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Loan Comparisons

Weigh Your Options

The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan® provides you with an alternative to the PLUS Loan for Graduates1. With the Smart Option Student Loan, you can enjoy benefits like competitive interest rates, rewards for paying on-time, repayment options and much more. Compare the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan to the federally offered PLUS Loan for Graduates before making that important decision:

Key Considerations

Sallie Mae
Smart Option Student Loan

Plus Loan for Graduates6

Variable Interest Rate

LIBOR + 2.00% to LIBOR + 7.25%
(2.25% to 7.27% APR)2


Fixed Interest Rate

5.75% to 8.88%
(5.74% to 8.56% APR)2

7.21% for Academic Year 2014-15 loans.7

Disbursement Fees


Note: 4.292% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 20148

Repayment Term

5-15 Years3

10-25 Years

Attending School
Less Than Half Time

To students attending full time, half time, or less than half time.

Not Applicable
You must be enrolled at least half time.


0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction for automatic debit enrollment.4

2% Smart Reward® with Fixed and Interest Repayment Options.5

0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction for automatic debit enrollment.9

Encouraging Responsible Borrowing

Sallie Mae has helped more than 30 million Americans pay for college since 1972. We encourage students and families to supplement their savings by exploring grants, scholarships, federal and state student loans, and to consider the anticipated monthly payments on their total student loan debt and their expected future earnings before considering a private education loan.


This information is for borrowers attending degree-granting institutions only. Applications are subject to a requested minimum loan amount of $1,000. Credit criteria and eligibility requirements apply.

1 Explore federal loans and compare to ensure you understand the terms and features. Smart Option Student Loans that have variable rates can go up after consummation. 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.

2 Interest rates for the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options are higher than for loans with the Interest Repayment Option. Graduate student pricing on the Smart Option Student Loan is limited to students enrolling in a Masters/Doctorate level degree program. Graduate Certificate/Continuing Education course work is not eligible for graduate student pricing. Variable rates may increase after consummation. Interest is charged while you are in school and during the 6-month separation period. Any interest that remains unpaid when you enter full repayment will be added to your loan balance. The deferred repayment option is only available to borrowers attending degree-granting institutions.

3 This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms available to a graduate borrower who elects the Fixed Repayment Option and has a $10,000.00 loan with two disbursements and a 6.16% variable APR: 27 payments of $25, 59 payments of $207.17, and one payment of $194.41, for a total paid of $13,092.44. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

4 Either the borrower or cosigner (not both) must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae. The rate reduction benefit applies only during active repayment for as long as the borrower's monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during forbearances and certain deferments.

5 Primary borrower can earn a reward into his or her active Upromise account of 2% of the scheduled loan payment amount for each on-time payment during the in-school and separation periods. Loan payments must remain current to be eligible for the reward. The Smart Reward Benefit and Upromise membership are subject to the terms and conditions of the Upromise service, as may be amended from time to time. Terms and conditions apply to the Upromise service. Participating companies, contribution levels and terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice. Go to to learn more. Upromise accounts are not FDIC insured, carry no bank guarantee and may lose value.

6 This information about federal student loans was gathered on May 27, 2014 from; check this page for the most up-to-date information about federal student loans. Rates, fees and availability of federal loan products are subject to change by the Federal Government.

7 This information was gathered on May 27, 2014 from

8 This information was gathered on May 27, 2014 from

9 This information was gathered on May 27, 2014 from

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

Information advertised valid as of 3/6/2015.


Sallie Mae, Smart Option Student Loan, Smart Reward, and the Sallie Mae logo are service marks or registered service marks of Sallie Mae Bank or its subsidiaries.

Upromise and the Upromise logo are registered service marks of Upromise, Inc.