Why Are Bitcoin and Other Cryptos So Volatile?

Bitcoin’s most defining feature might well be that its price always seems to be rising.

In reality, however, the price of Bitcoin doesn’t always go up. To get these screaming vertical price increases, there needs to be some death-defying falls as well. Bitcoin’s very volatility makes this popular crypto a tempting investment for some, and a quite dangerous one for others. Trading in cryptocurrencies might not be for all investors — especially those with a low tolerance for risk.

Bitcoin Price Volatility

There’s no denying that cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, are volatile. For instance, in the first half of 2021, Bitcoin doubled in value, reaching a record-breaking high price of $64,000. But it tumbled back to less than $30,000 during the summer months. Then in November, Bitcoin’s price soared again; this time to $68,000 (for another all-time high) only to slip to below $35,000 in January 2022.

And this is just one example. Since its launch in 2009, Bitcoin has posted an impressive price history, and experienced more than a few conspicuous crashes.

Volatility is essentially a given across all types of cryptocurrencies, given the general air of legal, political, institutional, and technological uncertainty that floats around them. But it’s more noticeable with Bitcoin. Bitcoin was the very first cryptocurrency created. Not only is it the most expensive crypto, but likely the most visible, and has become a flagship for the entire crypto/blockchain space. Arguably, Bitcoin could be the coin that led the government, the public, and traditional financial services companies to take cryptocurrencies seriously. Increasingly, millions of ordinary people view Bitcoin as a vehicle for investing, trading, and saving. But before investing in cryptocurrency, an investor would want to consider its volatility seriously.

Why Does Cryptocurrency Volatility Matter?

There’s a reason that nearly anyone who’s well-versed in cryptocurrency would caution novice investors to invest no more than you’re willing to lose. With a highly volatile asset like cryptocurrency, an investor’s overall portfolio value could suddenly shoot much higher or much lower than they would expect, or are prepared for, based on big changes in its price.

Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency to experience big price swings that can lead to large gains or losses for investors. Volatility does not play favorites, and most crypto coins, even more familiar assets, like plain vanilla stocks, can experience the phenomenon of volatility. From the second-largest crypto, Ethereum — and popular established coins like Dogecoin, Uniswap, and Filecoin — to crypto projects you might not know, all have experienced price volatility.

Is Bitcoin Particularly Volatile?

There are at least a few reasons why Bitcoin’s price is so unstable.

Liquidity

In financial markets, liquidity is a concept that relates how much a given purchase or sale of an asset will move its overall price. Liquidity, in general, supports overall asset values. Say you have an item that costs $500 but when you go to sell it, there’s no one to buy it; In that case, the $500 price tag is not very meaningful. Low liquidity may be rendering the price of Bitcoin unstable.

A particular concern with Bitcoin is that a huge portion of all the Bitcoin circulating in the world — at this writing, more than 18.5 million bitcoin — will never be bought or sold by anyone. This could be because the coin is stranded in wallets for which the private keys have been forgotten or because they’re held by investors who will never sell, no matter the price. Moreover, Bitcoin’s existence is finite; no more than 21 bitcoin will ever be mined.

By shrinking the amount of Bitcoin in circulation beyond the limits built into the system, Bitcoin’s liquidity could dry up. This means that movements to buy or sell could quickly influence its price, driving it up or down violently.

Speculation

One of the biggest debates surrounding cryptocurrencies is, what’s it for, exactly? Why are people buying it? For individuals who live in countries with unstable or despotic governments, Bitcoin can be a lifeline of stable value. But for many, it is not an especially convenient payment mechanism compared to the fiat currency of existing banking systems.

And yet, many people are buying Bitcoin and willing to pay ever-higher prices for it. The main reason seems that they expect the price to get even higher in time. Some people think the price will go up because Bitcoin is protected against inflation because of its 21-million cap on coin. Some expect wider adoption of Bitcoin as a payment protocol. And some expect it to become widely used by financial services institutions as a store of value.

The FOMO Factor

Essentially, interest in Bitcoin is generated by the idea that other people are going to buy it in the future, at a higher price than it’s selling for today. This expectation is fed by regular headlines about a company or celebrity buying into Bitcoin and the massive profits people are generating from Bitcoin they bought years — or even weeks — ago. In the crypto community, this behavior is known as fear of missing out (FOMO). Speculative investing like this often leads to volatility, because the price can turn down as sharply as it turns up.

At this time, many analysts believe that the questions surrounding cryptocurrency, as well as FOMO, are precisely what are keeping Bitcoin’s prices high. An asset’s price likely would swing if a large portion of investors are trying to get in front of buyers who come in later. Those who buy a crypto immediately when it comes to market could dump the coin just as quickly. This could happen if an investor made a profit, or they no longer believe that more investors will buy into the crypto.

The Takeaway

Bitcoin’s volatility is based on at least two factors: its potentially low liquidity, and the plethora of unanswered questions about crypto, a still-new asset class. Investors and anyone who follows the news are aware of shocking highs and lows in Bitcoin’s value.

Interested in trading crypto? With SoFi Invest® crypto trading, members can buy and sell popular coins like Bitcoin, Filecoin, and Ethereum. With the convenient mobile app, you can trade crypto 24/7 – even on weekends, holidays, middle of the night.

Find out how to get started with SoFi Invest today.

FAQ

In general, are cryptocurrencies more volatile than stocks?

Yes. Investing in the stock market has been a mainstay of the U.S. economy since the late 1700s. Stocks are also regulated, subject to oversight by the SEC, and other government agencies. Cryptocurrencies as an asset class are quite new, not fully regulated, and do not yet have a proven track record in U.S. markets. As we discussed, crypto is considered a speculative investment. Complex assets — like high-yield bonds, options, mortgage-backed securities, and other derivatives, including crypto — are subject to greater volatility than are plain vanilla stocks.

Which cryptocurrency is the most volatile?

The answer: It changes every day. And, volatility is not selective. Popular coins, like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), take their turns at being “most-volatile” just as often as do the tiny cryptos you might not have heard of . Cryptocurrency’s volatility has spawned a number of reliable indexes that track and report its daily price fluctuations, including Yahoo Finance and Shufflup .

Is volatility a good thing for crypto?

