Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae Reviews

Sallie Mae Reviews

Our promise. We provide a buying advantage with verified reviews and unbiased editorial research.

About Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae is a private student loan company that lends to full-time, part-time and less than half-time students. It approves 95% of loans when the student signs up with a cosigner. Its loans can be used for all school-related purchases, including classes, books and housing. Sallie Mae offers the Multi-Year Advantage program, in which students can reapply for a loan easily year after year.

Pros & Cons

  • High rate of approved loans
  • $0 origination
  • Multi-Year Advantage offering
  • Unclear credit requirements
  • Hard credit check

Featured Reviews

Nairobi, Other

I am happy that the Sallie Mae student loan is open for non US Citizens and also allows access for students doing online learning. This comes in handy for me as I fit both classif...

Read full review
Tucson, AZ

Sallie Mae has been good. They send plenty of reminders when your bill is coming due or something has changed with your account. I am a co signer and I like being kept in the loop...

Read full review

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a provider of private education loans, online banking and college planning resources for students and their families. For those who have already started their research on finance options for college, Sallie Mae has likely come up in discussions because of its high approval rate and vast array of options.

How does a Sallie Mae loan work?

With Sallie Mae, students or their guardians apply for one of its loan options (it has a 95% approval rate for loans with a cosigner). Then all payments are deferred and don’t have to be paid in monthly increments until the student graduates or stops attending school. Sallie Mae offers borrowers the option to pay down the loan while in school if they prefer.

Students who get a Sallie Mae loan also receive access to online education and college planning resources. Sallie Mae also offers certain scholarships.

Sallie Mae loan requirements

Because there are so many types of loans available, requirements for approval can be pretty vast. For example, if you’re applying for a Smart Option Student Loan through Sallie Mae, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Also, your loan amount must be more than $1,000.

There are certain credit requirements and income thresholds as well, but these vary, so your best option is to use its online calculator to figure out what’s available for you.

Students must apply for a new loan each school year, which means rates and factors can change from year to year. But it does offer a Multi-Year Advantage program that offers faster approval and convenience when applying for a loan year after year.

The amount you take out can’t be more than the cost of attendance minus any financial aid, but the money can be used to cover 100% of school-certified expenses, including books and rent.

Sallie Mae interest rates

Sallie Mae offers fairly standard interest rates. Its average variable loan rate falls between 5.99% to 16.33% APR. For fixed-rate loans, the rates are typically between 4.50% to 14.83% APR.

If your quoted interest rate is too high when you apply as a student, you may consider adding a cosigner for more favorable rates. Variable loan rates can be lower because they’re able to change over time, meaning you might close your loan at a low rate but see it gradually increase over time. Fixed rates stay the same throughout the lifetime of the loan.

Here’s an example of how a Smart Student Loan repayment might look: If a freshman takes out a fixed loan for $10,000 with a 6.99% variable APR, they might end up owing $17,754.19 if the loan term is 15 years (the max length for this type of loan). Payments could include 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $137.53 and one payment of $113.12, though this assumes the variable rate won’t increase or decrease, although it could at any time.

Sallie Mae FAQ

Is Sallie Mae a federal or private lender?

Sallie Mae is a private loan provider. Federal loans have to be borrowed directly from federal providers.

What credit score do you need for Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae doesn’t state what its minimum credit score requirements are, but it does provide an average range of 300 to 850.

Is it hard to get a Sallie Mae loan?

No — 95% of people who apply for a Sallie Mae loan with a cosigner are approved.

Does Sallie Mae verify income?

Yes. Sallie Mae requires proof of income and will complete a credit check before providing a loan.

Is Sallie Mae forgiving student loans?

No. Nearly all student loan forgiveness programs are federal, which does not cover Sallie Mae loans.

Is Sallie Mae legit?

Sallie Mae is a highly recognized name in the private student loan industry. With multiple programs, including ones for part-time students, and its 95% approval rate for students who use a cosigner, many students should be able to find a solution that works for them through Sallie Mae.

It has streamlined its application process and promises fast approvals, although a hard credit check is required in order to see your rates and options. Its additional benefits, like the Multi-Year Advantage program and $0 origination fees, do help most students take control of their loans over the entirety of their time in college for easier payments after graduation.

Sallie Mae Reviews

Stars Rating

  • 26%
  • 36%
  • 13%
  • 5%
  • 20%

Popular Mentions

    How do I know I can trust these reviews about Sallie Mae?
    • 4,465,035 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
    • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
    • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
    • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.
    • Recent
    • Oldest
    • Most helpful

    A link has directed you to this review. Its location on this page may change next time you visit.

    How do I know I can trust these reviews about Sallie Mae?
    • 4,465,035 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
    • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
    • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
    • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.
    Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10

    Reviewed May 15, 2024

    I would NOT get a loan or a student loan through Sallie Mae. They are Loan Sharks! They add on interest and cost that they could not - they will freeze your account without consent. Horrible company - horrible! They added 20K in interest to my son's loan - they would not talk with us - they made decisions on our account(s) without our consent! Walk away - bad people! Worst decision I ever made.

    Not sure how to choose?

    Get buying tips about Student Loans delivered to your inbox.

      By entering your email, you agree to sign up for consumer news, tips and giveaways from ConsumerAffairs. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Thanks for subscribing.

      You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter! Enjoy reading our tips and recommendations.

      Customer ServiceStaffLoan Process

      Reviewed April 29, 2024

      Please do not get a loan with Sallie Mae. They have destroyed my life and countless other lives with their predatory business practices and horrible treatment and harassment toward their borrowers. I just spoke to them today about the way they have treated my elderly grandmother and cosigner, because they have harassed her with calls that have alarmed her, insinuating that she owes something on a loan that hasn't even matured yet. after months of inducing unsurmountable stress and anxiety in me and my grandmother, they admitted they shouldn't have been calling her, Their apology was not sincere, but callous and borderline condescending. They never addressed their behavior and they immediately moved to get money from me. So their actions and the detriment to mine and my grandmothers wellbeing they caused had no consequence for them.

