Sallie Mae Student Loans Review

Learn about Sallie Mae Student Loans for Undergraduate student, Graduate student, MBA student and Parent loans and look at the various loans rates, terms, and also see their repayment options along with the pros and cons here!

Updated by C Laltlanhlua on 5th July 2019

SLM Corporation, now commonly known as Sallie Mae, was started as a government-sponsored institution in 1972. After 2004, Sallie Mae became a fully privatized company. They then divided it into 2 different companies in 2014.

The first company is SLM Corporation, which is commonly known as Sallie Mae, which is a private student loan lender who deals with the consumer banking business.

The second company which was birthed from the division of the institution is the Navient Corporation. The Navient Corporation provides student loan servicer facilities for both the Federal and Private student loans and is currently the largest Federal student loan servicer.

In addition to lending student loans, the company tries to give transparency in helping students and their families understand their education loans and other financial aid options. Sallie Mae Bank is one of the subsidiaries of SLM Corporation.


List of Contents

The following list consists of different topics that will be covered in this article.

You may use this list to navigate to different sections as per your desire.


How to qualify for a Sallie Mae student loan

Sallie Mae Student Loan is always available for most borrowers. Minors (usually below 18 but may differ from states to states) are required to sign up with a cosigner who has a decent credit score. The minimum credit score required for the loan is not disclosed by the company. Approved applicants in 2016 showed an average FICO score of 748. The majority of borrowers who have registered for the loans have cosigners.

The loans are offered to the other nationalities as well as long as they or their cosigner is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident aliens with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) documentation.

  • The cosigner can be released after a period of 12 monthly payments if the cosigner is anyone but the parents of the borrower

  • The student loan is also provided to part-time students

  • The school should be in partnership with Sallie Mae to get the loan or use the amount


Smart options for Undergraduate Students

The smart student loan option for undergraduates is the primary loan which is offered by Sallie Mae. Their benefits are mentioned here.

  • The undergraduate student loan can be used for the Bachelor and Associate degrees and for the Certificate programs too if being offered from a degree-granting institution

  • You can get a 100% coverage for all school certified student expenses

  • You have no prepayment penalty or origination fee

  • When you list yourself to make monthly payments through auto debit, you can qualify to get the interest rate to be reduced by 0.25% point

  • The variable interest rate will be between 4.25% to 11.35% APR

  • The fixed interest rate will be between 5.49% to 11.85% APR

  • The repayment option has a deferred fixed repayment option and the interest repayment option too

  • The cosigner can be released after making 12 months of on-time payments

  • You are likely to get the credit Sallie Mae payment loan

  • The decision of the loan application is usually received after 15 minutes from the submission

  • The eligibility for U.S. citizens, if they are attending a degree-granting school within or outside of the U.S., is to be enrolled in a study abroad program.

The following table shows comprehensive details on the interest rates for the Smart Option Loan for Undergraduate Students.

Feature Rates/Percentages/Amounts
Fixed APR 5.49% – 11.85%
Variable APR 4.25% – 11.35%
Loan Terms 5 to 15 years
Loan Amounts $1,000 to 100% of the cost in school certification
Grace period 6 months
Cosigner release available Yes, after 12 full, on-time payments

The interest rates and fees may be subjected to changes.


Sallie Mae Loans for Parents

Sallie Mae offers Parent Loans for undergraduates, graduates, and certification education. The loan amount covers 100% of the cost incurred during the cost of attendance. It has the following factors.

  • No origination fee

  • No prepayment penalty

  • If enrolled in an auto-debit program, you will be getting a 0.25% point reduction in the interest rate

  • Both variable and fixed interest rate are available

  • The variable interest rate on the parent's loan will be between 5.74% to 12.37% APR

  • The fixed interest rate will be between 5.49% to 12.87% APR

  • The loan repayment option gives the borrowers an option to pay interest only when they are in the school for a period of 48 months

  • The borrowers can also pay off their loans sooner by making both the principal and interest repayment when they are in school

The following table shows comprehensive details on the interest rates for the Sallie Mae Parent Loans.

