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11 Strategies for Paying for College and Other Expenses

For the 2021-2022 school year, the average cost of tuition and fees for a four-year private college is $38,070, $27,560 for a public four-year college (out-of-state) and $10,740 for a public four-year college (in-state), according to the College Board.

Add in the cost of room and board and other living expenses and it’s no surprise that students and their families often rely on a combination of funding sources to pay for their education. Students may turn to savings, scholarships, grants, and student loans to find enough money to pay for college.

11 Ways to Pay for College and Other Expenses

Paying for college, plus living expenses, often requires a hodgepodge of funding sources. As mentioned, students rely on things like scholarships, grants, in addition to student loans.

Students attending trade school or community college may also be able to use these sources of funding to pay for their education. Continue reading for details on different ways to pay for college.

1. Fill Out FAFSA and See What Aid You Qualify For

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA®, is the application students will fill out if they are interested in securing any form of federal financial aid. This includes federal scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans. Many schools will also use information provided on the FAFSA to determine school-specific scholarships or grants.

Completing the FAFSA is free — it requires a bit of time, but that’s worth it if you qualify for much-needed funding to pay for schools.

Be sure to compare financial aid packages from each college to understand the net cost at each. Some colleges may have more expensive sticker prices, but offer more aid.

2. Applying for Scholarships

Many colleges and private organizations offer merit-based scholarships. This means money is awarded based on academic or athletic ability, not financial need. There are plenty of databases and scholarship search tools that can help students find scholarships.

Scholarships often have specific requirements, so read the criteria carefully. For instance, you might need to live in a certain state or major in a particular subject to qualify. If you’re unsure whether you qualify, contact the scholarship sponsor.

Recommended: What Is a Scholarship & How to Get One?

It may also benefit you to start researching scholarships early. Gather required documents and information to apply so that you are ready to meet any early deadlines. Many scholarships require you to submit a high school transcript, your standardized test scores, a financial aid form, and information about your family’s finances, including your parent’s tax returns from the previous year.

Many scholarships also require you to write an essay and provide at least one letter of recommendation. Be sure to follow all the directions carefully and to keep copies of your application.

3. Applying for Grants

Unlike scholarships, most grants are based on financial need, not academic achievement. The largest source of need-based grants is the federal government’s Pell Grant program, but there are other federal student grants available.

To qualify for a Pell Grant, you must be a U.S. citizen attending either a two- or four-year undergraduate program. If you have already earned a baccalaureate or professional degree, you won’t be eligible for a federal grant, so this link has four simple steps if you’re looking for ways to pay for graduate school.

Pell Grant amounts are based on financial need, the cost to attend your college, and your enrollment status. The amount awarded will vary based on those factors, but the current maximum award is $6,895 for the 2022-2023 school year.

Many states also distribute grants. Check out SoFi’s financial aid database with state-by-state guides.

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4. Asking the College for More Money

While it may seem like a bold move, one strategy for obtaining additional student aid might be asking the college to provide a larger financial aid package. Appealing a financial aid decision is a possibility, but there are no guarantees. Financial aid awards are usually based on information provided on the FAFSA, and in some cases changes in financial circumstances can lead to an amended financial aid award. Some colleges and universities might also be willing to match a more competitive financial aid offer from a comparable school.

The appeals process might vary based on the school’s policies, so check in with the financial aid office or review the school’s website to determine the exact process.

Many schools will require a letter of explanation. Depending on the circumstances, documentation might be necessary to supplement the information detailed in the appeals letter.

5. Getting a Part-Time Job

Another way to pay for college is to look for a part-time job, either on or off campus. Campus career services offices may also have resources for students looking for part-time work and may even help with resume writing.

Websites popular with college students looking for work during the academic year include QuadJobs , WayUp , and Upwork .

Students looking for part-time jobs may want to consider the following types:

Student Research Positions

Bolster your resume while working as a lab assistant or teaching assistant. Some colleges and universities may have research positions available for undergraduate students.

Jobs with Tuition Reimbursement

Some companies may offer tuition reimbursement or support to part-time employees. This means you could earn money to boost your income and also gain some extra funding to pay for your tuition. For example, at Starbucks, part-time employees may qualify for the company’s education assistance program.

Applying for Internships

Internships can be a good way to help you gain work experience and round out your resume. While some internships are unpaid, if you can secure a paid internship it could allow you to earn some extra money and build skills directly applicable to your future career.

6. Applying for a Tax Credit

Qualifying students — or their parents, if the student is a dependent — may claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) for up to $2,500 for each eligible child attending college. To be eligible, the student must:

•   be enrolled in a degree program at least half time for one academic period.

•   have not finished the first four years of higher education at the beginning of the tax year.

•   have not claimed the AOTC (or the former Hope credit) for more than four tax years.

•   have not had a felony drug conviction at the end of the tax year.

Another tax credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) , is also available for qualifying students, but cannot be claimed for the same student on an individual tax return. The maximum benefit of the LLC is $2,000 per tax return, and there is no limit on the number of tax years the credit can be claimed.

Requirements for either of these tax credits may change from year to year, so it’s recommended to check the most recent information before claiming the credit.

7. Federal Student Loans

The U.S. The Department of Education oversees the Federal Direct Loan Program which offers a few different types of student loans. Undergraduate students may qualify for subsidized or unsubsidized loans.

Subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need. The interest accrued on a subsidized loan is covered by the Department of Education while the borrower is enrolled at least half-time, during the grace period, and during periods of deferment.

Unsubsidized loans don’t have a financial need requirement, and borrowers are responsible for paying the interest on an unsubsidized loan once it’s disbursed.

