Are you thinking about going back to college but can’t afford the tuition? In comes the student loan. But when it comes time to apply for a student loan, you’ll have a plethora of options. We’re going to look at Sallie Mae to see how they perform as a private student loan provider for anyone pursuing an undergraduate degree or higher education at any level.
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Sallie Mae was originally established in 1972 by congress as a government entity that would provide federal student loans. In 2004, Sallie Mae turned private and cut ties with the government.
These days, Sallie Mae is one of the industry’s largest private student loan providers. When you think of private student loans, Sallie Mae is one of the first companies to come to mind.
Sallie Mae is now a publicly-traded company that offers additional services like credit cards, savings accounts, and college planning tools on top of private student loans. You can keep your finances under one roof with Sallie Mae if you’re looking to simplify your financial life and take advantage of the competitive savings account rates.
What Makes Sallie Mae Different?
Sallie Mae specializes in private student loans for all education levels. There are a few distinct features that separate Sallie Mae from its competitors:
- Sallie Mae offers loans to part-time students and non-citizens.
- There is no origination fee.
- There are multiple repayment options.
- They offer competitive fixed and variable interest rates.
- Every undergraduate student who obtains a student loan from Sallie Mae gets four months free of Chegg tutoring services.
- Sallie Mae covers 100% of the costs associated with your education (ranging from tuition to even purchasing a new laptop).
- You can release your cosigner after one year with one of the fasted release routes in the industry.
- You get a 0.25% interest rate discount if you sign up for autopay.
We’ll look at the types of private student loans Sallie Mae offers and what you need to consider before borrowing for your college financing needs.
Sallie Mae Loan Eligibility
What do you need to apply for a student loan with Sallie Mae?
You’re encouraged to explore other options before seeking out a private loan. Try starting with savings, grants, loans, scholarships, or completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). See what federal options are available to you first.
Here’s what you’re going to need to apply for a private student loan with Sallie Mae:
- Be enrolled in a program (could be part-time too).
- Be pursuing either a degree or some sort of certification.
- Be the age of majority in your state.
- Be able to pass a hard credit check or have a creditworthy cosigner willing to work with you.
Since Sallie Mae covers a variety of education options, you’re more than likely to be covered regardless of what you’re studying and your enrollment level.
How Does Sallie Mae Work?
Sallie Mae offers private student loans and college planning tools to help families figure out the best direction for their educational needs.
You can apply for various student loans and financial assistance as a full-time or part-time student for various levels of education (from the undergraduate level to most forms of graduate school).
The loans can cover up to 100% of school-certified costs (from tuition to living accommodations) so that you can focus on your studies without stressing about the money.
You can apply for a student loan online with Sallie Mae without worrying about paying an application fee. You’re going to need the following information to apply for a private student loan with Sallie Mae:
- Basic personal information along with your financial information.
- Information about your education.
- Your requested loan amount (you should figure this out by using one of the helpful tools before you apply for a private student loan).
- The type of loan you want to choose (fixed versus variable) and the repayment option.
- Your creditworthy cosigner and their financial information. That improves your chances of being approved up to four times than without a cosigner.
They will check your credit, and you’ll hear back from them on how to proceed within 15 minutes. It’s important to note that Sallie Mae generates a hard credit inquiry, so that’s something to consider.
You’re more likely to get approved as an undergraduate student with a cosigner, and they’ll have to put their financial information into the application. The credit specialists may contact you for additional information if they have any questions about your application.
Since private student loans are credit-based, your credit history will play a role in determining if you qualify for a student loan with Sallie Mae. You can boost your eligibility by having a creditworthy cosigner. Your co-signer can be released after one year, which makes this one of the fastest release programs of a cosigner available.
Types of Student Loans
If you look through the website, you’ll see that Sallie Mae offers a variety of student loans.
What types of student loans are offered by Sallie Mae?
- Graduate school
- Medical school
- Dental school
- Graduate school for health professions
- Law school
- Bar study loan
- Medical Residency and Relocation Loan
- Dental Residency and Relocation Loan
If your situation falls under one of these categories, there’s a student loan option with Sallie Mae.
