31 Facts About FAFSA

31 Facts About FAFSA for Parents

Applying for federal aid is a crucial step most high school students take while transitioning to college life. Parents going through the college admissions process for the first time, though, may not realize that they also play a huge role in helping their children apply for grants and scholarships through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA®.

Applications for the 2021-2022 round of FAFSA opened on Oct. 1 and will remain open until June 30, 2022. If you’re looking for facts about FAFSA that will help your child apply for college aid during the 2021-2022 academic year, we’ve compiled some of the most important information on how you can help your child during the FAFSA process.

Recommended: FAFSA Guide

FAFSA Facts and Tips

Filling out FAFSA for the first time? These facts and FAFSA tips can help you prepare for the application process and offer suggestions for getting the most aid.

1. FAFSA Is Required to Receive Government Student Loans

For those who may be new to the financial aid process, FAFSA is the form students fill out to apply for federal financial aid. Just over 18 million students fill out the FAFSA each year. Your child won’t be eligible for government-funded college aid, such as loans or grants if they don’t apply.

Recommended: FAFSA 101: How to Complete the FAFSA

2. Your Child Could Qualify for Grants by Filling Out FAFSA

While you can get subsidized or unsubsidized loans through FAFSA, your child may also be eligible for grants. One common federal grant is the Pell grant, which is awarded to first-time undergraduate students who show exceptional financial need, such as coming from a low-income family.

Recommended: Types of Federal Student Loans

3. It Also Determines Work-Study Eligibility

Federal work-study is a way for students to earn income at a part-time job while in college. These jobs can be on or off-campus and vary by school, although not all schools participate in the program. You have to fill out FAFSA to determine if you’re eligible for work-study programs.

4. Some Schools Use FAFSA to Determine What Aid They Offer

If the schools your child applies to offer their own aid, such as need-based scholarships, they may use FAFSA to determine eligibility. You may want to check with the schools your child is applying to and ask if they have a separate application for internal scholarships and grants.

5. Almost All Applicants Under 24 Are Considered Dependents

Most students under the age of 24 won’t be able to apply as an independent , which means that family income wouldn’t be considered. Rather, they’re most likely going to be considered a dependent student and therefore need parental financial information to complete the FAFSA.

Recommended: Independent vs Dependent Student: Which One Are You?

6. Your Child Needs Your Information to Apply

If your child is filing as a dependent, then they’ll need some basic information about your finances, such as your income and bank statement. You may also elect to apply for a Parent PLUS loan, which can help cover your child’s educational expenses if they don’t receive enough in loans and grants to cover costs. Note that you may need additional information to apply for a Parent Plus loan.

7. High-Income Families May Want to Still Apply

If your family is middle- or upper-class, you may wonder if your child will receive any FAFSA aid. However, applying is free, and family income is just one of many factors considered during the application process. Additionally, your child’s school still may require FAFSA to be eligible for institutional aid, so it may be worth applying for even if you don’t think your child will need or receive aid.

8. Grades Don’t Affect FAFSA Eligibility

FAFSA does not have a GPA requirement to apply. However, your child may want to keep in mind that they could lose any aid given to them through FAFSA if they have poor grades for multiple semesters after they receive the aid.

9. Deadlines May Differ by State and School

While the FAFSA doesn’t close until June 30, 2022, FAFSA application deadlines may vary by state and school. State and school deadlines may close prior to the federal deadlines. If you’re not sure what deadlines apply to your student, consider checking with the financial aid offices of each school your child applies to and ask what their FAFSA deadlines are.

10. Having Multiple Kids in College No Longer Affects Eligibility

Starting with the 2021-2022 FAFSA form, how many children in a family are in college or applying to college will no longer affect their financial aid eligibility. Before, families with multiple children in college may qualify to receive more aid. This is one of many changes rolling out through the FAFSA Simplification Act, which aims to simplify the FAFSA form and therefore hopefully encourage more families to fill out FAFSA.

11. Expected Family Contribution is also Changing

Expected family contribution (EFC) is an estimate of how much FAFSA believes families can contribute to the cost of a student’s education. However, as part of the FAFSA Simplification Act, EFC will be replaced with the student aid index, or SAI, starting in the 2024-2025 academic year. While that may sound far off, a freshman starting in the 2021-2022 academic year will graduate in 2025, meaning this change could affect their aid eligibility during their senior year of college.

Recommended: What Is Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

12. FAFSA is Changing the Process for Children of Divorce

Before the new simplified FAFSA , in the case when a child’s parents are separated, the custodial parent’s information was included on the form. However, with the new changes, the parent who provides the most financial support to the student is responsible for filling out the FAFSA.

Recommended: How much FAFSA Money Can I Expect?

13. You’ll Need Your Social Security Numbers

As you and your child prepare to fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need your social security or alien registration numbers.

14. Have Nontaxable Income at the Ready

One question that may trip up parents is what FAFSA considers nontaxable income. For FAFSA, that generally includes (but is not limited to):

•   Workers compensation

•   Disability benefits

•   Welfare benefits

•   Social Security income

•   Veteran’s benefits

•   Military or clergy allowances (if applicable)

•   Foreign income not taxed by any government

15. Your Child May Need to Report Grants and Scholarships

Most first-time college students won’t need to report any grants or scholarships they received. However, they may if they had to report of them on their taxes, such as:

•   AmeriCorps benefits, such as living allowances or awards

•   Taxable work-studies, assistantships or fellowships

•   Combat pay, special combat pay, or cooperative education program earnings

•   Other grants or scholarships reported to the IRS

If you have any doubts about what types of grants may be taxable, consider consulting with a tax professional.