Feature Rates/Percentages/Amounts
Fixed APR 5.49% – 12.87%
Variable APR 5.74% – 12.37%
Loan Terms up to 10 years
Loan Amounts $1,000 to 100% of the cost in school certification
Grace period 6 months
Cosigner release available Yes, after 12 full, on-time payments

The interest rates and fees may be subjected to changes.


Sallie Mae Loans for Graduate Students

Sallie Mae also provides private student loans for those who plan to seek a Master's or Doctoral degree. These loans can give total coverage for all the expenses related to school education. It also has no maximum amount fixed for the years taken for graduate school.

  • 6 month grace period is provided to the borrower

  • 48 months of deferment is given at the time of internship or fellowship

  • Eligible borrowers might get a 12 interest only monthly payments after the grace period

  • The repayment period for the borrower is allowed up to 15 years

  • The fixed interest rate is between 4.50% to 10.11% APR

  • The variable interest rate is between 6.00% to 10.23% APR

  • There is no origination fee and prepayment penalties

The following table shows comprehensive details on the interest rates for the Sallie Mae Graduate Loans.

Feature Rates/Percentages/Amounts
Fixed APR 5.49% – 11.85%
Variable APR 4.25% – 11.35%
Loan Terms up to 15 years
Loan Amounts $1,000 to 100% of the cost in school certification
Grace period 6 months
Cosigner release available Yes, after 12 full, on-time payments

The interest rates and fees may be subjected to changes.


Sallie Mae Loans for MBA Student

Sallie Mae also provides MBA loans which can be used to cover up the cost of the business school as borrowers pursue their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree can be done.

  • 6 month grace period is given to the borrower

  • No limit on the maximum loan for all years in the business school

  • 48 months of deferment can be provided during an internship

  • 15 years for repayment

  • The variable interest rate on the MBA loan is between 4.50% - 10.11%

  • The fixed interest rate on the MBA loan is between 6.00% - 10.23%

  • International students may also be eligible if they are attending certain schools in the U.S.

The following table shows comprehensive details on the interest rates for the Sallie Mae MBA Loans.

Feature Rates/Percentages/Amounts
Fixed APR 5.49% – 11.85%
Variable APR 4.25% – 11.35%
Loan Terms up to 15 years
Loan Amounts $1,000 to 100% of the cost in school certification
Grace period 6 months
Cosigner release available Yes, after 12 full, on-time payments

The interest rates and fees may be subjected to changes.


Other Loans offered

Apart from the above loans, Sallie Mae also offers various student loans as mentioned below.

  • Career Training Student Loan

  • K-12 Loan

  • Medical Student Loan

  • Medical Residency Loan

  • Dental School Loan

  • Dental Residency Loan

  • Health Professions Graduate Loan

  • Law School Loan

  • Bar School Loan


Repayment Options

In-school

Immediate repayment 

Makes the full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed when you are in school

Deferred payments 

You don't make any payments while you are in school.

Fixed Repayment 

You are required to pay $25 for every month when you are in school and in the grace period. The interest rate on it will be around 0.5% lower than the deferred repayment option.

Interest-only repayment 

You pay the interest for every month when you are in school and during their grace period. The rate of interest will be 1% point lower than the deferred repayment option.

Post-school

In-school deferment 

You can request a deferred payment when you returning to the school or going towards the graduate school for a period of 48 months.

Military deferment 

The borrower needs to contact the military customer service representative team to get more information. The interest rate is capped at 6% during the eligibility period of military service.

Internship or fellowship deferment 

You can get a deferment in increments of 12 months, up to 60 months maximum for Smart Option Student Loan and up to 48 months for any other student loans.

Postgrad interest 

The borrower may request to make the 12 monthly interest-only payments after finishing the school with a graduated repayment period option.

Forbearance 

The borrower may be eligible for 3 months of forbearance at a time, up to 12 months in total during the life of the loan. The borrower must pay $50 per loan with a maximum of $150 per account in order to get a forbearance.


Requirements and other details

This detail of Sallie Mae consists of all the information of the loans from the interest rate, Requirement, Repayment options, Customer service and extra benefits to the customer.

