Updated: May 25, 2023

Sallie Mae Graduate Student Loan Review

Graduate Student Loans

Advertising disclosure
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.
5.25% - 14.48%
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.
6.50% - 16.09%
Repayment Terms
15 years
Important Information

Rewards: Autopay Discount

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

Overall Loan Limits: $1,000 (minimum)

Cosigner Terms: Cosigner optional, allows borrowers to apply 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 graduate 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
Sallie Mae College Ave 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.
5.25% - 14.48%
6.50% - 16.09%
4.44% - 13.99% 1
5.09% - 13.99% 1
4.45% - 14.75%
5.49% - 16.42%
Loan repayment terms (Years) 15 years 5, 8, 10, 15 years Up to 15 years
Cosigner release? Yes, after 12 months on-time principal and interest payments Yes, after 24 months on-time principal and interest payments None

If you’re worried about qualifying for a student loan, Sallie Mae is among the most lenient 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 graduate loan 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, Sallie Mae offers some of the best forbearance and deferment programs in the market. 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: 15 years
  • Minimum Borrowing Limit: $1,000
  • Yearly Borrowing Limit: 100% of Cost of Attendance
  • Aggregate Borrowing Limit: Not specified by lender
  • Application Fee: None
  • Origination Fee: None
  • Prepayment Penalty: None
  • Late Fee: Yes
Requirements to Qualify
  • Minimum Credit Score: 640
  • Minimum Annual Income: Not specified by lender
  • Citizenship Restriction: Available to Citizens, Permanent Residents, and International Students with a credit-worthy Citizen or Permanent Resident cosigner
  • Minimum Enrollment Restriction: None
  • List of States where Loan is Not Available: 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 principal and interest 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

Other Loans that Sallie Mae Offers:

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