16. Have Bank Statements Available

To fill out FAFSA, you’ll need bank statements for both you and your child. This information helps determine how much aid your child will be eligible for.

17. You Will Need an FSA ID to Apply Online

If you plan on filing for FAFSA online, you’ll also need a federal student aid (FSA) ID . This is simply your login and password, and both you and your child will need to create one (you can do so here ). You’ll use this to sign your promissory note too.

18. You Don’t Need to File Taxes before Filing

You and your child don’t need to file for taxes before filling out FAFSA; however, you will need to report last year’s taxes, then. This is because what tax bracket you’re in can impact how much aid your child is eligible for.

Recommended: What Tax Bracket Am I In?

19. You’ll Need to Have a List of Assets Ready

FAFSA uses parental assets to help determine aid eligibility. You’ll need to know how much in assets you have, which include (but are not limited to):

•   Money in cash, savings, and checking accounts

•   Businesses or farms

•   Family-owned and control small businesses

•   Investment farms

•   Other investments, such as real estate or UGMA and UTMA accounts that you as the parent own (Note that if they are only the custodian of these accounts, not the owner, then they don’t have to be listed as an asset.)

20. 529 Plans are also Considered Assets

When filling out information about assets, you’ll also need to list any 592 College Savings Plans you have. These plans should be listed as investment assets, not income.

21. Your Primary Home Doesn’t Need to be Listed as an Asset

One common FAFSA mistake is listing your primary home as an asset. However, FAFSA does not require you to do so. In fact, listing it as an asset can decrease the amount of aid your child receives.

22. You Don’t Need Your Retirement or Insurance Information

FAFSA also doesn’t count retirement or insurance accounts as assets. Again, including them can inflate the number of assets you have and therefore may decrease the amount of aid your child is offered.

23. You’ll Need to Include Each School Your Child is Applying to

When you and your child fill out the FAFSA, you’ll want to have a list of all the schools your child may be interested in applying to. You’ll need each school’s federal school code to add them to the list of schools you want your FAFSA information sent to, although you can also search for this information on the form itself if you can’t find it on the school’s website. It may be wise to include schools your child isn’t sure they want to apply to yet since it’s easier to simply add the school to the list now than having to send the school your FAFSA information later.

24. Schools, Not the Government, Will Give You Financial Aid Updates

Part of the reason you’ll need to send your FAFSA to schools your child is considering applying to is because schools, not the government, send out financial aid packages. As such, each school your child applies to may offer a different financial aid package.

25. Skipping Information Can Be Costly

Before hitting submit, you might want to double check that every section of the FAFSA is filled out (and accurate). Skipping FAFSA sections may result in delays in your application being processed, errors that prevent you from submitting, or even a decrease in the amount of aid offered.

26. Your Child Will Need to Take Student Loan Exit Counseling

While filing FAFSA or talking to your school’s financial aid office, you may hear about something called student loan exit counseling. This is mandatory for anyone who gets federal student loan aid. Counseling is simply an online module that will help your child navigate how the student loan repayment process works. A reminder will be sent to your child’s email in their last year of school about when this exit counseling is due. However, you and your child may want to consider reviewing student loan exit repayment options before the counseling is due to ensure they pick the best option based on their financial situation.

27. File Early to Get the Most Aid

While it may seem like you have a ton of time to fill out the FAFSA, it may be best to complete it sooner rather than later. Delaying can mean financial aid for your state or school dries up before your child can even be considered for it. Additionally, knowing how much aid each school is offering your child may help them when deciding on which school to attend.

28. You Could be Selected for FAFSA Verification

After your child receives their student aid report, they may get a message saying they were selected for verification. FAFSA verification is used by some schools to simply verify that students’ FAFSA information is accurate. Some schools randomly select people to be verified, some verify all students, and some may elect not to verify any students.

Recommended: 14 Must-Know College Financial Aid Terms for Parents

29. You Can Appeal Your Aid Package

Once your child has their financial aid packages, they may find that they were offered less than they expected or hoped for. If your child’s dream college didn’t offer enough aid (or perhaps even didn’t offer them any aid), they may be able to appeal for more financial aid. This process may be especially important if your financial situation has changed since you and your child first applied for FAFSA. While schools may deny the request, it doesn’t cost you or your child anything but time to ask for more aid.

30. You Can List Unusual Circumstances That Affect Your Finances

Another way to try and increase your financial aid package is by listing unusual financial circumstances both on your FAFSA and in an appeal letter to schools you’re applying to. Some common unusual circumstances include (but are not limited to):

•   Having tuition expenses in elementary and/or secondary schools

•   Experiencing unusual medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance

•   Having a family member become unemployed recently

•   Experiencing changes in income and/or assets that could affect aid eligibility

31. You’ll Have to Reapply Every Year

Once you’ve filed your FAFSA, you may want to keep your login information in a safe place. You’ll need that information to file for FAFSA every year your child is in school, and losing your FSA login information may delay your ability to apply next year. You may also want to set a reminder on your phone or calendar to apply next year, although FAFSA will send you an email reminder when next year’s FAFSA is open.

