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Variable rates:

1.13% APR

to 11.23% APR

Fixed rates:

3.50% APR

to 12.60% APR

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount. Only the most creditworthy applicants who choose the interest repayment option may receive the lowest rate.

Get the money you need, with options that put you in control

Multi-Year Advantage

Get the money you need year after year—returning undergraduate students have a 96% approval rate with a cosigner.

100% coverage

Pay for all your school-certified expenses like tuition, fees, books, housing, meals, travel, and even a laptop.

No origination fee or prepayment penalty

Pay as early and as much as you’d like with no penalty.

Cost-saving features

Lower your interest rate when you choose in-school repayment, plus get a 0.25 percentage point reduction when paying by auto debit.

Adding a cosigner can help

Students are nearly 4x more likely to be approved with a cosigner. Nearly 88% of our new undergraduate borrowers have one, and it may help you get a better rate.

Learn about cosigners

Choose the undergraduate student loan options that work for you

Select a variable or fixed interest rate

Variable rates: 1.13% – 11.23% APR

Your student loan interest rate can rise or fall as the market index changes, so your undergraduate student loan payments may vary over time.

More about variable rates VLess about variable rates ^

Get a rate that may be less than a fixed interest rate, which could result in a lower total loan cost.

Fixed rates: 3.50% – 12.60% APR

Get predictable monthly payments with a rate that doesn’t change over time.

More about fixed rates VLess about fixed rates ^

You may pay more for your total student loan cost because a fixed interest rate is usually higher than a starting variable interest rate.

Pay it back now or later

Pay later

Deferred repayment option: Make no payments until after you leave school for budget flexibility.

In school & in grace After school No payments  Principal & interest  More about the deferred option VLess about the deferred option ^

With this undergraduate student loan repayment option, you’ll likely pay more for your total loan cost, since the interest rate may be higher and unpaid interest will be added to your principal amount at the end of your grace period.

Pay a little and save

Fixed repayment option: By making monthly $25 payments in school, freshman students may save 6% on their total loan cost by choosing this repayment option instead of the deferred repayment option.

In school & in grace After school $25 a month Principal & interest  More about the fixed option VLess about the fixed option ^

While your total loan cost will typically be less than with our deferred repayment option, unpaid interest will be added to your principal amount at the end of your grace period.

Pay interest and save even more

Interest repayment option: By making monthly interest payments in school, freshman students may save 12% on their total loan cost by choosing this repayment option instead of the deferred repayment option.

In school & in grace After school Pay interest monthly  Principal & interest  More about the interest option VLess about the interest option ^

Your undergraduate student loan payments will likely be larger while you're in school and in grace, but your total loan cost will likely be lower than with the other repayment options.

Applying for an undergraduate student loan is fast and easy


Provide some basic info

Give some details about yourself and your school.


Choose your options

After you’re approved, pick the repayment option and interest rate type that suits your budget and timeframe.


Accept your loan

Review, sign, and accept your loan documents; we’ll take care of the rest with your school.

Have questions or need help applying?

Top undergraduate student loan questions

Do I need a cosigner?

Private student loans are credit-based, which means we will check your credit when you submit your application. Students are nearly 4 times more likely to be approved with a cosigner since many students haven’t had time to build up their own credit. A cosigner is someone who shares responsibility with you for paying back the loan and is often a parent, but can be any creditworthy adult.

Why should I borrow for the entire school year?

Students can apply just once a year with a single credit check and funds are sent for each term directly to your school. You can cancel future disbursements as needed with no penalty. No additional interest is charged until money is sent to your school, so you can relax, knowing you've got the funds when you need them.

How long does it take to get a Smart Option Student Loan?

It takes about 15 minutes to apply and get a credit decision. After you’re approved, you choose your undergraduate student loan options, accept your loan disclosure, and the loan is certified by your school. We send (disburse) the funds directly to the school. The process can take as few as 10 business days from application to disbursement.

Can I qualify if attending school online, or less than half time?

Whether you study online or on campus, you can borrow to cover the costs at a degree-granting institution, even if you're not a full- or half-time student. The loan's flexibility makes it a good choice for many situations:

  • Attending school full-time, half-time, or less than half-time
  • Online or on-campus classes
  • Winter or summer classes
  • Study abroad
  • Professional certification courses
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident enrolled in a school in a foreign country
  • A non-U.S. citizen student, including DACA students, residing in and attending school in the U.S. (with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident)

I saw there’s a Parent Loan; should I consider that?

Parents can help their students pay for college in two ways: they can cosign a Smart Option Student Loan or take out a Sallie Mae Parent Loan in their own name. These are separate loans with different features and interest rates, so parents should compare their loan options.

When do I start paying back my student loan?

With the Smart Option Student Loan, you can select from three repayment options—you can choose to make payments while in school with monthly interest payments or with fixed $25 payments, or you can choose to defer payments until after school. No matter which option you choose, you have six months after you leave school (your grace period) before you begin to make principal and interest payments.

What makes a student loan application creditworthy?

When you apply, we look at your history of borrowing money and paying it back on time. Lenders want to know how creditworthy, or responsible, you are with credit, before approving your student loan application.

Many college-bound high school students haven’t had time to build up their own credit. That’s why they apply with a cosigner, a creditworthy adult who shares the responsibility of the student loan.

What Information do I need when applying with a cosigner?

You and your cosigner will want to have your social security number, school information, amount needed (remember, you can use it to pay for school-certified expenses for the entire year) as well as your financial and employment information. You or your cosigner may start the application, however should your cosigner not be with you, we can send along an email with a link to their section of the application so they can fill it in later.

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Looking for another type of student loan?

See all private student loans

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 loan is for undergraduate students at participating degree-granting schools. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., attend a participating school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident) and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID to verify their identity. Applications are subject to a requested minimum loan amount of $1,000. Current credit and other eligibility criteria apply.

This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with undergraduate or parent loans with a first disbursement between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022. Borrowers are not eligible to activate the benefit until July 1, 2021. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. Chegg Study® offers expert Q&A where students can submit up to 20 questions per month. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.

Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan's Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. Payments may be required during the grace/separation period depending on the repayment option selected. 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 borrower who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae loans.

You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2019/20 school year who were approved when they returned in 2020/21. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2020/21.

Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received, as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half-time.

Although we do not charge a penalty or fee if you prepay your loan, any prepayment will be applied as outlined in your promissory note—first to Unpaid Fees and costs, then to Unpaid Interest, and then to Current Principal.

The borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction benefit. This 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. It may be suspended during forbearance or deferment, if available for the loan.

  Examples of typical transactions for a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common variable rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans, it works out to a 6.88% APR, 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $136.17 and one payment of $112.58, for a Total Loan Cost of $17,591.81. For a borrower with $20,000 in prior loans and a 2-year in-school period, it works out to a 7.06% APR, 27 payments of $25.00, 179 payments of $98.17 and one payment of $66.85 for a total loan cost of $18,314.28. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan.

Savings comparison assumes a freshman student with no other Sallie Mae loans receives a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common fixed rate as of July 2021.

Based on a comparison of approval rates for Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loans for undergraduate students who applied with a cosigner versus without a cosigner from May 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021.

Based on a rolling 12-month period from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.

Sallie Mae loans are made by Sallie Mae Bank.

Information advertised valid as of 12/27/2021.