Sallie Mae summary
- Available for part-time students (big plus)
- Cosigners released after 12 payments
- Even non-US citizens can apply
- No minimum credit score requirement published on site
- So many options can be overwhelming for students
Has learning resources, access to rates, mobile app
Customer services and support
Multiple ways of reaching lender, wide range of hours
Offers flexible repayment plans & the option for special repayment programs
Loans available to all credit types, income levels, and students
Variety of Loan Types
Offers all loan types
Founded in 1972, Sallie Mae has been financing student education for nearly 5 decades. Offering one of the largest ranges of student loans, including parent loans, undergraduate, MBA, and dental school loans to name a few, Sallie Mae has made a name for itself as the student’s lender of choice.
Sallie Mae has won several awards throughout its long history, including Kiplinger’s Personal Finance award for Best Online Savings Account, Corporate Responsibility Officer’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens (5 times), and the Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership. To top it all off, Sallie Mae holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, exemplifying the company’s trustworthiness and fairness in business practices.
Honestly, these loans are good for just about any type of student looking to finance their education today. Sallie Mae offers the largest range of private student loans there is. Whether you are a medical student, a dental student, a law or business student, or an undergraduate, Sallie Mae has the loan suitable for your needs.
To break it down further, Sallie Mae works really well for students looking for maximum repayment flexibility or for non-US citizens. The latter is very unusual for private lenders. In general, you are required to be a US citizen or hold a citizenship card in order to apply for a loan. Sallie Mae lets non-US citizens apply for a private student loan as long as they have a cosigner apply with them.
Sallie Mae also gives loans to part-time students, a rarity in this industry.
Sallie Mae offers a huge range of private student loans, much wider than most private lenders. You can get loans for:
- Bar study
- Law school
- Dental residency
- Dental school
- Medical residency
- Medical school
- Health professions graduate
- Parent loans
- Career training
That's a pretty exhaustive list and something that really makes Sallie Mae stand out. Additionally, there are some noteworthy features that make this private lender more appealing to students, including:
Flexible repayment plans
Sallie Mae loans come with several repayment options, so you aren’t tied to a single plan that doesn’t work with your budget or lifestyle. Instead, Sallie Mae lets students pay back their loan when and how they can. Plus, you can pay off your loan over anywhere between 5 and 15 years.
Deferment and forbearance
Two of the most generous features of a Sallie Mae loan are deferment and forbearance options. Deferment lets you put a pause on your loan payments, while forbearance will let you push off your loan payments. Both of these features give students more flexibility to pay off loans comfortably and easily.
The fact that Sallie Mae lets students sign up with a cosigner is already a big perk for this lender. Many students who wouldn’t get approval on their own can enjoy comfortable loan terms thanks to the acceptance of a cosigner at their side. What’s more, Sallie Mae offers a cosigner release. That means the cosigner can be released from their obligation to cover the debt in case the borrower cannot for any reason. After 12 consecutive payments, the cosigner release can be enacted.
Chegg Study free
Chegg is an education technology company that gives students a wide variety of services like tutoring, homework assistance, test prep, internship matching, application advice, and more. When you sign up for a Sallie Mae private student loan, students will receive 4 months of Chegg Study for free. This is a nice added value.
The Application Process
Sallie Mae makes the application process pretty easy for students. You can fill out the entire form online in under 15 minutes and get approval instantly. Once you’ve been approved, Sallie Mae will provide you with loan options to choose from. Some applicants will be asked to share additional documentation or information, extending the application process.
If you accept the terms of a loan, your school will need to certify the loan before it can be processed. The process can be completed in roughly 10 business days, but this varies greatly depending on how long it will take your school to verify your information and certify the loan.
Your credit report will be pulled (points lost for Sallie Mae) before you get a rate quote, and if you have bad credit, this will affect your approval success rate. Fortunately, Sallie Mae lets borrowers sign up with a cosigner. A cosigner will help increase your chances of approval and can lower your interest rates too. If you’re applying with a cosigner, you’ll need the following information for both of you:
- Your physical address
- Social Security number
- School information can include enrollment status, degree, course of study, etc.