The Takeaway

Filing for FAFSA is an important first step in helping your child pay for college. Knowing how FAFSA works and how to optimize the amount of aid your child receives can help increase the amount of federal aid they’re offered.

However, if their financial aid package isn’t enough to cover college costs, they may want to consider private student loans. Private student loans aren’t required to offer the same borrower protections as federal student loans, and are, therefore, generally considered as an option only after all other sources of funding have been reviewed.

If you’re considering private loans to pay for college, you may want to review the differences between private and federal student loans to ensure that you and your child choose the best options for them to pay for college. SoFi offers private student loans that have no hidden fees and allow borrowers to choose between four repayment options.

Interested in learning more about Private Student Loans from SoFi? Find out what rates you prequalify for in just a few minutes.

Photo credit: iStock/wagnerokasaki


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.
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.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products 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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Is a Post-Grad Certificate Program Worth It?

As you’re navigating the job market and reading up on expected qualifications, you may be at a crossroads, wondering whether a master’s would be beneficial in increasing your salary potential. If you’re a job-seeker, you may wonder if a master’s could make you more competitive in the job market.

But there is another option that may make sense depending on what industry you’re in: A certificate program. Not as long (or as expensive) as a master’s program, a certificate can prove highly-specialized competency in certain areas. This could open doors to further professional opportunities.

But a certificate program, while not as expensive as a full degree, may cost thousands of dollars. It also may require significant study time, which can be hard to balance if you’re also working full time. In a job market where companies are fighting for top talent, you may find that your company might pay for a certificate program, rather than you going out and paying for it yourself. Continue reading for more information on post-grad certificate programs so you can assess whether one fits with your financial goals.

Recommended: How to Pay for Grad School

What is The Value Of A Post-Grad Certificate Program?

A post-grad certificate program is a program that provides specialization in a field. While the program may not take as long to complete as a master’s degree and may be less expensive, it can also be intense, requiring a significant amount of time set aside to study.

Post-grad certificate programs can be found in all fields, from medicine to economics to marketing. These programs may cost anywhere from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. People may complete these certificates because they may be quicker and less expensive than a degree, and may either boost income or boost your competitive value as a job candidate. Post-grad certificate courses may be done online, in-person, or a combination of both, and often, people balance managing a certificate program with working full time.

Because a post-grad certificate can be beneficial, you may find that employers may potentially be willing to subsidize the cost of training. It may be worth it to ask your manager or your HR department. It can also be beneficial to talk to people who have done the certificate program to hear about any pros and cons. It can also be helpful to understand the level of commitment required in the program, and how people have managed to set aside time to study to prepare for any testing.

Graduate Certificate Versus Master’s Degree

If you’re right out of college, you may be wondering what the next step is, professionally. While that depends on your career goals, many post-grads find it helpful to explore the professional lay of the land by getting some work experience right after their bachelor’s degree. Because managers are hungry for talent due to a tight labor market, there can be advantages to looking for a job immediately after graduation, before you get any higher degrees or pursue certification. In some cases, employers may subsidize or help pay for higher education.

A certificate program tends to be in a niche area, so it may be good to explore your field and decide whether that certification is right for you. A master’s program may be more intense, but of course, can be a requirement if you want to pursue a job in a certain field, such as law.

Bottom line: No certificate or graduate degree can “guarantee” that you’ll make a certain amount of money or get a certain kind of job. Every career path is different. That’s why it can be helpful to speak to alums of certain programs or people who have received certain certifications, to hear their experience and advice.

Is a Graduate Certificate Equal to a Master’s Degree?

Is a graduate certificate equal to a master’s degree? That depends on how you define “equality.” The two are different paths that help you achieve certain goals. In general:

•   A certificate is less expensive than a graduate degree

•   A certificate takes less time to complete than a graduate degree

•   A certificate provides targeted knowledge and a specific skill set about a certain subject area. Generally, a certificate may be about 10 to 15 hours of coursework compared to the 30+ required for graduate programs. Requirements vary based on school and program.

•   A certificate generally requires a less comprehensive application process.

•   A graduate certificate may or may not be affiliated with an accredited degree program. In some cases, certificate coursework can count toward degree hours for a higher-ed degree.

•   Graduate certificate students do not qualify for federal student loans. You may be able to use a private student loan lender for certificate program loans, or could also explore a personal loan to cover a certificate program.

Recommended: Examining the Different Types of Student Loans

Is a Graduate Certificate Worth It?

A graduate certificate can be worth it, especially if you’re passionate about the field. It can be helpful to get some “real world” knowledge under your belt and understand exactly how the certificate will benefit you and your career goals.

Because a graduate certificate is a lot of work, it’s also important to make sure you carve out time to be able to do coursework, study, and complete the certificate exam. Asking any questions prior to applying for the certificate program, or asking to speak to people who have completed the program, can be helpful.

Because graduate certificates can be expensive, and may not be covered by federal aid, you may be wondering how to pay for it. Financing may include:

•   Subsidization through your current employer.