Volatility is neither good nor bad. Rather, it’s a phenomenon that exists in all financial markets for a mix of reasons. Cryptocurrency skeptics might see crypto’s volatility as a danger sign, a reason to stay away. However, sometimes volatility can benefit a new fast-growing asset, like crypto.

This is happening currently, with profit-seeking traders and wealthy venture capitalists streaming toward crypto. Venture capital funding can help seed new start-ups and advance technical innovation. And new money flowing into a sector often brings heightened liquidity, which makes for healthy financial markets.

The FOMO factor, which we discussed above, and just plain curiosity also can have a positive effect on crypto. For example, some large traditional financial services (TradFi) institutions that were prior crypto-naysayers are now showing an interest in the crypto sector.


Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA , the SEC , and the CFPB , have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds or traditional investments. Limitations apply to trading certain crypto assets and may not be available to residents of all states.
Disclaimer: The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.
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The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
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Similarities and Differences Between Financial Aid vs Student Loans

Figuring out how to pay for school can be stressful, so it’s important to compare financial aid vs student loans so that you can reduce your financial burden as much as possible and find out what’s right for you.

When college financial aid isn’t enough, people use federal or private student loans to help cover costs. Private student loans can also close gaps between what you qualify for and how much you need. We’ll compare student loans vs financial aid and explore some features that can help you determine what makes the most sense for your financial situation.

What Is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is funding that is available to students to help make college or career school more affordable. College financial aid comes in several forms and helps students pay for higher education expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies and transportation.

Here are several types of financial aid available to students:

•   Scholarships: A scholarship is a form of financial aid that’s awarded to students to help pay for school. Scholarships are typically awarded based on academic or athletic achievement, community involvement, job experience, field of study, financial need and more.

•   Grants: A grant is a form of financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid and is generally based on financial need.

•   Federal work-study programs: The federal work-study program offers funds for part-time employment to help eligible college students in financial need.

•   Federal student loans: Student loans are borrowed money from the federal government or private lenders to help pay for college.

Financial aid can come from federal, state, school, and private sources. Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the U.S. Federal aid is distributed to 13 million students each year, totaling $120 billion.

Recommended: Am I Eligible for Work-Study?

What Are Student Loans?

A student loan is money borrowed from the government or a private lender to help pay for school with the expectation that you will pay it back. Like most other types of loans, the amount borrowed will accrue interest over time. Student loans can be used on school-related expenses including tuition, room and board, and other school supplies.

Loans are different from grants or scholarships and it’s essential that you understand the differences between financial aid vs student loans. If you receive a grant or a scholarship, you typically don’t have to pay that money back. Student loans are also different from work-study programs, where students in financial need to work part-time jobs to earn money to help pay for school.

It’s common for college students to take out student loans to finance their education, but you should first compare federal vs private student loans. Federal student loans offer some borrower benefits that make them preferable to private student loans.

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are loans that are backed by the U.S. government. Terms and conditions of the loan are set by the federal government and include several benefits, such as fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans. To qualify, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) every year that they want to receive federal student loans. The FAFSA also allows students to apply for federal aid including scholarships, grants, and work-study. Colleges may also use the information provided on the FAFSA to determine school-specific aid awards.

There are four types of federal student loans available:

•  Direct Subsidized Loans are student loans for undergrads in financial need to help pay for expenses related to higher education. The government covers the accruing interest on this type of loan while the borrower is enrolled in school at least half-time and during the loan’s six month grace period after graduation.

•  Direct Unsubsidized Loans are made to eligible undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Eligibility is not based on financial need. Borrowers are responsible for all accrued interest on this type of loan.

•  Direct PLUS Loans are made to graduate or professional students, known as the Grad PLUS loan, or parents of dependent undergraduate students, known as the Parent PLUS loan. These loans are meant to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.

•  Direct Consolidation Loans allow students to combine all eligible federal student loans into a single loan.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans can also be used to help pay for college. Private student loans are offered by banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Understanding how private student loans work is essential before borrowing. While federal student loans are generally the first option potential student borrowers pursue, private student loans may be an option to consider for borrowers who are trying to pay for college without financial aid. Unlike federal student loans, which have terms and interest rates set by the federal government, private lenders set their own and conditions that vary from lender to lender.

Private student loans are also credit-based. The lender will review an applicant’s credit history, income and debt, and whether they’re enrolled in a qualified educational program. Applicants who may lack credit history, or have a less than glowing credit score may consider applying with a cosigner to improve their chances of approval.

Unlike federal student loans, interest rates can be fixed or variable. A fixed interest rate stays the same for the life of the loan but a variable interest rate may change. The interest rate a borrower qualifies for will also depend on the lender as well as the borrower’s creditworthiness.

Not all private student loans are the same. Because of this, it’s important that you understand the annual percentage rates (APRs) and repayment terms before taking on the loan.

Financial Aid vs Student Loans Compared

When comparing financial aid vs student loans, you need to be aware of the similarities and differences between financial aid vs student loans. Here are some key comparisons.

Similarities Differences
They can both be used to help fund education-related expenses. Financial aid doesn’t typically need to be repaid. Student loans must be repaid within a given loan term, plus interest.
FAFSA® must be filled out for financial aid and federal student loans. Financial aid and student loans may be paid out differently.
Financial aid and student loans have certain eligibility requirements. Some financial aid, like scholarships, may be awarded based on merit. Federal student loans can be both need and non-need based. Lending criteria on private student loans is determined by the lender.

Similarities

Financial aid and student loans are both used to help fund education-related expenses, like tuition, room and board, books and classroom supplies, and transportation. Financial aid and student loans backed by the federal government also require students to fill out FAFSA® for each year that they want to receive federal student loans or federal financial aid. Financial aid and student loans also have some sort of eligibility requirements, whether that be based on financial need, merit or creditworthiness.

Differences

The biggest difference between financial aid vs student loans is whether or not you need to pay back the money you are given to help pay for college. Financial aid is either money that doesn’t need to be paid back, known as gift aid, or earned through a federal work-study program.

Student loans must be repaid within a given loan term. Not only are students expected to pay back student loans, but there’s typically interest that accrues over the life of the loan.

