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Questions? Call us at 877-279-7172.

Our free college planning resources may help you find more ways to pay for college. Your school's financial aid office may also be able to help.

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Fixed rates: 5.49% – 11.85% APR

Variable rates: 4.25% – 11.35% APR

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount

Get the money you need, plus features that can help make college happen

100% coverage

Pay all your school-certified undergraduate student loan expenses.

No origination fee or prepayment penalty

Pay as early and as much as you’d like with no penalty.

Cost-saving features

Lower your interest rate when you choose in-school repayment, plus get a 0.25 percentage point reduction with auto debit.

Free study help from Chegg®

Get four months of free study and homework support, worth $100, with Study StarterSM.

Choose the undergraduate loan options that work for you

Select a fixed or variable interest rate

Fixed rates: 5.49% – 11.85% APR

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

More about fixed rates VLess about fixed rates ^

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

Variable rates: 4.25% – 11.35% APR

Get a rate that may be less than a fixed interest rate, which could result in a lower total loan cost.

More about variable rates VLess about variable rates ^

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

Pay it back now or later

Pay later

Deferred repayment option: Make no payments until after you leave school for budget flexibility.

In school & in grace After school No payments  Principal & interest  More about the deferred option VLess about the deferred option ^

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.

In school & in grace After school $25 a month Principal & interest  More about the fixed option VLess about the fixed 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 29% on their total loan cost by choosing this repayment option instead of the deferred repayment option.

In school & in grace After school Pay interest monthly  Principal & interest  More about the interest option VLess about the interest 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 is easy


Provide some basic info

Give some details about yourself and your school. Consider adding a cosigner: 84% of new borrowers have one and it may give you a better chance of approval.


Choose your options

After you’re approved, pick the repayment option and interest rate type that suit your budget and timeframe.


Accept your loan

Review, sign, and accept your loan documents; we’ll take care of the rest with your school.

Apply for this loan

Have questions or need help applying?

Top 5 questions

Do I need a cosigner?

Private student loans are credit-based, which means we will check your credit rating and other info. If you’re entering college, you may not have much credit history, so a creditworthy cosigner—someone who shares responsibility with you for paying back the loan—may help you qualify. It’s often a parent, but a cosigner can be any adult who has good credit.

How long does it take to get a Smart Option Student Loan?

It takes about 15 minutes to apply and get a credit decision. After you’re approved, you choose your 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.

I saw there’s a Parent Loan; should I consider that?

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.

When do I start paying back my student loan?

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.

What makes a student loan application creditworthy?

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.

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Looking for another type of student loan?

See all private student loans

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 undergraduate borrowers attending degree-granting institutions only. You must be attending a participating school located in the U.S. or have attended one 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.

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, during your separation/grace period, and until the loan is paid in full. The repayment option that is selected will apply during the in-school and separation/grace periods. 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 variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRs assume a $10,000 loan to a freshman with no other Sallie Mae loans.

Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half time.

Although we do not charge you a penalty or fee if you prepay your loan, any prepayment will be applied as provided in your promissory note: First to Unpaid Fees and costs, then to Unpaid Interest, and then to Current Principal.

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. This benefit may be suspended during periods of forbearance or deferment, if available for the loan.

This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with loans that first disburse between July 1, 2018 and April 30, 2020. 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.

This repayment example is based on a typical Smart Option Student Loan made to a freshman borrower who chooses a fixed rate and the Fixed Repayment Option for a $10,000 loan, with two disbursements, and a 8.88% fixed APR. It works out to 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $162.06 and one payment of $120.23, for a Total Loan Cost of $20,680.37.

Savings comparison assumes a freshman student with no other Sallie Mae loans receives a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common fixed rate as of November 2018.

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, 2017 through September 30, 2018.

Based on a rolling 12-month period from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016.

Borrowers and cosigners who have an available FICO® Score and a Sallie Mae loan with a current balance greater than $0, 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.

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

Information advertised valid as of 4/25/2019.