•   Saving up to pay for the program.

•   Apply for scholarships or financial aid through the certifying organization.

•   Explore scholarships that may be available for you. For example, if you’re a military veteran, you may have scholarship options for certain certification programs.

•   Considering student loans for a certification program or taking out a private loan.

Some certification programs may be eligible for federal student aid. If this is the case, students can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to see what types of aid they qualify for.

Private student loans may be another option for students to consider. These loans don’t always offer the same borrower protections (think of things like deferment or forbearance options) that federal loans are afforded. But, some private lenders, including SoFi, do offer student loans for graduate certificate programs.

Recommended: FAFSA 101: How to Complete the FAFSA

Estimating the Value of a Certificate Program

You may wonder how much a certificate will increase your market value as an employee. And of course, that answer depends on your field and the certificate program you are pursuing. To estimate the value of a certificate program, it can be helpful to:

•   Read review sites and salary ranges on employers you’re interested in

•   Talk to people who have done the certificate program

•   Talk about your career trajectory with your current manager or HR department

•   Speak with the career development office at your alma mater for their perspectives on potential certificate programs

But in addition to financial value, there’s also the educational value. Is this a topic you find interesting and feel you can lean into? Does the material inspire you and excite you? Because you’ll be spending a significant amount of time working on the material, it can be important to have some motivation to do so.

Costs Associated with a Certificate Program

It can also be important to carve out associated costs with the degree program. In addition to the certificate program itself, you also may need to pay:

•   Application fee

•   Exam fee

•   Certification fee, which may be several hundred dollars and may be required that you renew your certification annually

•   Fee for any materials, including books

Making sure you know exactly what is required of you financially before you enroll can be helpful in planning how you’ll cover the degree.

Recommended: A Guide to Unclaimed Scholarships and Grants

How to Decide on a Certificate or Post-Grad Studies

So how do you know which path to take? The answer depends on, you guessed it, your individual goals. But answering these questions may help you decide:

•   What do I want out of my studies?

•   What do I want my work-life balance to look like as I study?

•   What do I hope to gain out of my degree/certificate? What would be the best/worst-case scenario?

•   What are my short-term professional goals?

•   What are my long-term professional goals?

•   What do I like about my work right now? Is there anything I want to dive into more deeply?

•   What is the lack of a degree holding me back from?

•   How will I pay for it? Am I already juggling student loans from undergrad and how comfortable would I feel adding to my debt?

These can be some big questions, and it can be helpful to get perspective by speaking with a mentor, career coach, or someone from your school’s career development office.

You could also consider a certificate program that could go toward credits for a master’s degree. This can be helpful in allowing you to lean into the material and have a head start if you do decide you’d like to pursue a full master’s degree.

Recommended: What to Know About Rising Grad School Student Debt

The Takeaway

A certificate isn’t taking the easy road — the courses can be intense, and it can be challenging to balance coursework with career obligations. But a certificate can potentially set you up on the path to success and can help you further define your career goals.

Because certificates can be expensive, consider having a discussion with your employer and see if they would be amenable to paying for part or all of your certificate, or discuss the path in which to do so. A certificate can be a way to further your education without stopping your career, and it can be a good in-between step for you to decide whether or not to pursue a master’s degree in your chosen field.

Depending on the certificate program, students may potentially qualify for federal aid. If that federal aid isn’t enough, some students may look into private student loans. Private student loans are generally considered only after all other sources of funding have been evaluated. That’s because they don’t have to offer the same benefits that are afforded to federal student loans — things like deferment options or the option to pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

If private student loans seem like an option you’re interested in considering — check out SoFi. Private student loans are available to students pursuing a graduate certificate. Interested applicants can find out what rates they may qualify for in just a few minutes.

Learn more about private student loans from SoFi.

Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull, which may impact your credit score, is required if you apply for a SoFi product after being pre-qualified.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products 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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Step-by-Step Guide to Filling out a FAFSA Form for the First Time

12 Steps to Filling out the FAFSA Form 2021-2022

For many people, one of the first steps to applying for college is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA®. This form helps the government determine your eligibility for federal student aid, including subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, as well as grants and work-study opportunities.

Completing The 2021-2022 FAFSA Application

The FAFSA form 2021 may look a bit different if you’ve filled out the form in the past. That’s because of the FAFSA® Simplification Act, which was passed in December 2020 and designed to make the FAFSA more accessible for lower-income students and families. While most of these changes won’t go into effect for the upcoming FAFSA cycle, we’ll point in this article a few changes to FAFSA you will see this year.

Recommended: FAFSA 101: How to Complete the FAFSA

12 Steps to Fill Out the FAFSA

FAFSA opens Oct. 1, 2020, and closes June 30, 2022 for the 2021/2022 academic year. However, FAFSA deadlines may vary depending on the states and schools you’re applying to, so you may want to check with each school to confirm their FAFSA deadline. If you’re ready to fill out FAFSA, we’ve outlined steps required in the process.

Not ready to fill out the FAFSA? You can fill out an abridged Federal Student Aid Estimator to give you an idea of what filling out the actual FAFSA will be like and to estimate your expected student aid package.

