Available Private Loans

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Smart Option Student Loan

The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan is a private, credit-based, school-certified student loan for undergraduate and graduate student borrowers enrolled at least half time in an eligible associate, graduate, or technical/trade program. In most circumstances, the loan is also available for less-than-half-time students. With this loan, qualified students may be eligible to borrow up to the full cost of their education, less other aid received, as certified by the school.​​

Cosigner participant: Student borrowers may apply for the loan without a cosigner. If student borrowers do not qualify on their own, they may continue the application with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or non-citizen permanent resident, which could increase the likelihood of being approved and may help the student access a lower interest rate.​



Student Borrower Elig​​ibility Requirements

​To qualify, student borrowers must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an eligible school either full time, half time, or less than half time.
  • Attain the age of majority in their state of residence; otherwise a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner is required.
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident or meet applicable citizenship and residency requirements
  • Execute the appropriate application and promissory note without alteration
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • All foreign citizen student borrowers must obtain a cosigner who is either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Meet any other applicable customer identification requirements set forth by Sallie Mae
Student borrowers who have defaulted on a previous student loan will be denied credit. The student borrower may still be eligible with a creditworthy cosigner if they provide information showing that the defaulted student loan has been paid in full or they are making satisfactory progress in repaying the student loan.​


Cosigner Eligibility Requirements

Although student borrowers may qualify on their own, borrowers may also apply with a creditworthy cosigner to increase their chances of approval and of obtaining a lower interest rate.

Cosigners are required for foreign student borrowers or student borrowers who do not meet the age of majority in their state of residency.

To qualify, a cosigner must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Attain the age of majority
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Satisfy the credit requirements mentioned under eligibility requirements
  • Execute an application, promissory note, and any required cosigner notices without alteration
  • Meet any other applicable customer identification requirements set forth by Sallie Mae
  • Have no prior student loan defaults
If a cosigner is denied, the student borrower may reapply with another creditworthy cosigner.​



Less Than Half Time Recommendations

When student borrowers need a loan for less than half time enrollment, it is in their best interest to borrow for that enrollment period only. Student borrowers who choose to apply for a loan to cover their upcoming enrollment sessions (e.g. summer, fall, and spring sessions) should apply for the summer session as a separate loan. If a student borrower were to apply for all three enrollment periods at the same time, the entire loan covering these periods would be considered a loan for less-than-half-time enrollment, even though the student borrower may be enrolled full time after the summer session, which could impact the tax deductibility of the interest paid on the loan.​



Loan Limits

Student borrowers can borrow up to the cost of education (as determined by the school) less any other financial aid received, as certified by the school. The minimum loan amount is $1,000. The maximum annual loan amount is the published cost of attendance, less financial aid received, as certified by the school.​



Separation Period

The Smart Option Student Loan provides for a six-month separation period during which either full interest payments or fixed payments continue to be required. Principal and interest payments begin the earlier of six months after the:

  • Student borrower’s course completion for technical training or certificate programs
  • Graduation
  • Withdrawal
  • Less than half time enrollment status​


Payment Periods

In-school and Separation Period: The first required monthly payment will be due no earlier than the 28th day, but no later than the 61st day after first disbursement.

Principal and Interest Period: ​The first required monthly payment of principal and interest will be due within 60 days of the end of the separation period. The minimum monthly payment during the principal and interest payment period for all of the student borrower’s Signature Student Loans and Smart Option Student Loans is $50.​​​