Parents of undergraduate students or graduate students may also qualify for Direct PLUS Loans. Unlike other types of federal loans, a credit check is required for a Direct PLUS Loan.

8. Work-Study

Some students may have been awarded Federal Work-Study as part of their federal student financial aid package. This program is administered by individual colleges or universities, so check with the financial aid office to see if the school participates in the program.

If you are awarded work-study, you’ll still need to find a job that qualifies for the program. Many schools will run an on-campus job database for this sort of thing. Based on your financial aid award, you’ll be allowed to work a certain number of hours each week.

9. Private Student Loans

If you aren’t awarded a scholarship or grant and have exhausted your federal loan options, there are a variety of private student loans you can apply for to help pay for college.

Private loans are offered by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. They are not need-based or subsidized, and the lender will often review your credit score among other financial factors. In some cases, you may need to add a cosigner to your application to be approved.

Interest rates and terms vary from lender to lender, so compare loan options before committing.

10. Use Your Savings

If you’re lucky enough to have money saved away for college, put it to work! Some students may have a 529 savings plan set up in their name. A 529 savings plan is a dedicated college fund that offers certain tax advantages. Money contributed to the plan is invested and can be withdrawn tax-free if it is used for qualified education expenses.

Recommended: Guide to Paying for College for Parents

Using money saved up could help you take on less student loans or make it so you can work fewer hours at a part-time gig.

11. Income-Share Agreements

Income share agreements are made between a student and the school they attend. The college or university lends the student money required to pay for their educational costs, and in exchange the student agrees to pay a share of their future earnings for a fixed amount of time after graduation.

Unlike a student loan where the amount you repay is determined by the interest rate on the loan, the amount you repay for an income share agreement can fluctuate based on how much you earn after you graduate.

Income share agreements can be helpful for students who have exhausted their federal loan options. A potential negative is that students who are high-earners after graduation may end up repaying more than they would if they had borrowed a more traditional loan.

The Takeaway

One place to start figuring out how to pay for college is by speaking with a guidance counselor and doing some research about financing college costs. Understanding the options available can help you and your family figure out what types of funding work best for your situation. Students can use a combination of funding — from student loans to grants and scholarships — to pay for their education.

No-fee private student loans from SoFi may be an option to help students pay for school after all federal student aid options have been exhausted. The application process can be completed easily online and you can see rates and terms in just a few minutes. Flexible repayment plans allow borrowers to select the option that best suits their budget.

Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.

FAQ

Does anyone actually pay full price for college?

Some students pay the full sticker price for college. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, from 2009 to 2020, nearly 87% of first-time degree seeking students at four year universities received some form of financial aid.

Can you borrow from a 401(k) to pay for your child’s college?

It is possible to borrow a loan against your 401(k) to pay for your child’s college education. However, when you borrow against your 401(k), it can potentially limit growth in your retirement fund. There are also Parent PLUS Loans available from the federal government or private student loans for parents that could be considered to help pay for your child’s college education without requiring you to withdraw from or borrow against your 401(k). Consider speaking with a qualified financial professional for personalized advice.

Do student loans go away after 7 years or a set amount of time?

Repayment terms for federal student loans range from 10 to 25 years. Private student loan repayment terms may vary by lender.


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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

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.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
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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Guide to Transferring Colleges

Transferring colleges can be a big change, but it may be advantageous or even necessary for some students.

Whether you’re moving from a community college to a four-year university, trying to find the right fit academically or socially, or looking to lower your tuition bill, transferring schools could help you achieve a better college experience.

The transfer process can take time, however, so the sooner you decide where you want to go and gather the necessary paperwork, the better experience you should have. Here are some tips to help you figure out how to transfer colleges smoothly.

Why Transfer Colleges?

There are a lot of reasons a student may want to transfer colleges. Sometimes, they start out at a college and it simply isn’t the right fit — it could be the wrong social or learning environment for the student.

Other times, students will transfer from a community college to a four-year university to complete their degree. Some students find they want to switch majors and their desired major isn’t available at their current school. For some, changes in financial aid or academic standing may lead them to transfer.

Regardless of the reason behind transferring, the ultimate goal is usually the same — to find a school that is the right academic and social fit for the student.

What Is a Transfer Student?

A transfer student is someone who switches from one academic institution to another in pursuit of a degree. For example, someone who completes their freshman year at one school, but then transfers for sophomore year and completes their degree at another school is considered a transfer student. There are a few different types of transfer students, outlined here:

Four-Year University Transfer Student

Community College Transfer Student

Someone who begins their college education at a community college, and then transfers to a four-year institution to complete their Bachelor’s degree is considered a community college transfer student.

Military Transfer Student

Individuals who are on active duty, or are veterans of the U.S. military may be able to transfer to four-year colleges. Some schools, such as the University of North Carolina System, will work closely with members of the military to ensure that credits earned while they were on active duty transfer to their new degree.

International Transfer Student

International students who transfer colleges may have to complete additional requirements depending on the school. Some school’s may require international students to fulfill English language requirements.

Nontraditional Transfer Student

A nontraditional transfer student is generally defined as someone who has been out of high school for at least five years. This could include adult learners or people who choose to go back to school to make a career change.

Plan Your College Transfer

Transferring colleges is a bit different than applying for the first time. Your high school transcript and standardized test scores will generally carry less weight than the courses you completed at your current college.

Policies for transferring may vary by college, but generally, potential transfers are expected to have completed a set number of college credits. Additionally, factor in program requirements and how they may impact any study abroad plans or your tentative date of graduation.