1. Required Documents Ready

Before even loading the online FAFSA form, it may be useful to have all your required documents in order to make the application process even easier. The things you’ll need may include:

•   Social security or alien registration ID

•   Drivers license or state ID

•   Federal income tax returns, W-2s and other financial documents for both yourself and your parent(s) if you’re a dependent (more on that later)

•   Bank statements

•   Untaxed income

•   Title IV Institution Codes for schools you’re applying to (again, more on that later)

•   Download app, if you plan on applying on mobile (you can also apply on desktop)

Dependent students will also need to provide similar information for their parents.

2. FSA IDs

There’s one more thing you’ll need in order to apply for FAFSA, and that’s a federal student aid ID, or
FSA ID
. This is simply the username or password you’ll use to log into FAFSA. Note that if you need to enter parental financial information, whoever is providing that financial information will also need to
create an FSA ID
.

3. Basic Information

Now that you have a FSA ID, you’re ready to log in and get started. The first few steps of FAFSA will be filling out basic information. The site or app will first ask you if you are a student, parent, or preparer helping a student fill out the FAFSA. Select which one applies to you. You should then be prompted to provide the following:

•   Your full name

•   Date of birth

•   Social security number

4. Starting the Application

Once you fill in this information, you will be asked to accept or decline the disclaimer, which details how the site will use and monitor your data. You should then be prompted to either start a FAFSA for 2021-2022 or 2020-2021. If you’re filing FAFSA for the upcoming year and are not currently enrolled in college, you should choose “Start 2021-2022 FAFSA.”

You’ll also be asked to create a save key, which is simply a four-digit code you’ll use to save your application. If you don’t finish FAFSA in one sitting, then you’ll be asked to enter your save key to continue filling it out at a later date.

5. Section 1: Student Information

Next, you’ll need to enter some information about yourself, including (but not limited to):

•   Social security number

•   Full name

•   Date of birth

•   Email address

•   Phone number

•   Home address

•   State of residence

•   Citizenship status

•   High school completion status

•   College degree level

•   If you’d like to be considered for work-study

6. Section 2: College Search Section

To send your FAFSA information to schools you’re applying to, you’ll need to find the federal school code for each school you want your information sent to. Doing so allows colleges to receive your FAFSA information and use it to provide you a financial aid package. You can find this code either on the school’s website or by searching for it on the FAFSA form itself.

7. Section 3: Dependency Status

You can either apply to FAFSA as a dependent of your parents or as an independent. If you’re a first-time college student and will graduate from high school in 2022 and/or are under 24 years old, you’ll most likely need to file as a dependent, meaning you’ll need your parents’ financial information to apply.

Section 3 of the FAFSA will help you determine if you’re an independent or dependent student. You’ll need to provide some more information about yourself, such as your marital status, if you have children or other dependents, and if you’re at risk or are currently experiencing homelessness.

Once you’ve filled out this information, FAFSA should display a message that determines whether or not you’re considered a dependent and therefore need parental financial information to determine expected family contribution (which will soon be replaced with the student aid index).

(Note that the rest of these steps assume you’re filing as a dependent. While the process of filing as an independent will be similar, you won’t be asked to provide information about your parents.)

8. Section 4: Parental Information

If you need parental information for FAFSA, you’ll include that in this section. Information you’ll need includes (but is not limited to):

•   Parental marital status

•   Date of parent’s marriage

•   Parent social security number

•   Parent name

•   Parent date of birth

•   Parent email address

•   Parent’s spousal information for all of the above

•   Household size

9. Section 5: Parent Financials

Next, you’ll need to provide some financial information about your parents. You’ll be asked for information such as (but not limited to):

•   Last year taxes were filed

•   Tax return type

•   Filing status

•   IRS Data Retrieval Tool (otherwise, need to fill in tax information manually)

•   Combat pay

•   Grant and scholarship aid

•   Education credits

•   Untaxed IRA distributions

•   IRA deductions and payments

•   Tax exempt interest income

•   Child support payments

•   Need-based employment programs

•   Net worth

10. Section 6: Student financials

Now it’s time to provide some financial information about yourself. You’ll be asked for information such as (but not limited to):

•   Last year taxes were filed

•   Tax return type

•   Filing status

•   IRS Data Retrieval Tool (otherwise, need to fill in tax information manually)

•   Combat pay

•   Grant and scholarship aid

•   Education credits

•   Untaxed IRA distributions

•   IRA deductions and payments

•   Tax exempt interest income

•   Child support payments

•   Need-based employment programs

•   Net worth

11. Check for errors

Once you’ve reached the end of the application, you should receive a FAFSA summary. Before hitting submit, you may want to ensure that all the information you included is accurate. Reviewing this information closely may help avoid filing a FAFSA correction later.

12. Agreement of Terms

The FAFSA requires you to accept or reject its agreement of terms. If your parent(s) also provided information because you filed as a dependent, they will also need to accept these terms in order for you to submit the application. Both you and your parent(s) will e-sign using your FSA ID. Once you’ve accepted the terms, your FAFSA will be complete.

Sample FAFSA Form for 2021/2022

Do you need some extra help? FAFSA’s Financial Aid Tool Kit is rich with resources and information. Some documents include step-by-step instructions on how to complete the FAFSA on the website and mobile app, lists of tips for filling out the FAFSA, question-and-answer documents, and more. You can also view a sample FAFSA form or a presentation on how to fill out FAFSA using the mobile app.