      To put in perspective, during all this harassment I am still in school and I lost my job. Just today I explained this and tried to defer my loan payments and they tried to tell me that I don't qualify because it lists me as "part time". It is a part time masters program, that is the program they approved for the loan, that is not an enrollment status I chose, the program itself is called a professional part time masters because it involves distance learning and is structured differently. They still called my grandmother after I sent a cease and desist email and spoke to the consumer advocacy and they said they removed her, because it appears Sallie Mae knows they can circumvent the law. I created a petition to try to put a stop to this because they have circumvented legal recourse for their actions long enough and its disgusting at this point: **.

      They truly are a loan shark disguised in a shiny 'reputable' wrapping thanks to the broad scope of schools they are willing to cover. But they don't have any integrity, they will approve heinous loan terms to charge someone amounts knowing they can never feasibly pay, in my case someone with no income on government benefits (my grandmother). Their finance charges are absolutely absurd. For some context, the finance charge for one of my loans is nearly double what I borrowed (Just the finance charge). That amount was justified by cosigner they required, who is an elderly senior citizen with zero income and has been on government aid for years.

      I am assuming they can get away with this because they have a monopoly on private student loans. Since I didn't qualify for a federal loan for my program/school (this seems to be the case with a lot of overseas schools from what I have seen) you have no choice but to take a Sallie Mae loan. A lot of these schools even say on their website the only private student loan option is Sallie Mae. So you are financially entrapped to accept whatever loan terms they put in front of you. They then harass you, drive you insane through incessant phone calls, texts, etc. with no regard for the mental or physical anguish they cause you.

      They will absolutely set you up to fail - I know I'm not the first and I won't be the last, there are a ton of stories from people who cannot get out of debt with Sallie Mae because they purposely set them up with egregious terms knowing that the person will never be able to pay it off and get out from under. They basically financially entrap you. Please do not fall for their trap. Please do not put yourself in this position. They don't care if they harm vulnerable populations like the elderly. They don't care about how they treat their borrowers. Please don't do it!


      Reviewed Sept. 2, 2022

      To make a long story short this company is not helpful to their borrowers. Basically if you already used the Graduate Repayment Program and used the forbearance then that's it. You have no more options. So unless you miss a payment they will be more than happy to assist if possible but there is no guarantee. If you are trying to avoid that and trying to get ahead of this you can forget help. I will never ever recommend them to anyone. They are unhelpful and will send you all over the place to finally have someone tell you no they can't help. Even with Covid-19 they only pause the payments for three months. They never offered any alternative repayments other than the Graduate Repayment and once you used that then you're done. Now with Recession looming over they will not help. So I will repeat. Never ever use them.

      Customer ServiceStaffRates

      Reviewed Sept. 19, 2021

      I would like to say in my opinion Do Not Trust Sallie Mae. I Do Not Have a loan with them. But I was helping pay the interest rate a month. Somehow in 2016 all students were required to pay the interest rate. But needless to say I was paying twenty five a month. Never look at my bank statements but I was looking for something and what did I see instead of twenty five there was a total of over Five Hundred taken out of my account for 5 months. I had the bank stop the payments. Now all the time I paid the interest there was no statement from Sallie Mae nor to the student either. No paperwork on raising the payment. But once the payment stop Sallie Mae has called several times and called people and Stated To These Persons That the Student Used Them As A Reference.

      What madding is The student father left over 10 years no contact and then received a message about Sallie Mae Stating the Student used him as a Reference. In Fact Sallie Mae of Professionalism is a Negative with it Practice. I would Not Recommend Sallie Mae plus look at Better Business Bureau and Attorney General Office.


      Reviewed July 10, 2021

      I give a less favorable rating because I wasn't allowed sufficient time to graduate and secure a job before the interest on the loan began to accumulate. This is a cutthroat and predatory practice in my opinion.

      Reviewed July 1, 2021

      Poor quality when borrowing... I feel harassed every time I purchase something from anyone else lately... I hate to even have a doggone student loan at all... It’s too much of a hassle to apply for other stuff.

      StaffLoan ProcessRates

      Reviewed June 30, 2021

      Early on after graduating they offered very little help for me. I was not working for some time unable to find a job that would pay enough to repay my student loans. They offered little help and compounded huge amounts of interest growing a relatively modest student loan into an insurmountable mountain of debt that I will never be able to repay. Student loan servicers have ruined many young people's lives with these unfair current servicer Navient seems somewhat better, but I still not very trustful.

      Reviewed June 29, 2021

      Ever so thankful for the opportunity to finish college. Without student loans, it would not have been possible. Getting my degree was the highlight of my life and gave me confidence in myself during a very difficult time.

      Loan ProcessRates

      Reviewed June 27, 2021

      Even with state grants, loans did not fully cover 3 years of an in-state university with no room and board. Then, I had to have my parents get denied a parent plus loan (even though they were paying nothing for my education), in order for me to qualify for a different type of loan. This was so stressful, that it interfered with my school work. The 2nd type of loan I needed in order to finish my bachelor's, skyrocketed my student loan debt due to compounding interest. If I could go back in time, I would not get a 4yr degree due to the unpayable interest Sallie Mae charges.


      Reviewed June 26, 2021

      They really helped me in my time need. Their offers were great for my needs at the time and repayment was easy. I would definitely recommend them to any student who is in need and can’t find the funds.

      Loading more reviews...

      Sallie Mae Company Information

      Company Name:
      Sallie Mae
      Year Founded:
      United States