Requirements

  • An average FICO Score of 748 (as per the data of 2016)

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident or a non-U.S. citizen but with a creditworthy cosigner who needs to be a U.S. citizen

  • Attend IV-accredited degree-granting school for a degree or a certificate

  • Accessible to all the borrowers around all the 50 states Washington, DC to Puerto Rico

  • Need to be listed halftime or more

  • No details on the Debt to Income Ratio

  • No details on the qualifying for bankruptcy

  • No information on the minimum credit score, Minimum Income and the typical income for borrowers.

Other Details

Online tutoring - Borrowers can get access to Study Starter, which offers you up to 120 minutes of live online tutoring or problem-solving steps to them.

Credit score tracking - You get free quarterly FICO credit scores.

Fund Disbursement - The Funds are generally disbursed directly to the school on a certain basis or the student can apply within a 14 days period to get it on their student account. If you receive it yourself then you are responsible to pay the college expenses.

Extra payment towards principal loan - While making extra payments of a loan, you are under a commitment not to pay down your principal balance first. Interest accrues on your loans daily so the total amount you will pay during the repayment can vary based on when to pay the principal.

Income-based repayment - Unlike the IDR option in federal student loan debt there is no offer for flexible payment. So, no, they do not provide the Income-based prepayment.


[ Learn more about Income-driven repayment plans ]


Customer Service

  • There is an in-house customer service team to help you with the loan

  • You can process and escalate queries to the concerned team to get help

  • Borrowers are not assigned to a particular banker or representative

  • The average time for application approval is under 15 minutes


Discharge, Forgiveness, and Refinancing

There are some nightmare situations for the borrower when you become disabled or dead. In certain cases, the lender comes to the loved ones to collect the money which was owed.

Horribly, private lenders do not require to forgive the balance of the loan, They try to collect on their balance due regardless of what happens, almost all of them do but not everyone.

Sallie Mae is one of the few private lenders who will forgive the remaining loan balance in certain cases like death and disability, providing relief which is needed for the borrowers family.

They do not offer the option to refinance loans like other banks, Credit unions and online lenders provide. You can go for refinancing from lenders like Citizens bank, Sofi and Earnest where they do refinancing for both the federal and private student loans.


Cosigner release

Where some lender doesn't offer this cosigner release at all, some lenders require years of on-time payments before even considering to apply to take your cosigner off the loan.

Here, Sallie Mae asks just 12 months of on-time payments which makes it very easy to get your cosigner off the loan as long as you meet the requirements.

Eliminating your cosigner from the loan of yours can really be helpful in improving the relationship with the person where it can prevent any sort of tension over the money.

The very least and small favor which you can do for him in a good way is to show gratitude to your cosigner for having your back on the loan in all times.


Sallie Mae Student Loans Review

Even though there are some negative reviews on the Sallie Mae student loans which a lot of involves customer service, some customers say that when they sign up to get the loan payments automatically drafted from their bank account. Sallie Mae takes the payment earlier than they were supposed to. It also seems to be difficult to get in touch with the company to change it.

Rating features of Sallie Mae

There are several options taken into consideration across all the 5 categories available from various companies and have been rated on the base of three criteria -Average, Below Average, and Above Average.

Number Category Score Criteria
1 Faster Repayment Average Provision of multiple options for repayment and making payments easy.
2 Discloses requirement and the limited cost Below Average Limitation of fees and interest rate making underwriting criteria transparent and allowing the borrowers to get a personalized rate and an estimation before they apply.
3 Serves a big range of borrowers Above Average Serving customers across different locations and under different financial situations.
4 Offers payment flexibility Average Provision of a period longer than 12 months of forbearance, for the military deferment or any other flexible repayment options where it can help the borrowers in their hardships.
5 Supports customers Average Assignment of advisor to borrowers and the provision of multiple options to get in touch with the customer service. Provision of a full range of APR range fees and forbearance policies on websites.

Pros and Cons of Sallie Mae Student Loan

Being a large student loan lender, Sallie Mae has several benefits and disadvantages. The pros and cons of its student loans are given here. 

