Sallie Mae offers a wide variety of 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 has a loan with competitive rates and great perks just for you.


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

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.

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 he or she is over 18, is a U.S. citizen, and has a strong financial profile. When a person cosigns a loan with another individual, both people are equally responsible for the 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 if need be.

Types of Student Loans Available

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 the Smart Option student loan, you can borrow up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance.

Rates and Terms

5 to 15 years

Fixed Interest: 5.74% to 11.85%
Variable Interest: 4.12% to 10.98%

Career Training Smart Option Student Loan

This loan is for those seeking a trade certificate as opposed to 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 necessitate full-time attendance, Sallie Mae doesn’t require you be enrolled at least half time for this loan.

Rates and Terms

5 to 15 years

Variable Interest: 6.37% to 13.47%

Sallie Mae Parent Loan

This loan is 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.

Rates and Terms

10 years

Fixed Interest: 5.74% to 12.87%
Variable Interest: 5.62% to 11.99%

K-12 Education Loan

If your child is enrolled in a private school, Sallie Mae can help you cover the cost of attendance. Many parents are choosing private over public to ensure their children have the best education possible. With the K-12 Education Loan, you can help pave the way for your child to have a successful educational experience.

Rates and Terms

3 years

Variable Interest: 9.11% to 15.76%

Graduate Student Loans

Sallie Mae offers a variety of graduate student loans to suit each borrower’s individual needs. Graduate loans currently offered are:

  • Bar Study: up to $15,000; Variable Interest— 5.11% to 11.81%
  • Dental Residency: up to $20,000; Variable Interest— 5.03% to 11.33%
  • Dental School: loan terms up to 20 years; Fixed Interest— 6.24% to 8.86%; Variable Interest— 4.12% to 8.86%
  • Graduate School (up to PhD): loan terms up to 15 years; Fixed Interest— 6.25% to 9.16%; Variable Interest— 4.12% to 9.16%
  • Health Professions: loan terms up to 15 years; Fixed Interest— 6.25% to 9.16%; Variable Interest— 4.12% to 9.16%
  • Law School: loan terms up to 15 years; Fixed Interest— 6.24% to 8.93%; Variable Interest— 4.12% to 8.93%
  • MBA: 5-15 year loan terms; Fixed Interest— 6.25% to 9.16%; Variable Interest— 4.12% to 9.16%
  • Medical Residency: up to $20,000; Variable Interest— 5.03% to 11.33%
  • Medical School: loan terms up to 20 years; Fixed Interest— 6.24% to 8.86%; Variable Interest— 4.12% to 8.86%


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 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 results for both of you. However, they may need additional information before approving. 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. At this stage, you’ll find out what interest rate you’ve been approved for and you’ll choose which repayment option you would like to have during school.

You’ll next accept the terms of the loan by digitally signing your consent, and 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.

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 pay only interest while they’re in school. This is a good option to keep the total loan amount from growing until you’ve graduated and are able to make full payments. Doing this payment method will reduce your interest rate by 1 point.
  2. Deferred Repayment: Make no payments while you’re in school. 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 good 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.

  • There are only two times you can apply: 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.

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. Its rates are competitive, its terms are generous, it has great repayment options, and it has a variety of perks to help you get started both in school and out of school.