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Sallie Mae

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38 User Reviews

9.3

Overall Score

Sallie Mae is a top private student loan lender focusing on offering student loan options for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Sallie Mae provides loans to borrowers who may be ineligible with other lenders and strives to offer various banking products, including credit card options, as well as college savings opportunities to all borrowers.

Continue reading for pros and cons, and Sallie Mae loans reviews.

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The Good

  • Range of Borrowers
  • Undergraduate Smart Option Student Loan
  • No Hidden Fees
  • Mobile App Features
  • College Payment Plan Tools 

Range of Borrowers

Sallie Mae provides loans to U.S. citizens, permanent residents studying outside of the United States, as well as non-citizens living in the U.S., offering service to a wider range of borrowers than many other companies. Not all companies offer products and services to non-citizens in particular, so this is a good option for international students who may be studying the United States.

Undergraduate Smart Option Student Loan

Sallie Mae offers a specific Smart Option Student Loan for undergraduate students. This loan, seemingly their most popular loan, provides two interest rate options: a fixed interest rate with a 5.74 percent to 11.85 percent APR, and a variable interest rate with a 3.25 percent to 10.01 percent APR. 

The fixed interest rate for this loan allows students to have predictable monthly payments as well as a non-changing interest rate. With the variable interest rate, students may save money with a lower interest rate than the fixed interest rate which could pave the way for an overall lower cost for their student loan. The Smart Option Student Loan also gives students three repayment options: the deferred repayment option, the fixed repayment option, and the interest repayment option:

  • With the deferred repayment option, those with this loan do not have to repay the loan when they are students or during their grace period (six months after they leave school).
  • The fixed repayment option is when students pay $25 each month they are in school and in grace.
  • Lastly, the interest repayment option has students pay interest every month they are in school and in grace. This last option focuses on lessening the financial strain after the student leaves school.

No Hidden Fees

Sallie Mae does not charge an application fee, origination fee, or prepayment penalty fee. However, a late fee of 5 percent of the amount to be paid is charged when a borrower misses a monthly payment.

Mobile App Features

The Sallie Mae mobile app allows borrowers to make payments for single and/or multiple loans at any time and anywhere. It also allows you to view your payment history, get more information on specific loans, receive payment confirmation in real time, log in with fingerprint identification, receive push notifications, and pay with Siri for iPhone users. The app is available for both Apple and Android systems.

College Payment Plan Tools

According to their website, Sallie Mae provides three tools to help students create a college payment plan. One tool is a video explaining the "1-2-3 approach," which is a way to determine how you will pay for college. Sallie Mae also has a college planning calculator to help students develop a set plan. The last tool available is the scholarship search tool which is meant to help students see the variety of scholarships they could potentially achieve.

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The Bad

  • Strict Approval Requirements
  • High Fixed APR
  • No Student Loan Forgiveness
  • Lack of Transparency
  • Automatic Settings

Strict Approval Requirements

Receiving approval for a Sallie Mae student loan can be difficult, especially if you do not have an established credit history or good to excellent credit. Sallie Mae does not have a disclosed minimum credit score listed on its website, but most student loan lenders require a minimum credit score of 650, which may be difficult for many college-aged students to meet. 

Borrowers can apply with a creditworthy cosigner to increase their chance of approval. This would also be recommended in order to get lower interest rates than you would receive otherwise. It is important to note that Sallie Mae does offer a cosigner release.

High Fixed APR

The lowest fixed APR rate is higher with Sallie Mae than many other student loan companies. The lowest APR rate that is available for Sallie Mae's fixed rate option is 5.74 percent APR. This could result in borrowers spending significantly more than they would a variable APR rate. Although a variable APR rate is subject to change, it has the chance to be much lower than a 5.74 percent fixed APR rate.

No Student Loan Forgiveness

As a private student loan lender, Sallie Mae does not offer any student loan forgiveness. Most private lenders do not offer this service. If you are looking for a loan forgiveness product, it might be best to look into a federal loan for financing your educational needs.

