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For undergraduate students at degree-granting institutions

With college costs growing fast, it’s time to borrow smarter. The Smart Option Student Loan offers multiple repayment options and competitive interest rates to help you pay for college expenses not covered by scholarships and federal loans.

Competitive rates

  • Variable rates: 1.25% APR to 11.10% APR
  • Fixed rates: 4.25% APR to 12.35% APR

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount

Repayment term: 5 – 15 years of principal and interest payments

Repayment options

Three repayment options: Pay monthly interest or $25 per month while in school or defer payments until after you graduate. Choose the repayment option that fits your needs.

Special features/benefits

  • No origination fee and no prepayment penalty
  • Auto debit savings: 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction for enrolling in and making monthly payments by automatic debit.
  • Get an exclusive Chegg benefit: Pick the only undergraduate student loan that offers 4 months of free Chegg® study help—a $100 value.
  • Access to quarterly FICO® Credit Scores for both borrowers and cosigners
  • Graduated Repayment Period: Request to make 12 monthly interest-only payments after you finish school
  • Death and disability loan forgiveness
  • Cover an existing balance for an enrollment period within the past 365 days
  • Borrow up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance
  • You may apply to release your cosigner from the loan after you graduate, make 12 on-time principal and interest payments, and meet certain credit requirements

Enrollment eligibility

Available to students enrolled full-time, half-time, and less than half-time.

It only takes about 15 minutes to apply online and get a credit result.

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.

This information is for undergraduate students attending participating degree-granting schools. Borrowers must be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents if the school is located outside of the United States. Non-U.S. citizen borrowers who reside in the U.S. are eligible with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident) and are required to provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID to verify identity. Applications are subject to a requested minimum loan amount of $1,000. Current credit and other eligibility criteria apply.

Interest is charged throughout the life of the loan—beginning with disbursement, during school, through any grace/separation period, and ending when the loan is paid in full. 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. Payments may be required during the grace/separation period depending on the repayment option selected. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRs assume a $10,000 loan to a freshman.

  This repayment example is based on a typical Smart Option Student Loan made to a freshman borrower who chooses a variable rate and the Fixed Repayment Option for a $10,000 loan, with two disbursements, and a 10.81% variable APR. It works out to 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $191.03 and one payment of $121.54, for a Total Loan Cost of $24,129.11. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan.

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

Borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction benefit. This benefit 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 and may be suspended during periods of forbearance or deferment, if available for the loan.

This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with loans that first disburse between July 1, 2018 and April 30, 2021. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit chegg.com/studystarter/termsandconditions for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.

Borrowers and cosigners with an available FICO® Score and a Sallie Mae-serviced loan with a current balance greater than $0, may receive their score quarterly after the first disbursement of their loan. The FICO® Score provided to you is the FICO® Score 8 based on TransUnion data. FICO® Scores and associated educational content are provided solely for your own non-commercial personal review, use and benefit. This benefit may change or end in the future. FICO® is a registered trademark of the Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Available for loans used to pay qualified higher education expenses at a degree-granting institution. The Graduated Repayment Period (GRP) allows interest-only payments for 12 billing periods after principal and interest repayment begins. At the time of the GRP request, the loan cannot be past due. Customers can request the GRP during the six billing periods before and the 12 billing periods immediately after the loan first enters principal and interest repayment. The GRP does not extend the loan term but does increase the Total Loan Cost. Monthly payments after the GRP will be higher than they would have been without it.

If a student dies or becomes permanently and totally disabled, the current balance of the loan will be waived.

No more than 365 days can pass from the loan period end date to the first disbursement of the loan. At the time of request, the student must be enrolled, intending to enroll, or have graduated. The student must have been enrolled during the prior enrollment period for which the loan is requested and must not have withdrawn with no intention of re-enrolling, as verified by the school.

Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount.

Only the borrower may apply for cosigner release. Borrowers who meet the age of majority in their state may apply for cosigner release by providing proof of graduation (or completion of certification program), income, and U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (if your status has changed since you applied). In the last 12 months, the borrower must be current on all Sallie Mae-serviced loans (including no hardship forbearances or modified repayment programs) and have paid ahead or made 12 on-time principal and interest payments on each loan requested for release. When the cosigner release application is processed, the borrower must demonstrate the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) individually and pass a credit review that demonstrates a satisfactory credit history including but not limited to no: bankruptcy, foreclosure, student loan(s) in default, or 90-day delinquencies in the last 24 months. Requirements are subject to change.

SALLIE MAE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

Information advertised valid as of 10/26/2020.

Sallie Mae loans are made by Sallie Mae Bank.

The Sallie Mae partner referred is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Sallie Mae Loan customers.