Find the Best Student Loans for You
Sallie Mae provides a range of loans for students to help pay for undergraduate and graduate degrees, along with specialty degrees. Loans also accommodate part-time students and those pursuing continuing education courses or earning professional certifications.
Choose from these types of student loans:
Full- and part-time students apply for a Sallie Mae loan only once to get money for the entire school year. A Sallie Mae loan can help you cover up to 100% of school-certified expenses, such as tuition and fees, room and board, books, travel costs, supplies, and even a laptop.
- Your address, and if you’ve lived there for less than a year, your previous address.
- Your Social Security number.
- Two personal contacts other than your co-signer.
- Your employment information, including gross income and company name.
- School information, including enrollment status, degree, course of study, academic period of enrollment and year in school.
- Financial aid and scholarships you expect to receive.
- Financial information, including bank accounts and monthly rent or mortgage payments.
- Requested loan amount.
Sallie Mae then conducts a credit review. If the application is approved, you will choose a type of interest rate and a repayment option for your loan. You and your co-signer will accept the terms of your loan and sign loan documents electronically, and then your school will certify your eligibility, including verifying enrollment and loan amount.
You can complete an application and get a credit decision in about 15 minutes. Once your loan is approved and certified by your school, Sallie Mae will disburse the funds directly to the school. The process from application to disbursement can take up to 10 business days for an undergraduate loan.
Sallie Mae’s Smart Option for undergraduate students offers variable rates from 1.87% to 11.97% and fixed rates from 3.75% to 12.85% based on your creditworthiness. Rates for graduate student loans vary by loan. Sallie Mae also advertises career training loans at fixed rates from 3.75% to 13.29% or variable rates from 1.87% to 12.48%.
These rates reflect a 0.25-percentage-point discount for borrowers who use autopay to make monthly loan payments.
Sallie Mae offers a 0.25-percentage-point discount when you enroll in auto debit to make your monthly loan payments. The lender suggests applying with a creditworthy co-signer to help you get a better rate and notes that nearly 87% of its new undergraduate borrowers have one.
If you’re attending a school outside of the United States, you must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident to qualify for a Sallie Mae student loan. If you are not a citizen and are attending a U.S. school, you will need a co-signer who is a citizen or resident.
Sallie Mae will check your credit when you apply, but the lender does not disclose an exact minimum credit score. The lender encourages but does not require use of a creditworthy co-signer to qualify for a loan or a lower interest rate than you could on your own.
Sallie Mae does not disclose an exact credit score requirement, only that it should be in the mid-600s. The lender usually provides a credit result when you apply, and a credit specialist may ask for more information or documentation to approve your loan.
Sallie Mae is based in Newark, Delaware, and is one of the largest private student loan companies that serves all 50 states.
In U.S. News’ ratings of student loan lenders, Sallie Mae received 4.6 out of 5 stars overall, 4.3 for affordability, 5.0 for eligibility and 5.0 for customer service. The median overall rating for student loan lenders by U.S. News is 4.4.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received 184 student-loan-related complaints in 2021 about SLM Corp., holding company of Sallie Mae. Top complaints were about dealing with the lender or servicer and struggling to repay the loan. The company provided a timely response to all complaints; 152 complaints were closed with explanation, and 32 were closed with nonmonetary relief.
For help by phone: Reach customer service with questions about your loan at 800-472-5543 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday.
For help with a new student loan, call 855-756-5626 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET on Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET on Saturday.
You can complete your student loan application online, and you will receive a prompt before you begin to review the information you need to make sure you have everything on hand.
Sallie Mae offers several repayment options. With deferred repayment, you won’t have loan payments while in school or during your separation or grace period – the six months after you finish school and before principal and interest payments begin. Fixed repayment sets a monthly loan payment amount while you’re in school and during your grace period. After that, your loan payments will increase. Interest repayment is when you only pay interest while in school and during your grace period, after which you’ll begin paying monthly principal and interest.
Sallie Mae offers in-school payment assistance if you have trouble managing monthly student loan payments and selected the fixed or interest repayment plans. After leaving school and passing your grace period, if you need help making principal and interest payments, Sallie Mae offers repayment alternatives. A graduated repayment period permits interest-only payments for a year after your grace period. Also, you can defer payment while in an internship, fellowship or residency program. Deferment or forbearance is available while you serve in the military, though forbearance should be a last resort.
Sallie Mae will waive a loan balance if a student dies or a borrower becomes permanently and totally disabled, for example, during military service. Borrowers experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to contact Sallie Mae to discuss their options.
- People who need to cover up to 100% of school-certified expenses.
- People who have a creditworthy co-signer.
- People who seek loans for medical or dental residencies or preparing for the bar exam.