What Is an Interest-Bearing Checking Account?

What Is an Interest Checking Account and How Does It Work?

An interest checking account is, as the name suggests, a checking account that earns interest. Typically, checking accounts haven’t offered this feature, while savings accounts did. However, there are a number of interest-bearing checking accounts now available that can help your cash on deposit grow.

Typically more flexible than savings accounts, interest checking can give you a financial boost if they’re a good fit for you. In some cases, however, they may have minimum requirements and other aspects that may not sync up with your money style.

Here’s a closer look at these interest-bearing checking accounts, so you can decide if one might be right for you. Learn more about:

•   What is an interest-bearing checking account?

•   How do interest-bearing checking accounts work?

•   How much interest could you earn?

•   What are the pros and cons of interest checking accounts?

What Is an Interest Checking Account?

Whether it’s called an interest-bearing checking account, interest checking account, or high-yield checking, this is a type of checking account where the account holder can earn interest. The interest rate may not be amazingly high: At the end of 2023, the rate averaged 0.70% APY, or annual percentage yield, which is the real rate one earns when compounding interest kicks in. (Occasionally, APYs of 3.00% or higher may pop up.) Even at the lower range, the interest accrued is better than nothing. Honestly, who doesn’t want to earn more interest?

There may, however, be a catch:

•   Although the account will pay an APY, account holders may be required to pay monthly maintenance fees or maintain a certain account balance (say, $500 or more).

•   In addition, you may be required to receive a certain number of or dollar amount of direct deposits per month or meet other criteria, such as relating to debit card usage.

•   You might also have to pay a monthly account fee; again, it depends on the bank you choose. Recent research found that checking accounts had an average monthly fee of $10.77; where an interest account will fall can vary with the financial institution.

•   One more point: In many cases, interest checking accounts earn less interest compared to savings accounts.Yes, a checking account has added flexibility that may be beneficial (say, unlimited transactions and debit-card and check-writing features), but it’s worth noting. You might consider a combined checking and savings account to get the best of both worlds.

💡 Quick Tip: Want to save more, spend smarter? Let your bank manage the basics. It’s surprisingly easy, and secure, when you open an online bank account.

How Do Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts Work?

These types of accounts work in a similar way to other kinds of checking accounts. Account holders can make deposits at ATMs, online, by direct deposit, or at branch locations depending on the financial institution.

As for withdrawals, account holders can make bank transfers, withdraw cash from an ATM, write a check, use bill pay, or pay for purchases with a debit card. The only difference is that, instead of earning no money on your balance, you will accrue some interest, usually on a monthly basis.

How Are Interest Checking Accounts Different Than Other Checking Accounts?

The truth is, checking account interest rates will vary depending on the type of account and the financial institution. On average, banks offer an APY of 0.07%. There are high-yield checking accounts that could pay more, but these rates are generally still lower than what you could earn with a savings account. That said, with a little online research, you might find an interest checking APY of 3.00% or higher at this time. Those couple of extra points of interest may well be worthwhile as part of your plan to grow your wealth.

Just be sure to note the account requirements, as mentioned above. If you have to keep more money in the account that is comfortable for your budget and cash flow, you could wind up incurring late fees elsewhere in your financial life.

Here’s an example:

•   Perhaps you decide to pay your credit card bill late because you didn’t want your checking account balance to dip below the minimum to earn interest.

•   You opt to wait for your next paycheck to hit before you send your payment to your card issuer.

•   The credit card fee for the late payment is likely more than the interest you’re earning on the money in your checking account.

So in this situation, keeping your money in an interest checking account might not be a win-win for you.

Common Account Requirements for Interest Checking Accounts

When it comes to opening an interest-bearing checking account, there may be some requirements to wrangle. Keep the following factors in mind:

•   Minimum-balance and other account requirements: When you open an account, some financial institutions may require a minimum initial deposit. Current offers for interest-bearing checking range from zero dollars to $500 and occasionally significantly higher amounts as a minimum deposit. Shop around to find the right account for your needs.

   Plus, as mentioned above, you may need to maintain a certain balance in order to avoid fees. There may also be other rules such as the amount of transactions you can make on your debit card.

•   Fees: Some interest checking accounts may charge monthly fees, as described earlier in this article, which could eat into the interest you earn. You may have to keep a higher balance in your account to avoid fees. Other fees to consider are overdraft fees, and whether you’ll need to pay third-party network fees to access certain ATMs.

•   Application requirements: Depending on the financial institution, you may be required to submit documents such as your Social Security number, proof of address, and government-issued photo ID. If you want to open a checking account with a credit union, you’ll most likely need to become a member.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Advantages and Disadvantages of Interest Checking Accounts

An interest checking account may not be the best option for you. Consider the following advantages and disadvantages before opening an account.

Advantages of Interest Checking Accounts

•   You’ll earn interest Most traditional checking accounts won’t pay you any interest, but with an interest-bearing one, you’ll earn high interest. That means your money will help you earn some money while it’s sitting in the account. Typical APYs can range from 0.50% to 3.00% or higher.

•   You’ll have more flexibility Checking accounts tend not to have transaction limits as you may with savings accounts or money market accounts. Plus, you can use checks and a debit card, offering you more flexibility to access your money.

Disadvantages of Interest Checking Accounts

•   You may have to meet certain requirements Though there are some interest checking accounts that don’t have minimum balance requirements or monthly fees, some do. That means you could be on the hook for a monthly fee if you can’t meet account requirements. In some cases, these fees could negate the amount you earn in interest.

