Founded in 1972, Sallie Mae has been financing student education for nearly 5 decades. Offering one of the largest ranges of student loans, including 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:
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:
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, depending on which loan you have, you can pay it off over anywhere between 10 and 20 years.
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 student borrowers may apply to release their cosigner from the loan after they graduate, make 12 on-time, principal and interest payments, and meet certain credit requirements.⁷
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:
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:
Sallie Mae private student loan variable APR rates range from 5.37% - 15.70%*, and fixed APR rates range from 4.50% - 14.83%*. 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.³ 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. Depending on which loan you have, you can pay it off in anywhere from 10 to 20 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.
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.
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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.
Loans for Undergraduate & Career Training Students are not intended for graduate students and are subject to credit approval, identity verification, signed loan documents, and school certification. Student must attend a participating school. 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. Advertised APRs for undergraduate students assume a $10,000 loan to a student who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae-serviced loans. Interest rates for variable rate loans may increase or decrease over the life of the loan based on changes to the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent. Advertised variable rates are the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. 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. To receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount, the borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae. The discount 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. In 2021, instant credit decisions were provided to 97% of applicants. Other applications typically 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. 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.
5. 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 during a rolling 12-month period from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021.
6. Examples of typical costs for a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common fixed rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans and a 4-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.28% fixed APR, 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $182.67 and one payment of $121.71, for a Total Loan Cost of $23,134.44. For a borrower with $20,000 in prior loans and a 2-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.78% fixed APR, 27 payments of $25.00, 179 payments of $132.53 and one payment of $40.35 for a total loan cost of $24,438.22. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years.
7. Only the borrower may apply for cosigner release. To do so, they must first meet the age of majority in their state and provide proof of graduation (or completion of certification program), income, and U.S. citizenship of permanent residency (if their status has changed since they applied.) In the last 12 months, the borrower can't have been past due on any loans serviced by Sallie Mae for 30 or more days or enrolled in any hardship forbearances or modified repayment programs. In addition, the borrower must have paid ahead or made 12 on-time principal and interest payments on each loan requested for release. The loan can't be past due when the cosigner release application is processed. The borrower must also demonstrate the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) individually and pass a credit review when the cosigner release application is processed that demonstrates a satisfactory credit history including but not limited to no: bankruptcy, foreclosure, student loan(s) in default or 90-day delinquencies in the last 24 months. Requirements are subject to change.
SALLIE MAE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
Information valid as of 01/25/2023.
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