If federal loans don’t cover all your college costs, we can help

Cover up to 100% of school-certified expenses—from tuition to books—with our undergraduate student loan.footnote 1
No origination fee or early repayment penaltyfootnote 2
Choice of fixed or variable interest rate
Multiple repayment options

Undergraduate loan rates

Fixed rates:
4.50% APR
to 15.49% APRfootnote 3
Variable rates:
6.37% APR
to 16.70% APRfootnote 3
Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount.footnote 3 Only the most creditworthy applicants who choose the interest repayment option may receive the lowest rate.
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Repayment options that can
lower loan costs

You can choose to defer payments until you’ve left school, or make monthly payments while you’re in school to reduce your overall loan costs.footnote 3

Make a $25 in-school monthly paymentfootnote 4

Freshman students may save 6% on loan costsfootnote 5 by selecting this option instead of the deferred repayment option

A student loan is money that’s loaned to you by a bank or other financial institution to help pay for your education. All loans need to be paid back. When you pay back a loan, your repayment amount includes the full amount you borrowed, plus interest (the amount your lender charges you for borrowing the money).

There are student loans available for students in undergraduate, graduate, certificate, dental, medical, and health professions programs. Sallie Mae also offers student loans for graduates studying for the bar exam or relocating for medical and dental residencies. 

Private student loans—offered by banks like Sallie Mae, credit unions, and other financial institutions—are based on your creditworthiness. This means your lender will check to see if you have a history of borrowing money and paying it back on time. Since many students haven’t had time to build up their own credit, applying for a private student loan with a cosigner—a parent, relative, or other adult with good credit—may increase your chances for approval and help get you a better rate.

You may be approved to borrow up to 100% of your school-certified costs for the entire year, if needed.

You should borrow only what you can afford to pay back later. Consider how much you may earn in your future career. Use a responsible borrowing approach. Use free money first and explore federal loans before considering a private student loan. To help estimate your future income potential, you can visit the US Department of Labor at bls.gov.

You can fill out a student loan application right on the lender’s website. There’s no cost to apply. You’ll be asked to enter some basic personal and financial information, and choose the type of interest rate and repayment plan you want for your loan. If you’re applying with a cosigner, they’ll also need to provide their financial info. 

You can use student loan funds to cover any of your school costs included in your school's cost of attendance for the year, which might include the following for students attending school at least half time:

  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Books
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Travel to and from school
  • A laptop
  • Equipment, supplies, and tools

Repayment terms vary by lender. Because more interest gets added to your loan balance over time, you may be able to save money by paying off your loan sooner.

Use our Accrued Interest Calculator to see how much you can save by paying more towards your loan.

Yes, it may. Your lender will need to run a credit check to see if you qualify for the college loan, which may impact your credit score.

You may boost your chances of being approved by adding a cosigner (such as a parent, relative, or other responsible adult). Last year, 87% of Sallie Mae undergraduate loans were cosigned.footnote 6

A fixed rate is one that doesn’t change over the life of your loan, so your monthly payment stays the same. A variable rate can go up or down with the market, increasing or lowering your monthly payment as it does.

Make a monthly payment on your loan’s interest

Freshman students may save 13% on loan costsfootnote 5 by selecting this option instead of the deferred repayment option

Parents, you can help your student by cosigning a loan

If you cosign your student’s undergraduate student loan application, their chances of being approved may increase! A cosigner is usually a parent, but can be any adult with good credit.

Apply online—it's fast and easy.

Fill out some basic information and find out how much you qualify for.

For degree and non-degree granting institutions

footnote Borrow responsibly
We encourage students and families to start with savings, grants, scholarships, and federal student loans to pay for college. Students and families should evaluate all anticipated monthly loan payments, and how much the student expects to earn in the future, before considering a private student loan.

footnote Loans for Undergraduate & Career Training Students are not intended for graduate students and are subject to credit approval, identity verification, signed loan documents, and school certification. Student must attend a participating school. Student or cosigner must meet the age of majority in their state of residence. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., attend school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident), and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID. Requested loan amount must be at least $1,000.

footnote 1. For applications submitted directly to Sallie Mae, loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received, as certified by the school. Applications submitted to Sallie Mae through a partner website may be subjected to a lower maximum loan request amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half-time.

footnote 2. Although we do not charge you a penalty or fee if you prepay your loan, any prepayment will be applied as provided in your promissory note: first to Unpaid Fees and costs, then to Unpaid Interest, and then to Current Principal.

footnote 3. Advertised APRs for undergraduate students assume a $10,000 loan to a student who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae-serviced loans. Interest rates for variable rate loans may increase or decrease over the life of the loan based on changes to the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent.  Advertised variable rates are the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. To receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount, the borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae. The discount applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. It may be suspended during forbearance or deferment.

footnote 4. Examples of typical costs for a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common fixed rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans and a 4-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.28% fixed APR, 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $182.67 and one payment of $121.71, for a Total Loan Cost of $23,134.44. For a borrower with $20,000 in prior loans and a 2-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.78% fixed APR, 27 payments of $25.00, 179 payments of $132.53 and one payment of $40.35 for a total loan cost of $24,438.22. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years. A variable APR may increase over the life of the loan. A fixed APR will not.

footnote 5. Savings comparison assumes a freshman student with no other Sallie Mae loans receives a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common fixed rate as of January 2023.

footnote 6. Based on the percentage of approved undergraduate loans that were cosigned from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023.

footnote Information advertised valid as of 4/16/2024.


footnote Smart Option Student loans are made by Sallie Mae Bank.