•   You may not get a high interest rate The interest you earn on a checking account tends to be lower compared to ones you earn from a high-yield savings account or money market account. But there are definitely exceptions to the rule: Some banks have offered as much as 3.00% APY or higher on interest checking accounts, so it can truly pay to shop around and see if you can snag one of those deals.


Where Can I Get an Interest Checking Account?

You can open an interest checking account at most financial institutions, including traditional and online banks, as well as credit unions. As mentioned before, you may be required to become a member of the credit union you want to open a checking account with.

When shopping around, look beyond interest rates. Other equally important factors to consider are:

•   Account features (access to your funds, for instance; when the interest accrues)

•   Account-holder benefits (are there other perks to being an account-holder, such as a sign-up bonus?)

•   ATM, overdraft, and other fees

•   Minimum opening deposit and account balance requirements to earn interest.

Is It Worth It to Get an Interest Checking Account?

Thinking carefully about your financial situation and goals should help you determine whether it’s worth getting an interest bearing checking account.

•   For those who want to keep a decent amount of money in a checking account to ensure bills and daily transactions are taken care of, it might be worth considering. Why not earn a bit of interest if you can find an account that doesn’t charge fees?

•   However, if you’re interested in having a stash of cash available for short-term or medium-term savings goals — as in, you’re not planning on making frequent withdrawals — then a high-yield savings or a checking and savings account might be the better choice.

•   If your goal is to save for long-term goals like retirement or a college fund for your child, then an investment account could be the way to go.

Recommended: How to Avoid ATM Fees

The Takeaway

An interest-bearing checking account may be a good fit if you’re looking for an account for daily transactions that can grow your money a bit. It’s important to check the fine print to see if there are any minimum balance requirements and what the fees are. Comparing the potential interest to be earned with any fees that may be charged is a vital step before applying for an interest checking account.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


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SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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A Complete Guide to Private Student Loans

The average cost of college in the U.S. is $36,436 per year, including books, supplies, and daily living expenses, according to the Education Data Initiative. While grants and scholarships can significantly lower your out-of-pocket expenses, they typically don’t cover the full cost of your college education.

Student loans, both federal and private, can help bridge this gap in financial aid to allow you to attend the college of your choice. Federal student loans are funded by the government. They tend to offer the best rates and terms but come with borrowing limits. If you still have gaps in funding, you can turn to private student loans.

Private student loans are funded by banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Private lenders set their own eligibility criteria, and interest rates generally depend on a borrower’s creditworthiness. While private student loans don’t offer all the same borrower protections as federal loans, they can still be a smart choice to help you pay for educational expenses, as long as you do your research.

This guide offers private student loan basics, including what they are, how they work, their pros and cons, and how to apply for one.

What are Private Student Loans?

Often when people talk about student loans, they’re referring to federal student loans, which are provided by the federal government. Private student loans, by contrast, are given out by individual banks and lenders. Students typically turn to private student loans when federal loans won’t cover all of their costs.

You can use the money from a private school loan to pay for expenses like tuition, fees, housing, books, and supplies. Interest rates for private student loans may be variable or fixed and are set by the lender. Repayment terms can be anywhere from five to 20 years.

Unlike federal student loans, borrowers must pass a credit check to qualify for private student loans. Since most college students don’t have enough credit history to take out a large loan, a cosigner is often required.


💡 Quick Tip: Fund your education with a low-rate, no-fee SoFi private student loan that covers all school-certified costs.

How Do Private Student Loans Work?

How Private Student Loans Work

Loan amounts, interest rates, repayment terms, and eligibility requirements for undergraduate private student loans vary by individual lenders. If you’re in the market for a private student loan, it’s key to shop around and compare your options to find the best fit.

To get a private student loan, you need to file an application directly with your lender of choice. Based on the information you submit, the lender will determine whether or not you are approved and, if so, what rates and terms you qualify for.

If you’re approved, the loan proceeds will typically be disbursed directly to your university. Your school will apply that money to tuition, fees, room and board and any other necessary expenses. If there are funds left over, the money will be given for you to use toward other education-related expenses, such as textbooks and supplies.

Repayment policies vary by lender but typically you aren’t required to make payments while you’re attending school. Some lenders will allow you to defer payments until six months after you graduate. However, interest typically begins accruing as soon as the loan is dispersed. Similar to unsubsidized federal student loans, the interest that accrues while you’re in school is added to your loan balance.

The Pros and Cons of Private Student Loans

Pros of Private Student Loans

Cons of Private Student Loans

Apply any time of the year May require a cosigner
Higher loan amounts Less flexible repayment options
Choice of fixed or variable rates No loan forgiveness programs
Quick application process Can lead to over-borrowing
Statute of limitations on collection Not always discharged in death or disability
Options for international students No federal subsidy

If federal financial aid — including grants, work-study, and federal student loans — isn’t enough to cover the full cost of college, private student loans can fill in any gaps. Just keep in mind that private student loans don’t offer the same borrower protections that come with federal student loans. Before taking out a private student loan, it’s a good idea to fully understand their pros and cons.

The Benefits of Private Student Loans

Here’s a look at some of the advantages that come with private student loans.

Apply Any Time of the Year

Unlike federal student loans, which have application deadlines, you can apply for private student loans any time of the year. As a result, they can be helpful if you’re facing a mid-year funding shortfall or if your college expenses go up unexpectedly.

