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Home Private Student Loans Lender Reviews Private Student Loan Review: Sallie Mae

Private Student Loan Review: Sallie Mae

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is the leading bank in education financing. The company is publicly traded under the symbol SLM and has served millions of students and families to help them pay for college. They offer a variety of private student loans that fill the gap when financial aid is not enough.

Their student loan products include:

  • Undergraduate student loans
  • Parent student loans
  • Graduate student loans
  • Loans for professional students (medical school, law school, business school)
  • K-12 Family Education Loan

Sallie Mae Customer Service

Sallie Mae has been recognized as providing an “Outstanding Customer Service Experience,” according to J.D. Power (J.D. Power 2019 Certified Customer Service Program).

Sallie Mae prides itself on great customer service and operates all of its call center operations in the United States. They are also committed to promoting diversity in higher education and advancing social justice.

Apply for a Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

  • Interest Rates
    • Fixed as low as: 4.74% 1
    • Variable as low as: 1.25% 1

Sallie Mae Loans

Sallie Mae offers a variety of loan products ranging from K-12 to residency and relocation loans. These loans can be used to supplement federal student aid, or can be a competitive alternative to other financing options, with low interest rates and fees, along with competitive loan terms.

Loans for Students

Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan ®

The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan® is a private loan that can be used to help pay for undergraduate and graduate school. Your college or university needs to be a degree-granting institution to qualify. Students are encouraged to apply with a creditworthy cosigner; especially if there is a lack of robust credit history or proof of income.

Career Training Smart Option Student Loan®

If you attend a non-degree granting school and need financing, the Career Training Smart Option Student Loan is something to consider. Designed to assist with trade programs (i.e. technical, medical, culinary) and professional training, you may be able to borrow up to the full cost of your educational program.

Sallie Mae Graduate Loans

Graduate loans are another offering from Sallie Mae. If you are enrolled in a graduate (i.e. post-baccalaureate) or professional program, or if you need financing for medical residency or bar study here are some options available to you:

  • Sallie Mae® Medical Student Loan
  • Medical Residency and Relocation Loan
  • Sallie Mae® Dental School Loan
  • Dental Residency and Relocation Loan
  • Sallie Mae® MBA Loan
  • Bar Study Loan®
  • And more...

Loans for Parents

K-12 Family Education Loan SM

As the name implies, this loan can be used to help pay for private school, from kindergarten to grade 12. Parents can borrow up to the full school-certified cost of private school. There is no application fee and no pre-payment penalties.

Sallie Mae ® Parent Loan

If you are a parent who chooses to borrow on behalf of your son/daughter (rather than cosigning a loan) this could be a good solution. In fact, eligible borrowers can be parents or another creditworthy individual (such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent) who is willing to assume the duty of financing a college education. The types of educational programs the loan can be used for include degree and certificate programs, but must be at a degree-granting institution.

How Do I Apply for a Sallie Mae Student Loan

Applying for a Sallie Mae loan is easy. First, you can enter your school to see if it matches the list of schools Sallie Mae offers financing for on our website. Then simply click on “Apply Now” to be taken to the application page.

Be prepared to provide information that will help Sallie Mae determine your eligibility based on creditworthiness. And remember that you can always apply with a cosigner to improve the odds of getting approved, or to potentially qualify for a lower rate.

Sallie Mae Cosigner Release

If you need a cosigner to take out a student loan, you may be interested in a lender with cosigner release.

Sallie Mae offers an application process for a cosigner to be released from the loan. You are eligible to apply once you’ve made 12, on-time regular payments—meaning principal and interest—and can demonstrate that your credit is strong without a cosigner present.

You must be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident, as well as meet the age of majority.

Additionally, you will need to:

  1. Demonstrate your income,
  2. Provide proof of graduation or certificate completion (whichever applies).
  3. Pass a formal credit check.
  4. Other conditions may apply.

Pros and Cons of Sallie Mae Student Loans

When choosing any private student loan product, you should think about the pros and cons. Here are some things to consider for Sallie Mae.

Sallie Mae pros and cons
Pros Cons
Competitive interest rates and fees Lowest advertised rates may not be what you qualify for; your rate could be higher based on credit history. Cosigners are often needed.
A variety of loans for undergraduate and graduate/professional students, as well as parents No federal subsidy (meaning there is no government assistance in paying for the loan)
Multiple repayment options, including interest-only while in school Ineligible for income-driven repayment plans
Experienced lender with a long track record, and listed among America’s Best Midsize Employers by Forbes
They offer more than just student loans  
Cosigner release is available  
Outstanding customer service  

Refinance Sallie Mae Loans

If you’re looking to refinance your student loans through Sallie Mae, unfortunately this is not an option. This is because Sallie Mae no longer offers a refinance loan product.

However, depending on your goals and the type of loans you have (federal vs. private, or both) you may want to check out our other website to find the best student loan refinance companies. You’ll be able to compare available interest rates, repayment terms, borrower benefits and other information that can help you make an informed decision.

You may also want to calculate the effects of refinancing by using our Student Loan Refinance Calculator.

How Sallie Mae Gives Back

Sallie Mae is known for being a philanthropic organization and prides itself on community involvement. Since 2016, Sallie Mae awarded $785,000 in their Bridging the Dream Scholarship program. And in 2019 they gave $1.06 million in charitable donations. Sallie Mae also has a formal Employee Volunteer Program and donated $1 million in 2020 to food banks in communities affected by COVID-19.

Additionally, Sallie Mae has raised awareness about the need for financial literacy via award-winning nationwide tours. They help to educate high school students on the importance of going to college and how to pay for it.

Sallie Mae Headquarters

Sallie Mae is a consumer bank with corporate offices in Newark, Delaware. They also operate satellite offices in other locations. They have approximately 1,800 employees in the company.

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