Lack of Transparency

Sallie Mae's website does not clearly provide the fee amount that is applied when there is a late payment on a loan. It does mention that there will be late fees charged if there are late payments to a loan which would overall increase the loan cost, but does not give any easily located details.

Automatic Settings

The company will automatically group your loans if you have multiple loans with them. Borrowers may have their loans ungrouped with a separate billing statement only if they contact Sallie Mae first and then request the separation. Because this feature is automatic, borrowers lack the ability to reject the grouping change before it happens.

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The Bottom Line

Sallie Mae provides good student loan options especially for undergraduate students. With student loan options for a wide range of borrowers, including non-citizens studying in the United States, Sallie Mae services to more individuals than other lenders in the industry. It also has helpful tools for students to figure out their college payment plans and good mobile features. 

However, they do have a rather high rate for their lowest fixed APR option, they do not have much clarity when it comes to fees, and they have automatic features that may not be the best fit for every borrower's needs.

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Star Rating

3.7

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38 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade

37%

4 grade

26%

3 grade

16%

2 grade

5%

1 grade

16%

Sentiment Criteria

Value

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Quality

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Service

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Verified Customer

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Clark Yarbrough

Well i got more than i needed for school and the process was easy. Not only that anytime i ran into a problem i could call someone and get help.

3 years ago

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Eddie Rios Ogden, UT

Sallie Mae is a strong organization designed to help better manage student loans. Access to new funds also available. Overall, they have easy to use tools, plenty of debt counseling and guidance and can manage student loan debt with ease.

1 year ago

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Sicely Lyn Russell Mesa, AZ

This company sends me way too many emails. There isn't an option to get off the email list and it's frustrating.

2 months ago

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Verified Customer

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Brenda Stough Dora, AL

Great company for student loans and they work with you if you have any problems or questions regarding your account.

3 years ago

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Alicia Holman Gilbert, AZ

My experience with them has overall been a good one. They have really good customer service and the agents seem to be very knowledgeable. The website is a little confusing, but once you learn to navigate through it, it’s not bad.

2 years ago

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Michelle W Coraopolis, PA

The automatic payments were so easy to set up. While I hate seeing my money leave my account, it's wonderful to not have to think about scheduling payments for my student loans. I'm grateful for Sallie Mae and getting my school paid for.

1 year ago

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Charity Curtis

I would not recommend Sallie Mae to anyone who needs to obtain a student loan for their education. Their practices is essentially predatory lending. Variable rates should not exist. Within a couple of months my interest rate can go from 11% to what it's at now 16.3%! For the private loans they do not work with you to lower payments based on income if you fall on hard times. They don't care. It doesn't help you to be proactive and try to work something out when you can't afford the payments. You have to destroy your credit and become delinquent and get fines on top of the debt you can't pay back. It's just not a really good company to deal with. I would stay away from them. The entire higher education system needs an overhaul. College shouldn't be this expensive. I understand that I signed my life away to Sallie Mae and took the money and I'm paying them back slowly but surely. For the future young adults I hope that we do better. I hope we start truely showing that we value education over money and profit. Those are the lovely talking points leaders of this country say but their actions speak quite the opposite.

3 years ago

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Kaitlyn Rios Ogden, UT

Sallie Mae student loan services are great. Low rates and helpful customer service staff make it easy to manage my current student loans. And if I need additional assistance, Sallie Mae has many tools available to help.

1 year ago

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Brenda Spanish Fork, UT

Sallie Mae was who I had my school loan through. They had wonderful customer service. There were a few times that I had to defer my loan and they helped me with that with no problem at all.

1 year ago

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Verified Customer

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Michelle Vickery Toccoa, GA

Company has been easy to work with. Customer service was always great.

3 years ago

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Bella Houtz South Jordan, UT

If you must take out a loan for schooling Sallie Mae is great with lending and keeping the customer informed! The process for being approved is quite easy.

2 years ago

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Dwhoush New Orleans, LA

I didn’t accept the loan through Sallie Mae, but they offered me a good rate on a student loan. The customer service rep answered every question I had very well and was very helpful.

