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When you want to help pay for your child’s education, you have a choice. The Smart Option Student Loan offers an alternative to the Federal PLUS Loan for Parents. It offers competitive interest rates and benefits like no origination or disbursement fees, an opportunity to apply for cosigner release, and more. And, highly qualified applicants could receive a rate lower than with the Federal PLUS Loan for Parents. Compare your options before making this important decision.

  Smart Option Student Loan® for Undergraduate Students Federal PLUS Loan for Parents

Your role

You cosign the loan and share the responsibility of paying it back with your student You take the loan out in your own name and are responsible for paying it back

Primary borrower

Your student You, the parent

School enrollment status

Enrolled full-time, half-time, or less than half-time in a participating school Enrolled at least half-time in a participating school

Interest rates

LIBOR + 2.00% to LIBOR + 9.88%
(4.37% to 11.23% APR)

5.75% to 12.88%
(5.74% to 11.85% APR)

7.60% for academic year 2018-19.
(7.65% or 8.54% APR based on whether payments are made immediately or deferred)

Origination/disbursement fees

None 4.264% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2017, and before October 1, 2018

Principal and interest repayment term

5 – 15 years 10 – 25 years

Cosigner release

Your student may apply to have you released from the loan after they graduate, make 12 on-time principal and interest payments, and meet certain credit requirements
You and any endorser are responsible to repay the entire loan


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

Ready to apply?

Smart Option Student Loan for Undergraduate Students

For bachelor's and associate's degrees or a certificate at a degree-granting school.

Apply for this loan

Learn more about the Smart Option Student Loan

Questions on which is the right loan for you?

Call us at 877-279-7172

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.

Explore federal loans and compare to ensure you understand the terms and features. Smart Option Student Loans that have variable rates can go up over the life of the loan. 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.

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.

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.

Interest rates for Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options are higher than interest rates for the Interest Repayment Option. You’re charged interest and your selected repayment option applies starting at disbursement, while in school and during your separation or grace period. 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.

The PLUS APR is calculated using a Sallie Mae internal financial model and is provided for comparison purposes only. Assumptions for the PLUS Loan APRs: $10,000 loan with two disbursements, 4.264% Disbursement fee, and standard 10-year repayment term. The 7.65% PLUS Loan APR assumes the borrower defers payments during a four year in-school period and a six-month grace period and the 8.54% PLUS Loan APR assumes the borrower makes payments during school.

Federal student loan rate and fee information is based on a May 18, 2018 Electronic Announcement from Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. Other federal student loan information was gathered on May 25, 2018 from Check this website for the most up-to-date information about federal loan products. Rates, fees and availability of federal loan products are subject to change by the Federal Government.

  This repayment example is based on a typical loan to a 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 per month, 119 payments of $162.06 per month and one payment of $120.30, for a Total Loan Cost of $20,680.44.

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, and may therefore be suspended during a forbearance or deferment period.

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

Information advertised valid as of 11/26/2018.


Interest rates, fees, terms, and borrower benefits based on a March 13, 2017 review of national private loan programs offered by publicly-traded companies or subsidiaries thereof. Private loans that have variable rates may go up or down based on the changes of an underlying interest rate index.