First, your school will need to certify your Smart Option Student Loan®

  • A certification request is sent to your school after your loan is approved. All schools have different processes for certification—some certify daily, weekly, biweekly, etc.
  • Most schools only certify 30 days before the enrollment period begins, even though you may have applied months in advance.
  • Usually no actions are required from you or your cosigner during this time. We’ll keep you posted so you always know where we are in the process.

Here’s how funds are sent to your school

When certification is received, and after the right to cancel period has expired, your student loan is ready to be disbursed.

  • A disbursement is funds that are sent to your school. Loan funds may be divided into multiple disbursements (usually one per semester).
  • If you chose a repayment option that requires in-school payments, your monthly payments will begin as soon as your funds are disbursed.

What to do with a student loan refund

Occasionally student loan refunds are issued to students if there are funds left over after college costs have been paid. Keep in mind, these funds are still part of your loan and you will need to pay them back. Here are a couple ways to manage your refund:

Return the funds to us
This helps reduce your total student loan cost.

Use the money for education expenses
Purchase the books, technology, and other education expenses.

How Multi-Year Advantage can benefit you

It means you can get the money you need, year after year, to finish college—returning students with a cosigner have a 95% loan approval rate.1

With our Multi-Year Advantage you can:

  • Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs every year2
  • Save time with a faster loan application
  • Manage your private loans more easily with just one lender

Redeem your Chegg® study benefit3

Your Smart Option Student Loan® comes with a FREE study benefit which includes:

  • 4 months of Textbook Solutions and Expert Q&A through Chegg Study®,
  • 4 months of expert writing help 24/7 with Chegg Writing®
  • 4 months of custom equation solutions with Chegg Math Solver®

Once your funds disburse you will receive an email from Sallie Mae with your redemption code.

Related topics

1. You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2019/20 school year who were approved when they returned in 2020/21. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2020/21.

2. 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. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half-time.

3. This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with undergraduate or graduate loans who have an application start date prior to 12/04/2022 and are approved with a first disbursement no later than 365 days from approval. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. Chegg Study® offers expert Q&A where students can submit up to 20 questions per month. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.

4. Based on a comparison of approval rates for Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loans for undergraduate students who applied with a cosigner versus without a cosigner during a rolling 12-month period from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.