1 year ago

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Julie Taylor Ogden, UT

I had a student loan through Sallie Mae. They were super easy to work with and were quick to get me my Payment Coupons. I always knew where I was in my repayment.

1 year ago

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Virginia Rosenthal Pleasant Grove, UT

Loved having regular access to how much left I owed on my loans. The statements and customer support were great as I was winding down my payments and finally paid off all my loans.

1 year ago

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kerry perez Orem, UT

Good old Sallie Mae, i had a student loan thru them for 12 yrs.. best part was when i paid it off!!! But it helped me with my schooling so i guess it was worth it, their interest rate was very low so it worked for me.

1 year ago

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Dean Ogden, UT

Overall I wouldn't recommend anyone getting a lot of student loans because of how long they take to pay off. I did however have a Sallie Mae loan and it was quite reasonable. Customer service was more than helpful but the interest rates were more than I would have liked.

2 years ago

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Fernando Delgado Tempe, AZ

This was my go to company because of the subsidized loans and the interest wasn't bad after finishing school. I do like how flexible they were with deferring my payments when I was in a hardship.

2 years ago

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Verified Customer

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Gregory Antonowich Garfield, NJ

Interest is too high. Been paying on my $8000 student loan for 9 years and and only $1250 has gone towards the principle balance.

3 years ago

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Johnson Smithfield, UT

Sallie Mae has always taken care for me and my student loan needs. Their rates are always fair.

6 months ago

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James Nelson Falls Church, VA

The site was a bit difficult to navigate, but they communicated in a variety of ways to ensure my success in working through my loan payments.

2 years ago

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Aimee Mortensen Salt Lake City, UT

I used a student loan through Sallie Mae to attend graduate school. The rate was competitive and the grace period before required payback was incredibly helpful.

1 year ago

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Zac Cannon Long Beach, MS

Sallie Mae was where I financed my student loans. The interest rates are reasonable and the site is easy to navigate around.

1 year ago

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L Gilbert, AZ

I had Sallie Mae service my student loans and didn't have any issues. They had very low rates and I never moved the loans and paid them off with Sallie Mae. The online site is very user friendly and makes payments simple.

2 years ago

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Verified Customer

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Sue Mesa, AZ

They've worked with me as much as they can. The govt rules need to be changed.

3 years ago

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Rhonda stewart Queen Creek, AZ

Great student loans. Great customer service. Best easiest way to get a student loan

2 years ago

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Verified Customer

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Jeff Hofstra Ontario, NY

Rates were ridiculously high and had a rough time even attempting to pay back

3 years ago

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Jeffrey Dean New Orleans, LA

It is as good or better service that I had when I used a private company.

3 years ago

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sandy silver

They were very easy to deal with. No problems. Easy website

3 years ago

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kyli kauth

Sallie Mae makes you begin payments while still in school, when you are still under deferment. Payments are ridiculously expensive and there isn't a repayment plan.

3 years ago

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Myken , UT

I had student loans through Sallie Mae and the interest rate was great and the customer service was always good.

1 year ago

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Josh Harold Dallas, TX

I had trouble paying off my tuition and sallie Mae worked great for me. The loans were just enough and had low intrest.

1 year ago

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Troy Siren Gilbert, AZ

Had a great experience getting the loan and paying it off. Super easy to apply.

2 years ago

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Madison Scott Pleasant Grove, UT

Great company to work with. Paid off student loans quickly and efficiently and enjoyed working with them.

1 year ago

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Verified Customer

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Carlos robles Budd Lake, NJ

HORRIBLE costumer service and not student friendly at all.

3 years ago

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William Payne Belle Vernon, PA

interest rates and willing to work with the student in times of need are lacking

3 years ago

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Mark Witham Montague, MI

Sold my account to anther loan company without warning.

3 years ago

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Sara Crusade Junction City, KS

For years I asked for repayment help, and I couldn't get it. I was told to tough it out.

3 years ago

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Hannah Cummins Gilbert, AZ

Hard to log in to account, difficult to access correct information and TERRIBLE customer service.

2 years ago

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