Pros

The biggest advantage of getting a Sallie Mae loan compared to other student loan companies is that this company is willing to work with a wider range of borrowers. Sallie Mae Loans are also offered to international students who are studying in the U.S.

The application process and approval is very efficient and it can all be done online.

They have a lot of flexibility regarding the repayment options.

If you are a student with Sallie Mae MBA Loan, you can request deferment during eligible internships. They mostly provide products that offer different options for the grace period.

Comparing the interest rates and fees of Sallie Mae with other private student loan lenders, you get a rate that depends on the factors of all your credit history or your cosigner's credit history, whichever applies and the financial situation. To know further information get in touch with them.

  • No application or origination fee

  • No personalized rate before applying

  • No prepayment penalty

  • There are late fees for the repayment

Cons

It is common for all the financial companies, particularly with the student loan companies, to get customer complaints and issues. Sallie Mae does not let potential borrowers find out what the personalized interest rate would be, without doing an inquiry on the credit score which consequently affects the score negatively.

They also have high-interest rates in comparison to some other borrowers.

Complaints and reviews suggest that customer service does not help much in solving their issues and complaints.

Loan holders with Sallie Mae also find the interest rate with the company and loan products high in comparison to online reviews.

Sallie Mae interest rate makes it nearly difficult to pay down with the regular payments.

Apart from the mentions loans, Sallie Mae does not offer personal Loans. Sallie Mae Personal Loans are separately taken care by one of the subsidiaries of SLM Corporation named Sallie Mae Bank.


FAQ's

  Is Sallie Mae a good student loan lender?


Well, if you have used your financial aid and other benefits and in need of finance then you must have come across Sallie Mae. It provides private student loans to students, parents, and family members. It provides options comparatively lesser than the federal student loan but its good comparing other private lenders.

  What is the minimum credit score for a Sallie Mae student loan?


Sallie Mae requires a minimum credit score to process the loan and they have not disclosed their minimum credit score requirement. We have an applicant whose loan was accepted with a score of 746 so we consider that as an average score to get it.

  Can you pay Sallie Mae loan off early?


You can cut down the interest charge and save money by making a small payment while you are a student. Where this will make an excellent strategy for extra payments. Yes, you can do early pay to Sallie Mae for closing the debt sooner.

  Can you refinance Sallie Mae student loan?


Well, Sallie Mae doesn't offer to refinance like other banks, Credit unions and online lenders provide. You can go for refinancing from lenders like Citizens bank, Sofi and Earnest where they do refinancing for both the federal and private student loans.

  Can I get a Sallie Mae loan without a cosigner?


Yes, you can get a loan. The cosigner who is responsible for your student loan until it's been paid fully. However, in the Sallie Mae loans, you can request for the release of co-signer after meeting certain requirements and eligibility.

  Do Sallie Mae loans go directly school?


Sallie Mae is one of the largest providers of private financial aid student loans in the U.S. The Funds are generally disbursed directly to the school on a certain basis the student can apply within the 14 days to get it on his student account. If you receive it then you are responsible to pay the college expenses.

  Does Sallie Mae offer loan forgiveness?


Sallie Mae doesn't provide any refinancing and forgiveness. But, in a certain case when you have both the federal student loan and private student loan. Under the special programs provided to get relief to the federal loan where it can apply for the same in Sallie Mae loans.

  Can you get Sallie Mae with bad credit?


Well if you are in need of student loan but you have bad credit or no credit history then the federal student loan is your best options out there. Where federal loans don't need a credit history. But, in the case of private, they solidly require your credit history to borrow.

  Can you pay extra towards your principal Sallie Mae loan?


While making extra payments on the loans of yours with the Sallie Mae. You are under the no commitment to pay down your principal balance first. Interest accrued on your loans daily so the total amount you will pay during the repayment can vary based on when to pay the principal.

  Does Sallie Mae have income-based repayment?


The interest rate is higher with the private student loan. Well, Sallie Mae doesn't give your offer on flexible repayment plans which is not similar to the IDR option in federal student loan debt. so, it doesn't provide repayment option as similar to the Income-based one.