Sallie Mae Student Loans: 2020 Review

Sallie Mae student loans offer a variety of flexible repayment options to suit the financial needs of students. Loans are available for as low as $1,000, and all certified expenses, including a computer, housing and meals, are covered. Whether you’re an undergraduate student, a graduate student, a professional completing a certificate program or the parent of a […]

BY The GoodCall.com Team

Sallie Mae Student Loans: 2020 Review

Sallie Mae student loans offer a variety of flexible repayment options to suit the financial needs of students. Loans are available for as low as $1,000, and all certified expenses, including a computer, housing and meals, are covered. Whether you’re an undergraduate student, a graduate student, a professional completing a certificate program or the parent of a student, Sallie Mae loans may offer the terms you need to afford higher education.

Sallie Mae student loans: The basics

Sallie Mae was created in 1972 by the US Congress to service federal student loans. By the end of 2004, it had fully privatized its operations and cut ties with the government, becoming an independent corporation. Today, the company offers an array of financial services, including its Sallie Mae student loans. Its private student loan choices include options for both student borrowers and parents, with over a dozen specific options ranging from undergraduate and career training loans to graduate loans for MBAs, medical school, law school and more.

Sallie Mae loans are flexible and inclusive, so they’re an ideal fit for a variety of students, including those who are attending less than part-time, those who need help financing all educational expenses and those who need choices when it comes to repayment terms.

Sallie Mae student loans: GoodCall’s full review

Sallie Mae student loans are especially helpful for students who plan to attend classes less than half-time. This includes students who are studying abroad, completing professional certifications or simply trying to fit college into a busy life. Even federal student loans don’t work for these types of students as they require that repayment begins as soon as a student falls below half-time.

The application process for a Sallie Mae loan is similar to what you’d expect at any other institution. You’ll have to provide lots of personal details including your address, Social Security number, school enrollment status, the degree you are pursuing, requested loan amount, any financial aid and scholarships you expect to receive and your employment information. You’ll also have to provide your  financial data, which can be time-consuming. This is important because you can’t obtain customized interest rates to compare with other loans until after you complete an application. Eligibility requirements for a Sallie Mae loan are also similar to those of other lenders, which include US citizenship or residency, creditworthiness and attendance at an eligible school.

You’ll enjoy several repayment options, no matter what kind of Sallie Mae loan you select. For example, undergraduates can choose full deferment, immediate repayment or interest-only, while those pursuing professional training and certificates can choose between immediate repayment starting at $25 per month while in school or interest-only until graduation. For those students who have the option of full deferment the grace period is six months, which is comparable to other lending institutions.

As you complete your Sallie Mae review, you’ll find that interest rates range from 2.75% APR to 13.11% APR (auto-debit discount already included) and may be fixed or variable. The lowest fixed rate of 4.74% APR is only slighter higher than the fixed rate of 4.52% for a federal subsidized or unsubsidized loan. However, this low Sallie Mae loan rate is reserved for applicants with the highest creditworthiness, so if you don’t qualify, you could pay as much as 11.85% APR.

Sallie Mae student loans pros and cons

Consider the pros and cons below during your Sallie Mae student loan review to quickly see the advantages and drawbacks of choosing a loan from this bank.

Sallie Mae student loans advantages:

Sallie Mae student loans disadvantages:

  • While you can see general interest rates based on your loan type, school and degree, you won’t see personalized rates until after you complete the application process
  • Offers no discounts to current customers, unlike Wells Fargo and other banks
  • Depending on your creditworthiness, Sallie Mae student loan interest rates can be significantly higher than those of federal student loans, which are currently capped at 7.08%

Sallie Mae student loans details

  • Loan requirements: To qualify for a Sallie Mae loan, you must be a US citizen or US permanent resident, display creditworthiness, attend an eligible degree-granting institution and request a loan of at least $1,000
  • Interest rates: Depending on the type of student loan you choose and whether you select a fixed or variable rate, you’ll pay interest rates ranging from 2.75% APR to 13.11% APR
  • Loan terms: Sallie Mae student loan terms range from 5 to 20 years, depending on the type of loan you obtain. For example, undergraduate loans are available for terms of 5 to 15 years, parent loans are available for a term of 10 years and medical residency loans are available for a term of 20 years
  • Associated fees: The only fee you may be assessed with a Sallie Mae student loan is a late fee equal to 5% of your past due amount. No other fees, including application, early payment and origination, are charged
  • Repayment options: Sallie Mae loans come with up to four different repayment options, depending on the loan you choose. These include full deferment, where you forgo making any payments until six months after graduation; immediate repayment (fixed payment), where you make monthly payments of $25 while in school to reduce your total loan cost; immediate repayment (principal + interest), where you make full payments while in school to pay off your loan faster; and interest-only, where you make interest-only payments while in school to reduce your total loan cost
  • Grace period: Should you decide to fully defer your loan repayment, you’ll enjoy a grace period of six months from your graduation date

How to apply for Sallie Mae student loans

Applying for a Sallie Mae loan is a simple process, but it’s somewhat time-consuming due to all the information you have to provide. In addition to basic data about yourself and the school you’re attending, you’ll also need to provide income info, calculate your loan amount, and provide references. Here’s how to apply for a Sallie Mae student loan:

  1. Head to the Sallie Mae online application to get started
  2. Enter the requested information, including your degree type and school name
  3. Review the loan options that are available to you, including the terms and conditions of each loan. Choose the loan type you wish to pursue
  4. Enter the requested contact and identification information
  5. Enter details about your school, the cost of attendance, and estimated financial assistance to calculate your loan amount
  6. Enter information relating to your employment and income status
  7. Enter two personal contacts
  8. Choose whether you’ll apply on your own or with a cosigner
  9. Review the information about rates and fees and the privacy policy, and then submit your Sallie Mae student loan application 

The bottom line

Because Sallie Mae offers such a wide range of financing and repayment options, it truly is a good fit for students from all walks of life. As you’ve seen from this Sallie Mae loan review, the servicer has options for nearly every kind of student, including those who are attending class on a less-than-part-time basis. With each loan option, borrowers can choose from at least two repayment options for increased flexibility. While its interest rates are higher than what you’d find with a federal student loan, having a higher credit score or applying with a cosigner can improve your chances of obtaining a lower rate.