Sallie Mae Review

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Sarah Badani
Sarah Badani
May. 03, 20214 min read

Sallie Mae Brand 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.


  • 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
Sallie Mae Brandat a glance

Editorial score

Online experience

Has learning resources, access to rates, mobile app


Customer services and support

Multiple ways of reaching lender but limited hours


Repayment flexibility

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


Sallie Mae Brand Sallie Mae Brand View Rates


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


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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PoorReviews 9
  • author
    elizabeth wilson
    Dec 30, 2020

    STAY AWAY AT ALL COSTS. THIS COMPANY IS A SCAM! I make payments well in advance and they still bill me as if I am late. Why? because they can increase your rates and you can't go anywhere else or file for a student loan such as the US student loans. Even if you pay on time, the company is hell-bent on wanting you to be late, so they can take advantage. If you are a parent or a vulnerable student, STAY AWAY please I beg you !! Go to the US federal loan or somewhere else. Something is not right and they will come after your family even if they screw up your accounts. STAY AWAY!!


  • author
    Nov 17, 2020
    Bank for bidens

    This company has customer service reps that need some serious customer service skills training. Its very very frustrating when u recieve info directly from sallie mae to simply call them if you have a question. However when u call the customer service behaves like u should not be questioning them . When ask to speak to supervisor . Then runaround starts first no supervisor then can call u 24 to 48 hours. Then can call u 3 hours. Its just not right. First you rio off colllege kids with high rates of interest on their student loans. You cant even get respect. Please dont take a loan with sallie mae. It should be against the law. But Delaware has banking laws created by sleepy joe. He didnt look out for college kids only big banks . Its very sad.


  • author
    Jen Goresh
    Jul 29, 2020
    This company advertises very low…

    This company advertises very low interest rates but does not give these interest rates advertised. It is false advertising. I have an almost perfect credit score and the interest rates are astronomically high. In addition, the people working for the company are although nice, not helpful and just want to get you off of the phone as soon as possible, not really looking to work you through any troubles when applying for loans. I would never suggest the use of this company to anyone.


  • author
    Kayla Gant
    Nov 22, 2019
    Terrible Customer Service

    SallieMae's customer service absolutely sucks. It seems like no one ever has the same information. Everyone is always confused and when you talk to a new representative they have no idea what the policy is. It's just absolutely insane.


  • author
    Jun 24, 2019
    They keep calling 24-7 with nasty…

    They keep calling 24-7 with nasty customer service animal.


  • author
    May 30, 2019
    A Greedy Banker

    A horrible company to deal with. Many of there employees are unprofessional. Here’s my story: I took an interest only loan with Sallie Mae for the fall semester of 2018. I had planned to work during the semester however it was my freshman year and I was overwhelmed with school work. So the job never happened and after the first couple of months I was struggling to make the $98.00 interest payment so I called Sally May and asked if I could convert to a deferred loan until I completed school. They refused and would not offer any solutions other than to continue adding late charges to the already exorbitant interest rate they were charging. Ultimately I had to find another loan company, Suntrust, they were wonderful and solved the issue by paying off Sallie Mae and consolidating the loan with my spring semester loan. Which is now deferred until I finish college. So much for Sallie Mae never again will I do business with them and if anyone asks I will direct them to go with Suntrust.


  • author
    Becky Bowman
    Jan 18, 2019
    SallieMae is a NIGHTMARE to deal with

    This company is an absolute nightmare!!! They are rude, inexperienced robots! They will never work with you as a new graduate to help you manage your loans. All they care about is getting your money. It doesn't matter about your situation, for example--not having a job when you graduate, or you have a new job, but it doesn't start until a few weeks, etc.. I have got everything ready for refinancing into a much lower interest rate with another lender and guess who has held us up for several weeks? You got it---Sallie Mae!!! All my new lender wants is the payoff amount, borrower name, loan numbers and they will not email or fax to the new lender. They say, "We aren't allowed to do that and will send a hard copy letter to you". Well, we have been waiting for that hard copy letter for weeks and every time you call them they have no knowledge of the letter, say it hasn't been mailed, or it was mailed 2 weeks ago. On the next phone call, "We don't know anything about any letter" and after a few minutes, they indicate they mailed it 2 days later than the first time they told you. The next call was several weeks later and still no hard copy letter. They said that they mailed it yesterday!! What on earth is wrong with this company??? I am going to have a stroke before I turn 25, dealing with these people. I had another lender, Discover, that was a joy to deal with. Every request was a No problem and it was done. None of the BS like with Sallie Mae. If you are thinking about a loan with Sallie Mae, please save yourself a lot of heartache and go with another lender. Sallie Mae is a joke and should not be in the business!!!!


  • author
    Veritas in Vino
    Oct 24, 2018
    Dishonest company

    Dishonest company. Have been repaying debt for years and will fixed the net payment doesnt seem to go down. They have all kinds of hidden fees and I can never find the information I need showing what was paid vs what is pending clearly. Instead they show THEIR own ledger which is hard to follow. DO NOT use Sallie Mae. Complete crooks and with crazy interest rates its really not worth it!


  • author
    Veritas in Vino
    Oct 02, 2017
    worst experience

    worst experience! they not only cheat and lie by charging "accrued interest" and they are not forthcoming with information!!!! The only option to see the payment history is an antiquated general ledger which doesnt include summary totals! so you have to add up all the payment and subtract the accrued interest etc to find out how much you actually paid!! ... In a nutshell, because of accrued interest, I ended up only paying off only 1/3 of my account over 2 years!!!!


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