Choose a type of interest rate and repayment option

Both decisions will affect your monthly payments and the total cost of your Sallie Mae® Smart Option Student Loan®.

Choose a fixed or variable interest rate

Interest is the cost you’re charged for borrowing money. When you pay back a loan, you pay it back with interest, so you end up paying back more than you borrowed.

Fixed interest rates stay the same for the life of the loan.

Benefit
Get predictable monthly payments with an interest rate that doesn’t change over time.

Variable interest rates may go up or down due to an increase or decrease to the loan's index.

Consideration

Your interest rate can rise or fall as the market index changes, so your student loan payments may vary over time.

Pay it back now or later

Our Smart Option Student Loan® for Undergraduate Students offers three repayment options. Each one will affect your total student loan cost differently.

Deferred repayment option

Make no scheduled loan payments while you’re in school and in grace (six months after leaving school).footnote 1

With this undergraduate student loan repayment option, you’ll likely pay more for your total student loan cost, since unpaid interest will be added to your principal amount at the end of your grace period.

Fixed repayment option

Pay $25 every month you’re in school and in gracefootnote 1,footnote 2. Freshman students may save 6%footnote 3 on their total loan cost by choosing the fixed repayment option instead of the deferred repayment option.

While your total loan cost will likely be less than with our deferred repayment option, unpaid interest will be added to your principal amount at the end of your grace period.

Interest repayment option

Pay your interest every month you’re in school and in grace. Your undergraduate student loan interest rate will typically be 1 percentage point lower than with the deferred repayment option. Freshman students may save
13%footnote 3 on their total loan cost by choosing the interest repayment option instead of the deferred repayment option.

Your undergraduate student loan payments will likely be larger while you’re in school and in grace, but your total student loan cost will likely be lower than with the other repayment options.

Some of our other student loans have different repayment options.


Still have questions?

Call us at

877-279-7172

Related topics


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. 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 2.  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 3. Savings comparison assumes a freshman student with no other Sallie Mae loans receives a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common variable rate as of January 2024.

footnote 4. Based on a comparison of the percentage of students who were approved with a cosigner to the percentage of students who were approved without a cosigner from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023.

footnote 5. 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 Sallie Mae loans are made by Sallie Mae Bank.

footnote Information advertised valid as of 5/31/2024.

footnote SALLIE MAE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. CHECK SALLIEMAE.COM FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE PRODUCT INFORMATION.