As you look at schools to transfer too, review their course policies. Some schools may not accept transfer credit if the student earned a C or below.

Prep to Transfer Schools

As you prepare to transfer schools, these ideas can help.

•   Figuring Out Why You Want to Transfer. Understanding your reasons for wanting to transfer will give you an idea of what to look for in a new school. For example, if your current college is too expensive, it may help to focus on tuition rates when you’re comparing alternatives.

•   Speaking with an Advisor. Your college may have student advisors who can give you some information and personalized advice based on your needs. It’s likely they’ve gone through the same process with other students and may be able to provide some perspective to help you navigate the transfer process.

•   Get letters of recommendation. Consider asking a college professor for a letter of recommendation. While the high school recommendations can help bolster your transfer application, a letter from someone who has seen you navigate college-level coursework may be beneficial.

•   Be Aware of Deadlines.The deadline for your transfer application can vary from college to college, so make sure to check the school’s website and write it down, so you don’t forget.

Financial Considerations for Transfer Students

When you transfer colleges, keep in mind that most federal financial aid will not transfer with you. For example, school specific scholarships won’t transfer. Consider speaking with the financial aid office to see which types of aid, if any, will move with you to a new school.

Even though aid you currently receive may not transfer with you, you can apply for federal financial aid with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. FAFSA requirements are similar for transfer students as they are for traditional students. Keep in mind that each state has different FAFSA deadlines. This will determine whether you’re eligible for federal student loans and other forms of federal financial aid. Federal financial aid includes scholarships, grants, work-study, and federal student loans.

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are awarded to college students based on information provided in the FAFSA. Undergraduates may qualify for either Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans.

The government covers interest that accrues on subsidized loans while the student is enrolled at least half-time in school. These are awarded based on financial need.

Students are responsible for all accrued interest on unsubsidized loans and these are not awarded based on need.

Graduate or professional students may also qualify for Direct PLUS Loans. Grad students will need to fill out a grad school FAFSA to apply for PLUS Loans.

Grants and Scholarships

Filling out the FAFSA may help you secure some federal or school-specific grants or scholarships. Students, especially families looking for high income financial aid, may want to explore scholarships available from private companies, nonprofits, or other local organizations.

To find scholarships, take advantage of SoFi’s scholarship search tool or other online scholarship databases.

Work-Study

Students who demonstrate financial need may be eligible for work-study. This program allows students to secure a part-time job to help them pay for college expenses.

Private Student Loans

If you’ve maxed out your federal loan allowance, however, an undergraduate loan from a private lender could help you bridge the gap. Private loans are available from private lenders and don’t necessarily offer the same benefits or protections — like loan forgiveness options — as a federal student loan.

Recommended: Private Student Loan Guide

Typically, private student loans typically require a credit check. College students who have a limited credit history may find a cosigner is needed to help them get approved for a private student loan.

The Takeaway

When transferring colleges understand what credits will transfer and be aware of college transfer application requirements and deadlines. Planning ahead can help you streamline the college transfer application process.

Take the time to understand how the process works for the school of your choice and start thinking about financing options sooner than later. If you are interested in using private student loans at your new school, consider a no fee private student loan from SoFi.

Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.


SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

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.
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How Do You Find Non Academic Scholarships for College?

Imagine this: After spending 12 long years of education, it’s finally time to head to college. But hang on, because there’s a catch — tuition is much higher than you thought, and the school didn’t offer an academic scholarship.

One alternative for students can be to find a non-academic scholarship and keep pushing toward that dream. Here are tips on finding non-academic scholarships to help pay for a college education.

What Is A Non-Academic Scholarship?

Scholarships are one type of financial aid available to students, which importantly, don’t need to be repaid and are typically awarded based on merit or some other quality. Grants, which also do not need to be repaid, are typically awarded based on need and not based on academic or athletic merit. For example, Pell Grants are federal grants awarded to undergraduate students who exhibit exceptional financial need.

Recommended: What are Pell Grants?

Scholarships can be awarded for many different reasons, including academic achievement. However, just because someone isn’t an A+ student doesn’t mean they too can’t qualify for a scholarship. There are non-academic scholarships for just about anyone. Students may just need to put in a bit of legwork to find ones they qualify for and apply.

Places to Find Non-Academic Scholarships

Often, the first step in getting a scholarship is to find it. Here are a few places to start your search.

School Counselor’s Office

High school students can check in with their high school counselor to see about any non-academic scholarship they may know about. The office may have a list of options available to students, and, because they may know the student, their skills, and their future aspirations, they may be able to hone in on the right scholarship for them.

School counselor’s may also have helpful information on navigating the financial aid process. One piece of the funding puzzle may be undergraduate loans — if scholarships don’t cover all of the costs. Students may consider private student loans after exhausting federal aid including federal student loans. This comprehensive private student loan guide dives into more detail.

College Admissions Website

If a high school student has already been accepted to school, they may check in with the college’s admission website. There, they could find a list of potential scholarships offered directly by the school. Students should also reach out directly to the admissions office or future academic counselors for assistance.

As the school year nears, you may consider checking in with your college’s financial aid office to see if they can guide you to unclaimed scholarships.

Scholarship Listing Websites

There are several scholarship search tools out there that roundup available scholarships to students, including destinations like FastWeb or CollegeBoard. Here, students can sift through hundreds of available scholarships and find help with the application process as well.

Friends and Family

Sure, it may not seem as obvious, but merely asking around for scholarship opportunities can’t hurt. Students should reach out to their network and let everyone know they are on the hunt for financial assistance. Someone may know of a specific scholarship that could be the perfect fit for the student.

