississippi river and are ranked in the top 50% of their class are eligible to apply.

The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program

Dollar amount: Full year of scholarship support (tuition and fees plus monthly stipends) for up to four years).

Application process: To apply for the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program, applicants must pass an eligibility screening, submit general information about themselves, their degree, and their backgrounds, as well as providing two letters of recommendation, and writing an essay.

In return, recipients of this scholarship will work in primary care in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). The time commitment may vary based on how much aid the student received.

Eligibility: To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants have to be either a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national and be able to submit proof of their status. Applicants must also be enrolled as full-time students and attend an accredited school or academic program in the U.S. or in a U.S. territory. They must be studying to be a physician, dentist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or physician assistant.

MPOWER Global Citizenship Scholarship

Dollar amount: One $10,000 award and two $2,000 awards

Application process: To apply for this scholarship program, applicants must complete the application form provided by MPOWER. There is one essay question.

Eligibility: Recipients of the MPOWER Global Citizenship Scholarship must be international students that are legally allowed to work and attend school in either the U.S. or Canada. They must also be enrolled in a U.S. or Canadian school that MPOWER supports.

Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Dollar amount: Up to $90,000 in financial support over two years.

Application process: In order to apply for the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, students must submit the following information and materials in an online application.

•   Personal and contact information

•   Higher-education history

•   Information about the graduate program they are seeking support for

•   Three to five recommendations

•   Resume

•   Two essays

•   College and graduate school transcripts

•   Standardized test scores

•   Optional exhibits (such as artwork, examples of written work, and so on)

Eligibility: Applicants must be aged 30 or younger by the time of the application deadline and need to plan on either starting or continuing a full-time graduate degree program in the U.S.

Students may apply before they begin graduate school or while they are enrolled. Applicants must also meet the scholarship’s definition of “new American,” which is an individual whose birth parents were born outside of the U.S. as non-U.S. citizens.

Pisacano Scholars Leadership Program

Dollar amount: $7,000 per year up to four years.

Application process: Applications can be mailed or emailed and must included the following information:

•   Official copy of undergraduate and graduate school transcript if applicable

•   Official copy of medical school transcript

•   Copy of MCAT scores

•   Copy of USMLE score or COMLEX score

•   Copy of current CV

•   Essay

Eligibility: In order to qualify for the Pisacano Scholars Leadership Program, applicants must be third-year medical students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the specialty of family medicine.

Leadership skills, academic achievements, communication skills, identifiable character and integrity, and community service involvement will all be taken into consideration.

How Student Loan Refinancing Can Help

Those students who already have medical school debt and may no longer be eligible for medical school scholarships may want to consider refinancing their existing student loans. Under the right terms, refinancing student loans could help lower their monthly payments. Refinancing student loans involves consolidating student loans through a private lender into a new loan that ideally comes with a lower interest rate and better term.

If the applicant can secure a better interest rate, they may end up paying less over the life of their loan. However, if they lengthen the term of the loan to reduce their monthly payments, they may end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan.

When a borrower applies to refinance their loan or loans, the lender will generally take their credit score, credit history, and other key financial information into consideration to determine their rates and terms.

It’s important to know that refinancing federal student loans into private ones causes the borrower to lose out on federal protections such as forbearance, deferment, and income-driven repayment plans.

Recommended: Private vs. Federal Student Loans

The Takeaway

Scholarships can be an effective way to help medical students pay for med school.

Application processes and eligibility requirements will vary from scholarship to scholarship so it may be helpful to explore and research different scholarships that fit your unique educational and personal profile.

If you’re interested in refinancing your student loans, SoFi offers loans with flexible terms and no fees. A student loan refinance calculator can help you determine if refinancing makes good financial sense for you.

With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.

Photo credit: iStock/JohnnyGreig

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


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PA School Debt Repayment Strategies

The decision to become a physician assistant, or PA, is a noble but big one. PAs work at hospitals, medical offices, nursing homes, retail clinics, community health centers, and in the federal government.

Becoming a PA often means taking on student loans, which begs the question: Is PA school worth the debt?

Average Cost of PA School

In the 2019-2020 school year, the average cost of PA school was $56,850 for two years at an in-state school and $101,500 for an out-of-state school, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Before sticker shock sets in, the average salary of certified PAs in 2022 was $125,270 per year. Those working in outpatient care centers, one of the highest paying locations, average a mean annual salary of $137,040.

Once those salaries are claimed and regularly earned, there’s the matter of loan repayment. This guide will help readers consider strategies to handle PA school debt.

Recommended: How Much Does PA School Cost?

Physician Assistant (PA) School Repayment Options

Fortunately, there are options available for PAs who are mindful of interest and debt accumulating in their name. The big one is the federal government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which kicks in “if you are employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization.” PSLF forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans after 120 qualifying payments (a big number that can often boil down to 10 years’ worth of payments) under a qualifying repayment plan.

Another option for PAs is an income-driven repayment plan. There are four plans to choose from, including Income-Contingent Repayment, Pay As You Earn, Revised Pay As You Earn, and Income-Based Repayment. Similar to Public Service Loan Forgiveness, the motivation for these plans is working toward student loan forgiveness — if PAs can’t qualify for PSLF, possibly because they work for a private employer, they could still receive loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years of repayment under an income-driven repayment plan.

💡 Quick Tip: Some student loan refinance lenders offer no fees, saving borrowers money.

Other Payment Programs

There are also federal and state programs that reimburse health care workers in underserved areas, also called Health Professional Shortage Areas. The Health Resources & Services Administration offers a searchable online database of shortage areas by state and county, and a tool to check if a location has been officially designated as an underserved area.

Then there are State-based Loan Repayment Programs, whose financial incentive can vary depending on specialty. Colorado, for example, offers $90,000 for a full-time PA ($45,000 for a part-time PA), and PAs must “agree to work for a term of three years at an approved site, work part-time or full-time with a minimum of clinical contact hours, and also meet the hourly requirements during the entire service obligation.”

States vary in requirements and awards. The Health Resources & Services Administration also is of help in looking into SLRPs.

Planning for the Future

One way to minimize the shock of shouldering PA school debt is to build a budget — and stick to it. Although pretty much everyone knows that budgeting is a smart idea, few actually put it into practice: According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, more than half the population (56%) did not have a budget in 2021.

A simple way to create a budget is to list out all of your fixed expenses. Fixed expenses do not change month-to-month and include things like rent or mortgage payments, car payments, student loan payments, daycare costs, cell phone services, gym memberships, and more. Next, list out your variable expenses, which do change depending on the month. Variable expenses include food, gas, entertainment, utilities, clothing, and emergency expenses. If your income does not exceed your spending, create spending limits for your variable expenses. Make sure to budget for retirement, emergency savings, and other miscellaneous expenses that may crop up.

Refinancing School Debt

It’s no secret that pretty much any type of higher education career often means taking on considerable student loan debt. If it reaches a point where making real progress on repaying the loans feels nearly impossible, federal student loan repayment and forgiveness programs either don’t apply or aren’t the right fit, or personal loans are involved, then refinancing with a private lender might be a good option.

With refinancing, a new loan is used to pay off one or more existing federal or private loans. In addition to combining multiple loans into one, qualified borrowers may also land a better interest rate, reducing the amount they pay in interest over the life of the loan assuming the loan term does not change.

Recommended: Student Loan Refinancing Calculator

However, refinancing federal student loans with a private lender means a borrower is no longer eligible for many of the state and federal programs mentioned above, or other protections and benefits extended to federal student loan borrowers. Those looking to combine federal loans only can consider a student loan consolidation.

Refinancing Student Loans With SoFi

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.

With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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