There may also be differences in how financial aid and student loans are paid out to the student. Private student loans are usually paid in one lump sum at the start of each school year or semester; however, you may not receive the full amount of a scholarship award upfront. Government grants and loans are generally split into at least two disbursements and If you have a work-study job, you’ll be paid at least once a month.

Some private student loans may also come with greater flexibility and offer more money than financial aid.

Recommended: Gift Aid vs Self Help Aid For College

Pros and Cons of Financial Aid

Pros of Financial Aid

•  Money received through financial aid does not typically have to be repaid.

•  Potential to decrease future debt by minimizing the amount you have to borrow.

•  Opens up new opportunities for many students to attend a better school than they could without financial assistance.

•  Allows students to focus on their education instead of worrying about paying tuition.

Cons of Financial Aid

•  Most financial aid does not cover all school-related costs.

•  Scholarships, grants, and work-study programs can be highly competitive.

•  You may have to maintain certain standards to meet eligibility requirements during each semester.

•  There’s less flexibility on how you can spend funds.

Pros and Cons of Student Loans

Pros of Student Loans

•  Student loans offer financial support for those who would otherwise be unable to attend college.

•  You don’t need any credit history for federal student loans and you can use a creditworthy cosigner for private student loans.

•  Student loans can be used for things beyond tuition, room and board, and books.

•  Paying off student loans may help you build credit.

Cons of Student Loans

•  You start off with debt after graduating from college.

•  Student loans can be expensive.

•  Defaulting on student loans can negatively impact your credit score.

•  If you borrowed a private student loan, the interest rate may be variable.

Private Student Loans from SoFi

Financial aid and student loans financially support students by relieving some of the financial burden that’s often associated with higher education. When financial aid isn’t enough, students may seek private student loans to help cover their college costs. Although private student loans don’t come with as many perks as federal student loans, and are generally borrowers only as a last resort option as a result, they can help fill in the gaps between what you qualify for and how much you need.

Private student loans from SoFi can help serve as a supplement to federal aid. SoFi student loans offer plenty of benefits, such as no origination fees, no application fees, no late fees, and no insufficient fund fees. You can find out if you pre-qualify within minutes.

Learn more about private student loan options available with SoFi.

FAQ

Does FAFSA loan or grant money?

FAFSA is an application that you fill out in order to determine your eligibility for receiving a federal loan or federal student aid such as grants and scholarships. While a federal student loan is borrowed money that must be repaid after graduation, funds received through grants, scholarships, and work-study programs do not need to be repaid.

Can you get financial aid and student loans at the same time?

Yes. If you apply for financial aid at your school, you may be offered loans as part of your school’s financial aid offer to help cover the remaining costs.

Do scholarships count as financial aid?

Yes, scholarships are a type of financial aid that is considered gift aid and typically do not have to be repaid.


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5 Popular Investing Trends of 2022

Heading into 2022, many investors had a brighter outlook on the U.S. economy and financial markets. Both staged impressive rebounds in 2021 after Covid-19 quarantine measures triggered wild volatility. Vaccine breakthroughs and stimulus checks further stoked optimism that the finances of many businesses and individuals were on the mend.

However, rising inflation, higher interest rates, and geopolitical conflict have been several headwinds getting in the way of continued economic and financial market growth in 2022. Year-to-date, the benchmark S&P 500 Index is down about 7% through April 20, 2022, after rising nearly 27% in 2021.

Nonetheless, there are opportunities in some areas of the financial markets for investors looking beyond Covid-19. Here’s a look at five popular investment trends for 2022.

1. Looking Beyond Covid-19

Some of the success stories in the stock market in 2020 and 2021 were companies that benefited from coronavirus-related stay-at-home measures, like entertainment streaming businesses, video conferencing services, and at-home workout companies. But many companies in these sectors are losing their luster as the country reopens; investors are looking for other opportunities as the world returns to normal.

Investors have wagered that airline, cruise line, travel website operators, and other transportation stocks will benefit now that most Covid-19 restrictions are in the rearview mirror. While these sectors, like the rest of the economy, may be hindered by rising interest rates and inflation, many investors still see them poised to grow because of pent-up demand.

2. ESG Investing Movement

Financial advisors often tell clients to take their emotions out of investing. However, a new breed of ethically-minded investors has become increasingly interested in putting their money where their values are in recent years.

This strategy is known as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. A Bloomberg study estimated that ESG investments may hit $41 trillion globally by the end of this year and $50 trillion by 2025, a third of global assets under management.

In early 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine set off global protests and pronouncements against the unprovoked conflict. Many American companies followed by pulling their business operations out of Russia and issuing statements on their commitment to Ukrainian democracy. This development is just one example of companies looking beyond the bottom line in their business decisions. Moreover, shareholder advocacy groups are applying pressure on some companies to back their pledges with transparency on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.

3. Web 3.0

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were among the most discussed investments in 2021, with wild swings in prices as investors put money into these digital assets. The prices of crypto assets cooled off in the early portion of 2022, but they are still in the front of the minds of a lot of investors.

Because of the success and attention paid to crypto over the past several years, investors are looking to put money into related investments: companies involved in what is known as Web 3.0, or the next phase of the internet. Web 3.0 companies include those involved with blockchain technology, decentralized finance (DeFi), the metaverse, and artificial intelligence.

4. Commodities Markets

After years of muted returns, commodity prices rebounded in 2021. Investors wagered that recovering economies would lead to more construction, energy usage, and food consumption. Tight supplies also boosted these markets.

Moving into 2022, the attention paid to the commodities market has only intensified, especially with the geopolitical turmoil in Ukraine and Russia affecting critical commodities like oil, natural gas, and wheat. Prices of these key commodities have spiked as the Russian-Ukrainian conflict constrains supplies.

Rising prices of agriculture, lumber, and industrial and precious metals have sparked a debate about whether commodities are going through a new supercycle. A supercycle is a sustained period, usually about a decade, where commodities trade above long-term price trends.

Recommended: Commodities Trading Guide for Beginners

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5. Hot Housing Market

The housing market will continue to be an area of focus for investors, policymakers, and potential homebuyers in 2022. During 2020 and 2021, rock-bottom mortgage rates, a shortage of housing supply, and homebuyers looking to purchase larger houses to accommodate working from home led to houses selling quickly and at high prices. Additionally, investors and real estate investment trusts (REITs) bought an increasing share of homes on the market.

