Sallie Mae Private Student Loans Review

Sallie Mae offers flexible repayment options and is one of the only lenders serving part-time students.
Anna HelhoskiJul 12, 2021

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Sallie Mae was originally founded in 1973 as a federally guaranteed student loan program. Today it makes private student loans, but it stopped servicing federal loans in 2014. Its private loan is best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Fixed APR

3.50 - 12.60%

Variable APR

1.13 - 11.23%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600's

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.
  • Borrowers can access online tutoring and free credit score tracking.
  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Compare to Other Lenders

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
College Ave Private Student Loan
Ascent Private Student Loan
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Check RateCheck Rate
Fixed APR

3.50 - 12.60%

Fixed APR

2.99 - 12.99%

Fixed APR

3.34 - 14.51%

Variable APR

1.13 - 11.23%

Variable APR

0.99 - 11.98%

Variable APR

2.46 - 12.98%

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600's

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600s

Min. Credit Score

680

Full Review

Sallie Mae, originally founded in 1973 as a federally guaranteed student loan program, split into two powerhouse entities in 2014: Sallie Mae Bank, a consumer banking business, and Navient, the largest federal student loans servicer.

Sallie Mae’s private student loans are best for those who want to be rewarded for making payments while in school. For example, Sallie Mae offers lower interest rates to borrowers who make monthly $25 payments or interest-only payments while in school.

Sallie Mae could improve by offering additional programs such as:

» MORE:

Before taking out a Sallie Mae student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the , to apply.

 to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If Sallie Mae denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider or specialize in .

NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s student loan ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our .

Frequently asked questions