Higher Loan Amounts

Federal loans have annual maximums. For example, a first year undergraduate can borrow up to $5,500. The aggregate max you can borrow from the government for your entire undergraduate education is $31,000. Private student loan limits vary with each lender, but you can typically borrow up to the full cost of attendance minus any financial aid received.

Choice of Fixed or Variable Interest Rates

Federal loans only offer fixed-rate loans, while private lenders usually give you a choice between fixed or variable interest rates. Fixed rates remain the same over the life of the loans, whereas variable rates can change throughout the loan term, depending on benchmark rates.

Variable-rate loans usually have lower starting interest rates than fixed-rate loans. If you can afford to pay off your student loans quickly, you might pay less interest with a variable-rate loan from a private lender than a fixed-rate federal loan.

Quick Application Process

While federal student loans require borrowers to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, private student loans do not. You can apply for most private student loans online in just a few minutes without providing nearly as much information. In some cases, you can get a lending decision within 72 hours. By comparison, it typically takes three to five days for the government to process the FAFSA if you submit electronically, and seven to 10 days if you mail in the form.

Statute of Limitations

While you never want to default on your student loans (since it can cause significant damage to your credit), it can be nice to know that private student loans come with a statute of limitations. This is a set period of time that lenders have to take you to court to recoup the debt after you default. The time frame varies by state, but it can range anywhere from three to 10 years. After that period ends, lenders have limited options to collect from you.

However, that’s not the case with federal student loans. You must eventually repay your loans, and the government can even garnish your wages and tax refunds until you do.

Options for International Students

International students typically don’t qualify for federal financial aid, including federal student loans. Some private lenders, however, will provide student loans to non-U.S. citizens who meet specific criteria, such as attending an eligible college on at least a half-time basis, having a valid student visa, and/or adding a U.S. citizen as a cosigner.

When we say no fees we mean it.
No origination fees and late fees
when you take out a student loan with SoFi.


The Disadvantages of Private Student Loans

Private student loans also have some downsides. Here are some to keep in mind.

Requires a Cosigner

Most high school and college students don’t make enough income or have a strong credit history to qualify for private student loans on their own. Though some lenders will take grades and income potential into consideration, most students need a cosigner to qualify for a private student loan. Your cosigner is legally responsible for your student debt, and any missed payments can negatively affect their credit. If you can’t repay your loans, your cosigner is responsible for the entire amount.

The good news is that some private student loans allow for a cosigner release.That means that after you make a certain number of on-time payments, you can apply to have the cosigner removed from the loan.

Less Flexible Repayment Options

Federal student loans offer several different types of repayment plans, including Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans, which calculate your monthly payment as a percentage of your income. With the new Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan, for example, your monthly payments are generally equal to 5% of your discretionary income (which is the extra income you have after paying for basic necessities).

With private student loans, on the other hand, usually the only way to reduce your monthly payment is to refinance the loan to a lower interest rate, a longer repayment term, or both.

No Loan Forgiveness Programs

Federal student loans come with a few different forgiveness programs, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), IDR forgiveness. and Teacher Loan Forgiveness. While these programs have strict eligibility requirements, they can help many low-income borrowers. Private lenders, however, generally don’t offer programs that forgive your debt after meeting certain requirements.

If you’re experiencing financial hardship, however. the lender may agree to temporarily lower your payments, waive a payment, or shift to interest-only payments.

Can Lead to Over-Borrowing

Private loans typically allow you to borrow up to 100% of your cost of attendance, minus other aid you’ve already received. Just because you can borrow that much, however, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Borrowing the maximum incurs more interest over the duration of your loans and increases your payments, which can make repayment more difficult.

Not Always Discharged in Death or Disability

Federal loans are discharged if the borrower passes away, which means that the debt will be cleared and won’t count against the borrower’s estate. With private student loans, however, lenders can try to collect any outstanding loan amounts against a borrower’s estate in the event of death. They can’t, however, try to collect from a relative who did not cosign the debt.

Also keep in mind that your private loan could go into automatic default if your cosigner passes away, even if you’ve been making your payments on time.

No Federal Subsidy

Subsidized federal student loans, awarded based on financial need, come with an interest subsidy, meaning the government pays your interest while you’re in school and for six months after you graduate. This can add up to a significant savings.

Subsidies don’t exist with private student loans. Interest accrues from day one; in some cases, you might need to make interest payments while still in school. If you don’t pay the interest as you go, it’s added to your debt as capitalized interest when you finish school. (This is also the case with federal unsubsidized loans.)

Federal vs Private Student Loans

Here’s a look at the key differences between federal vs. private student loans.

Federal Student Loans vs. Private Student Loans

The Application Process

Federal student loans are awarded as a part of a student’s financial aid package. In order to apply for federal student loans, students must fill out the FAFSA each year. No credit check is needed to qualify.

To apply for private student loans, students need to fill out an application directly with their preferred lender. Application requirements may vary depending on the lender. A credit check is typically required.

Recommended: Financial Aid vs Student Loans

Interest Rates

The interest rates on federal student loans are fixed and are set annually by Congress. Once you’ve taken out a federal loan, your interest rate is locked for the life of the loan.

For the 2023-2024 school year, the interest rate on Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized loans for undergraduates is 5.50%, the rate on Direct Unsubsidized loans for graduate and professional students is 7.05%, and the rate on Direct PLUS loans for graduate students, professional students, and parents is 8.05%. The interest rates on federal student loans are fixed and are set annually by Congress.

