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Sallie Mae Student Loans | I Can’t Afford it

2 students are happy satudyingMany of us take out student loans to fund our education.

Though the government has excellent federal loan options, sometimes they are just not enough.

Many will be in a situation where they have to seek private education loans. Though it works out to be more expensive than the federal student loans, sometimes that is the only feasible solution.

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae, also known as SLM Corporation (Student Loan Marketing Association) was originally set up in 1973 to service federal educational loans to students. Later it became a private entity offering private educational loans to students.

How Does The Sallie Mae Student Loan Work?

Sallie Mae student loans cover 100% of a student’s school certified costs. These include the fees, books, boarding, etc. However, if you want a loan for less than 100% of your school costs, the company reserves the right to approve it.

Sallie Mae offers various loans for both graduate and undergraduate students. There are loans offered for the parents too.

These loans are offered at competitive interest rates. You can opt for either their fixed rate loans or variable rate loans. The smart option student loan does not even charge you an origination fee.

Some of the other loans offered to students by Sallie Mae are:

  • Smart option student loan
  • Career training smart option student loan
  • Medical residency and relocation loan
  • Dental residency and relocation loan
  • Bar study loan
  • Sallie Mae parent loan
  • K-12 family education loan


Some of the advantages of availing Sallie Mae student loans are:

  • It covers 100% of your certified school expenses. You don’t have to apply for multiple loans. One loan can cover all your tuition expenses, book expenses and even your boarding charges will be covered.
  • It is a private student loan. The criteria are not very strict and you can get multiple private student loans.
  • You can even refinance or consolidate your student loans into one, to make the repayment process easier.
  • Sallie Mae is a big company and they offer competitive interest rates. Both fixed and variable interest rate loans are available to suit your needs.


Some of the disadvantages you are bound to face by availing these loans are:

  • Private student loans have a higher interest rate than federal student loans.
  • If you want to apply for a loan under Sallie Mae that is only an additional loan or does not cover 100% of your school expenses, the company reserves the right to approve your application.
  • Financing your entire school expenses through a private loan can work out to be more expensive that financing just a part of your expenses.
  • Private loans do not have the income based repayment option. This means, you need to negotiate with your creditor to finalise on a repayment plan best suitable to your earnings and expenses.

How To Repay A Sallie Mae Student Loan

Private education loans do not have the income based repayment option, like in federal student loans. You can log on to the company website and go through the “managing your loans” section to understand how you can repay your loans from Sallie Mae. You can also get specific information regarding your loan by logging into your account on their website.

The company has various options for students to repay their private education loans. Student can opt for one of the three in-school repayment option or make use of the Graduate Repayment Period (GRP) to repay the loan once they are done with their course.

The in-school repayment options are:

  • Deferred repayment option
  • Fixed repayment option
  • Interest repayment option

These options enable the student to start paying back their loan in parts while they are still in school. The payment amount can be as less as $25 till the student is in school and for 6 months after course completion. This provides flexibility for the student. Also, by starting the loan payment process early, the student reduces his overall burden and the interest paid on the loan amount.

Sallie Mae Scholarships

Everyone wants a scholarship to put them through college. Why wouldn’t they? It is free money. College tuition fees are nothing small and most of the students or parents have to take out multiple loans to cover the costs for a decent education. 

There are hundreds of scholarships available for students each year. However, there are more number of students applying for such scholarships than the number of scholarships itself. This increases the competition resulting in stricter criteria to qualify for the scholarships.

Searching for scholarships is not an easy task. Every scholarship has a different set of criteria and finding the one that suits you can be a daunting task. Sallie Mae scholarship search helps students by making the entire process a little easier.

Scholarship search by Sallie Mae helps the students search for more than 5 million scholarships. When a student enters their needs and details, a list of scholarships suiting the criteria is furnished. Students can even set up alerts to receive information about new scholarships or opportunities.

Scholarship Tips

Here are some of the tips offered by Sallie Mae to successfully get you a scholarship:

  • Keep an open mind as there are a number of factors that determines the eligibility for a scholarship.
  • You can never apply for too many scholarships. Apply for as many as possible, not every application is going to be accepted.
  • Stick to the deadline, missing them can disqualify you.
  • Look for scholarships that are offered by non educational institutions too.
  • Understand the terms and conditions of the scholarships. There may be awards for maintaining a particular GPA or participating in extracurricular activities. Sports related scholarships are very common. Understand what you need to do, to qualify for such scholarships.
  • There are a number of free scholarship directories and websites. Make the best use of them.
  • Beware of scams. Never pay for any advice or information on scholarships. The information doesn’t change just because you pay for it.
  • If you are awarded a scholarship, always thank the person or organisation with a formal note. This will help you in the future.

