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When savings, scholarships, and federal aid aren’t enough, get the money you need to help pay for graduate school. The “option” in the Smart Option Student Loan name means you can choose the type of interest rate and repayment option that work best for you.

Choose a variable or fixed interest rate

Variable interest rate:   
4.00% - 8.91% APR*

Your starting interest rate may be less than a fixed interest rate, which could result in a lower total student loan cost.

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

Fixed interest rate:   
5.74% - 8.56% APR*

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

You may pay more for your total loan cost because a fixed interest rate is usually higher than a starting variable interest rate.

If you’re highly qualified, you may receive a lower interest rate than with a Federal PLUS Loan for Graduates.

Compare graduate student loan options

Pay it back now or later

Deferred repayment option

In school In grace After school No payments Principal & interest

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

With this graduate student loan repayment option, you'll likely pay more for your total student loan cost, since the interest rate may be higher and unpaid interest will continue to be added to your principal amount at the end of your grace period.

Fixed repayment option

In school In grace After school $25 a month** Principal & interest

Pay $25 every month** you're in school and in grace, and you can save an average of more than 9%*** on your total graduate student loan cost when compared to our deferred repayment option.*

While your total loan cost will 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

In school In grace After school Pay interest monthly Principal & interest

Pay your interest every month you're in school and in grace. Your interest rate will be 0.50 percentage points lower than with the deferred repayment option* and you can save an average of more than 10%*** on your total graduate student loan cost, compared to our deferred repayment option.

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

* Interest rates for Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options are higher than interest rates for the Interest Repayment Option. You're charged interest starting at disbursement, while in school and during your six-month separation or grace period. When you enter principal and interest repayment, Unpaid Interest will be added to your loan's Current Principal. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan. Advertised APRs assume a $10,000 loan to a first-year graduate with no other Sallie Mae loans. Graduate student pricing for this loan is limited to students enrolling in a Masters/Doctorate level degree program. Graduate Certificate/Continuing Education course work is not eligible.

** This repayment example is based on a typical loan to a first-year graduate borrower who chooses a variable rate and the Fixed Repayment Option for a $10,000 loan, with two disbursements, and a 7.83% variable APR. It works out to 27 payments of $25.00, 59 payments of $223.52 and one payment of $205.09, for a Total Loan Cost of $14,067.77. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan.

*** Savings based on a typical loan to a first-year graduate student.

Benefit from these Smart Option Student Loan features

Lower your total student loan cost—get a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction when you enroll in and make monthly payments by auto debit.

Pay no origination fee or penalty for paying off your graduate student loan before its due date.

Borrow from $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance.

Track your credit health with quarterly FICO® Credit Scores available online for free to you and your cosigner.

Request to make 12 monthly interest-only payments after you finish school.

How others can help you make graduate school happen

A cosigner may be a good option

Graduate borrowers are four times more likely than undergraduates to be approved on their own. However, if your credit isn’t strong, you may have a better chance of approval if a parent, spouse, or other creditworthy individual cosigns your Smart Option Student Loan for Graduate Students.

Consider a cosigner

Parents can choose how to help you

A parent or another creditworthy individual can help you pay for college by cosigning your Smart Option Student Loan or taking out a Sallie Mae Parent LoanSM.

Learn about the differences between the Smart Option Student Loan and the Sallie Mae Parent Loan

By graduating from two master's degree programs, I have been able to help individuals with mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system rebuild their lives.

Courtney N., customer

Applying online is easy

is about all it takes to apply and get
a credit result.

of customers would recommend our online loan application process.

Source: Sallie Mae online loan application surveys, July 2016 – June 2017.

Questions? Need help applying?

Call us at (877) 279-7172

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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.

This information is for borrowers attending degree-granting institutions only. You must be attending or have attended a participating school located in the U.S. during an eligible prior enrollment period. You must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident or a Non-U.S. citizen borrower with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident) and required U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) documentation. U.S. citizens and permanent residents enrolled in eligible study abroad programs or who are attending or have attended schools located outside the U.S. are also eligible. Applications are subject to a requested minimum loan amount of $1,000. Current credit and other eligibility criteria apply.

Explore federal loans and compare to ensure you understand the terms and features. Smart Option Student Loans that have variable rates can go up over the life of the loan. Federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including, but not limited to, income-based repayment and income-contingent repayment plans, and loan forgiveness and deferment benefits, which other student loans are not required to provide. Federal loans generally have origination fees, but are available to students regardless of income.

Borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae. The rate reduction benefit 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, and may therefore be suspended during a forbearance or deferment period.

Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount.

Borrowers and cosigners who have an available FICO® Score, may receive their score quarterly after the first disbursement of their loan. The FICO® Score provided to you is the FICO® Score 8 based on TransUnion data, and is the same score that Sallie Mae uses, along with other information, to manage your account. FICO® Scores and associated educational content are provided solely for your own non-commercial personal review, use and benefit. This benefit may change or end in the future. FICO® is a registered trademark of the Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Available for loans used to pay qualified higher education expenses at a degree-granting institution. Graduated Repayment Period (GRP) allows interest-only payments for 12 billing periods after principal and interest repayment begins. At the time of GRP request, the loan must be current (not past due). Customers may request GRP during the six billing periods before and the 12 billing periods immediately after the loan first enters principal and interest repayment. GRP does not extend the loan term. GRP increases the Total Loan Cost and monthly payments after the GRP will be higher than they would have been without it.

Based on a comparison of approval rates for undergraduate and graduate borrowers of Sallie Mae student loans available during a rolling 12-month period from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017.

It's important to explore your options. The Sallie Mae Parent Loan and the Smart Option Student Loan® are separate products with different features and available interest rates. Learn more at

Smart Option Student Loans are made by Sallie Mae Bank or a lender partner.

Information advertised valid as of 4/25/2018.