Connect With the Community

Explore connections with local religious groups, business, and other organizations. Having an existing connection can potentially improve an applicant’s chances of securing a scholarship. Plus, students may face less competition when they apply for more local scholarships.

Non-Academic Scholarship Areas

Need a little help thinking about what type of non-academic scholarship may fit? Here are a few ideas to get students started.

Talents

Have a unique talent? There’s probably a scholarship available for it. For example, you can find scholarships for duck calling , dance, drawing and much more.

Heritage

Students may also find non-academic scholarships based on their heritage. Students from minority groups may find additional opportunities, for example scholarships for African American or Hispanic students.

Some scholarships may be available through churches, while others can be found on websites like College Board. There, students of various backgrounds can search for a suitable match.

Interests

Students can apply to non-academic scholarships based on their various interests too. For example, those interested in cars can apply for the National Corvette Club scholarship. Those students that love to cook can apply for the AAC Culinary Scholarships for High School Seniors .

Know a student who spends their Sundays completing The New York Times crossword puzzle in pen? Have them apply to the Crossword Hobbyist Crossword Scholarship . No matter the interest, odds are there is a scholarship out there for it.

Area of Study

Future and current college students may be able to find a scholarship that suits their future area of study. Students hoping to become their own CEOs can apply for The National Association for the
Self-Employed
’s Future Entrepreneur Scholarships, which helps promote “entrepreneurial thinking among aspiring business students.”

Again, if there’s an area of study odds are there’s a scholarship available for it.

Area Code

Students looking for a non-academic scholarship can search for regional scholarships on many online databases. SoFi runs a state-by-state grant and scholarship database so you can take a look at what is available in your area.

Other sources for regional or location-based scholarships may include local nonprofits and businesses.

Other Outlandish Options

There are scholarships available for less obvious reasons too. One of the more famous wacky scholarships is the Stuck at the Prom Scholarship Contest sponsored by Duck brand duct tape. Each year, the company awards a $5,000 scholarship to a teen who designs and wears a dress or tuxedo made out of their duct tape.

The Takeaway

Non-academic scholarships can be awarded based on talent, skill, interest, and more. Some scholarships may even be regional or location based. To find non-academic scholarships, consult with your guidance counselor, your college’s financial aid office, local business and nonprofits, and online scholarship databases.

If scholarships and federal financial aid aren’t enough to cover college costs, private student loans can help fill in the gaps.

Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.

3 Student Loan Tips

1.    Need a private student loan to cover your school bills? Because approval for a private student loan is based on creditworthiness, a cosigner may help a student get loan approval and a lower rate.

2.    Even if you don’t think you qualify for financial aid, you should fill out the FAFSA form. Many schools require it for merit-based scholarships, too. You can submit it as early as Oct. 1.

3.    It’s a good idea to understand the pros and cons of private student loans and federal student loans before committing to them.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

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.
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.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
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The ACT and SAT: Which Test is Right for You?

The SAT and ACT are both standardized tests that colleges use to evaluate a student during the admission process. Some schools will accept both SAT and ACT scores while others show preference to one, and some schools don’t require students to submit scores for either test.

It’s possible to compare estimated scores across the two tests using a simple conversion chart or formula. It’s also worth understanding how the two tests are different, and what a student can expect when taking each test.

ACT and SAT History

In 1926, the SAT was developed as the Army Alpha, to measure the IQ of Army recruits. Over time, the format and audience for the Scholastic Aptitude Test changed. The scoring method, format, and subjects have been adjusted over the years to better reflect the high school curriculum and college application process.

The current version of the SAT takes three hours and includes sections on math, reading comprehension, and writing. The highest score a person can achieve on the SAT is 1600.

The American College Test, created in reaction to the SAT, was first administered in 1959. University of Iowa professor of education Everett Franklin Linquist developed the standardized test to better evaluate a student’s practical knowledge instead of reasoning skills that the SAT focuses on.

The modern ACT takes two hours and 55 minutes (add 40 for the optional writing section) to complete. The test includes sections on English, math, reading, and science, and the optional writing portion. The highest score possible is 36.

Colleges and universities generally accept both the ACT and SAT, but preparing for and taking the two tests is not the same. Understanding the differences between the ACT and SAT might help students decide which test to take and how they might best maximize their score.

Difference Between the ACT and SAT Tests

Other than the score a test taker receives, the SAT and ACT have several differences that might inform a student’s decision to prepare for one over another. Students are taking both tests now more than ever, but preparing for each is different, and it’s possible to prefer one test experience over another.

Scoring

One of the most obvious differences between the two tests is the score. An ACT score ranges from 1 to 36, and there’s no penalty for getting a question wrong. The score is calculated by adding the raw scores of each section, then dividing by four to get the composite score (out of 36).

SAT takers get a score between 400 and 1600. Once again, there’s no penalty for answering a question wrong, and the score goes up with every right answer. Section scores are added together to yield the total score (out of 1600).

Type of Testing

There’s a common belief that students’ strengths in the classroom might allow them to test better on one standardized test over the other. The ACT, with a deeper focus on verbal skills, might be a better fit for students who excel in English classes. Those with strong math skills could prefer the SAT, with a bigger emphasis on math questions.

Both tests have a math section, but the SAT covers data analysis, while the ACT will have questions about probability and statistics.

Format and Subjects

Even when the essay portion is included, the ACT is shorter than the SAT. However, the SAT has 154 questions, while the ACT has 215 — how does that compute? SAT takers have an average of one minute and 10 seconds on each question, compared with 49 seconds for the ACT.

