Tip for borrowers
You can apply only once and get the money you need for the entire school year. Funds will be sent for each term as requested by your school.
Learn about how much to borrow
Choose the undergraduate student loan options that work for you
Select a variable or fixed interest rate
Your student loan interest rate can rise or fall as the market index changes, so your undergraduate student loan payments may vary over time.
Get a rate that may be less than a fixed interest rate, which could result in a lower total loan cost.
Get predictable monthly payments with a rate that doesn’t change over time.
You may pay more for your total student loan cost because a fixed interest rate is usually higher than a starting variable interest rate.
Pay it back now or later
Deferred repayment option: Make no payments until after you leave school for budget flexibility.
With this undergraduate student loan repayment option, you’ll likely pay more for your total loan cost, since the interest rate may be higher and unpaid interest will be added to your principal amount at the end of your grace period.
Pay a little and save
Fixed repayment option: By making monthly $25 payments in school, freshman students may save 14% on their total loan cost by choosing this repayment option instead of the deferred repayment option.
While your total loan cost will typically be less than with our deferred repayment option, unpaid interest will be added to your principal amount at the end of your grace period.
Pay interest and save even more
Interest repayment option: By making monthly interest payments in school, freshman students may save 28% on their total loan cost by choosing this 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 loan cost will likely be lower than with the other repayment options.
Applying for an undergraduate student loan is fast and easy
Provide some basic info
Give some details about yourself and your school. Consider adding a cosigner: Students are nearly 4X more likely to be approved with a cosigner. Nearly 88% of new undergraduate borrowers have one, and it may help you get a better rate.
Choose your options
After you’re approved, pick the repayment option and interest rate type that suits your budget and timeframe.
Accept your loan
Review, sign, and accept your loan documents; we’ll take care of the rest with your school.
Tip for borrowers
An undergraduate student loan can help you build credit and we'll help you track it with free access to your FICO® Score which is updated quarterly.
Learn more about FICO® Scores
Have questions or need help applying?
Top undergraduate student loan questions
Private student loans are credit-based, which means we will check your credit when you submit your application. Students are nearly 4 times more likely to be approved with a cosigner since many students haven’t had time to build up their own credit. A cosigner is someone who shares responsibility with you for paying back the loan and is often a parent, but can be any creditworthy adult.
Students can apply just once a year with a single credit check and funds are sent for each term directly to your school. You can cancel future disbursements as needed with no penalty. No additional interest is charged until money is sent to your school, so you can relax, knowing you've got the funds when you need them.
It takes about 15 minutes to apply and get a credit decision. After you’re approved, you choose your undergraduate student loan options, accept your loan disclosure, and the loan is certified by your school. We send (disburse) the funds directly to the school. The process can take as few as 10 business days from application to disbursement.
You can borrow to cover the costs at a degree-granting institution, even if you're not a full- or half-time student. The loan's flexibility makes it a good choice for many situations:
- Attending school full-time, half-time, or less than half-time
- Winter or Summer classes
- Study abroad
- Professional certification courses
- A U.S. citizen or permanent resident enrolled in a school in a foreign country
- A non-U.S. citizen student, including DACA students, residing in and attending school in the U.S. (with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident)
Parents can help their students pay for college in two ways: they can cosign a Smart Option Student Loan or take out a Sallie Mae Parent Loan in their own name. These are separate loans with different features and interest rates, so parents should compare their loan options.
With the Smart Option Student Loan, you can select from three repayment options—you can choose to make payments while in school with monthly interest payments or with fixed $25 payments, or you can choose to defer payments until after school. No matter which option you choose, you have six months after you leave school (your grace period) before you begin to make principal and interest payments.
When you apply, we look at your history of borrowing money and paying it back on time. Lenders want to know how creditworthy, or responsible, you are with credit, before approving your student loan application.
Many college-bound high school students haven’t had time to build up their own credit. That’s why they apply with a cosigner, a creditworthy adult who shares the responsibility of the student loan.
You and your cosigner will want to have your social security number, school information, amount needed (remember, you can use it to pay for school-certified expenses for the entire year) as well as your financial and employment information. You or your cosigner may start the application, however should your cosigner not be with you, we can send along an email with a link to their section of the application so they can fill it in later.