What happens after your Smart Option Student Loan® is approved

You've done your research, submitted your application, and your Sallie Mae® Smart Option Student Loan® was approved. Here's what happens before your funds are sent to your school.

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 96% loan approval rate.footnote 1

With our Multi-Year Advantage you can:

  • Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs every yearfootnote 2
  • Save time with a faster loan application
  • Manage your private loans more easily with just one lender

Related topics


footnote 1. Sallie Mae loans cover enrollment periods of up to 12 months. Students must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students who were approved for a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan with a cosigner in the 2019/20 school year and were approved for another Sallie Mae undergraduate loan when they returned with the same or new cosigner in 2020/21. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2020/21.

footnote 2. 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 3. 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 from May 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021.