Private lenders, on the other hand, are free to set interest rates. Rates may be fixed or variable and depend on several factors, including your (or your cosigner’s) credit score, loan amount, and chosen repayment term. Private student loan rates range anywhere from 2.99% to 14.96% APR for fixed-rate loans and 2.99% to 14.86% APR for variable-rate loans.

Repayment Plans

Borrowers with federal student loans can select from several different federal repayment plans , including income-driven repayment plans. You can defer payments while enrolled at least half-time and immediately after graduation

Repayment plans for private loans are set by the individual lender. Many private student loan lenders allow you to defer payments during school and for six months after graduation. They also have a variety of repayment terms, often ranging from five to 20 years.

Options for Deferment or Forbearance

Federal student loan borrowers can apply for deferment or forbearance if they encounter financial difficulties while they are repaying their loans. These options allow borrowers to pause their loan payments (interest, however, will typically continue to accrue).

Some private lenders may offer options for borrowers who are facing financial difficulties, including short periods of deferment or forbearance. Some also offer unemployment protection, which allows qualifying borrowers who have lost their job through no fault of their own to modify payments on their student loans.

Loan Forgiveness

Borrowers with federal student loans might be able to pursue loan forgiveness through federal programs such as PSLF or Teacher Loan Forgiveness, or after paying down their balances on an IDR plan for a certain period of time.

Since private student loans aren’t controlled by the government, they are not eligible for federal loan forgiveness programs. Though private lenders will often work with borrowers to avoid default, private student loans are rarely forgiven. Generally, it only happens if the borrower becomes permanently disabled or dies.

Should You Consider Private Student Loans?

There are many different types of student loans. It’s generally a good idea to maximize federal student loans before turning to private student loans. That way, you’ll have access to income-driven repayment plans, loan forgiveness programs, and extended deferment and forbearance periods.

If you still need money to cover tuition or other expenses, and you (or your cosigner) has strong credit, a private student loan can make sense.

Private student loans can also be useful if your expenses suddenly go up and you’ve already maxed out federal student loans, since they allow you to access additional funding relatively quickly. You might also consider a private student loan if you don’t qualify for federal loans. If you’re an international student, for example, a private loan may be your only college funding option.

Another scenario where private student loans can make sense is if you only plan to take out the loan short-term. If you’ll be able to repay the loan over a few years, private student loans could end up costing less overall.

Recommended: When to Apply for Student Loans

How to Get a Private Student Loan

Here’s a look at the steps involved in getting a private student loan.

1.    Shop around. Your school may have a list of preferred lenders, but you’re not restricted to this list. You can also do your own research to find top lenders. As you evaluate lenders, consider factors like interest rates, how much you can borrow, the loan term, when you must start repayment, any fees, and if the lender offers any hardship programs.

2.    See if you can prequalify. Some lenders allow borrowers to get a quote by filling out a prequalification application. This generally involves a soft credit inquiry (which won’t impact your credit score) and tells you what interest rates and terms you may qualify for. Completing this step can help you decide if you need a cosigner.

3.    Gather your information. To officially apply for a private student loan, you typically need to provide your Social Security number, birthdate, and home address, as well as proof of employment and income. You may also need to provide other financial information, such as your assets, rent or mortgage, and tax returns. If you have a cosigner, you’ll have to provide their personal and financial details as well.

4.    Submit your application. Once you’ve completed your application, the lender will typically contact your school to verify your information and eligibility. They will then process the student loan and notify you about your approval and disbursement of your money.


💡 Quick Tip: Parents and sponsors with strong credit and income may find much lower rates on no-fee private parent student loans than federal parent PLUS loans. Federal PLUS loans also come with an origination fee.

Does Everyone Get Approved for Private Student Loans?

No. Requirements for private student loans will vary depending on the lender, but generally to qualify you need to:

•   Attend an accredited school (this typically includes four-year colleges and, sometimes, two-year community colleges and trade schools).

•   Have a strong credit score (usually in the mid-600s or higher).

•   Have a steady income that can cover your expenses.

If you don’t meet these qualifications you can apply with a cosigner who does.

Apply for a Private Student Loan with SoFi

Private student loans are offered by banks, credit unions, and online lenders to help college students cover their educational expenses. They are not part of the federal student loan program, and generally do not feature the flexible repayment terms or borrower protections offered by federal student loans. However, private student loans come with higher loan limits, and the borrowing costs are sometimes lower compared to their federal counterparts. If you’re thinking about a private student loan for college, it pays to shop around to find the best rates and terms.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and 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

Why would someone get a private student loan?

Students typically turn to private student loans when federal loans won’t cover all of their costs. Private student loans come with higher borrowing limits than their federal counterparts. The aggregate max you can borrow from the government for your entire undergraduate education is $31,000. With private loans, on the other hand, you can typically borrow up to the total cost of attendance, minus any financial aid received, every year. This gives you more flexibility to get the financing you need.

Will private student loans be forgiven?

Private student loans aren’t funded by the government, so they don’t offer the same forgiveness programs. In fact, private student loan forgiveness is rare.

If you experience financial hardship, however, many lenders will work with you to stay out of default. They may agree to temporarily lower your payments, waive a payment, or switch to interest-only payments. Or, you might qualify for deferment or forbearance, which temporarily postpones your payments (though interest continues to accrue).