Private student loans (full-time and part-time) can also be used for the following education-related expenses:
- Room and board
- Your laptop
Sallie Mae Loan Terms
The cost of the loan will depend on the type of education you pursue, the interest rate that you choose, and what you get approved for based on your credit check or the credit of your cosigner. The website provides a general range of rates provided.
You won’t be able to see the loan type and interest rate that you qualify for until you submit your application and pass the credit approval. The good news is that you can fill out everything online and should hear back within 15 minutes in some cases.
Undergraduate student loan rates:
- Variable rates: 1.87% APR – 11.97% APR
- Fixed rates: 3.75% APR – 12.85% APR
MBA graduate loan rates:
- Variable rates: 2.62% APR - 12.1% APR
- Fixed rates: 4.75% APR - 12.11% APR
You can go through this page to see some of the loan terms and rates depending on your education level. The loan rates factor in the autopay discount of 0.25%.
What about the loan repayment options?
The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan for undergraduate programs, a graduate student loan like the MBA loan or any other graduate program have the same repayment options.
Your three repayment options with Sallie Mae are:
- Deferred repayment - No payments while in school or during the grace period (usually up to 6 months after graduation).
- Fixed repayment - You pay a fixed amount while in school and after graduation.
- Interest-only repayment - You only pay the interest while you’re in school and during your grace period.
The option you choose will depend on your financial situation and what you feel is the best choice.
It’s critical that you consider the interest rate amount and payment totals by using the helpful calculator to make an informed decision.
Forbearance also allows you to temporarily postpone your payments if you’re going through challenging financial times.
What Else Is Offered By Sallie Mae?
Sallie Mae can also help you with other types of financial assistance to cover the cost of your education. For example, they help you find scholarships and explore options for financial aid.
As mentioned before, the company offers credit cards, a savings account, and college planning services if you’re looking to simplify this aspect of your life.
Tools Sallie Mae Offers
- Scholarship search
- College planning calculator
- Student loan payment amount estimator
- Comparison tool of federal and private student loans
These are helpful because determining your monthly payments could help you figure out how much money you should be borrowing to cover your education costs. Also, use these tools to ensure that you’re applying for the right type of loan for your situation.
The Sallie Mae website gives detailed tips on applying for scholarships and what you can do to increase your chances of obtaining a scholarship.
Customer Service and Support
Sallie Mae has an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau, which is the highest rating that a company can get. This means that Sallie Mae responds to complaints promptly and has resolved most customer service issues.
Pros and Cons of Sallie Mae
It’s important you have all of the information in front of you so you can make an informed decision before going with a student loan provider.
There’s a wide selection of student loans with low rates.
There are student loans offered to part-time students.
You get a 0.25% interest rate discount if you enroll in auto-pay.
There are four months of Chegg Study for undergraduate students.
Co-signers can be released after one year.
They have to perform a hard credit check.
Pre-qualification isn’t available.
There are late and returned payment fees.
There are lower rates available out there.
Sallie Mae doesn’t refinance student loans.
These are some of the most important factors to consider before funding your education with a Sallie Mae private student loan.
Is Sallie Mae Right for You?
Sallie Mae offers a variety of student loan options for all possible scenarios. If you’re looking for a private student loan, you’ll want to see if you qualify.
There’s no application or origination fee and fair repayment terms. This means Sallie Mae may be a good fit for students looking for repayment flexibility on their loans. You never know what employment opportunities will be available to you upon completing your studies.
Sallie Mae also offers competitive fixed and variable interest rates on your loans, has no prepayment penalty, and there are multiple repayment options.
However, there will be a hard credit check to see if you’ll qualify. You also have to make sure you’re paying your monthly fees on time - there are late fees. Additionally, there is no way to refinance your loan with Sallie Mae if you choose to in the future.
It’s worth looking into the different offers to see if there’s a loan that works for your situation. You want to ensure that you have the right financing to pursue your education.
If you’re looking to attend college for the first time or thinking about pursuing higher education, you’re going to want to exhaust all options to make the best decision for your unique situation. Getting approved for graduate school can be stressful enough. You want to ensure that you have the right financing on your side so that you can focus on your studies.