2 male student with bagSallie Mae Master Card

The Sallie Mae credit card was a master card that was discontinued in September 2015. This card was very famous among the students for its various cash back options. The Sallie Mae Master Card was more widely accepted than an AmEx card.

Now the company also offers credit to the students in the form of the Upromise Master Card. This card is offered by Barclaycard. This card does not charge the student any annual fee. The student is eligible for a number of cash backs at varying interest rates for many of the purchases or expenses made using this card.

If you are a student who purchases a lot on Amazon.com or spends a considerable amount on gas and groceries every month, this card can earn you a lot of cash backs. You can use the rewards to pay back your Sallie Mae private education loan. However, one needn’t necessarily have a Sallie Mae student loan to apply for this card.


There are a host of benefits offered by this card. Some of them are:

  • You can earn a 5% cash back if you make a purchase at Upromise.com and earn an additional 5% if you pay for it, using this card.
  • When you make eligible in-store and movie theatre purchases, you can get cash back of 2%.
  • Any purchase you make using this card, you can get a 1% cash back on it.
  • When you purchase at eligible retailers through Upromise.com, you can earn up to 10% cash back.

Sallie Mae Customer Service

If you log on to their website, you will come across the contact us and the FAQs page. The FAQs page provides the answers to questions which a normal student would have. This offers clarity to the students and helps them understand and handle the entire loan situation, better.

For details that are not offered on their website, one can always call their customer care. Many of the processes like the checking on an application status, payments on existing loans, questions about an existing loan and checking your balance can be done easily through their automated phone system. This reduces the room for human error.

Sallie Mae Activity Center

The Sallie Mae activity center makes it very convenient for students to know more about the private student loans. Anyone who has availed of one of the student loans under the company can log in to the activity center using the loan application details.

Once logged in, the student can find details regarding their loans, the repayment amount, outstanding amount, interest rates, etc. The account can be created free of cost. It enables the student to even make a loan payment online.

However, the website has been revamped and one can no longer find ac activity center on the Sallie Mae website. One can still log in and access all the above said details, by clicking on the log in link.

Sallie Mae Navient

Initially Sallie Mae offered federal student loans which were aided by the government. In 2010, the government stopped private lenders like Sallie Mae from offering federal student loans. Since then the company has been able to provide only private education loans. However, it continued to service the federal loans along with private loans.

In 2014, Navient split from Sallie Mae to handle the federal loan servicing. Sallie Mae handles only the private education loans while Navient services the federal student loans. This new company has taken over all the federal loan servicing operations of Sallie Mae.

What Does Sallie Mae Offer Now

After the Navient spin off, Sallie Mae has shifted its focus to solely providing private student loans. It also provides banking products, insurance products, credit cards and other services for college students and also their parents.

The company securitizes the loans it offers the students. The services of Sallie Mae are shifting more towards a banking service while Navient continues to take care of the student loan financing.

Is This Good News?

The change in Sallie Mae can benefit many students. While Navient continues to offer and service student loans, Sallie Mae offers student loans combined with other banking products. This opens a lot of venues for students applying for loans. This broadens the options for students as they can use the new products to repay the loans. However, one will have to wait and see what Sallie Mae has to offer the students.

Sallie Mae Student Loan Forgiveness

Paying back your student loans takes a toll on your mental health. Every student who has to repay a student loan – be it federal or private, is under stress to make timely payments. Federal student loans have more repayment options when compared to the private loans. Private student loans also have a higher rate of interest than the federal loans.

If you are having difficulty in repaying your private student loans, always talk to the creditor and try to negotiate for a better loan or extension of loan term. Sallie Mae has the forbearance options for those students who are having difficulty in repaying their private education loans.

The forbearance option allows the student to postpone their payments temporarily. The student can either stop or reduce their monthly payments for a temporary period of 12 months. However, the loans will continue to accumulate interest during this period.

Forbearance can be either mandatory or discretionary. The first step is to apply for forbearance. You cannot stop making your payments unless you get an official notification. If you fail to make timely payments without an official notification, you are at a risk of loan default, which will lead to more troubles.

Should You Opt For Sallie Mae?

According to the Sallie Mae reviews, it is one the leading private student loan lender that covers all the costs incurred by a student. Though the interest rates are higher than a federal student loan, the options are plenty here.

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