Are private student loans paid to you or the school?

Typically, lenders will send your private student loan money to your school, which will apply the loan to your current charges. The school will then transfer any balance to you to use towards other costs, such as school supplies and other living expenses.


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


SoFi 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-criteria 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.

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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How Do I Get My Student Loan Tax Form?

What Is a Student Loan Tax Form? How Do You Get One?

If you’re a borrower who paid interest on a qualified student loan, it’s possible to deduct some or all of that interest on your federal income tax return with a special tax form for student loans.

To do so, you’ll need to acquire a student loan tax form commonly known as IRS Form 1098-E. You can use this form to report how much you paid in student loan interest. One copy will go to the IRS, and you’ll keep the other.

To learn how to get your hands on your student loan tax form, when to deduct student loan interest and how to file a student tax form, keep reading.

What Are the Tax Forms for Student Loans?

The IRS Form 1098-E is a tax form for student loans that’s sent out by your loan servicer, or the company that collects your student loan payments. Sometimes, your lender services their own loans. Other times, they hire an outside service to collect their payments for them.

The loan servicer is required to send borrowers a 1098-E to complete their taxes if the borrower owes at least $600 in student loan interest. Typically, they’ll get them out by the end of January, since the interest forms for student loans and tax season coincide.

If you have more than one loan servicer, you’ll receive a 1098-E form from each.

The Purpose of a Student Tax Form

The student loan tax form is designed to give people with student loan debt the opportunity to deduct some or potentially all of the interest the debt accrues on their federal income tax return.

If you paid at least $600 in interest on a qualified student loan, the lender you paid that interest to should send you a 1098-E. Regardless of how many student loans you have, the $600 threshold still applies.

Recommended: What is the Average Student Loan Debt After College?

Uses of a Student Loan Tax Form

The student loan tax form is used to calculate your student tax interest deduction on your tax return.

As long as you meet certain conditions, you may be eligible to deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest from your taxable income:

•   You are filing separately and/or not married

•   Your income is below the annual limit

•   You are legally obligated to pay the interest, not someone else

•   If you’re filing a joint return, neither you nor your spouse is being claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return

The eligibility for the student loan interest deduction is determined based on a borrower’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), or their adjusted gross income (AGI) after factoring in any tax penalties incurred and allowable deductions. At a certain higher income bracket, the deduction is reduced or eliminated.

•   For taxpayers filing as single: The deduction is reduced once they have $75,000 of modified AGI and it’s eliminated at $90,000.

•   For taxpayers filing jointly: The deduction is reduced at $150,000 of modified AGI and it’s eliminated at $180,000.

Getting Your Student Tax Form

To obtain your college student tax form and ensure you aren’t missing any tax documents this season, there are a few steps you can take:

1.    Go directly to your loan servicer ’s website, where a downloadable 1098-E form will likely be available.

2.    Contact your loan servicer via telephone if you’re unable to visit their website.

3.    If you don’t know who your loan servicer is, visit StudentAid.gov or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID, then complete steps 1 and 2.

Finally, note that student tuition tax form 1098-E is not available for download through the Federal Student Aid website .

There are plenty of useful tools on the site to get you where you need to go, but, ultimately, you can’t download your student loan tax form directly from the website.

If you have private student loans, contact your lender directly.

Recommended: What Is IRS Form 1098?

Filling Out a Student Loan Interest Tax Form

When it comes to filling out a college student loan tax form, the IRS provides detailed instructions for the 2023 tax season to help financial, educational, and governmental institutions and borrowers cover all their bases.

At the most basic level, according to the IRS , if a loan servicer receives student loan interest of $600 or more from an individual during the year in the course of their trade or business, they must:

•   File a 1098-E form and;

•   Provide a statement or acceptable substitute, on paper or electronically, to the borrower

There are two boxes on the 1098-E form:

•   Box 1 is the amount of student loan interest received by the lender. It’s important to note, this figure represents interest paid, not loan payments made.

•   Box 2, if checked, denotes the fact that the amount in Box 1 does not include loan origination fees and/or capitalized interest for loans made before September 1, 2004.

Once you receive the 1098-E form, it’s up to you to include it when you file your taxes.

When to Deduct Student Loan Interest?

Student loan interest tax deduction is a type of federal income tax deduction that lets student loan borrowers deduct up to $2,500 of the interest paid on qualified student loans from their taxable income. It’s one of many tax breaks available to students and their parents to help them pay for college.

To know when to deduct student loan interest, it’s important to know if you meet the necessary qualifications:

•   Your student loan was taken out for the taxpayer (you), your spouse, or your dependent(s).

•   Your student loan was taken out when you were enrolled at least half-time in an academic program that led to a degree, certificate, or recognized credential.

•   Your student loan was used for qualifying education expenses such as tuition, textbooks, supplies, fees, or equipment (not including room and board, insurance, or transportation).

•   Your student loan was used within a “reasonable period of time,” and its proceeds were disbursed 90 days before the beginning of the academic period in which they were used or 90 days after it ended.

•   The college or school where you were enrolled is considered an eligible institution that participates in student aid programs managed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Do International Students Have a Different Tax Form?

For international students, it’s possible to deduct student loan interest from a foreign country, as long as their student loan is qualified (meeting the requirements listed above) and they’re legally obligated to make student loan payments on that loan.

