Sallie Mae Student Loans Review for 2024

Sallie Mae offers a wide variety of private student loan options to both present and future students. If you’re in need of a loan, no matter where you are on your educational journey, Sallie Mae Bank has a loan with competitive rates and great perks just for you.


Sallie Mae Student Loan Application Requirements

Sallie Mae’s qualification process is easy and straightforward. They’ll ask you to fill in all the information below that applies to you:

  • Social Security number
  • Address
  • School information
  • Enrollment status and years enrolled
  • Degree
  • Loan amount
  • Employment
  • Gross income
  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Two personal contacts
  • Cosigner information

Sallie Mae doesn’t disclose its minimum credit score requirements for borrowers. But, if you don’t have sufficient credit history, you will most likely need a cosigner.

Get started with Sallie Mae on Sallie Mae’s secure website

Applying With a Cosigner

If you’re just out of high school or have a limited credit history, you’ll likely need to apply with a cosigner, as Sallie Mae will check your credit score.

A cosigner is a creditworthy adult who is willing to take on loan payments should you be unable to do so. A cosigner can be a parent, relative, spouse, or friend. The only requirement is that they are over 18, a U.S. citizen, and have a good credit score. When a person cosigns a loan with another individual, both people are equally responsible for the student loan.

Having a cosigner when you apply for a private loan can make getting approved easier. Borrowers often get cosigners for all levels of education, not just undergraduate. No matter where you are on your educational journey, you can use a cosigner with Sallie Mae student loans if need be.

Types of Student Loans Available from Sallie Mae

Smart Option Student Loan for Undergraduate Students

If there’s a gap between the financial aid you’ve received from the government and what you still need, Sallie Mae’s Smart Option loan can help make ends meet. There’s no origination fee, nor are there any penalties for paying off your loan early. With these undergraduate student loans, you can borrow up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance.

Loan terms: 5 to 15 years
Fixed interest rate: 4.50% to 14.83%
Variable interest rate: 5.87% to 16.20%

Career Training Smart Option Student Loan

These student loans are for those seeking a trade certificate rather than a college degree. If you’re interested in obtaining professional training in something like plumbing, construction, or film and video editing, this is the loan program for you. Because these programs don’t require full-time attendance, Sallie Mae doesn’t require you to be enrolled at least half time for this loan.

Interest Rates and Repayment Terms

Loan terms: 5 to 15 years

Fixed interest rate: 4.50% to 15.10% APR

Variable interest rate: 5.87% to 16.34% APR

Sallie Mae Parent Loan

These private student loans are for parents or other individuals who want to take financial responsibility for their students to go to school. It can be used for either undergraduate, graduate, or certificate education.

Loan terms: 10 years
Fixed interest rate: 5.74% to 12.87%
Variable interest rate: 5.62% to 11.99%

Graduate Student Loans

Sallie Mae offers various graduate school loans to suit each borrower’s individual needs. You can apply for a basic graduate school loan or one tailored to your specific field. Each field below has different terms and interest rates.

  • Bar Study
  • Dental Residency
  • Dental School
  • Graduate School
  • Health Professions
  • Law School
  • MBA
  • Medical Residency
  • Medical School
Get started with Sallie Mae on Sallie Mae’s secure website

Sallie Mae Refinancing Options

Sallie Mae no longer offers student loan refinancing options. So if you’ve taken out private student loans through Sallie Mae and are looking to refinance at a lower interest rate, you may be wondering what your next steps should be.

Fortunately, there are still many options available to Sallie Mae student loan borrowers. You can refinance your student loans through another bank or online lender. However, if you do this, the management of your loans will switch over to your new lender, and you’ll no longer be affiliated with Sallie Mae.

If you want, you can refinance a single student loan at a lower interest rate. Or you can consolidate multiple private or federal student loans into a single loan and refinance at a lower interest rate. Doing this will streamline your monthly payments and can save you thousands of dollars in interest.

If you can receive a lower interest rate, then refinancing private student loans is generally a good idea. But you should think carefully about refinancing federal loans with a private lender.

If you do this, you’ll lose access to certain federal protections like income-driven repayment plans, student loan forgiveness programs, and forbearance. Make sure you receive quotes from multiple lenders and consider all your options before making a final decision.