During the first quarter of 2022, mortgage rates are rising at a record pace, with the average 30-year mortgage nearing 5% for the first time since 2018. Analysts are looking to see if rising mortgage rates will cool the hot housing market or if buyers will continue to purchase homes.

Recommended: Pros & Cons of Investing in REITs

The Takeaway

Putting hard-earned dollars into any investment — whether it’s trendy or traditional — can be daunting. Investors should be aware that, while momentum can feed investment fads for long periods, some market trends can become vulnerable because of frothy valuations and turn on a dime.

However, if investors still want to try their hand at choosing popular investment trends themselves, SoFi’s Active Investing platform makes it easy by making it easy to track their picks of stocks, ETFs and fractional shares. Investors can also make trades without incurring management fees from SoFi Invest®.

Open an Active Investing account with SoFi today.


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The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
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What Happens When Someone Pays My Student Loans?

If someone offers you assistance in paying off student loans, your immediate answer might be “Go for it!” but it’s important to understand the implications.

While a parent, grandparent, employer, or even a mysterious benefactor could pay off your student loans, they may be responsible for a gift tax if they contribute more than the annual limit. The gift could also come with emotional strings attached.

Read on to learn about the gift tax — and how to repay your student loans if the responsibility is all yours.

Student Loans, Explained

As federal student loan repayment was poised to begin again on August 31, 2022 after a pandemic-related hiatus of two-plus years, and as widespread student loan forgiveness had not come to fruition, those bills were top of mind for many. Borrowers who held private loans did not have any uniform break in payments.

If you applied for private student loans or federal PLUS loans, you either applied by yourself or with a cosigner or endorser, respectively. If you have a cosigner or endorser, that person is legally responsible for repaying the loans if you are unable to do so. But if your student loans are solely in your name, you are responsible for repayment according to the outlined terms.

When you applied for student aid, getting out of student debt may have been the last thing on your mind. But when you’re starting repayment or in the midst of it, it can be challenging to pay down your loans as well as budget for your life.

More employers are offering student loan repayment as a perk. Through CARES Act legislation, employers can contribute up to $5,250 per employee toward student loans through 2025. That sum is not considered part of an employee’s taxable income.

Family members may decide to help, or your spouse may pitch in.

If it’s all on you, there are ways to make student loan payments more manageable.

Can Parents Pay Off Their Child’s Student Loans?

Yes.

If a parent is a cosigner, paying the student loans in full will not trigger a gift tax. In the mind of the IRS, the parent is not providing a gift but is merely paying off a debt.

But if a parent is not a cosigner, a gift tax could be triggered, depending on how much they pay.

The annual exclusion for gifts is $16,000 in 2022. That means an individual can give you up to $16,000 without triggering the gift tax, which the givers, not receivers, generally pay. If your parents file taxes jointly, they would be able to give a combined $32,000 a year, which could include paying down loans. Borrowers who have the good fortune to snag $16,000 from Mom, Dad, Granddad, and Grandma could get a total of $64,000 without any family member having to pay a gift tax.

To avoid triggering a gift tax, one option would be to help pay during multiple tax years. But it’s also a good idea for parents to consider their retirement plans and test what-ifs before offering to pay their children’s student loans. Working with a financial planner may help parents find a path that works for them and their children.

It’s also not an all-or-nothing decision. Some parents choose to pay a portion of student loans or offer cash toward repayment in lieu of other gifts.

Recommended: Should Parents Cosign on Student Loans?

What Happens When Someone Pays Off Student Loans For You?

A person can pay off student loans for you in a couple of ways:

•   Pay the lender directly

•   Pay you, with the expectation you will pay the lender

Once someone has paid off your student loans, it’s as if you had paid them off yourself. You would not have any tax liability.

Gift Tax, Explained

The gift tax applies to the transfer of any type of property (including money), or the use of income from property, without expecting to receive something of at least equal value in return, the IRS says, adding that if you make an interest-free or reduced-interest loan, you may be making a gift.

There are some exceptions. Gifts between spouses aren’t included in the gift tax. That means if you are married and your spouse pays off your loans, that would not trigger a gift tax event. (The IRS includes lawfully married same-sex couples.)

Tuition paid directly to qualifying educational institutions in the United States or overseas is also not subject to gift tax. But student loans are different.

If the gift someone is planning to give you is above the annual exclusion amount, they may want to work with a CPA or lawyer to find the most advantageous way to do so. Splitting up the gift across multiple calendar years can be one way to avoid triggering a gift tax.

Other Options to Pay Off Student Loans

Not everyone has a benefactor, and that’s OK. While someone taking your student loan balance down to zero can seem like a dream, there are realistic ways to ease the burden of student loans, no third party required.

The strategies include student loan refinancing, student loan consolidation and, in some cases, student loan forgiveness.

The one thing that won’t help: if you stop paying your student loans. Ignoring your student loan payments will result in an increased balance, additional fees, and lower credit score.

If you hold federal student loans and stop paying them, part of your wages could be garnished. Your tax refund could be withheld. If you default on a private student loan, the lender might file a suit to collect from you.

In other words, coming up with a repayment plan will be beneficial.

What Is Student Loan Consolidation?

If you have federal student loans, you may consider consolidation, or combining multiple loans into one federal loan. The interest rate is the average of all the loans’ rates, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percentage point.

Federal student loan consolidation via a Direct Consolidation Loan can lower your monthly payment by giving you up to 30 years to repay your loans. It can also streamline payment processing.

Consolidating loans other than Direct Loans may give borrowers access to additional income-driven repayment plan options and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

What Is Student Loan Forgiveness?

For federal student loan holders, there are several paths toward student loan forgiveness. They include:

•   Income-based repayment. Four federal income-driven repayment programs promise loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years of payments.

•   Public Student Loan Forgiveness: This federal program was designed to help graduates working in public service have any remaining loan balance forgiven if they meet criteria that include working for a qualifying organization and making 10 years’ worth of payments.

•   Disability discharge: Some people may have their loans forgiven because of total and permanent disability.