Time per question could be important to a student’s test taking strategy, especially when factoring in the difficulty levels of each test. In the SAT’s math section, the questions become harder the further a student moves along. The same goes for the ACT’s math section, as well as its science section, where passages and the questions become more difficult as the test progresses.

The ACT has more sections than the SAT, including multiple-choice questions on:

•   English: grammar, punctuation, sentence structure

•   Math: algebra, geometry, trigonometry

•   Reading: passage comprehension on fiction, humanities, and sciences

•   Science: comprehension, including summaries, charts, and graphs

•   Writing (optional)

The SAT has fewer sections, with all multiple-choice questions about:

•   Reading: comprehension questions based on passages

•   Writing and language: grammar, editing, and vocabulary

•   Math: algebra, trigonometry, and geometry

The SAT used to have an optional essay section, but it was discontinued in 2021.

The major differentiator between the SAT and ACT experience might be the ACT’s dedicated science section. The SAT includes questions about science, but they are dispersed across the test.

Pricing

The cost of taking the SAT and ACT is similar:

•   SAT: $60

•   ACT: $63, $88 with optional essay

The cost of taking the test shouldn’t keep a student from doing so. Both the College Board and ACT offer fee waivers for students who meet the requirements.

High school students preparing for the SATs may also be getting ready to pay for college and manage their own finances for the first time. SoFi’s money management guide for college students has some tips and strategies that can help.

Evaluating options for paying for college is another important piece of the college preparation puzzle. Options include grants, scholarships, and undergraduate loans, including both private and federal student loans.

Recommended: What Are Pell Grants?

Geography

Because the ACT was founded out of a Midwestern university, the test is somewhat more popular in middle America. The SAT has its origins in testing aptitude for admission to Northeastern educational Army institutions. Students on the East and West coasts are slightly more likely to take the SAT than the ACT.

Because of these geographic trends, students on the coasts might find more SAT prep courses than ACT prep courses, and vice versa.

Converting Test Scores

SAT to ACT conversion is a hot topic. Comparing the tests on their face is like comparing apples to oranges. However, if a student takes both, it helps to figure out which one they performed better on. That means finding a way to compare one test score to another.

Here’s how the ACT’s composite scores compare to the SAT:

ACT Score

SAT Range

36 1570-1600
35 1530-1560
34 1490-1520
33 1450-1480
32 1420-1440
31 1390-1410
30 1360-1380
29 1330-1350
28 1300-1320
27 1260-1290
26 1230-1250
25 1200-1220
24 1160-1190
23 1130-1150
22 1100-1120
21 1060-1090
20 1030-1050
19 990-1020
18 960-980
17 920-950
16 990-910
15 830-870
14 870-820
13 730-770
12 690-720
11 650-680
10 620-640
9 590-610

Should I Take the ACT or SAT?

The SAT and ACT are both widely accepted by colleges and universities in the U.S. It’s common for students to take both the SAT and ACT. If you are deciding which test is best for you, consider taking a full, timed practice test for each type. This can give you a rough estimate of where you may score when you take the exam.

The Takeaway

Both the SAT and ACT are standardized tests designed to gauge a student’s readiness for college. One test is not inherently easier than the other and both are accepted at a wide array of colleges and universities. Taking a timed practice test can be one of the best ways to roughly estimate your score.

Paying for college is another important step in preparing for college. Students may consider using a combination of grants, scholarships, and student loans. Private student loans may lack borrower protections offered by federal student loans, so federal loans are generally prioritized over private loans. This private student loan guide has more information on the differences between private and federal student loans.

Borrowers interested in private student loans could consider SoFi — where private student loans have no fees, applications can be completed online and you can easily add a cosigner.

SoFi private student loans offer competitive interest rates for qualifying borrowers, flexible repayment plans, and no fees.

3 Student Loan Tips

1.    Can’t cover your school bills? If you’ve exhausted all federal aid options, private student loans can fill gaps in need, up to the school’s cost of attendance, which includes tuition, books, housing, meals, transportation, and personal expenses.

2.    Even if you don’t think you qualify for financial aid, you should fill out the FAFSA form. Many schools require it for merit-based scholarships, too. You can submit it as early as Oct. 1.

3.    Would-be borrowers will want to understand the different types of student loans peppering the landscape: private student loans, federal Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans, Direct PLUS loans, and more.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

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.
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Ace Your Student Loans With The Ultimate Loan Terminology Cheat Sheet

There are so many upsides to investing in your education — the personal enrichment and possibility of a bright and fruitful future being the most obvious. But, there are also some potential downsides that are hard to ignore, one of the main ones — if you’re like so many others — being the debt you may accrue.

If you’re a student loan borrower, you’ve probably noticed that your loans have a language all their own. Getting a grasp on terms like interest rate vs. APR, subsidized vs. unsubsidized loans, and fixed vs. variable interest rates can help you make more informed, confident decisions.

Instead of enrolling in Student Loan Language 101, you can use our quick and dirty reference guide to find some answers without information overload. Borrowing a loan can have long-term financial consequences, so it’s important to fully understand the fees and interest rates that will affect the amount of money you owe. Here are a few of the most important terms to understand before you take out a student loan:

Common Student Loan Terminology

Academic Year

An academic year is one complete school year at the same school. If you transfer, it is considered two half-years at different schools.

Accrued Interest

The amount of interest that has accumulated on a loan since your last payment. You can keep accrued interest in check by making your payments on time each month. However, after a period of missed or reduced payments, accrued interest may be capitalized, which essentially means you’d have to pay interest on the student loan accrued interest.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

AGI is an individual’s gross income, less any deductions or adjustments to income. This includes things like wages, salaries, any interest or dividends you may earn and any other sources of income. You can find your AGI on your federal income tax returns.