There’s no need for international students to acquire a special international student tax form, however. The year-end financial statement from their loan servicer is typically sufficient enough proof for them to claim the student loan interest.

The Takeaway

If you paid interest on a qualified student loan for yourself or a dependent, you can likely deduct that interest on this year’s tax return. Once you’ve determined when and whether you’re able to deduct student loan interest and how to file a student loan interest form, you can simply wait for your loan servicer to send along a copy of your 1098-E or visit their website.

When you work with a private student loan lender like SoFi, you can access your 1098-E online, making it even easier to file your taxes and deduct student loan interest without waiting by your mailbox.

Photo credit: iStock/FG Trade


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-criteria 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.

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.

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

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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What’s the Difference Between a Co-op and a Condo?

Both co-ops and condos give a resident the right to use certain common areas, such as pools, gyms, roof decks, and courtyards. But there are big differences when it comes to what you actually own when you purchase a condo vs a co-op.

It’s easy to get confused about the difference between the two properties. If you pulled up pictures of co-ops and condos during a home search, they might seem exactly the same. But if you’re in the market for a home — especially in a large city where both housing types are popular — you’ll learn quickly that the terms are not interchangeable.

You might have wondered if you’d prefer a house or a condo. But if you’re moving in the direction of co-op vs. condo, it’s important to understand their many distinct features. You’ve done the work of budgeting for a home. Now, before you spend that budget, let’s get a handle on the difference between a condo and a co-op.


💡 Quick Tip: You deserve a more zen mortgage. Look for a mortgage lender who’s dedicated to closing your loan on time.

What Is a Condo?

With a condominium, you own your home, but you don’t solely own anything outside your unit — not even the exterior walls. Common areas of the complex are owned and shared by all the condo owners collectively.

Buying a condo is not all that different from securing any other type of real estate. Typically, the complex will be managed by an association that is responsible for maintaining the property and enforcing any covenants, conditions, and restrictions that govern property usage. The association sets the regular fees owners pay to cover repairs, landscaping, other services, and insurance for the shared parts of the property. Special assessments also might be levied to pay for unexpected repairs and needed improvements that aren’t in the normal operating budget.

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


What Is a Co-op?

In the co-op vs. condo debate, it’s key to know that with a housing cooperative, residents don’t own their units. Instead, they hold shares in a nonprofit corporation that has the title to the property and grants proprietary leases to residents. The lease grants you the right to live in your specific unit and use the common elements of the co-op according to its bylaws and regulations. A co-op manager usually collects monthly maintenance fees; enforces covenants, conditions and restrictions; and makes sure the property is well kept.

As a shareholder, you become a voting manager of the building, and as such have a say in how the co-op is run and maintained. Residents generally vote on any decision that affects the building. Should a resident wish to sell their shares, members of the board of directors will have to approve the new buyer. They will be much more involved than would be the case with a condo. That can make it a lengthy process.

Co-ops and condos are both common-interest communities, but their governing documents have different legal mechanisms that determine how they operate and can affect residents’ costs, control over their units, and even the feeling of community. (If you’re curious about another option, there’s always a townhouse, so read up on the difference between a condo and a townhouse as well.)


💡 Quick Tip: Your parents or grandparents probably got mortgages for 30 years. But these days, you can get them for 20, 15, or 10 years — and pay less interest over the life of the loan.

Some Pros & Cons of Co-Ops vs Condos

Financing

It’s important to drill down on the details of buying an apartment. Because you aren’t actually buying any real estate with a co-op, the price per square foot is usually lower than it would be for a condo. Eligibility for financing may depend on credit score, down payment, minimum square footage of a unit, and more.

However, it might be somewhat harder to get a mortgage for a co-op than a condo, even if the bottom-line price is less. It might not have all that much to do with you. Some lenders are reluctant to underwrite a loan for shares in a corporation vs. real property. Most condo associations don’t restrict lending or financing in the building. If you can get a mortgage loan, the condo association will usually let you buy a place.

Fees

Because a co-op’s monthly fee can include payments for the building’s underlying mortgage and property taxes as well as amenities, maintenance, security, and utilities, it’s usually higher than the monthly fee for a condo. Either way, though, generally the more perks that come with your unit, the more there is to maintain and in turn, the more you’re likely to pay.

If you’re concerned about an increase in fees, you might want to ask the association or board about any improvements that may lead to an increase in the future — and what the rules are for those who do not pay their assessed dues. All of these factors are important to weigh when you’re making a home-buying checklist, which includes figuring out how much money you’ll need and the best financing strategy.

Taxes

If you itemize on your income tax return, you may be able to deduct the portion of a co-op’s monthly fee that goes to property taxes and mortgage interest. However, none of a condo’s monthly maintenance fee is tax deductible. You might want to consult a tax professional about these nuances before moving forward with a co-op or condo purchase.

Privacy vs Community

If you’ve ever lived in one of those neighborhoods where the only time you saw your fellow residents was just before they pulled their cars into their garages, it could take you a while to adjust to cooperative or association living. Because you share ownership with your neighbors, you may be more likely to see them at meetings and other events. And you can trust that they’ll know who you are.

Co-op boards often require prospective buyers — who are potential shareholders — to provide substantial personal information before a purchase is approved, including personal tax returns, personal and business references. Many require in-person interviews. You may find that you like the sense of community and that everyone knows and looks out for each other. Or you may not. Again, you might want to ask some questions about socialization and privacy while checking out a particular co-op or an active condo community.