What about bankruptcy? It’s extremely difficult to have student loans discharged through bankruptcy.

And while there has been talk from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle regarding sweeping student loan forgiveness, so far that’s all it has been.

What Is Student Loan Refinancing?

Student loan refinancing is loan consolidation of sorts through a private lender. Instead of blending loans into one with an average rate, a borrower takes on one new, private student loan that will pay off previous federal and/or private student loans. The goal is a lower interest rate. The repayment term also may change.

Refinancing federal student loans will mean that borrowers will no longer be eligible for federal repayment programs and other benefits. But if a borrower has no plans to use those programs, a lower rate could make refinancing worthwhile. Getting quick rate quotes with a student loan refinancing calculator can help a borrower see how much money they might save by refinancing one or all of their loans.

Refinancing Student Loans With SoFi

Even if no one in your life is in a position to pay off your student loans, understanding your options for lowering your monthly payments or saving money over the life of the loan can give you multiple avenues toward taking control of your finances.

SoFi offers flexible terms and low fixed or variable rates on refinancing student loans.

Rates are still low, and checking yours is easy.

FAQ

Can I pay off my child’s student loans?

Sure. You can pay off your child’s student loans. But …

Is paying off a child’s student loans considered a gift?

Yes. Paying student loans for someone else is considered a gift and would incur a gift tax for any gift above $16,000 in a calendar year (the gift exclusion cutoff for 2022).

That means both parents can contribute $32,000 per calendar year toward their child’s student loans sans gift tax.

Can I pay off my sibling’s student loans?

Yes. You can absolutely win sibling of the year and pay off your sibling’s student loans. Just know that any gift above $16,000 in one calendar year will trigger a gift tax that you will be responsible for paying.


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

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 SEPTEMBER 1, 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.

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.

Photo credit: iStock/Halfpoint
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Source: sofi.com

Can You Roll Your Student Loans Into Your Mortgage?

It’s possible to roll student loans into a mortgage using a cash-out refinance. In order to to do this, you’ll already need to have enough equity in your home. While this could potentially help you secure a lower interest rate, it’s not the right choice for everyone. Read on for more information on situations when it may make sense to roll your student loan into a mortgage and other strategies to pay off student loan debt.

Paying Your Student Loans

Paying off one loan with another is a standard form of debt reshuffling or consolidation. When it comes to student loans, though, your options may seem limited. It is, however, possible to roll student loan debt into a new mortgage through a cash-out refinance loan — as long as you have sufficient equity in your home.

But just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. Here are some tips on how to consolidate student loans into a mortgage — and whether it may be the right move for you.

Rolling Student Loans Into a Mortgage

A cash-out refinance is a type of mortgage loan that enables you to turn a portion of your home’s equity into cash. Simply refinance your existing mortgage for more than what you currently owe into a new loan with new terms and keep the difference.

Once you have the cash in hand, and as long as there are no loan conditions to pay off specific debt with the cashout, you can do whatever you want with it, including paying off your student loans.

You may need to do the legwork of determining how much you need to add to the new proposed loan and may be responsible for ordering the final payoff. If it is not a condition of the new mortgage loan, the lender would normally not request escrow to order the payoff and pay the loan in full at loan closing. If you would like escrow to perform this service for you, just let them know.

Once you’ve completed the loan consolidation process, you may still have the same amount of debt as you did before (possibly more if you added any applicable closing costs to your new loan). You’ll just be paying it all in one monthly payment, based on your new mortgage terms.

If you want to refinance student loans into a mortgage, it could be beneficial in some situations. However, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of doing so and also to compare the benefits of this option with other alternatives.

One such drawback is that you may no longer be eligible for federal student loan benefits , such as the ability to pursue federal student loan forgiveness or federal student loan repayment plans. This includes income-driven repayment plans, where your monthly student loan repayment changes according to your income.

Pros and Cons of Rolling Student Loans into a Mortgage

Depending on your debt situation and your credit profile, consolidating student loans and your mortgage into new terms could be a smart idea or a terrible one. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider.

Pros of Rolling Student Loans into Mortgage

•   It could lower your interest rate: If you pay a higher interest rate on your student loans and current mortgage vs. a new Cash-Out Refi, consolidating may help reduce how much you pay in overall interest.

•   It could lower your monthly payment: If you qualify for a lower interest rate and choose a longer repayment period with the new loan, it may significantly lower the total amount you pay each month for your mortgage and student loans combined. Keep in mind that extending the life of the loan may mean you pay more in interest in the long-term.

•   It simplifies your finances: Having a single monthly payment might make your finances easier to manage. The fewer monthly payments you have to keep track of, the better. If you have multiple student loans, rolling them into your mortgage can make your life easier.

Cons of Rolling Student Loans into Mortgage

•   You could end up paying more interest over time: Stretching a 10-year student loan repayment term to up to 30 years could end up costing you more in interest, even if the interest rate is lower. Also, if you have paid down a 30 year mortgage for a few years and originate a new 30 year mortgage, you will be extending your existing loan term and may be paying additional interest over the life of the loan.

•   You may not be eligible: To qualify for a cash-out refinance loan, you typically need to have at least 20% equity left over after the new loan amount on the cash-out refinance. Even if you do have more than 20% equity right now, the difference might not be enough to pay your student loan in full.

•   You may pay closing costs: Depending upon the rate and term you choose, you may have applicable closing costs. FannieMae offers a program for student loan cash-out refinance loans. Consider getting a quote for this program and compare the rate and fees of this program to a standard cash-out refi.

•   You may be reducing the amount of available equity in your home: Taking cash out of your home can reduce the amount of available equity in your home. Market value fluctuations can also impact the amount of available equity.

3 Alternatives to Rolling Student Loans into a Mortgage

Before you seriously consider consolidating student loans into a mortgage, it’s important to know what other options you may have for paying down your debt faster.

1. Refinancing Your Student Loans

Whether you have federal or private student loans, you can refinance your student loans with a private lender like SoFi. Depending on your credit, income, and financial profile, you may qualify for a lower interest rate, monthly payment, or both.

You can also gain some flexibility by choosing a longer or shorter repayment term. Keep in mind that refinancing federal student loans means they’ll no longer be eligible for any federal programs or borrower protections, such as income-driven repayment plans.