This student aid report may also be useful if you need to see another FAFSA sample form.

Recommended: How much FAFSA Money Can I Expect?

What’s Different About the 2021/2022 FAFSA

As previously discussed, the FAFSA Simplification Act passed last December resulted in a few changes to FAFSA. However, most of these changes won’t go into effect for the 2021-2022 school year. For FAFSA 2021-2022, major changes include the following:

•   Automatic-Zero EFC: FAFSA will give all applicants with an income of $27,000 or less an EFC of zero, meaning FAFSA does not expect families to help pay for the applicant’s college. This amount increased $1,000 from last year, which set the cut-off at $26,000, so more students should be able to receive a EFC of zero.

•   Schedule 1 Questions: When populating tax information from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, the tool will automatically answer whether or not the applicant filed for a Schedule 1.

Additional changes are already scheduled for the 2022/2023 FAFSA form, such as drug convictions no longer negatively affecting one’s ability to get financial aid. Additionally, registration status for Selective Service for eligible males will also no longer be considered for financial aid. You can review the latest changes to the FAFSA on the official FAFSA website.

A Few Extra Tips

Completing the FAFSA can be an overwhelming process. For those filing for the first time, you may want to check out this 2021-2022 FAFSA guide and some FAFSA tips to make the process even easier. If you need some more help on how to fill out FAFSA 2021/2022, some tips from StudentAid.Gov include:

1.    Completing the form: It can be tempting to skip the FAFSA altogether, especially if you’re from a middle- or upper-class family and you believe you won’t be eligible for aid. However, falling for this assumption could mean leaving aid on the table.

2.    Paying attention to deadlines: As stated earlier, FAFSA 2021/2022 opens Oct. 1 and closes June 30, 2022. However, the schools you’re applying to may require you to fill out the FAFSA before June 30, so it’s best to ask each school’s financial aid office about what their FAFSA deadlines are to avoid losing out on aid.

3.    Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool: This tool auto-fills your latest tax information from the IRS database. When you fill out FAFSA, you’ll have the option to either fill out your tax data manually or use the tool. Using the tool could help you avoid making costly mistakes while also saving you time.

4.    Filling out every section: Not sure how to fill out a section? FAFSA offers helpful tips throughout each section of the FAFSA form to make filling out the FAFSA easier. Additionally, not filling out a section of FAFSA could result in your form not being submitted or you receiving less financial aid.

5.    Double-checking the form: Before you submit, you may want to go back and double-check your answers to make sure everything is filled out and is accurate.

Recommended: Navigating Your Financial Aid Package

The Takeaway

Filling out the FAFSA is a great first step to pay for your dream school. This is one of the best ways of getting scholarships and grants you won’t have to pay back or government-backed loans to help you pay for college-related costs. By learning how to properly fill out the FAFSA (and then actually doing so!), you can increase your odds of getting a bigger financial aid package.

However, if your financial aid package doesn’t cover all your college expenses, you may want to consider private student loans. It’s important to note that private student loans don’t offer the same protections as federal student loans, like income-driven repayment plans or deferment options. For this reason, private student loans are generally considered only after other sources of funding have been considered.

SoFi’s Private Student Loans are available for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as parents. In just a few minutes, you can apply online for student loans and be well on your way to financing your education.

Find out more about SoFi’s Private Student Loan options.

Header photo credit: iStock/Vladimir Sukhachev

FAFSA photos credit: FAFSA’s Financial Aid Tool Kit


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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.

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.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products 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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Average Student Loan Debt by State

Average Student Loan Debt by State in 2021

Student loan debt nationwide increased by 8.28% in 2020, the largest increase since 2013, according to the latest report from EducationData.org. That spike was most likely fueled by rising unemployment and 3.2 million new federal student loan borrowers.

Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category in the country behind only
housing debt
. Nationwide, nearly 40% of college attendees report some type of educational debt, and 65% graduate with student debt, the report showed.

A recent report from EducationData.org details the average student loan debt per borrower (based on all student loan debt, not just that owed by undergraduate borrowers) in each state. Overall, residents of Washington, D.C., have the nation’s highest federal student loan debt at more than $55,000 per borrower when looking at the total student loan debt owed by individuals in the state. Of every state, North Dakota has the lowest average federal student loan debt, with residents there owing an average of just $29,446.

Student Loan Debt in Each State

Read on for an overview of what student loan debt looks like across the country according to EducationData.org . This data is reflective of all borrowers, not just undergraduate students.

