Sallie Mae Review

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Sarah Badani
Sarah Badani
May. 03, 20214 min read

Sallie Mae summary

Sallie Mae is a consumer banking service that focuses on providing financial aid to students through loans, savings accounts, and planning tools. One of the most useful options is a private student loan. Sallie Mae offers these loans to almost any type of student from law to business, dental, and more. With flexible repayment terms, generous grace periods, and unusually high approval rates, Sallie Mae might be a top option for students today.

Pros

  • Available for part-time students (big plus)
  • Cosigners released after 12 payments
  • Even non-US citizens can apply

Cons

  • No minimum credit score requirement published on site
  • So many options can be overwhelming for students
Sallie Maeat a glance
4.6

Editorial score

Online experience

Has learning resources, access to rates, mobile app

5.0

Customer services and support

Multiple ways of reaching lender but limited hours

3.0

Repayment flexibility

Offers flexible repayment plans & the option for special repayment programs

5.0

Eligibility

Loans available to all credit types, income levels, and students

5.0

Variety of Loan Types

Offers all loan types

5.0

Sallie Mae Sallie Mae View Rates

Overview

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.

Suitable For?

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.

Loan Features

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
  • MBA
  • K-12
  • Parent loans
  • Career training
  • Undergraduate

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.

Cosigner release

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

Eligibility Requirements

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
  • Creditworthiness
  • Enrollment at a participating school

Loan Rates

Sallie Mae private student loan rates range from 4.25%-12.59% fixed APR. 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.

Repayment Terms

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.

Customer Service

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.

855-756-5626 (855-SLM-LOAN) 

Monday – Thursday: 8am to 10pm ET

Friday: 8am to 9pm ET 

Saturday: 9am to 6pm ET 

Sunday: 11am to 5pm ET

Summary

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.

Sarah Badani
Written bySarah Badani

Sarah Badani has extensive research and review experience in the finance industry. With a degree in psychology and education, she brings a level of depth and understanding to her writing along with her own flavor to spice up each topic in a unique and inviting way. She writes for BestMoney and enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market.‎

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