2. Seeking Repayment Assistance

Employers are increasingly offering student loan repayment assistance as an employee benefit. Well-known companies that provide this repayment benefit include Aetna, Fidelity, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SoFi, and more. If your current employer doesn’t offer student loan repayment assistance, consider finding a job that does when you are next seeking employment.

3. Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness or Grants

Depending on your career path, you may qualify for student loan forgiveness or grant programs. Examples of these programs include (but are not limited to):

•   Health care

•   Veterinary medicine

•   Law

•   Military

•   STEM

If you’re working in one of these fields or a similar one, check to see if there are forgiveness or grant programs for which you may qualify. As previously mentioned, a cash-out refi may make you ineligible to participate in these programs. Check on any possible loss of benefits before considering a refinance of these loans.

Deciding If Rolling Student Loans into a Mortgage Is Right for You

Using a cash-out refinance to consolidate student loans and a mortgage into one affordable monthly payment sounds appealing, especially if you can get a lower interest rate than what you’re currently paying. But it’s crucial to consider all of the costs involved before you make a decision.

A lower interest rate, for instance, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pay less interest over the life of the loan. Work with a mortgage loan officer or run an amortization schedule in order to do the math.

Also, keep closing costs in mind. Closing costs can vary depending upon the loan scenario and is tied to factors such as the interest rate you choose, your credit score, loan type, property type, and more.

And paying closing costs is not a given. For instance, you can choose to take a higher interest rate (if it is still lower than what you currently have) and use the lender rebate money built into that higher rate to cover some or all of your applicable closing costs. When the time comes to lock in your rate, speak with your chosen lender about various loan programs and the estimated closing costs tied to each rate and term option.

Finally, take a look at some of the other options out there and determine whether you could potentially save more money in interest with them. The more time you spend researching, the better your chances of settling on the option that is most affordable overall.

Can You Buy a House With Student Loans?

While existing debt can impact whether you’re approved for a loan, or the interest rate and loan terms if you are approved, it’s still possible to buy a house with student loan debt. When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will review your complete financial picture including your debt obligations, which might include student loans, credit card debt, or a car loan.

Debt-to-income ratio is one important consideration for lenders. This is a measurement of how much debt one has in comparison to how much money you earn and lenders rely on this metric to inform whether or not you’d be able to make the monthly payments on a new loan, considering your existing debt. Generally speaking, lenders are unlikely to approve anyone for a mortgage with a debt-to-income ratio higher than 43%, though lenders may be more inclined to lend to someone with a debt-to-income ratio lower at or less than 36%.

Beyond debt-to-income ratio, lenders will also evaluate factors such as the borrower’s credit score.

Before applying, do some number crunching to see what a mortgage might cost and how it will impact your overall debt-to-income ratio. This might be helpful in understanding the mortgage rates you may be eligible for.

In addition to traditional home loans there are programs available for first-time home buyers that might make buying a home with student loan debt more achievable.

Refinancing Student Loans With SoFi

If you are interested in consolidating your student loan debt at a lower interest rate but don’t want to roll them into your mortgage, you may instead want to consider student loan refinancing. With SoFi student loan refinancing, you can refinance your private or federal loans (or both!) with no application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties. And you still get the benefit of consolidating your loans to one payment, with a new (and potentially better) interest rate and loan terms. Keep in mind that refinancing any federal loans will eliminate them from federal programs and borrower protections such as income-driven repayment plans or deferment options.

The Takeaway

When paying down student loan debt faster, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The more information you gather about your options, the easier it will be to eliminate your debt as quickly as possible.

If you’re interested in refinancing your student loans, consider SoFi. Student loan refinancing at SoFi has no fees and as a SoFi member, borrowers qualify for perks such as career coaching, community events, and more.

Learn more about SoFi student loan refinancing.

FAQ

Is it a good idea to roll your student loans into a mortgage?

Evaluate all loan details carefully before rolling your student loans into a mortgage. Factors such as closing costs, loan term, any additional fees, and interest rate can all influence how much it will cost to borrow money over the life of a loan. In some cases, it may be possible to qualify for a lower interest rate when borrowing a mortgage. In other cases, extending the repayment of your student loans over a 30-year period with your mortgage may make it more expensive. If you have any questions on your personal financial situation, consider speaking with a qualified financial professional or mortgage loan officer who can offer a personalized assessment.

Can student loans be included in a mortgage?

Student loans can be included in a mortgage if you have enough equity in your home. Rolling student loans into a mortgage generally requires the borrower to take out a cash-out refinance loan, which allows you to turn a portion of your home’s equity into cash. Once you have the cashout in hand, you can pay off your existing student loans.

Terms may vary by lender. There are certain programs, such as Fannie Mae’s Student Loan CashOut Refi that specialize in this type of borrowing.

How much of student loans is counted for a mortgage?

Student loans are evaluated as a part of your overall debt-to-income ratio. In general, lenders avoid lending to borrowers with a debt-to-income ratio greater than 43%.


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

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 SEPTEMBER 1, 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.
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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Source: sofi.com

Refinancing Student Debt With a Cosigner

If you’re interested in refinancing your student loans but don’t think your credit history is strong enough, you don’t have to give up. There are options available that could make refinancing a reality for you. One option is taking out the loan with a cosigner.

A cosigner could potentially help you qualify for a refinanced loan with a new lower interest rate. But is taking out a new loan with a cosigner the right option for you? Here are some key ins and outs of borrowing a loan with a cosigner so you can decide what works best for your personal situation.

What Is a Cosigner on a Loan?

A cosigner is someone who legally agrees to pay your debt in the event that you can’t make payments yourself. The exact terms will vary based on the loan type and lender, but in general this person signs your loan with you and accepts responsibility for your loan if you don’t make payments.

A cosigner can potentially be used for several different types of loans, from taking out a mortgage to borrowing for a car.

Can a Cosigner Refinance a Student Loan

If you’ve had private student loans, you might have needed a cosigner to qualify if your credit history was too new or not robust enough to qualify on your own.

