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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 competitive interest rates, three repayment options and much more. Compare the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan to the Federal PLUS Loan for Graduates before making that important decision:

Key Considerations

Sallie Mae
Smart Option Student Loan

PLUS Loan for Graduates5

Variable Interest Rate

LIBOR + 2.00% to LIBOR + 7.25%
(2.62% to 7.62% APR)2


Fixed Interest Rate

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

6.31% for Academic Year 2016-17 loans.

(6.86% to 7.23% APR)6

Origination/Disbursement Fees


4.272% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2015 and before October 1, 2016

4.276% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2016 and before October 1, 2017

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

0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction for automatic debit enrollment.

Encouraging Responsible Borrowing

Sallie Mae has helped more than 34 million Americans pay for college since 1972. We encourage students and families to supplement their savings by exploring grants, scholarships, and 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. 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.

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 interest rates for 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. Unpaid Interest will be added to the Current Principal when you enter principal and interest repayment. LIBOR is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent.

3 This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms available to a first-year graduate borrower who elects the Fixed Repayment Option and has a $10,000.00 loan with two disbursements and a 6.52% variable APR: 27 payments of $25, 59 payments $210.61 and one payment of $196.73, for a Total Loan Cost of $13,297.72. 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 Current Amount Due is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month and is suspended during forbearances and certain deferments.

5 This information about federal student loans was gathered on July 14, 2016 from Rates, fees and availability of federal loan products are subject to change by the Federal Government. Check for the most up-to-date information about federal loan products.

6 The Grad PLUS APR is calculated using a Sallie Mae internal financial model and is provided for comparison purposes only, assumes a $10,000 loan with two disbursements, 6.31% interest rate, 4.272% disbursement fee and standard 10-year repayment. The 6.86% Grad PLUS Loan APR assumes the borrower defers payments during a two-year in-school period and six month grace period. The 7.23% Grad PLUS Loan APR assumes the borrower makes payments beginning after full disbursement.

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

Information advertised valid as of .