Aggregate Loan Limit

The aggregate loan limit is the maximum amount of federal student loan debt a borrower can have when graduating from school. The aggregate loan limit may vary depending on whether you are a dependent or independent student.

Recommended: What is the Maximum Amount of Student Loans for Graduate School?

Amortization

Amortization refers to the amount of loan principal and interest you pay off incrementally over your loan term. Each student loan payment is a fixed amount that contributes to both interest and principal. Early in the life of the loan, the majority of each payment goes toward interest. But over time as you pay down your loan balance, the ratio shifts and most of the payment goes toward the principal.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The annual rate that is charged for borrowing, expressed as an annual percentage. APR is a standardized calculation that allows you to make a more fair comparison of different loans. Consider the difference between interest vs. APR — APR reflects the cost of any fees charged on the loan, in addition to the basic interest rate. Generally speaking, the lower your APR, the less you’ll spend on interest over the life of the loan.

Annual Loan Limit

The yearly borrowing limit set for federal student loans.

Automated Clearing House (ACH)

An electronic funds transfer is sent through the Automated Clearing House system. The ACH is an electronic funds — transfer system that helps your loan payment transfer directly from your bank account to your lender or loan servicer each month.

The benefits of ACH are two-fold — not only can automatic payments keep you from forgetting to pay your bill, but many lenders also offer interest rate discounts for enrolling in an ACH program.

Award Letter

An award letter is sent from your school and details the types and amounts of financial aid you are eligible to receive. This will include information on grants, scholarships, federal student loans, and work-study. You will receive an award letter for each year you are in-school and apply for financial aid.

Award Year

The academic year that financial aid is applied to.

Borrower

The borrower is the person who took out a loan. In doing so, they agreed to repay the loan.

Campus-Based Aid

Some financial aid programs are administered by specific financial institutions, such as the Federal Work-Study program. Generally, schools receive a certain amount of campus-based aid annually from the federal government. The schools are then able to award these funds to students who demonstrate financial need.

Cancellation

This refers to the cancellation of a borrower’s requirement to repay all or a portion of their student loans. Loan forgiveness and discharge are two other types of loan cancellation.

Capitalization

Capitalization is when unpaid interest is added to the principal value of the student loan. This generally occurs after a period of non-payment such as forbearance. Moving forward, the interest will be calculated based on this new amount.

Capitalized Interest

Accrued interest is added to your loan’s principal balance, typically after a period of non-payment such as forbearance. When the interest is tacked onto your principal balance, your interest is now calculated on that new amount.

Most student loans begin accruing interest as soon as you borrow them. While you are often not responsible for repaying your student loans while you are in school or during a grace period or forbearance, interest will still accrue during these periods. At the end of said period, the interest is then capitalized, or added to the principal of the loan.

When interest is capitalized, it increases your loan’s principal. Since interest is charged as a percent of principal, the more often interest is capitalized, the more total interest you’ll pay. This is a good reason to use forbearance only in emergency situations, and end the forbearance period as quickly as possible.

Cosigner

A third party, such as a parent, who contractually agrees to accept equal responsibility in repaying your loan(s). A student loan cosigner can be valuable if your credit score or financial history are not sufficient enough to allow you to borrow on your own.

With a cosigner, you are still responsible for paying back the loan, but the cosigner must step in if you are unable to make payments. A co-borrower applies for the loan with you and is equally responsible for paying back the loan according to the loan terms on a month-to-month basis.

Recommended: Do I Need a Student Loan Cosigner?

Consolidation (through the Direct Loan Consolidation Program)

The act of combining two or more loans into one loan with a single interest rate and term. The resulting interest rate is a weighted average of the original loan rates — rounded up to the nearest eighth of a percentage point.

Only certain federal loans are eligible for the Direct Consolidation Program. Consolidating can make your life simpler with one monthly bill, but it may not actually save you any money. You may be able to reduce your monthly payments by increasing the loan term, but this means you’ll pay more interest over the life of the loan.

Consolidation (through a Private Lender)

The act of combining two or more loans into one single loan with a single interest rate and term. When you consolidate loans with a private lender, you do so through the act of refinancing, so you’re given a new (hopefully lower) interest rate or lower payments with a longer-term.

Most private lenders only refinance private loans, but SoFi refinances both private and federal loans. By refinancing, you may be able to lower your monthly payments or shorten your payment term.

Recommended: What Is a Direct Consolidation Loan?

Cost of Attendance

Cost of attendance is the estimated total cost for attending a college based on the cost of tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and miscellaneous expenses. Schools are required to publish the cost of attendance.

Recommended: What Is the Cost of Attendance in College?

Credit Report

Credit reports detail an individual’s bill payment history, loans, and other financial information. These reports are used by lenders to evaluate your creditworthiness.

Default

Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to in the promissory note. Defaulting on your student loans can have serious consequences, such as additional fees, wage garnishment, and a significant negative impact on your credit. It’s always better to talk to your lender about potential hardship repayment options, such as deferment or forbearance, before defaulting on a loan.

Deferment

The temporary postponement of loan repayment, during which time you may not be responsible for paying interest that accrues (on certain types of loans). Student loan deferment can be useful if you think you’ll be in a better place to pay your loans at a later date. However, deferment is usually only available for certain federal loans. To potentially cut down on interest, it may be wise to weigh your deferment options.

Delinquency

When you miss a student loan payment, the loan becomes delinquent. The loan will be considered delinquent until a payment is made on the loan. If the loan remains in delinquency for a specified period of time (which may vary for federal vs. private student loans), it may enter default.