Creditors review a variety of factors to determine whether or not they will give someone a loan. Things like a lot of existing debt, or a low credit score can sometimes serve as an indicator to lenders that an individual could be a credit risk. Adding a cosigner could make a potential borrower appear less risky, since there’s another person (ideally with a strong financial background) to help guarantee repayment of the loan.

Finding a Cosigner

If you can’t qualify for a loan based on your own credit history or current income, sometimes refinancing with a cosigner who has a strong credit history could help improve your prospects.

You could ask a friend or relative to be a cosigner. Being a cosigner can be a hefty responsibility, so treat the request with respect, and perhaps plan to be open and honest about why you need a cosigner.

Pros and Cons of Having a Cosigner

Taking out a loan with a cosigner is a significant commitment, so it’s worth considering some pros and cons. What’s right for you will depend on your personal and financial situation.

One of the most notable benefits of taking out a loan with a cosigner is the potential to qualify for a loan that may not have been an option otherwise. A cosigner could also possibly help you qualify for a lower interest rate than you otherwise may have received. If you have little to no credit history or bad credit, taking out a loan with a cosigner could give you an opportunity to begin working towards improving your credit.

On the flip side, there can be some cons to taking out a loan with a cosigner too. If you fail to make payments on your loan, your cosigner will be responsible for repaying your debt. As a result, missed payments will likely reflect on both of your credit histories. This could also negatively impact your personal relationship with your cosigner.

Using a Cosigner when Refinancing Your Student Loans

If you’re currently in the process of repaying your student loans, refinancing could be an option that could lower your interest rate.

Enlisting a friend or family member to cosign your refinanced loan, could help strengthen the application and help you get ahead of your debt and begin to build you a brighter financial future.

If you’re trying to find a cosigner, you can start with the people you trust the most. Acting as a cosigner has its own risks — if you don’t pay back your loans, your cosigner is on the hook. It’s a big request, so take some time to think about how you’ll make it. Here are some tips that may help inform your conversation:

1.    Asking respectfully. If you’re asking someone to be a cosigner, you will likely want to broach the subject thoughtfully and respectfully. You’re asking for a serious commitment, so asking with tact to show you understand the gravity of your request is crucial.

2.    Showing your dedication. It’s also important to make it clear to your cosigner that you’re going to be making timely payments on the loan. One simple way to do so is by providing regular updates.

3.    Illustrating to your cosigner that you understand the intricacies of your loan. They’ll be responsible for the loan if you fail to make payments, so they’ll likely want to make sure you understand the responsibility you’re taking on — and asking them to take on.

Things to Consider if You’re Asked to Cosign a Loan

Serving as a cosigner can come with consequences for your own finances if the primary borrower fails to make payments. If you’re a family member or friend with excellent credit and a well-paying job, you could be a candidate for cosigning (or at least be asked to). If you have some hesitation, here are a few thoughts to consider:

1.    Talking it out with the borrower. They are going to use your name and credit history to take out a loan. It can be helpful to understand why they feel they need a cosigner while making sure they have the means to repay the loan.

2.    Following up often. Keeping the lines of communication open so you are aware of any issues can be helpful for both parties. If need be, you could discuss making payments on their behalf to avoid the effect of a late or missed payment on your own credit score.

3.    Accepting negative outcomes. Even if you’ve done everything you can to ensure the borrower is trustworthy, something might come up where they let you down. Your credit score might take a hit and you might be responsible for making payments yourself. Remember that this could happen, so accepting it as a possibility may be helpful.

Cosigning a loan is a big responsibility that can have implications on your financial future so, as with other major decisions, take a moment to consider if there’s anything you’re not comfortable with.

You can let the requester down gently by trying to help them think of some alternative options for them to secure the loan or money they need. If you have the chance to help someone take out a loan or qualify for a lower interest rate, give it careful consideration.

Refinancing Student Loans With SoFi

If you’re interested in refinancing a loan consider SoFi. The application process is entirely online, and it’s easy to add a cosigner to the application should you wish to apply for a refinanced loan with one. SoFi also offers cosigner release, which is an opportunity for the cosigner to be removed from the loan. It’s important to note that if you are refinancing federal student loans, they’ll lose any eligibility for federal programs or borrower protections.

Thinking about refinancing student loans? Learn more about applying with or without a cosigner.

FAQ

Do I need a cosigner for student loan refinance?

The specific requirements for refinancing a loan with a cosigner will depend on both your credit history and income (among other factors) and the eligibility requirements of the lender. Borrowers who have a less than stellar credit history may find adding a cosigner to their application allows them to qualify for a more competitive interest rate.

Can I consolidate my student loans with a cosigner?

If you are consolidating federal loans through the Direct Consolidation Loan program, you don’t need a cosigner. If you are interested in refinancing, it is possible to refinance student loans with a cosigner, so long as it is permitted by the lender.

Can a cosigner become primary borrower?

In order for the cosigner to become a primary borrower, the loan would generally need to be refinanced.


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 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 SEPTEMBER 1, 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.

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.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’swebsite .
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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Source: sofi.com

4 Student Loan Repayment Options — and How to Choose the Right One for You

Choosing a Student Loan Repayment Option

It’s never too early to think about student loan repayment. Whether you just started college, or you recently graduated and are still in the ‘grace period’ before repayment, strategizing now may help you find a student loan repayment plan that works for you before making you make a single payment.

If you’re graduated, working, and already making payments, it can be easy to overlook the other choices. But you can make changes to your student loan repayment plan even if you’re not in a financial crunch.

It’s also a good idea to re-evaluate your repayment plan over time. As your financial circumstances change, the way you want to manage your student loans may shift.

Before considering your options, take inventory of all your student loans. Be sure to list out the principal, the interest rate, the repayment period, and the servicer for each loan.

All federal student loans issued in recent years have fixed interest rates, but private student loans or older federal student loans may have variable rates. If the rate is variable, be sure to note that as well.

Different Student Loan Repayment Options

Once you understand your student loans, it’s time to think about your repayment options. The effortless choice is to do nothing and just pay your bills as they come.

Simply put, it means you pay back your student loan(s) under the interest rate and terms you agreed to when you initially signed the paperwork. For federal student loans, this is formally called the Standard Repayment Plan, and it typically means paying a fixed amount every month for up to 10 years.

