What would you do if your student loans were suddenly paid off?

Say it convincingly in 2000 characters or less, and you could make that dream a reality

Today I came across an opportunity so great that I had to tell you all about it right away. This post will be brief because there’s no time to lose.

Being an artist, you’ve honed your application skills to perfection, and now is the time to apply for something really huge.


Let me set the stage…

In walks SoFi

SoFi is a peer-to-peer, technology-enabled lender. Like Earnest, who I recently posted about, SoFi has extraordinarily good rates, the low end of the spectrum being a jaw-dropping 3.5% fixed, and 1.9% variable annual interest rate. SoFi doesn’t charge an application fee, and their hyper-tech-savvy system allows you to get through the student loan refinance application process and receive an answer in as little as 15 minutes. Awesome right? It gets better…

SoFi is fundamentally different from other lending institutions because they have, in part, raised the capital to refinance your student loans from individual investors. These daring folks believe, among other things, that helping college grads at the early stages of their careers with a reasonable loan repayment plan is a way to create positive social impact. How incredible is that?! We’re not talking about loans backed by the same big banking system we all wanted to burn down during the 2008 mortgage crisis, we’re talking about individuals investing in other individuals. SoFi goes so far as to provide a mentoring culture within their community that includes career counseling, unemployment protection and a members’ network. I’m getting a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about it!

I could go on and on about this forward-thinking organization, but instead I’m going to cut to the chase, because there isn’t much time to waste. This spring SoFi hit a major milestone when they reached $2,000,000,000 in loan refinancing, and to celebrate they are holding an essay writing competition, the winner of which will have their student loans paid off in full!

There is one BIG caveat

Not every school is on SoFi’s list of eligible Title IV Institutions, which is a requirement for refinancing. SoFi began as a way to allow successful alumni of top-notch colleges and universities to refinance the loans of their more recent fellow grads. The network of SoFi investors has grown so broad that more than 2000 state universities, Ivy Leagues, and liberal arts schools are represented, but dedicated fine art schools seem to be missing from the list. For instance, California College of the Arts where I got my Master’s degree is not eligible, but Oberlin College where I did my undergraduate work is. You can find out if your school is on the list in the first question of their application, or by making a quick call to SoFi at 1-855-456-7634.

The contest is only for SoFi refinancers, so if you were considering refinancing your student loans anyway check out SoFi now, because the deadline for the contest is June 1st! You’ve got just a handful of days to sharpen that quill and in as few words as possible [specifically 2000 characters or less] explain “how refinancing with SoFi has impacted your life and how a student loan payoff would impact your plans moving forward” Here’s a link to the contest page: #2BILLIONTOGETHER

Want a little extra incentive? If you follow this link to the site you’ll get a $100 bonus when you refinance (and who doesn’t need an extra Benjamin?).

And here’s why I’m so excited about this. I think one of you Smartly readers can win this. Your wit, creativity, humor, and grit are going to put you far above all the other applications that roll in. I can’t wait to get the email from one of you telling me that you won this, and are student loan debt free!

If you need some inspiration, here’s my infographic on the opportunity cost of sticking with an unnecessarily high interest rate for your student loans. If you haven’t considered the long-term financial impact of financing a suite of loans at an average of 6% annual interest versus the super awesome 3.5% top-shelf fixed rate that SoFi is offering, you’ll choke at the $47k difference.

And if you miss this contest, there’s a good chance SoFi will run another one soon!

Good luck everyone!

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or directly at christina@sm-artly.com


One Response to “What would you do if your student loans were suddenly paid off?”

  1. Millicent Ann Crichton May 29, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    You make so much sense that I wish I had a student loan to pay off !!!
    Great info-graphic. Very clear and compelling. Great job

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