Direct Loan

The Direct Loan program is administered via the U.S. Department of Education. There are four main types of direct loans including Direct Subsidized loans, Direct Unsubsidized loans, Direct PLUS loans, and Direct Consolidation loans.

Direct PLUS Loan

Direct PLUS loans are types of federal loans that are made to graduate or professional student borrowers or to the parents of undergraduate students. Direct PLUS Loans made to parents may be referred to as Parent PLUS Loans.

Disbursement

When funds for a loan are paid out by the lender.

Discharge

Student loan discharge occurs when you are no longer required to make payments on your loans. Typically, student loan discharge occurs when there are extenuating circumstances such as the borrower has experienced a total and permanent disability or the school at which you received your loans has closed.

Discretionary Income

Discretionary income is the money remaining after you pay for necessary expenses. An individual’s discretionary income is used to help determine their loan payments on an income-driven repayment plan.

Endorser

An endorser is similar to a co-borrower in that they also sign on to the loan agreement and are responsible for repaying the loan if the primary borrower is unable to do so. Individuals who may not qualify for a Direct PLUS Loan on their own can add an endorser to their application.

Enrollment Status

Determined by the school you attend, your enrollment status is a reflection of your enrollment at the school. Enrollment status includes, full-time, half-time, withdrawn, and graduated.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

An estimation of the amount of money a student and their family is expected to pay out of pocket toward tuition and other college expenses.

Federal Work-Study

A type of financial aid, students who demonstrate financial aid may qualify for the federal work-study program, where they work part-time to earn funds to help pay for college expenses.

Financial Aid

Funds to help pay for college. Financial aid includes grants, scholarships, work-study, and federal student loans.

Financial Aid Package

An overview of the types of financial aid you are eligible to receive for college. Financial aid packages provide information on all types of federal financial aid and college-specific aid such as scholarships, grants, work-study, and federal student loans.

Financial Need

Some types of financial aid are determined by financial need. Financial need is defined as the difference between the cost of attendance at your school and the expected family contribution of your school.

Fixed Interest Rate

An interest rate that remains the same for the life of the loan. The interest rate does not fluctuate.

Forbearance

The temporary postponement of loan repayment, during which time interest typically continues to accrue on all types of federal student loans. If your student loan is in forbearance you can either pay off the interest as it accrues, or you can allow the interest to accrue and it will be capitalized at the end of your forbearance.

Use forbearance wisely, because interest that accrues during the forbearance period typically capitalized making your loan more expensive. If you can afford to make even small payments during forbearance, it can help keep interest costs down.

You will usually have to apply for student loan forbearance with your loan holder and will sometimes be required to provide documentation proving you meet the criteria for forbearance. For a loan to be eligible for forbearance, there must be some unexpected temporary financial difficulty.

Forgiveness

Loan forgiveness is another situation in which you are no longer responsible for repaying all or a portion of your student loans. Public Services Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness are two types of loan forgiveness programs in which your loans are forgiven after meeting specific requirements, such as working in a qualifying job and making qualifying loan payments.

In August 2022, President Biden announced a loan forgiveness plan for borrowers with student loan debt. Under this plan, borrowers earning up to $125,000 (when filing taxes as single) may qualify for up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness. He also announced that Pell Grant recipients may qualify to have up to $20,000 of their loans forgiven.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)

This is the application students use to apply for all types of federal student aid, including federal loans, work-study, grants, and scholarships. The FAFSA must be completed for each year a student wishes to apply for financial aid.

Recommended: FAFSA Guide

Grace Period

A period of time after you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time during which you’re not required to make payments on certain loans. Some loans continue to accumulate interest during the grace period, and that interest is typically capitalized, making your loan more expensive.

Grad PLUS Loans

Another term to refer to a Direct PLUS loan, specifically one borrowed by a graduate or professional student.

Graduate or Professional Student

A student who is pursuing educational opportunities beyond a bachelor’s degree. Graduate and professional programs include master’s and doctoral programs.

Graduated Repayment Plan

A type of repayment plan available for federal student loan borrowers. On this repayment plan, loan payments begin low and increase every two years. This plan may make sense for borrowers who expect their income to increase over time.

Grant

A type of financial aid that does not need to be repaid. Grants are often awarded based on financial need.

Recommended: The Differences Between Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

In-School Deferment

Students who are enrolled at least half-time in school are eligible to defer their federal student loans. This type of deferment is generally automatic for federal student loans. Note that unless you have a subsidized student loan, interest will continue to accrue during in-school deferment.

Interest

Interest is the cost of borrowing money. It is money paid to the lender and is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal.

Interest Deduction

A tax deduction that allows you to deduct the student loan interest you paid on a qualified student loan for the tax year. Interest paid on both private and federal student loans qualifies for the student loan interest deduction.

Lender

The financial institution that lends funds to an individual borrower.

Loan Period

A loan period is the academic year for which a student loan is requested.

Loan Servicer

A company your lender may partner with to administer your loan and collect payments. For questions about your student loan payments or administrative details such as account information, you should contact your student loan servicer.

Origination Fee

A fee that some lenders charge for processing the loan application, or in lieu of upfront interest. To minimize incremental costs on your loan, look for lenders that offer no or low fees.

Part-Time Enrollment

Students who are enrolled in school less than full-time are generally considered part-time students. The number of credit hours required for part-time enrollment are determined by your school.

Pell Grant

A grant awarded by the federal government to undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.

