How to Apply for Student Loans: Navigating the Application Process

Knowing what to expect before you begin our Sallie Mae® Smart Option Student Loan® application process will help make it quick and simple. Plus, you'll be ready with the relevant information on hand so you can easily begin the application process. You can complete it together, or one person can invite the other using an access code.

Here’s what you and your cosigner will need to start your student loan application

  • Your address; if you've lived at your address less than one year, you'll need to provide your previous address.
  • Your Social Security number if you have one.
  • School information including enrollment status, degree, and course of study.
  • Academic period of enrollment and year in school.
  • Requested loan amount. You can cover a full year of school-certified expenses including tuition, fees, books, housing, meals, travel, as well as personal school expenses like a laptopfootnote 1(Decide how much to borrow).
  • Financial aid and scholarships you expect to receive.
  • Your employment information (company name and gross income).
  • Financial information, including your bank accounts, and your monthly mortgage or rent payments.

Then we’ll review a few things with you

  • How and when we collect, share, and protect your personal information.

After you submit your student loan application

  • We’ll review your credit. We usually provide a credit result when you and your cosigner (if applicable) submit your student loan application. But there might be cases where our credit specialists will ask you for additional information or documentation before they can make a decision.
  • If we approve your application, you’ll choose your type of interest rate and your repayment option.
  • Then you or your cosigner will accept the terms of your loan and sign it electronically.
  • Finally, we'll ask your school to certify your eligibility, including enrollment verification and loan amount.

Related topics

footnote 1. 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 2. 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.