Alabama

Average borrower debt: $37,348
Total student loan debt: $23.1 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Alabama

Alaska

Average borrower debt: $34,431
Total student loan debt: $2.3 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Alaska

Arizona

Average borrower debt: $35,454
Total student loan debt: $30.7 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Arizona

Arkansas

Average borrower debt: $33,525
Total student loan debt: $12.8 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Arkansas

California

Average borrower debt: $36,937
Total student loan debt: $142.7 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in California

Colorado

Average borrower debt: $37,120
Total student loan debt: $28.2 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Colorado

Connecticut

Average borrower debt: $35,448
Total student loan debt: $17.1 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Connecticut

Delaware

Average borrower debt: $37,338
Total student loan debt: $4.6 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Delaware

District of Columbia

Average borrower debt: $55,077
Total student loan debt: $6.4 Billion

Florida

Average borrower debt: $38,481
Total student loan debt: $98.2 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Florida

Georgia

Average borrower debt: $41,843
Total student loan debt: $67.2 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Georgia

Hawaii

Average borrower debt: $36,575
Total student loan debt: $4.4 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Hawaii

Idaho

Average borrower debt: $33,100
Total student loan debt: $7.1 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Idaho

Illinois

Average borrower debt: $38,071
Total student loan debt: $61.1 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Illinois

Indiana

Average borrower debt: $33,106
Total student loan debt: $29.6 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Indiana

Iowa

Average borrower debt: $30,848
Total student loan debt: $13.2 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Iowa

Kansas

Average borrower debt: $33,130
Total student loan debt: $12.5 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Kansas

Kentucky

Average borrower debt: $33,023
Total student loan debt: $19.5 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Kentucky

Louisiana

Average borrower debt: $34,683
Total student loan debt: $22.1 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Louisiana

Maine

Average borrower debt: $33,352
Total student loan debt: $6.1 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Maine

Maryland

Average borrower debt: $43,219
Total student loan debt: $35.5 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Maryland

Massachusetts

Average borrower debt: $34,549
Total student loan debt: $30.4 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Massachusetts

Michigan

Average borrower debt: $36,295
Total student loan debt: $50.7 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Michigan

Minnesota

Average borrower debt: $33,822
Total student loan debt: $26.3 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Minnesota

Mississippi

Average borrower debt: $37,080
Total student loan debt: $16.0 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Mississippi

Missouri

Average borrower debt: $35,706
Total student loan debt: $29.3 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Missouri

Montana

Average borrower debt: $33,953
Total student loan debt: $4.2 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Montana

Nebraska

Average borrower debt: $32,138
Total student loan debt: $7.8 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Nebraska

Nevada

Average borrower debt: $33,863
Total student loan debt: $26.3 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Nevada

New Hampshire

Average borrower debt: $34,353
Total student loan debt: $6.4 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in New Hampshire

New Jersey

Average borrower debt: $35,730
Total student loan debt: $41.7 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in New Jersey

New Mexico

Average borrower debt: $34,237
Total student loan debt: $7.7 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in New Mexico

New York

Average borrower debt: $38,107
Total student loan debt: $91.9 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in New York

North Carolina

Average borrower debt: $37,861
Total student loan debt: $48.0 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in North Carolina

North Dakota

Average borrower debt: $29,446
Total student loan debt: $2.5 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in North Dakota

Ohio

Average borrower debt: $34,923
Total student loan debt: $61.8 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Ohio

Oklahoma

Average borrower debt: $31,832
Total student loan debt: $15.2 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Oklahoma

Oregon

Average borrower debt: $37,251
Total student loan debt: $20.0 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Oregon

Pennsylvania

Average borrower debt: $35,804
Total student loan debt: $63.9 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Average borrower debt: $32,212
Total student loan debt: $4.5 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Rhode Island

South Carolina

Average borrower debt: $38,662
Total student loan debt: $27.5 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in South Carolina

South Dakota

Average borrower debt: $31,858
Total student loan debt: $3.6 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in South Dakota

Tennessee

Average borrower debt: $36,549
Total student loan debt: $30.8 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Tennessee

Texas

Average borrower debt: $33,123
Total student loan debt: $116.8 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Texas

Utah

Average borrower debt: $32,781
Total student loan debt: $9.9 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Utah

Vermont

Average borrower debt: $38,411
Total student loan debt: $2.9 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Vermont

Virginia

Average borrower debt: $39,472
Total student loan debt: $41.9 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Virginia

Washington

Average borrower debt: $35,521
Total student loan debt: $27.6 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Washington

West Virginia

Average borrower debt: $32,258
Total student loan debt: $7.2 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in West Virginia

Wisconsin

Average borrower debt: $32,272
Total student loan debt: $23.1 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Wisconsin

Wyoming

Average borrower debt: $30,246
Total student loan debt: $1.6 Billion
Everything you need to know about student loans & scholarships in Wyoming

The Takeaway

The average amount of debt held by borrowers varies from state to state. The five states with the highest average amount of student loan debt per borrower are; Washington D.C., Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina. The five states with the lowest average of student loans per borrower are; South Dakota, Oklahoma, Iowa, Wyoming, and North Dakota. North Dakota is the only state where the average borrower owes less than $30,000.

For millions, student loans are a necessary part of paying for college. When federal aid and savings aren’t enough to pay for school, some borrowers turn to private student loans. While private lenders are not required to offer the same benefits or protections as federal student loans, they can be helpful for borrowers who have exhausted all other options and are looking to fill in gaps in funding. Student loans with SoFi have no hidden fees and borrowers are able to choose from four repayment plans.

Find out more about private student loans available from SoFi.

Photo credit: iStock/FangXiaNuo


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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.

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.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products 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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young woman sitting on library floor

Using In-School Deferment as a Student

Undergraduate and graduate students in school at least half-time can put off making federal student loan payments, and possibly private student loan payments, with in-school deferment. The catch? Interest usually accrues.

