Student Loan Refinancing
How to Pay off Student Loans Fast
Managing Your Student Loan Debt
Parent PLUS Loan Refinancing
Why Parents Should Refinance Student Loans
How to Refinance Parent Student Loans
Parent’s Guide to Student Loans
When to Apply for Private Loans
How to Pay for College Tuition
Applying for Student Loans Guide
Student Loan Process Checklist
Student Loan Refinance 101
Student Loan Glossary
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When it comes to private student loans, Sallie Mae is one of the most popular lenders in the country. In fact, the company originated $5.4 billion in private student loans in 2021. Sallie Mae offers a variety of loan options, and its loans can be used by both undergraduate and graduate students.
Although its loans can be useful financing options for some students, they aren’t a good fit for everyone. Learn more about the lender’s pros and cons in this Sallie Mae student loans review.
Sallie Mae is a private student loan lender based in Newark, Delaware.
Although the company has been around for over 40 years, the company that operates as Sallie Mae, the SLM Corporation, was only formed in 2013. Sallie Mae legally separated from Navient, another student loan company that provides student loan servicing and student loan consolidation.
Today, Sallie Mae offers a range of student loans. Sallie Mae also has a variety of other financial products, such as credit cards, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit (CDs).
Sallie Mae stands out from some other lenders because of its loan options, but it may not be the best choice for everyone. Carefully consider the pros and cons before applying for Sallie Mae student loans:
Whether you’re planning on earning a bachelor’s degree, a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA), or you want to attend law school, Sallie Mae has student loan options that can help you finance your education.
Sallie Mae’s college student loans are for students attending college to pursue a bachelor’s degree, master’s, or professional degree. Sallie Mae also has options for parents looking to borrow money to pay for their children’s education.
With Sallie Mae, you can take out loans to cover your expenses as you complete your professional training.
With some private student loans, you are required to begin making payments while you’re in school. For college students trying to manage their coursework, that can be a significant burden.
With Sallie Mae, you have more options. Available repayment plans vary based on the type of loan you take out, but borrowers usually have the following options:
Best For: Immediate repayment is best for students that want to decrease their overall repayment cost. It’s a good option for students that are working while in college or that have family members helping them with their bills.
With immediate repayment, Sallie Mae requires you to make payments against the principal and the interest right after loan disbursement. This option requires you to make higher payments while in school, but because you start paying right away, less interest accrues, and your total repayment cost is lower.
Best For: The interest-only plan is a good choice for students who cannot afford principal and interest payments while in school but want to lower their overall repayment cost.
With the interest-only plan, you make payments against the interest that accrues each month while you’re in school. After you graduate, your payments increase to include the principal and interest.
Interest-only repayment is more expensive than immediate repayment since you don’t pay against the principal while you’re in school, but it has a lower repayment cost than flat payment or deferred payment plans.
Best For: Flat monthly payments are best for students that want to chip away at some of the interest that accrues, but still want to keep their obligations relatively low while in school.
If you opt for the flat monthly payment option with Sallie Mae, you’ll pay just $25 per month while you’re in school. Only after you graduate or leave school do you have to make payments against the principal and interest.
Making flat monthly payments has a higher total repayment cost than immediate or interest-only repayment, but it’s less expensive than some other options because you are reducing how much interest accrues while you’re in college.
Best For: Borrowers that don’t want to worry at all about their student loans so they can focus on their coursework in college are a good fit for deferred repayment plans.
Under Sallie Mae’s deferred repayment plan, the student makes no payments at all while they’re in school. They only make payments after they graduate or leave school and after their grace periods.
Because you’re not making any payments while in college, the deferred repayment plan has the highest total repayment cost of all four plans. However, some borrowers may find that the higher cost is worth it to avoid stress about payments while in college.
Want to know how much your student loan will cost? Check your monthly payment and interest based on your loan’s repayment term and rate.
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To qualify for a Sallie Mae student loan, you must meet the following criteria:
Like other private student loan lenders, Sallie Mae requires borrowers to meet certain income and credit score criteria. Although Sallie Mae doesn’t disclose its minimum income or credit score, the majority of approved borrowers had scores of 700 or higher in 2021.
If you don’t meet the above criteria, you may be eligible for a loan by adding a cosigner with good-to-excellent credit to your application.
While Sallie Mae doesn’t have a prequalification tool, you can apply for a private student loan entirely online.
To get started, click on the “Apply for a Loan” button at the top of your screen. The application will prompt you to enter the following information:
If you are adding a cosigner to your application, your cosigner will have to fill out their own application. The cosigner can also complete the application online.
