Loan Comparisons

Weigh Your Options

The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan® provides you with an alternative to the PLUS Loan for Parents1, offering benefits like low interest rates, no disbursement or repayment fees, loan repayment options, rewards for paying on time, and much more. Compare the Smart Option Student Loan® to the federally offered PLUS Loan for Parents before making that important decision:

Key Considerations

Sallie Mae
Smart Option Student Loan®

Plus Loan for Parents7

Loan Holder

Parent can cosign to help the student potentially get a lower rate, improve the likelihood of approval and help make payments


Variable Interest Rate

LIBOR + 2.00% to LIBOR + 9.88%
(2.25% to 9.37% APR)2


Fixed Interest Rate

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

6.41% for Academic Year 2013-14 loans.
Note: AY 2014-15 rates will be announced on or after June 1, 2014.

Disbursement Fees



Release Application

After graduating and then making 12 consecutive, on-time principal and interest payments, the student can apply to have the cosigner released.[[Footnote="To qualify borrower must be U.S. citizen ... request is processed"]]

Parent is responsible to repay the entire loan.

Repayment Term

5-15 Years4

10-25 Years


0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction for automatic debit enrollment5

2% Smart Reward® with Fixed and Interest Repayment Options6

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. 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, 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 for loans with 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. Any interest that remains unpaid when you enter full repayment will be added to your loan balance.

3 Only the borrower may apply for cosigner release. The borrower must provide proof of successful completion of school, be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, be current and have made 12 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest immediately before applying, and pass a credit check including income verification when the release request is processed.

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 7.21% variable APR: 51 payments of $25, 119 payments of $140.28 and one payment of $114.17, for a total paid of $18,082.49. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

5 The rate reduction benefit applies only if the recurring payment is successfully deducted from the designated account and is suspended during forbearances and certain deferments. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in auto debit.

6 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.

7 This information about federal student loans was gathered on December 1, 2013 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.

8 This information was gathered on December 1, 2013 from

9 This information was gathered on December 1, 2013 from

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

Information advertised valid as of 3/25/2014.


The Sallie Mae logo, Sallie Mae, Sallie Mae Bank, Smart Option Student Loan and Smart Reward are registered service marks of Sallie Mae, Inc.

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