Perkins Loans

Perkins Loans were a type of federal loan available to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrated exceptional financial need. The Perkins Loan program ended in 2017.

PLUS Loans

Another way to describe Direct PLUS Loans, which are federal loans available for graduate and professional students or the parents of undergraduate students.

Prepayment

Paying off the loan early or making more than the minimum payment. All education loans, including private and federal loans, allow for penalty-free prepayment, which means you can pay more than the monthly minimum or make extra payments without incurring a fee. The faster you pay off your loan, the less you’ll spend on interest.

Prime Rate

This is the interest rate that commercial banks charge their most creditworthy customers. The basis of the prime rate is the federal funds overnight rate. The federal funds overnight rate is the interest rate that banks use when lending to each other. The prime rate can be used as a benchmark for interest rates on other types of lending.

Principal

Principal is the original loan amount you borrowed. For example, if you take out one $100,000 loan for grad school, that loan’s principal is $100,000.

Private Student Loan

A student loan lent by a private financial institution such as a bank, credit union, online lender, or other financial institution. These loans can be used to pay for college and educational expenses, but are not a part of the Federal Direct Loan Program. These loans don’t offer the same borrower protections available to federal student loans — like income-driven repayment plans or deferment options.

Promissory Note

A contract that says you’ll repay a loan under certain agreed-upon terms. This document legally controls your borrowing arrangement, so read your promissory note carefully. If you don’t fully understand the agreement, contact your lender before you sign.

Repayment

Repaying a loan plus interest.

Repayment Period

The agreed upon term in which loan repayment will take place.

Scholarship

A type of financial aid which typically doesn’t need to be repaid. Scholarships can be awarded based on merit.

Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR)

An interest rate benchmark that is commonly used by banks and other lenders to set interest rates for loans. The SOFR is the cost of borrowing money overnight collateralized by Treasury securities. Starting in June 2023, the SOFR will begin replacing the LIBOR as a benchmark interest rate.

Stafford Loans

Stafford loans were a type of federal student loan made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program. Beginning in 2010, all federal student loans were loaned directly through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

Standard Repayment Plan

The Standard Repayment Plan is one of the repayment plans available for federal student loan borrowers. This repayment plan consists of fixed payments made over an up to 10 year period.

Student Aid Report

After submitting the FAFSA you will receive a student aid report (SAR). The SAR is a summary of the information you provided when filling out the FAFSA.

Student Loan Refinancing

Using a new loan from a private lender to pay off existing student loans. This allows you to secure a new (ideally lower) interest rate or adjust your loan terms.

Subsidized Loan

A Direct Subsidized Loan is a type of federal loan available to undergraduate students where the government covers the interest that accrues while the student is enrolled at least half-time, during the grace period, and other qualifying periods of deferment.

Term

The expected amount of time the loan will be in repayment. Generally speaking, a longer term will mean lower monthly payments but higher interest over the life of the loan, while a shorter term will mean the opposite. Loan terms vary by lender, and if you have a federal loan, you are usually able to select your student loan repayment plan.

Tuition

The cost of classes and instruction.

Undergraduate Student

A student who is enrolled in an undergraduate course of study.

Unsubsidized Loan

A Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a type of federal loan available to undergraduate or graduate students. The major difference between subsidized vs. unsubsidized loans is that the interest on unsubsidized loans is not subsidized by the federal government.

Variable Interest Rate

Unlike a fixed interest rate, a variable interest rate fluctuates over the life of a loan. Changes in interest rate are tied to a prevailing interest rate.

The Takeaway

Understanding key terms is essential for navigating student borrowing. Prioritizing sources of financial aid that don’t need to be repaid like scholarships and grants can be helpful. But these don’t always meet a student’s financial need. Federal student loans have low interest rates and, for the most part, don’t require a credit check. Plus they have borrower protections in place, like income-driven repayment plans or deferment options, that make them the first-choice for most students looking to borrow money to pay for college.

When these sources of aid aren’t enough, private student loans can help fill in the gap. Keep in mind that, as mentioned, private loans don’t offer the same protections afforded to federal loans. If you’re interested in a private student loan, check out what SoFi has to offer. SoFi’s private student loans are available for undergraduates, graduate students, or the parents of undergraduates. Plus, qualifying borrowers can secure competitive interest rates and the loans have zero fees.

Learn About SoFi Private Student Loans


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3 Student Loan Tips

1.    Can’t cover your school bills? If you’ve exhausted all federal aid options, private student loans can fill gaps in need, up to the school’s cost of attendance, which includes tuition, books, housing, meals, transportation, and personal expenses

2.    Even if you don’t think you qualify for financial aid, you should fill out the FAFSA form. Many schools require it for merit-based scholarships, too. You can submit it as early as Oct. 1.

3.    Federal student loans carry an origination or processing fee (1.057% for loans first disbursed from Oct. 1, 2020, through Oct. 1, 2022). The fee is subtracted from your loan amount, which is why the amount disbursed is less than the amount you borrowed. That said, some private student loan lenders don’t charge an origination fee.

FAQ

What are common student loan terms?

Student loan terms include Direct Loans — which are any loans in the Federal Direct Loan program. These include Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans in addition to Direct PLUS Loans.

Beyond federal student loans, students can look into private student loans, which are offered by private lenders.

What are the most important loan terms to understand?

It’s important to understand terms associated with borrowing because you’ll be required to repay the loan. Understand the interest rate and any fees associated with the loan.

What does APR mean in relation to student loans?

APR stands for annual percentage rate. It’s a reflection of the interest rate on the loan in addition to any other fees associated with borrowing. APR helps make it easier to compare loans from different lenders.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

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.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
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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