If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to check out our guide on the best student loan refinancing lenders.

See also: Best Lenders for Student Loan Refinancing of 2024


Sallie Mae does not charge an application fee, nor does it charge a loan disbursement fee.

Two fees that it does charge are late fees and a returned check fees, which are both standard and reasonable.

Late fee: If you’re late on a payment, Sallie Mae charges 5% of the past due amount but caps the total amount at $25. You’ll never pay more than that amount if you’re late.

Returned Check: If your check bounces and is returned, you’ll pay a $20 fee the next time you make a payment.

Sallie Mae Loan Application Process

You can apply for any Sallie Mae student loan entirely online. It’s easy and only takes fifteen minutes to complete. Once you’ve submitted your application, Sallie Mae will review how they collect, share, and protect your personal information, which is standard.

After you’ve submitted everything, Sallie Mae reviews your credit results with you. If you used a cosigner, then they review the results for both of you. However, they may need additional information before approving your private student loan. If this is the case, Sallie Mae will tell you what further documentation you need to provide by either mail, online, or fax.

Once Sallie Mae has everything they need, they can approve your application. You’ll find out what interest rate you’ve been approved for at this stage, and you’ll choose which repayment option you would like to have during school.

You’ll next accept the terms and conditions by digitally signing your consent. From there, Sallie Mae will contact your school to validate your eligibility. They’ll verify how much money you need and determine your enrollment status.

Sallie Mae Repayment Options

Sallie Mae offers three repayment options to borrowers to suit your needs while you’re in school. They are:

  1. Interest-Only Repayment: Borrowers who choose this repayment method only pay interest while they’re in school or during their grace period. This is a viable option to keep the total loan amount from growing until you’ve graduated and are able to make full payments. Choosing interest-only payments will reduce your interest rate by 1 point.
  2. Deferred Repayment: Make no payments while you’re in school or for your grace period. Paused payments are good for borrowers who want to only focus on their studies while they are enrolled. Part-time jobs may be unnecessary with the deferred repayment option.
  3. Fixed Repayment: With this repayment option, borrowers pay a fixed amount every month while they’re in school and during their grace period. With this repayment option, the loan is steadily paid on during school. Once borrowers graduate, they have less of a financial burden to take on.

Carefully choose which repayment option you think is the most realistic for you. Once you have chosen, you can’t change your repayment plan while you’re in school.

Graduated Repayment Period

Once you’ve graduated, Sallie Mae also offers the Graduated Repayment Period. The Graduated Repayment Period allows borrowers to make interest-only payments for 12 months after their grace period.

If you choose to do this, your monthly payments will be lower than they otherwise would be during this time. It’s a suitable option for when you’re just getting on your feet post-college and are learning how to budget your money for the first time.

However, with the Graduated Repayment Period, there are several things you’ll need to keep in mind.

  • You can only apply twice: six months before you begin making payments or 12 months afterward.
  • You can only request Graduated Repayment when your account is current (meaning you haven’t missed any payments).
  • Once the Graduated Repayment Period is over, your payments will be higher because your total loan term will not have changed.

Sallie Mae Special Features

Autopay Interest Reduction: Enroll in auto payment, and you’ll automatically get a 0.25% interest rate reduction on all payments. This means more of your monthly payment will go towards your principal, and you’ll save money on the total cost of your loan.

Study Starter: Get help while you’re in school: four months of proofreading and citation help on your papers; 30 minutes of live tutoring; four months of textbook solutions and expert Q&A help.

Free Credit Score: All borrowers get access to financial literacy tools, including quarterly access to their FICO scores.

Cover an existing balance: As long as the existing balance is within the past 365 days, Sallie Mae may cover it.

Bottom Line

Sallie Mae may as well be considered the student loan central hub. No matter where and how you want to go back to school, Sallie Mae has a loan to cover your needs. Interest rates are competitive. Repayment terms are generous. Plus, Sallie Mae loans have various perks to help you get started both in school and out of school.

Get started with Sallie Mae on Sallie Mae’s secure website
Meet the author

Crediful is your go-to destination for all things related to personal finance. We're dedicated to helping you achieve financial freedom and make informed financial decisions. Our team of financial experts and enthusiasts brings you articles and resources on topics like budgeting, credit, saving, investing, and more.