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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 Parents1, offering competitive interest rates, and benefits like no disbursement or repayment fees, loan repayment options, and more. Compare the Smart Option Student Loan to the Federal PLUS Loan for Parents before making that important decision:

Key Considerations

Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan

PLUS Loan for Parents6

Loan Holder

Parent can cosign to help the student make payments. Adding a parent as a cosigner may result in a better chance of approval.


Variable Interest Rate

LIBOR + 2.00% to LIBOR + 9.88%
(2.62% to 9.69% APR)2


Fixed Interest Rate

5.75% to 12.88%
(5.74% to 11.85% APR)2

6.31% for Academic Year 2016-17 loans.

(6.50% or 7.23% APR based on repayment option chosen)7

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

Release Application

You may apply to release your cosigner from the loan after you graduate, make 12 on-time principal and interest payments and meet certain credit requirements.3

Parent and any endorser are responsible to repay the entire loan.

Repayment Term

5 - 15 Years 4

10 - 25 Years


0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction for automatic debit enrollment5

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, Graduated Repayment and Extended 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. 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 Only the borrower may apply for cosigner release. Borrowers who meet the age of majority in their state may apply for cosigner release by providing proof of graduation (or completion of certification program), income, and U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (if your status has changed since you applied). In the last 12 months, the borrower must be current on all Sallie Mae serviced loans (including no hardship forbearances or modified repayment programs) and have paid ahead or made 12 on-time principal and interest payments on each loan requested for release. When the cosigner release application is processed, the borrower must demonstrate the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) individually, and pass a credit review that demonstrates a satisfactory credit history including but not limited to no: open bankruptcy, open foreclosure, student loan(s) in default or 90 day delinquencies in the last 24 months. Requirements are subject to change.

4 This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms available to a freshman borrower who elects the Fixed Repayment Option and has a $10,000.00 loan with two disbursements and a 7.55% variable APR: 51 payments of $25 per month, 119 payments of $144.47, and one payment of $115.69, for a Total Loan Cost of $18,582.62. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

5 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.

6 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.

7 The Parent 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 6.50% PLUS Loan APR assumes the borrower defers payments during a four-year in-school period and six month grace period. The 7.23% APR% 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 .