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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.

Redeem your Chegg® study benefit

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®,
  • 30 minutes of live online tutoring through Chegg® Tutors,
  • and 4 months of proofreading and citation help with EasyBib® Plus.

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

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 for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.

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.