Restrictions

In a co-op, you might run into more rules regarding how you can renovate or even decorate your unit. And don’t forget: You’ll also have to deal with that rigorous application approval process if you ever decide to sell.

Both condos and co-ops frequently have restrictions on renting out extra rooms (or renting the entire unit), as well as on how many people can stay overnight or park in the parking lot, the type of pets you can have and their size, and more. Before you look at a unit, you may want to ask your agent about covenants, conditions, and restrictions that could be difficult to handle.

The Takeaway

Whether you end up buying a co-op or a condo, ownership offers many benefits you won’t find in a rental. When you’re ready to start a serious search, take the time to look for a lender that will work with you on whatever type of loan you might require. In the co-op vs. condo terrain, there are specialists for both sides.

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

SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.


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


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


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

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

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.

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Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Student Loans?

Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Student Loans?

Staying on top of student loans and other financial obligations can be challenging. If you’re having trouble making monthly payments, or you’re concerned about how you’ll repay your loans down the road, you might be wondering what happens if you don’t pay your debt.

While you cannot be arrested or put in jail for failing to pay your student loans, there are repercussions for missing student loan payments, including damage to your credit and wage garnishment.

Here’s a look at the potential legal and financial consequences of not paying debt, as well as tips for tackling student loan debt after you graduate.

Going to Jail for Debt

No matter how much or what type of outstanding debt you have, a debt collector cannot threaten to or have you arrested for that unpaid debt. Doing so is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and would be considered harassment.

A lender can, however, file a lawsuit against you to collect on an outstanding debt. If the court orders you to appear or to provide certain information, but you don’t comply, a judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. A judge can also issue a warrant for your arrest if you don’t comply with a court-ordered installment plan (such as child support).

Bottom line: You never want to ignore a court order, since doing could result in an arrest and, potentially, jail time.


💡 Quick Tip: Pay down your student loans faster with SoFi reward points you earn along the way.

Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Student Loans?

No, you can’t be arrested or put in prison for not making payments on student loan debt. The police won’t come after you if you miss a payment. While you can be sued over defaulted student loans, this would be a civil case — not a criminal one. As a result, you don’t have to worry about doing any jail time if you lose.

As mentioned above, however, ignoring an order to appear in court could result in an arrest. And, unless you want to deal with a long, messy legal process and added expenses on top of your debt (in the form of attorney and court fees), it’s in your best interest to do whatever you can to avoid defaulting on your student loans.

Statute of Limitations on Debt

In terms of debt collection, the statute of limitations refers to the amount of time that creditors have to sue borrowers for debt that’s past due.

Federal student loans don’t have a statute of limitations. This means that federal loan servicers can collect your remaining student loan balance at any point. Keep in mind that the federal government doesn’t have to sue you to start garnishing wages, tax refunds, and Social Security checks.

For other types of debt, including private student loans, many states have statutes of limitations between three and six years, but some may be longer. The timeframe can vary based on the type of debt and the state law named in your credit agreement.

If you’re sued by a debt collector and the debt is too old, you may have a defense to the lawsuit. You may also have a claim against the collector for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which prohibits suing or threatening to sue for a debt that is past the statute of limitations.

Recommended: Private Student Loans vs Federal Student Loans

What Are the Consequences of Not Paying Off Student Loan Debt?

The consequences of not paying your student loan debt differ depending on what type of student loans you have.

Federal Student Loans

Typically, with federal student loans, the loan becomes delinquent the first day after a payment is missed. If you don’t make a payment within 90 days, your loan servicer will report the delinquency to the three national credit bureaus.

If you don’t make a payment for 270 days (roughly nine months), the loan will go into default. A default can cause long-term damage to your credit score. You may also see your federal tax refund withheld or some of your wages garnished.

Once your federal student loan is in default, you can no longer receive deferment or forbearance or any additional federal student aid. Plus, you’re no longer eligible for an income-driven repayment plan, and your lender can sue you for the money you owe.

If, however, you had student loans that were on the pandemic-related pause, there is good news: Until September 30, 2024, borrowers who miss making payments on their federal student loans won’t be penalized in the ways described above. The Biden administration is providing a 12-month “on-ramp period,” during which a borrower won’t be reported as being in default to the national credit agencies. Interest will still accrue, though, so you’re not completely off the hook.

Private Student Loans

If you don’t pay private student loans, the consequences will depend on the lender. Generally, however, this is what happens: As soon as you miss a payment, your loan will be considered delinquent. You’ll get hit with a late fee and, after 30 days, your lender can report your delinquency to major credit agencies.

After 90 days, your loan will typically go into default. At that point, your loan may be sold to a collections company. Your (and any cosigner’s) credit score will also take a hit. In addition, your lender can sue you for the money you owe. They may also be able to get a court order to garnish your wages. However, they can’t take any money from your tax refunds or Social Security checks.

Tips for Getting Out of Student Loan Debt

You won’t go to jail for not paying back your student loans, but you can still face some significant consequences for missing payments. Here are some ways to stay (or get back) on track.

1. Set up a Budget

It can be hard to manage your finances without a plan. Creating a monthly budget is a helpful way to keep your spending in check and make sure you have enough money for your loan payments. Once you write down everything you’re spending on each month, you may find some easy places to cut back, such as getting rid of streaming services you rarely watch or spending less on takeout and afternoon coffees. Any money you free up can then go towards loan repayment.