Loans are a fact of life for many students. In fact, a majority of them — about 70% — graduate with student loan debt.

While some students choose to start paying off their loans while they’re still in college, many take advantage of in-school deferment.

What Is In-School Deferment?

In-school deferment allows an undergraduate or graduate student, or parent borrower, to postpone making payments on:

•   Direct Loans, which include PLUS loans for graduate and professional students, or parents of dependent undergrads; subsidized and unsubsidized loans; and consolidation loans.

•   Perkins Loans

•   Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans.

Parents with PLUS loans may qualify for deferment if their student is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible college or career school.

What about private student loans? Many lenders allow students to defer payments while they’re in school and for six months after graduation. Sallie Mae lets you defer payments for 48 months as long as you are enrolled at least half-time.

But each private lender has its own rules.

Recommended: How Does Student Loan Deferment in Grad School Work?

How In-School Deferment Works

Federal student loan borrowers in school at least half-time are to be automatically placed into in-school deferment. You should receive a notice from your loan servicer.

If your loans don’t go into automatic in-school deferment or you don’t receive a notice, get in touch with the financial aid office at your school. You may need to fill out an In-School Deferment Request .

If you have private student loans, it’s a good idea to reach out to your loan servicer to request in-school deferment. If you’re seeking a new private student loan, you can review the lender’s deferment rules.

Most federal student loans also have a six-month grace period after a student graduates, drops below half-time enrollment, or leaves school before payments must begin. This applies to graduate students with PLUS loans as well.

Parent borrowers who took out a PLUS loan can request a six-month deferment after their student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment.

Requirements for In-School Deferment

Students with federal student loans must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible school, defined by the Federal Student Aid office as one that has been approved by the Department of Education to participate in federal student aid programs, even if the school does not participate in those programs.

That includes most accredited American colleges and universities and some institutions outside the United States.

In-school deferment is primarily for students with existing loans or those who are returning to school after time away.

The definition of “half-time” can be tricky. Make sure you understand the definition your school uses, as not all schools define half-time status the same way. It’s usually based on a certain number of hours and/or credits.

Do I Need to Pay Interest During In-School Deferment?

For federal student loans and many private student loans, no.

If you have a federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, interest will accrue during the deferment and be added to the principal loan balance.

If you have a Direct Subsidized Loan or a Perkins Loan, the government pays the interest while you’re in school and during grace periods. That’s also true of the subsidized portion of a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Interest will almost always accrue on deferred private student loans.

Although postponement of payments takes the pressure off, the interest that you’re responsible for that accrues on any loan will be capitalized, or added to your balance, after deferments and grace periods. You’ll then be charged interest on the increased principal balance. Capitalization of the unpaid interest may also increase your monthly payment, depending on your repayment plan.

If you’re able to pay the interest before it capitalizes, that can help keep your total loan cost down.

Alternatives to In-School Deferment

There are different types of deferment aside from in-school deferment.

•   Economic Hardship Deferment. You may receive an economic hardship deferment for up to three years if you receive a means-tested benefit, such as welfare, you are serving in the Peace Corps, or you work full time but your earnings are below 150% of the poverty guideline for your state and family size.

•   Graduate Fellowship Deferment. If you are in an approved graduate fellowship program, you could be eligible for this deferment.

•   Military Service and Post-Active Duty Student Deferment. You could qualify for this deferment if you are on active duty military service in connection with a military operation, war, or a national emergency, or you have completed active duty service and any applicable grace period. The deferment will end once you are enrolled in school at least half-time, or 13 months after completion of active duty service and any grace period, whichever comes first.

•   Rehabilitation Training Deferment. This deferment is for students who are in an approved program that offers drug or alcohol, vocational, or mental health rehabilitation.

•   Unemployment Deferment. You can receive this deferment for up to three years if you receive unemployment benefits or you’re unable to find full-time employment.

For most deferments, you’ll need to provide your student loan servicer with documentation to show that you’re eligible.

Then there’s federal student loan forbearance, which temporarily suspends or reduces your principal monthly payments, but interest always continues to accrue.

Some private student loan lenders offer forbearance as well.

If your federal student loan type does not charge interest during deferment, that’s probably the way to go. If you’ve reached the maximum time for a deferment or your situation doesn’t fit the eligibility criteria, applying for forbearance is an option.

If your ability to afford your federal student loan payments is unlikely to change any time soon, you may want to consider an income-based repayment plan or student loan refinancing.

The goal of refinancing with a private lender is to change your rate or term. If you qualify, all loans can be refinanced into one new private loan. Playing with the numbers can be helpful.

Just know that if you refinance federal student loans, they will no longer be eligible for federal deferment or forbearance, loan forgiveness programs, or income-driven repayment.

Recommended: Student Loan Refinancing Calculator

The Takeaway

What is in-school deferment? It allows undergraduates and graduate students to buy time before student loan payments begin, but interest usually accrues and is added to the balance.

If trying to lower your student loan rates is something that’s of interest, look into refinancing with SoFi.

Students are eligible to refinance a parent’s PLUS loan along with their own student loans.

There are absolutely no fees.

It’s easy to check your rate.


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SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

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.
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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