There’s no “standard repayment plan” for private student loans; the interest rate may vary based on market factors, and your repayment term might be shorter or longer.

The federal government also offers graduated and extended repayment plans for borrowers. A graduated repayment plan means that the payment starts smaller and grows over time, while the extended repayment plan stretches repayment over a period of up to 25 years and payments may be either fixed or graduated.

There’s nothing wrong with opting for the Standard Repayment Plan — except that for some borrowers, it’s not the most cost-effective choice. Some borrowers may be able to find a more competitive interest rate by refinancing their loans through private lenders.

Others may be eligible for special federal programs that can reduce the amount owed monthly based on financial circumstances, and in some cases, forgive balances if you meet certain requirements.

Here’s an overview of repayment options that may help if you are choosing a repayment plan:

1. Student Loan Consolidation

Federal student loan consolidation allows you to combine multiple federal student loans into a single new loan. You can’t consolidate private student loans using this federal program.

When you consolidate your federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, it doesn’t necessarily reduce your overall interest rate.

Your new loan’s interest rate will be the weighted average of all the old student loans’ interest rates, rounded up to the nearest eighth of a percent. This means your interest rate might actually be slightly higher than the rate you were paying before consolidation on some of your student loans.

When you consolidate, you’ll also have the option to select a new repayment plan. The Standard plan would still be available, but consolidation can also be a first step toward other plans of action, like loan forgiveness or income-driven repayment.

2. Student Loan Forgiveness

Some federal student loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans, are eligible for modified payment plans that forgive outstanding student loan balances.

Health care professionals, teachers, military service members, and those employed full-time by qualifying nonprofit or public service organizations may be eligible for certain federal student loan forgiveness programs.

Some types of student loan forgiveness aren’t completely free, however. Federal student loan balances forgiven under income-driven repayment plans may be considered income by the IRS, meaning that you might need to pay taxes on that amount.

Those taxes might still be less than paying the forgiven principal amount, but it can be an unpleasant surprise at tax time if you’re not prepared.

One notable exception is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. After 10 years of payments on a qualified income-driven repayment plan, those who have worked for qualified employers, such as the government or some nonprofit agencies, can apply for forgiveness of all of their remaining federal student loan balances.

That forgiveness is not considered taxable income.

The Federal Student Aid website has additional information on which federal student loans qualify for which types of forgiveness, cancellation, and/or discharge.

3. Income-Based Repayment

If the payments under the Standard Repayment Plan seem too daunting, federal student loans offer a variety of income based repayment plans, which tie the amount you pay to the discretionary income you earn.

These income-driven repayment plans come in a variety of flavors and configurations, but an important takeaway is that, in many cases, you may end up paying more over the life of the loan than you would have on the Standard Repayment Plan.

That’s because, with low monthly payments that stretch out over more years, you could be paying more in interest over time. If your balance is high, your lower, income-adjusted monthly payments may not even be covering the interest that accompanies the principal (the set amount of money you’re given when you take out the loan). So rather than shrinking, your student loan balances could be growing over time as unpaid interest accumulates.

The upside is that if your job situation is less defined and you know you’ll need to tap the reduced payment rates these plans provide, choosing an income-driven repayment plan makes that possible.

Additionally, you’re still able to qualify for some student loan forgiveness programs if the rest of your student loans aren’t paid off after 20 to 25 years of consistent, on-time payments. However, again, it’s worth keeping in mind that you might be on the hook to pay income taxes on the remaining loan amount that is forgiven, depending on the repayment plan you qualify for.

4. Student Loan Refinancing

Refinancing student loans through a private lender offers the opportunity to consolidate multiple student loans into a single payment and potentially decrease your interest rate.

Loan repayment terms vary based on the lender, and terms and interest rates are often more favorable for those with better credit and earning potential (among other financial factors that vary by lender).

For potential borrowers with an interest in saving money over the life of their student loan, refinancing can provide overall value by offering market interest rates.

One important thing to know about refinancing, however, is that once you refinance a federal student loan into a private loan, you can’t undo that transaction and later consolidate back into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan.

This can be relevant for professionals in health care or education where federal student loan forgiveness plans are offered, or for those considering long-term employment in the public sector.

Further, refinancing federal student loans with a private lender renders them ineligible for important borrower benefits and protections, like income-driven repayment and deferment.

Can You Change Your Student Loan Repayment Plan?

If you have federal student loans, it is possible to change your repayment plan at anytime, without any fees. You’ll have the option to choose from any of the federal repayment plan options, including income-driven repayment plans.

There is less flexibility to change the terms of a private student loan. Some private lenders may offer alternative payment plans for borrowers. Check with your lender directly to see what options may be available to you.

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

Refinancing is another avenue that can result in a new repayment plan. An important consideration, refinancing federal student loans will remove them from any federal programs or protections, so this won’t be the right choice for everyone.

If you’re considering refinancing, take a look at SoFi. Potential borrowers can find out what rates they pre-qualify for in just a few minutes and there are no fees, including origination fees or application fees.

The Takeaway

Federal student loan borrowers have the ability to change their repayment plan at any time, without being charged any fees. The options to change your repayment plan is a bit more challenging for private student loans, though some private lenders may offer alternative options for borrowers. Refinancing is another option that can allow borrowers to adjust their repayment terms.

SoFi offers refinancing loans that are free of any fees and potential borrowers can apply entirely online.

Which student loan repayment plan makes the most sense for you? Consider refinancing with SoFi as an option that could potentially save you money.

FAQ

What student loan repayment options are available to me?

Borrowers with federal student loans can choose from any of the federal repayment plans, including the standard 10-year repayment plan, or income-driven repayment options. For private student loans, repayment options will be determined by the lender.

What is a standard repayment plan for student loans?

The standard repayment plan for federal student loans is fixed monthly payments over a period of 10 years. For consolidation loans, repayment may extend up to 30 years.

How long is a typical student loan repayment?

The typical student loan repayment period may vary from individual to individual. The standard repayment plan for federal loans is 10 years, but income-driven repayment plans or Direct Consolidation loans may have a longer term.

The repayment terms for private student loans vary by lender.


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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 SEPTEMBER 1, 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.

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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Source: sofi.com