Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan Review
Smart Option Student Loan (Undergraduate)
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.
How does this loan compare?
If you’re worried about qualifying for a student loan, Sallie Mae is among the more 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's Smart Option Student Loan can 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 payments (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. And for those interested, Sallie Mae does offer a graduated repayment plan with the Smart Option Student Loan.
Of course, no lender is 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 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
- Credit Check: Hard
- Repayment Terms: 10 to 15 years
- Minimum Borrowing Limit: $1,000
- Yearly Borrowing Limit: 100% of Cost of Attendance
- Application Fee: None
- Origination Fee: None
- Prepayment Penalty: None
- Late Fee: Yes
- 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
- Immediate Principal and Interest Repayment: None
- Fixed Monthly Repayment: Yes, 25
- Interest-Only Repayment: Yes
- Full Deferment: Yes
- 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
- 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