How Sallie Mae Student Loans Can Help Parents Pay for College

Sallie Mae student loans

As a parent trying to help your child pay for college, do you ever feel like you’re running out of options? Perhaps you’re running short on college savings or can’t cover college costs with your current budget.

Enter the Sallie Mae Parent Loan, an affordable way to cover college costs now and help protect your child’s financial future. Sallie Mae student loans provide the option for anyone — parents, grandparents, or even friends — to borrow on a student’s behalf.

Our Sallie Mae Parent Loan review can help you decide if this is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Review: Sallie Mae student loans for parents

The Sallie Mae Parent Loan is named for parents, but it’s available to anyone who wants to help pay for a college student’s education. We carefully reviewed these Sallie Mae student loans to highlight what’s great (and not so great) about this option.

Sallie Mae Parent Loan benefits

Here are the biggest pros of Sallie Mae Parent Loans.

You don’t have to be a parent to qualify

Although this loan is called the Sallie Mae Parent Loan, Sallie Mae doesn’t require borrowers to be parents or legal guardians of the student whose education the loan is intended to finance. The borrower can be a:

  • Parent
  • Guardian
  • Spouse
  • Grandparent or other relative
  • Friend

You choose the right repayment option for you

Parents taking out Sallie Mae student loans have two repayment options:

  • Principal and interest repayment: Start immediately repaying both principal and interest on your Sallie Mae student loans, which have a 10-year term. These principal and interest payments are higher but will lower the loan’s total costs and get you out of debt faster.
  • Interest repayment: Opt to make interest-only payments while your child is enrolled (for up to 48 months). Interest-only repayment will be lower than principal and interest repayment. It can free up room in your budget to pay some college costs out of pocket. Once your interest-only payment period ends, you’ll make principal and interest payments over 10 years.

Many parent student loans don’t offer a way to keep payments low while your child is in college. Having these options gives you the flexibility to decide what makes sense for you.

You can keep your college student out of debt

A Sallie Mae Parent Loan is not open to students themselves as either primary borrowers or cosigners. (A Parent Loan applicant can add a student loan cosigner, but it can’t be the student.)

As the owner of this student debt, you’ll be fully responsible for repaying the loan. So if your goal is to keep your college student out of debt, this Sallie Mae private student loan will allow you to take on that responsibility.

You maintain control over your debt — and credit

You could cosign private student loans with your child as the primary borrower, but if your child misses a payment, it’ll hurt your credit.

With a Sallie Mae Parent Loan, you’re in control of the debt and can make sure it’s handled responsibly. You’ll protect yourself and your credit from the mishaps of others.

Additionally, you’ll have the power to modify or manage the debt in any way you see fit, such as refinancing your student loans.

Applying for a Sallie Mae private student loan

Many private student lenders perform a soft credit check they can use to generate rate offers. Unfortunately, Sallie Mae doesn’t. The only option the lender gives site visitors is to apply for parent student loans to get a rate.

That said, the process to apply for Sallie Mae student loans is fairly straightforward.

On the Parent Loan page, simply click “Apply for this loan.” It will take you to an online application portal (pictured below). The application asks for the student’s college and enrollment status and the applicant’s contact details and identifying information.

sallie mae student loans

Image credit: Sallie Mae

Once you complete the application, the lender will evaluate it. You could receive results within 15 minutes. If you qualify and like your offer, you can follow the prompts to get your Sallie Mae private student loan.

Sallie Mae student loan rates and fees

Sallie Mae student loan rates for these parent-focused loans are competitive, and the lender charges no origination fees or prepayment penalties.

Sallie Mae also offers a 0.25% interest rate discount for enrolling in automatic payments. Parent Loan amounts can range from the minimum $1,000 up to the full cost of attendance.

Well-qualified borrowers can get Sallie Mae student loan rates that beat federal student loan rates for Parent PLUS Loans. Here’s a comparison of the two options:

Sallie Mae Parent Loans Parent PLUS Loans
Interest rate options Fixed and variable Fixed
Student loan rates* Variable interest rates from 5.12% APR to 11.49% APR. Fixed interest rates from 5.74% APR to 12.87% APR. 7.00%
Loan fee None 4.264%

*Projections based on lowest offered fixed rate.

However, not every applicant will qualify for the lowest rates with Sallie Mae. Some parents will get better rates by choosing Parent PLUS Loans.

To know for sure if a Sallie Mae Parent Loan is a good deal for you, you’ll likely have to go through the application process. You also should shop around so you can compare your offer to quotes from the best parent student loans out there.

Sallie Mae Parent Loan eligibility requirements

To get a Sallie Mae Parent Loan, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Credit background: You’ll have to meet Sallie Mae’s credit criteria or have an eligible cosigner who does.
  • Student’s enrollment: Sallie Mae student loans are offered only to students enrolled in a degree-granting program. Luckily, students enrolled less than half time will satisfy this requirement. Parent PLUS Loans, on the other hand, require a student to be enrolled part time or full time.
  • U.S. citizenship: Both the borrower and the student must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the U.S.

If you can satisfy the above requirements, Sallie Mae is more likely to approve your student loan application.

Sallie Mae student loan reviews and customer service

Overall, the Sallie Mae application process is straightforward and delivers fast results. On its site, the lender reports that 95 percent of its customers rate the Sallie Mae application process favorably.

Still unclear on how a Sallie Mae Parent Loan would work for you? You can contact the Sallie Mae customer service team through the following channels:

Our guide to Sallie Mae student loans provides additional tips on how to manage debt serviced by this company.

As you consider Sallie Mae student loans to help pay for college, continue to pay attention to costs and projected monthly student loan payments. That way, you’ll know for sure if a Sallie Mae Parent Loan is the right fit for your needs.

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1 = Citizens Disclaimer.

2 = CollegeAve Autopay Disclaimer: The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of
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3 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
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