Sallie Mae is an industry leader in providing private educational loans, having made over 30 million educational loans to date. The company is well-known for providing competitive interest rates and low fees for student borrowers. If an applicant is highly qualified for a lower interest rate than federal loan offers, then Sallie Mae could be a good choice to review for students who need to cover the overall cost of attendance, especially if all federal aid options have been exhausted. 

What Sallie Mae Offers

Both fixed-rate and variable-rate student loans are available through Sallie Mae. Currently, the variable rate loans start at 3.00 percent and go up to 10.01 percent APR while fixed-rate loans start at 5.74 percent and go up to 11.85 percent APR. In most circumstances, borrowers can take out loans that cover the full cost of their educational expenses.

A typical repayment term is ten years of monthly payments. While a borrower is still in school, there are repayment options of making no payments, making interest-only payments, or making payments of interest and principal.

Benefits with Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae offers several ways to save money during repayment. For starters, there are no origination fees and no prepayment penalties for borrowers who pay off their loans ahead of time, reducing the cost of a loan. Borrowers can save even more by enrolling in auto debit for their payments which reduces their active interest rate by 0.25 percentage points.

Offering more flexibility, Sallie Mae allows borrowers to request interest-only payments for 12 months after graduation which is helpful to many borrowers transitioning to graduate school or employment. This 12-month interest-only payment period can kick in at any time post-graduation.

PNC | The Student Loan Report Review Series

Another unique benefit offered by Sallie Mae is that they give their borrowers an updated FICO credit score for free once per quarter. FICO scores are an indication of financial health, and something that every borrower should keep an eye on closely. There are many companies that offer FICO scores for a monthly or yearly subscription cost, but Sallie Mae provides this benefit at no cost to their borrowers. They also provide access to key factors affecting their score to help borrowers determine if something inaccurate may have landed on their credit report.

Eligibility Requirements of Private Student Loans Through Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae does not publicly advertise their eligibility requirements. It can be assumed that an ideal applicant has an established credit history with a good track record, helping indicate the applicant as a low-risk borrower. The application process with Sallie Mae starts online, and borrowers should anticipate supplying documentation relating to their finances and identity. Borrowers have the option to bring in a cosigner on an application. This is done if the borrower either does not have sufficient income or does not have the requisite credit score to qualify. Cosigners can be released from the loan after the borrower makes a year of timely post-graduation payments, assuming the borrower meets certain credit requirements on their own.