- Academic period of enrollment/year in school
- Amount needed
- Financial aid and scholarships received or pending
- Financial information (bank accounts, monthly mortgage, rent payments)
- Employment information
- Personal contacts
While Sallie Mae doesn’t specify everything that goes into the equation, various factors will be taken into consideration when you apply for a private student loan. Some of these may include:
- Your history of borrowing and repaying loans
- Enrollment at a participating school
Sallie Mae private student loan variable APR rates range from 3.25% - 13.59%*, and fixed APR rates range from 3.75% - 13.72%*. It’s a pretty wide range to be sure, and that’s because several factors will alter the rate accordingly. For example, if you have terrible credit, you are going to receive a higher APR. Meanwhile, applying for a private student loan along with a cosigner will automatically reduce your rates. The amount you are borrowing, your creditworthiness, and the length of the loan terms are other factors that go into determining your final interest rate.
One big plus is that Sallie Mae doesn’t charge origination fees or prepayment penalties. So, you can pay back as fast as you can and save on interest payments. You will be charged late fees if payments are not presented by the repayment date each month.
Sallie Mae has wonderfully flexible repayment terms. You can pay off your loan in anywhere from 5 to 15 years, and there are several ways to pay. You can choose between variable or fixed interest rates. You can then also decide if you want to make zero payments while in school, deferring it all until after your grace period finishes.
Or you can make a set payment each month while in school, and only start paying off a larger sum once you’re finished with school. Alternatively, you can make interest-only payments until your grace period ends. Flexibility is a key factor when choosing a loan provider.
How Safe Is It?
Sallie Mae uses industry-standard safeguards to keep your information safe. These include administrative, technological, and physical security measures.
Sallie Mae has in-house customer support that is available to answer questions. Reach a rep via phone or mail during working hours. You can also search through the organized and comprehensive FAQ section on the website.
Monday – Thursday: 8am to 10pm ET
Friday: 8am to 9pm ET
Saturday: 9am to 6pm ET
Sunday: 11am to 5pm ET
Sallie Mae is a great option for students looking to finance their higher education. It is one of the most flexible options, lending to both part-time students and non-US citizens, as well as standard students. Sallie Mae private loans have plenty of repayment options, reasonable rates, and no fees to worry about. With a 6-month grace period and forbearance, students would be wise to consider this student-friendly private lender.
We encourage students and families to start with savings, grants, scholarships, and federal student loans to pay for college. Students and families should evaluate all anticipated monthly loan payments, and how much the student expects to earn in the future, before considering a private student loan.
Sallie Mae loans are subject to credit approval, identity verification, signed loan documents, and school certification. This loan is available to students at participating schools and is not intended for students pursuing a graduate degree. Student or cosigner must meet the age of majority in their state of residence. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., attend school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident), and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID. Requested loan amount must be at least $1,000.
1. Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. Payments may be required during the grace/separation period depending on the repayment option selected. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRs assume a $10,000 loan to a borrower who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae loans. The borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction benefit. This benefit applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. It may be suspended during forbearance or deferment.
2. From January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021, instant credit decisions were provided to 98% of applicants. Other applications received credit decisions in 3 to 5 business days.
3. Although we do not charge a penalty or fee if you prepay your loan, any prepayment will be applied as outlined in your promissory note—first to Unpaid Fees and costs, then to Unpaid Interest, and then to Current Principal.
4. This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with undergraduate or parent loans with a first disbursement between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2024. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. Chegg Study offers expert Q&A where students can submit up to 20 questions per month. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit http://www.chegg.com/legal/smtermsandconditions for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.
5. Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received, as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half-time.
6. Based on a comparison of approval rates for Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loans for Undergraduate Students who applied with a cosigner versus without a cosigner from May 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021.
SALLIE MAE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
* Information valid as of 7/25/2022.
Smart Option Student Loans® are made by Sallie Mae Bank. Sallie Mae, the Sallie Mae logo, and other Sallie Mae names and logos are service marks or registered service marks of Sallie Mae Bank. All other names and logos used are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.
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