2. Increase Cash Flow

Reining in your spending with a budget is a good place to start, but it may not be enough for getting out of debt. Having some extra cash on hand can help manage debt payments and offer some breathing room within your monthly budget.

To boost your income, you might consider taking on more hours at your current job, getting some freelance work, or picking up a side gig (such as food delivery, dog walking, or babysitting). You don’t have to do this forever — just until your student debt is paid off, or at least well under control.

3. Create a Debt Reduction Plan

If you have multiple debts, it’s a good idea to take an inventory of everything you owe and then set up a comprehensive debt reduction plan.

A popular system is the avalanche method, which calls for putting any extra cash toward the debt with the highest interest rate while making minimum payments on other balances. When that debt is paid off, you put your extra money towards the debt with the next-highest interest rate, and so on.

Another option is the snowball method, which focuses on ticking off debts in order of size, starting with the smallest debt balance, while still taking care of minimum payments on other debt.

4. Apply for an Income-Based Repayment Plan

If you have federal student loans, there are four income-driven repayment plans you can apply for to make your monthly payments more manageable. These include:

•   Saving on a Valuable Education Plan (SAVE; replacing Revised Pay As You Earn)

•   Pay As You Earn

•   Income-Based Repayment Plan

•   Income-Contingent Repayment Plan

Monthly payments are a percentage of your discretionary income, usually 10% or 20%. What’s more, all four plans forgive any remaining balance at the end of the 20- or 25-year repayment period. Note that in some situations, you may be required to pay taxes on the forgiven amount, according to IRS rules.

5. Find Another Repayment Plan

Besides income-based repayment, borrowers can explore a variety of other federal repayment plans to help pay off debt. For example, the graduated repayment plan helps recent college grads find their financial footing by setting smaller monthly payments at first before increasing every two years.

Some private lenders also offer a choice of different repayment options.

6. Look Into Forgiveness Programs

The federal government offers student loan forgiveness to borrowers who meet certain eligibility criteria, such as working in a certain profession, having a permanent disability, or after making payments for a certain amount of time on an income-driven repayment plan. Similar programs are available at the state-level across the country, and generally base eligibility on specific professions or financial hardship.

The Rural Iowa Primary Care Loan Repayment Program, for instance, provides up to $200,000 toward repaying eligible student loans for doctors who commit to working five years in designated locations.

The NYS Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program, on the other hand, offers up to 24 months of debt relief to recent graduates in New York who are participating in a federal income-driven repayment plan.

7. Ask About Employer Tuition Reimbursement Programs

Besides health insurance and a 401(k), your employer may provide other benefits, including tuition reimbursement programs, to support and retain their employees.

Often, these programs are focused on annual tuition expenses that employees incur while studying and working concurrently. Still, employers may offer to contribute to student loan payments as well.


💡 Quick Tip: Master’s degree or graduate certificate? Private or federal student loans can smooth the path to either goal.

8. Explore Refinancing Your Student Loans

Student loan refinancing could help you save interest and make your monthly payments easier to manage. Generally, though, refinancing only makes sense if you can qualify for a lower interest rate.

Refinancing involves taking out a new loan with a private lender and using it to pay off your existing federal or private student loans. You can often shop around and “browse rates” without any impact to your credit scores (prequalifying typically involves a soft credit check). Just keep in mind that refinancing federal loans with a private lender means losing access to government protections like income-driven repayment plans, student loan forgiveness programs, and deferment and forbearance.

Also know that lenders typically require your loans to be in good standing before approving a refinance. That means you generally can’t refinance a student loan in default. You can, however, consider refinancing after recovering from a student loan default.

The Takeaway

Although you won’t go to jail for failing to pay your student loans, there are a number of negative consequences, like late fees, a damaged credit score, wage garnishment, and even being taken to court. The current “on ramp” to repayment of federal student loans, however, removes these consequences until September 30, 2024.

Whatever type of student loan you have, you can help the road to repayment go smoothly by setting up a budget that makes room for monthly loan payments, picking a repayment plan that fits your needs and budget, and investigating forgiveness options.

Finding a student loan with a competitive interest rate and flexible repayment terms can help avoid the stress and repercussions of not paying student loans down the line.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and 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

Do student loans go away after 7 years?

No, student loans won’t disappear after seven years. Negative information about your student loans (such as late payments or defaulting on a loan) will be removed from your credit report after seven years, but the loans themselves will stay on your reports until you pay them off or have them forgiven.

Many states have statutes of limitations of between three and six years to prevent creditors and debt collectors from using legal action to collect on older debts. However, federal student loans don’t have a statute of limitations.

How long before student loans are forgiven?

The Public Service Forgiveness Program requires making the equivalent of 120 qualifying monthly payments under an accepted repayment plan (while working full-time for an eligible employer) for student loan forgiveness. With an income-based repayment plan, you need to make payments for 20 to 25 years to have the remaining balance forgiven. State programs may offer more rapid repayment assistance and forgiveness.

Can student loans seize bank accounts?

Yes, but not right away. If you have federal student loans, your wages or bank accounts can be garnished only if you have officially defaulted on your loans (i.e., you haven’t made a payment for at least 270 days). The government does not need a court order or judgment to garnish your wages.

If you default on a private student loan, your creditor must first sue you to obtain a judgment and submit a court order to your employer before your wages can be garnished.


Photo credit: iStock/shadrin_andrey

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


SoFi 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-criteria 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.

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.

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