Sallie Mae*† student loans are some of the best known. The company got its start as a major player in the federal student loan space. In fact, it was the first lender specifically created to administer federally backed student loans. Today, however, Sallie Mae student loans are better known in the realm of private lending.
And, for anyone who’s looked at the cost of college recently, student loans are probably a necessity. There’s some definite sticker shock associated with attending school. According to the College Board, the average cost to attend an out-of-state, four-year public university, including room and board, is $36,420.
For most students, it makes sense to rely mainly on scholarships, savings, and federal student loans to pay for college. But if these measures aren’t enough to cover all of your costs, you might need to turn to private student loans from the likes of Sallie Mae.
Here’s what you need to know if you decide you need Sallie Mae student loans to help you pay for college.
How do Sallie Mae student loans work?
Private student loans can be used to pay for any school-certified costs, from tuition and books to room and board. Sallie Mae’s program is no different. You can borrow up to 100 percent of your school-certified costs, though the company reserves the right to approve a lesser amount.
Sallie Mae offers many different types of student loans: undergraduate, medical residency and relocation, dental residency and relocation, bar study, K-12 family education, and graduate school.
You can apply for a private student loan with Sallie Mae by visiting its website. Just like any loan application, you need to provide identifying information (name, Social Security number, address, and other information) and divulge your income and assets. While filling out your loan application, you create an account so you can refer back to the website to follow the progress of your application.
Whether your application is approved depends on various factors, including your credit score and your income. That information will also determine your interest rate.
Unlike federal student loans, which don’t require you to have good credit, private student loans are usually only offered to those who can show they have an established and positive credit history.
Additionally, federal loan interest rates are set annually by Congress, while private loans are more influenced by market forces. In some cases, your interest rate with a Sallie Mae loan could be lower than the federal loan rate. However, you also run the risk of it being substantially higher than the federal rate, depending on your circumstances and the market.
If you can’t qualify for Sallie Mae student loans on your own, you might need to find a cosigner so you can secure funding. Your cosigner should have good credit and be able to prove their income.
Once your loan is approved, Sallie Mae will send a request to your school to certify the loan. Afterward, the funds are disbursed directly to the school. If there is anything left over after tuition and other costs are paid, the school will send that on to you.
Making student loan payments to Sallie Mae
Your Sallie Mae student loans are fairly easy to manage. You can use the online portal to make and schedule payments. It’s even possible to enroll in automatic payments, qualifying you for a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction. It also helps ensure you don’t miss a payment.
Sallie Mae allows you to keep up with your account through its mobile app. You can make payments, adjust your automatic plan, and manage other details of your account right from your iPhone or Android device.
Sallie Mae loan repayment options
Information about your loan’s grace period, repayment term, and other benefits can be accessed by logging in to your online account. Depending on your loan, you might not have to begin repayment until the end of the grace period, which lasts six months after you graduate. However, interest will still accrue while you’re in school and during your grace period.
Every private student lender is a little different, so double-check to make sure you understand the terms of your loan and its repayment.
Sallie Mae loans offer in-school repayment options, so you can actually start repaying your debt as soon as your funds are disbursed. Because your accrued interest will be added to your loan total later, it’s possible to save some money by making interest payments while you’re in school. Carefully consider your options to see if beginning repayment during college makes sense for you.
If you go back to school, or if you’re starting a residency or fellowship, Sallie Mae offers a deferment program. You can put off your loan payments for a period of time while you continue your education or prepare for the next step in your career.
No matter how you decide to proceed, you can always pay off your loan early. There are no prepayment penalties with Sallie Mae student loans.
What if you can’t make payments on your Sallie Mae loans?
We all run into financial trouble on occasion. If this happens to you, call 1-800-4-SALLIE (800-472-5543). Sallie Mae offers a forbearance program and the customer service representative can set it up for you.
However, know that interest continues to accrue during forbearance, and you will have to pay a fee for each loan you enroll in the program. If you want, Sallie Mae can also help you set up a plan to at least cover interest charges during forbearance.
Are private Sallie Mae student loans right for you?
Review your financial situation and your college funding sources. For many students, it makes sense to borrow as little as possible. If you can, save up ahead of time, choose a less expensive school, work part time, or seek out scholarships and grants. You might be able to reduce the amount of debt you need.
If you decide that student loans are a necessity, consider starting with federal loans. For many borrowers, private loans through a company like Sallie Mae work better as a last resort, after federal funding and other resources are depleted. But if you do need a private student loan, then Sallie Mae is worth a look, along with some of the lenders listed in the table at the end of this article.
About Sallie Mae
Sallie Mae is a bank and student loan lender, publicly traded under the name SLM Corp., with nearly $19.4 billion in assets. The company bills itself as the country’s leader when it comes to planning and paying for education. Sallie Mae’s primary business model is originating and servicing private student loans, with a private education loan portfolio of $15.7 billion.
Based in Newark, Delaware, Sallie Mae was founded as the Student Loan Marketing Association in 1973. Back then, the company was a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE). Even though GSEs are privately held, they have public policy missions — in this case, to foster education by providing federal student loans.
Over time, Sallie Mae loans drifted away from federal options. In fact, Sallie Mae was fully privatized in 2004. In 2006, the company acquired Upromise and began working in the college savings business.
Sallie Mae serviced federal loans in subsequent years and even originated federal loans under the Federal Family Education Loan program. Sallie Mae continued to service some federal loans until 2014, when it split into two publicly traded companies, one of which is federal student loan servicing powerhouse Navient.
Today, Sallie Mae student loans are entirely private. Additionally, since 2011, the company has added consumer products and services, including rewards credit cards, savings accounts, checking accounts, and other traditional retail banking products.
Sallie Mae loans customer service information
Sallie Mae customer service is available Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can call 855-SLM-LOAN (885-756-5626).
*Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
†The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 4/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.24% – 13.24%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.07% – 11.32%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 11.35%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 13.25%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|6.08% – 7.22%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.95% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.42%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|