After you and your cosigner submit your information, Sallie Mae will review your application and determine whether to approve you and the type of interest rate and repayment term to offer you. If you and your cosigner accept the terms, Sallie Mae will send you a loan agreement to review and sign.
Before the loan can be finalized, Sallie Mae will contact your school to certify the funding amount and verify your eligibility. Funds will be disbursed directly to the school. If there is any money left over after paying the school-required fees, the remainder is issued to you.
Sallie Mae is a huge provider of private student loans. Due to its size, a certain number of complaints are to be expected. If you do have questions or issues with your account, Sallie Mae offers several customer support options.
Sallie Mae’s customer support team is available via phone or online chat. Live customer service can be reached during the following times:
On TrustPilot, the company has received just 19 reviews. However, the reviews submitted so far are mostly negative; Sallie Mae’s TrustScore is just 1.8 out of 5. Notably, the reviews are a mix of customers who took out loans and those who applied for credit cards or bank accounts.
In some reviews, customers complained about changing interest rates on their loans, not realizing that they had taken out a variable rate loan. To avoid any costly surprises during repayment, be sure to review your loan documents thoroughly before signing the contract, and make sure you understand the interest rate and fees you accept.
Sallie Mae is a top private student loan lender, and it has options for undergraduate students, graduate students, parents, and those planning to take the bar exam or complete a medical or dental residency. You can borrow as little as $1,000 or as much as the total cost of attendance, and Sallie Mae has multiple repayment plans to choose from.
However, it’s always a good idea to shop around. How does Sallie Mae stack up against the competition? Here’s how Sallie Mae compares to three other leading student loan companies.
● Law school
● Medical school
● Medical residency
● Bar study
● Career training
● Coding bootcamps
$1,000 to total cost of attendance (may vary based on loan type)
$2,001 to total cost of attendance (may vary depending on loan type)
5 to 15 years (may vary based on loan type)
5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years
5, 8, 10 or 15 years
5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years (may vary based on loan type)
Fixed Interest Rates
As low as 3.75%
As low as 3.24%
As low as 3.39%
As low as 3.22%
Variable Interest Rates
As low as 2.00%
As low as 1.34%
As low as 0.94%
As low as 0.98%
$25 or 5.00% of the late payment amount, whichever is less
Is prequalification available?
Does the lender offer student loan refinancing?
Rates shown are the lowest available as of July 8, 2022. The rates include autopay discounts.
Like Sallie Mae, Earnest offers student loans for undergraduates, graduate or professional school students, parent borrowers, and career training programs. But Earnest offers a longer grace period than Sallie Mae; its borrowers have nine months after leaving school before they have to start making interest and principal payments.
Plus, borrowers have the option of utilizing Earnest’s skip-a-payment feature. If your account is in good standing, you can skip one payment every 12 months. Unlike Sallie Mae, Earnest doesn’t charge late fees, and it has a prequalification option that allows you to check your rates without affecting your credit.
College Ave also offers loans for undergraduate students, graduate or professional students, parent borrowers, and career training programs. You can borrow up to the total cost of attendance, and College Ave has four repayment options to choose from: immediate, deferred, interest-only, and flat monthly payments.
College Ave has more repayment terms than Sallie Mae. Rather than only having three, it has four: five, eight, 10, and 15 years.
Unlike Sallie Mae, College Ave does allow borrowers to use a prequalification tool to check their rates. And College Ave has student loan refinancing options for borrowers that want to refinance existing debt.
Ascent Funding is a unique lender in that it offers loans specifically designed for borrowers without credit histories or cosigners. Borrowers can qualify for outcome-based loans that are based on their GPA and majors rather than their credit, making it easier for some borrowers to qualify for a loan.
Ascent Funding also has loan options for students attending coding bootcamps, international students, and DACA students. Ascent has a higher loan minimum than Sallie Mae — $2,001 — but students can borrow up to the total cost of attendance. However, Ascent Funding doesn’t have a loan option for parent borrowers.
Like Sallie Mae, Ascent Funding doesn’t allow students to refinance their debt.
Sallie Mae student loans are a good option for students and parents who want the ability to choose their own repayment term and in-school payment plan. Sallie Mae has several student loan options, including loans for career training programs and bar study preparation, and it includes extra benefits like autopay discounts and a free Chegg subscription.
However, Sallie Mae doesn’t have a prequalification tool, so you can’t view your rates without affecting your credit score. And borrowers with good credit or a cosigner may find lower interest rates elsewhere.
Before committing to a loan, make sure you review your options and compare rates from other lenders. Purefy’s “Check Today’s Rates” tool makes it simple; fill out one easy form, and you can view rates and loan options from top private student loan lenders.
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