What are my private student loan options?

Sallie Mae® Smart Option Student Loan® for Degree Granting Institutions

Sallie Mae

When grants, scholarships, and federal aid are not enough, choose the Smart Option Student Loan. You can apply for the money you need for college, and the flexibility you want.

Apply for the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan


  • Competitive variable interest rates - 2.50% APR to 9.59% APR1 (Competitive fixed interest rates also available)
  • No origination fees and no prepayment penalties
  • Easy online application accessible on all devices
  • Get a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction while enrolled to make scheduled monthly payments by automatic debit2
  • Borrow up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance3
  • Applying with a creditworthy cosigner may help lower your interest rate and give you a better chance of approval
  • After graduation a borrower may apply for their cosigner to be released from the loan once they have made 12 consecutive, on-time principal and interest payments and meet certain credit requirements.4
  • Students who become Upromise® members (which is free to join) and choose the Interest or Fixed Repayment Option can get a Smart Reward® in their Upromise account of 2% of their scheduled monthly payments that are made on time while in school5
  • Quarterly FICO® Credit Scores are now available online for free
    You can now view your quarterly FICO® Score by logging into your Sallie Mae® account. You'll also receive access to the key factor(s) affecting your score and educational content to help you understand why viewing your FICO® Score is important. This free benefit is available to both borrowers and cosigners.6

Apply for the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan

Apply With a Cosigner

We strongly encourage students to apply with a creditworthy cosigner if they may have difficulty qualifying for a loan due to limited income and credit history. This may increase an applicant's chances of approval and of possibly obtaining a better interest rate.


  • A quick credit result. Applying online is fast and easy. It only takes about 15 minutes to apply and get a credit result.
  • No prepayment penalty
  • 24/7 online account management

Apply for the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan

Upromise by Sallie Mae® Rewards

  • Join Upromise® for free, and earn cash back by shopping online, buying groceries, and more.
  • Use your Upromise® earnings to help pay down eligible Sallie Mae student loans or request a check to pay for college or other expenses like books, food, and more.

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 attend a participating school or have attended one in an eligible prior enrollment period. You must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident or a Non-U.S. citizen borrower who is attending or has attended a school located in the U.S. applying 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.

1Interest 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.

2Either 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.

3Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school certified amount. Some requested amounts may require multiple loans.

4Only the borrower may apply for cosigner release. Borrower must provide proof of graduation (or successful completion of certification program), income, and citizenship (if it has changed since you applied). Borrower must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; meet the age of majority in their state; be current on all Sallie Mae serviced loans and make 12 consecutive on-time principal and interest payments on each loan requested for release immediately before applying; not have been reported to a consumer reporting agency as 90+ days delinquent in the past 24 months; not be in hardship forbearance or a modified repayment program; have no student loan(s) in default; and pass a credit review that demonstrates a satisfactory credit history and the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) individually when the release request is processed. Requirements are subject to change.

5Primary borrower must enroll in Upromise to be eligible to earn a reward into his or her active Upromise account of 2% of the Current Amount Due in each month it is paid on-time during the in-school and separation periods. If paid ahead, the reward will be based on the regularly scheduled monthly payment amount. The loan 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 Upromise.com to learn more.  Upromise Accounts are not FDIC insured, carry no bank guarantee and may lose value.

6Borrowers and cosigners may receive their FICO® Score quarterly after the first disbursement of their loan.  FICO® Scores are delivered only to borrowers and cosigners who have an available score, are based on data from TransUnion, and may be different from other credit scores. This benefit may change or end in the future.  FICO® is a registered trademark of the Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Information advertised valid as of 12/28/2015


Sallie Mae, the Sallie Mae logo and other Sallie Mae names and logos are service marks or registered service marks of Sallie Mae Bank or its subsidiaries.  Upromise, the Upromise logo and other Upromise names and logos are service marks or registered service marks of Upromise, Inc.  All other names and logos used are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

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

© 2016 Sallie Mae Bank. All rights reserved. SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Sallie Mae Bank and Upromise, Inc., are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

What are my private student loan options?