Updated: August 10, 2020

Sallie Mae: Private Student Loan

Smart Option Student Loan (Undergraduate)

Other Loans that Sallie Mae Offers:

Student Loan Rating
4.5 of 5
Fixed APR i x While Savingforcollege.com strives to keep the information up to date, the lender rates, terms and other information are subject to change at any time.
4.50% - 12.35%
Variable APR i x While Savingforcollege.com strives to keep the information up to date, the lender rates, terms and other information are subject to change at any time.
1.50% - 11.15%
Repayment Terms
5 years to 15 years
Important Information

Rewards: Autopay Discount

Yearly Loan Limits: Covers up to 100% of your Cost of Attendance

Overall Loan Limits: $1,000 (minimum), $200,000 (aggregate maximum)

Cosigner Terms: Cosigner optional, allows for Cosigner Release after 12 on-time monthly payments

The bottom line:

Perhaps the most well-known of all student loan lenders, Sallie Mae is one of the largest lenders, and also one of the best lenders for college students. They are great for borrowers without a cosigner, offer some of the best deferment and forbearance programs, and have first-rate customer service. That said, other lenders have Sallie Mae beat when it comes to costs.


  • Offers a graduated repayment plan
  • Borrowers can be enrolled full-time, half-time, or even less than half-time
  • Cosigner release option after 12 months of consecutive on-time monthly payments


  • Charges a fee on late payments
  • Ranks roughly average vs. other lenders on cost-effectiveness
  • They will perform a hard credit inquiry even when you initially check your rates
Wondering how much that loan is going to cost you? Check out our free Loan Calculator!
Input your loan terms and we’ll tell you how much you can expect to pay monthly and in total

If you’re worried about qualifying for a student loan, Sallie Mae is among the least stringent lenders. If you’re enrolled less than half-time, are not a U.S. citizen, and need to borrow the full cost of attendance at your school, Sallie Mae will cover you. If you’re not planning on having a cosigner, we rank them as one of the best options for you. And if you are planning on having a cosigner, they allow for cosigner release after just 12 on-time monthly payment (which is very low compared to other top lenders).


Repayment-wise, there’s a lot of good news too. If you run into financial trouble or need to defer loan payments during grad school, Sallie Mae offers some of the best forbearance and deferment programs in the market. If you’re looking to pay your loan off quickly, one of their several repayment terms is just 5 years. And for those interested, Sallie Mae does offer a graduated repayment plan.


But they aren’t perfect. When it comes to costs, you’ll probably find better rates and rewards with other top lenders. If you’re late on a payment, they’ll even charge you a fee (something other top lenders won’t do). And, if you’re curious about what your rate would be, get ready for them to perform a hard inquiry on your credit.

Sallie Mae - Private Student Loan Details

Interest Rates, Fees and Terms
  • Credit Check: Hard
  • Repayment Terms: 5 years to 15 years
  • Minimum Borrowing Limit: $1,000
  • Yearly Borrowing Limit: 100% of Cost of Attendance
  • Aggregate Borrowing Limit: $200,000
  • Application Fee: None
  • Origination Fee: None
  • Prepayment Penalty: None
  • Late Fee: Yes
Requirements to Qualify
  • Minimum Credit Score: 640
  • Minimum Yearly Income: Not specified by lender
  • Citizenship Restriction: Available to Citizens, Permanent Residents, and International Students with a credit-worthy Citizen or Permanent Resident cosigner
  • List of States where Loan is Not Available: None
  • Minimum Enrollment Restriction: None
  • Approved Schools Include: All
Repayment Options
  • Immediate Principal and Interest Repayment: None
  • Fixed Monthly Repayment: Yes, 25
  • Interest-Only Repayment: Yes
  • Full Deferment: Yes
Repayment Details
  • Length of Grace Period: 6 months
  • Maximum Deferment Period: 48 months
  • Maximum Forbearance Period: 12 months
  • Cosigner Release Option: Yes, after 12 months on-time payments
  • Death Discharge: Yes
  • Disability Discharge: Yes
Customer Service
  • US-Based Call Center: Yes
  • Hours of Operation (in addition to weekdays): Evenings and Weekends
  • Application Timeline: 15 minutes to get credit decision, 10 business days for entire process
  • Scholarship Search Tool: Yes
  • Sponsors a Scholarship: Yes
  • Job and Career Assistance: None
  • Financial Literacy Training: Yes
Sallie MaeAscent (Goal Structured Solutions)Earnest
Rates from (APR) i x While Savingforcollege.com strives to keep the information up to date, the lender rates, terms and other information are subject to change at any time.
4.50% - 12.35%
1.50% - 11.15%
5.53% - 16.50%
4.72% - 15.00%
4.20% - 13.03%
1.49% - 11.69%
Loan repayment terms (Years)5 years to 15 years10 yearsUp to 15 years
Cosigner release?Yes, after 12 months on-time paymentsYes, after 24 months on-time paymentsNone