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8.0

Overall Score

9 User Reviews

Sallie Mae is a student loan company that started as a government sponsored enterprise in 1972 under the name "The Student Loan Marketing Association" with "Sallie Mae" as a nickname. Sallie Mae focuses on offering private education loans for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. They also strive to offer various banking products as well as college savings opportunities.

The Good

  • Undergraduate Smart Option Student Loan 
  • Mobile App Features
  • College Payment Plan Tools 

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%-11.85% APR and a variable interest rate with a 3.25%-10.01% APR. The fixed interest rate for this loan allows students to have predictable monthly payments as well as an non-changing interest rate. With the variable interest rate, students may save money with a lower interest rate than the fixed interest rates 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.

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.

Check Rates

The Bad

  • High Fixed APR
  • Lack of Transparency
  • Automatic Settings

Strict Approval Requirements

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%. 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% fixed APR rate.

Lack of Transparency

Sallie Mae’s website does not clearly provide the amount of fees 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, the borrowers lack the ability to reject the grouping change before it happens.

The Bottom Line

Sallie Mae provides good student loan options especially for undergraduate students. They also have 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.

User Reviews

2.5

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  • 10

    September 14th, 2017

    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.

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  • 10

    September 14th, 2017 Dora, AL

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

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  • 10

    August 14th, 2017 Toccoa, GA

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

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  • 7

    August 14th, 2017 Mesa, AZ

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

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  • 5

    August 7th, 2017 Ontario, NY

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

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  • 1

    August 7th, 2017 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.

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  • 1

    August 7th, 2017 Budd Lake, NJ

    HORRIBLE costumer service and not student friendly at all.

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  • 1

    June 30th, 2017

    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.

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  • 0

    June 6th, 2017

    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.

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