Alternatives to Sallie Mae Personal Student Loans.

– Sallie Mae Student Loans –

Sallie Mae Student Loans: Sallie Mae is one of the most well-known private student loan lenders in the industry. Despite this popularity, however, there are alternatives to consider when shopping around for a loan including SoFi, PNC, and Wells Fargo.

Alternatives to Sallie Mae Personal Student Loans.

Today, several banks provide a variety of student loan products with unique rates, terms, and perks to cater to a variety of borrowers. Those products include undergraduate and graduate loans, career training loans, and parent loans.

Though many borrowers turn to Sallie Mae to help fund their education, SoFi, PNC, and Wells Fargo also offer competitive options for students. Below, in detail, I will give in detail alternatives to Sallie Mae Student Loans.

Sallie Mae Overview

Formerly the Student Loan Marketing Association is the country’s largest originator of private student loans as of 2019. While the lender was originally formed as a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), it was completely privatized in 2004.

Today’s Sallie Mae is by far the largest provider of private education loans in the United States, with $20.3 billion of these loans outstanding as of December 2018.

In addition to its role as a student-loan provider, the organization also operates the Upromise program. This helps families save for college by providing cash back rewards when they shop at select online retailers and restaurants.


  • 100 percent U.S.-based customer service department.
  • Offers competitive rates. Particularly to those who are eligible for the lowest advertised rates.
  • Additionally, the lender offers some perks such as the ability to track your FICO score, a mobile app, a resource center, and free enrollment in online tutoring and study services Chegg Tutors and Chegg Study.


  • Sallie Mae’s may find the website cumbersome.
  • It runs a hard inquiry during the application process.

Application Process

Applying for a Smart Option Student Loan through Sallie Mae is easy and can be done online in about 15 minutes, with credit results also available in that time.

Sallie Mae Application Process

To apply, you must provide the required personal, academic, and financial information. This information includes your SSN (as well as a cosigner’s SSN, if applicable), your current enrollment status, degree and course of study, the academic period, and the year in which you will be enrolled.

It also includes the loan amount requested, any additional funds you will receive, and the name and contact information of two personal contacts.

Eligibility Requirements

If you feel Sallie Mae might be a good fit for your loan needs, keep in mind that loan approval is based on a variety of factors including your payment history, outstanding debt, and length of credit history.

Sallie Mae Student Loans

It is also based on your credit score, though the company does not provide specific information about its credit score threshold.

As such, candidates who have a history of making timely payments, have little to no outstanding debt and have a growing credit history likely have an advantage. However, those who do not meet the requirements do have the opportunity to apply with a cosigner.



Sallie Mae’s Private Student Loans

The Smart Option Private Student Loan is available for undergraduates and graduates with the following terms:

Smart Option Student Loan for Undergraduate Students

  • Rates: 4.74% to 11.35% fixed APR or a 2.87% to 10.33% variable APR
  • Terms: Five to 15 years under a deferred, fixed, or interest repayment option

Sallie Mae Graduate School Loan

  • Rates: 5.50% to 10.23% fixed APR or a 3.87% to 9.52% variable APR
  • Terms: 15 years under a deferred, fixed, or interest repayment option

Alternatives: Private Student Loan Comparison

Comparing another Private student loan to Sallie Mae is okay, so it helps you make the right decision. Below are brief points on another alternative to Sallie Mae;

Discover Student Loan

  • Variable rates ranging from 3.12% – 11.62% APR
  • Cover up to 100% of school-certified expenses
  • Get a cash reward for a good grade

College More

  • Rates ranging from 2.84% – 11.98% APR
  • New private undergrad, graduate, and parent loans are available
  • Zero application fees, origination fees, or prepayment fees

Sallie Mae Alternatives


PNC offers undergraduate and graduates student loans with variable APRs between 4.70% to 11.87% and fixed rates of 4.54% to 11.79%, which are slightly higher than Sallie Mae’s rates.

Borrowers can have up to 15 years to repay their loans, though they are free to do so sooner. PNC student loans have a maximum aggregate limit of $50,000.

Borrowers must have at least “two years of satisfactory credit history and two years of continuous income and/or employment history,” according to PNC’s website. However, those who do not qualify can also secure a co-signer.

Like both Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo, PNC certifies the loan and then sends it to the college or university. The time with which the funds are disbursed depends on the financial processes of the schools.


It offers both new private student loans as well as student loan refinancing. SoFi offers new private student loans with variable rates from 3.19% to 10.79%and fixed rates from 5.05% to 11.71%.

These rates are higher than Sallie Mae’s but you still may qualify for a lower rate with SoFi than you would with Sallie Mae.

If you already have a Sallie Mae loan and would like to refinance it, SoFi might be an option. Sallie Mae does not offer student loan refinancing, so you’ll need to turn to a different lender if this is the path you’d like to take.

SoFi’s refinanced loans come with variable APRs between 2.31% and 7.36% and fixed rates between 3.46% and 7.36%, SoFi’s loans might offer lower interest rates. Plus, they may provide more flexible terms with options between 5 years and 20 years.

 Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo offers a variety of lending-based products including school loans. These loans are offered at a variable APR between 4.33% and 10.30% and a fixed APR between 4.99% and 10.72%. Those rates are slightly higher than Sallie Mae’s undergrad loans.

For graduate loans, variable interest rates range from 5.64% APR to 12.22% APR and fixed interest rates range from 5.88% APR to 12.68% APR – higher than Sallie Mae’s graduate loan rates.

Additionally, approved borrowers can take out a loan of between $1,000 and the total cost of their education but the amount cannot exceed $120,000combined with other loans.

Loans are typically offered for a 15-year term, though the option to pay it off sooner can be arranged.

Approval depends on a variety of factors, including credit history, payment history, and existing debt, but it does not depend on your credit score. Borrowers who cannot meet approval requirements on their own can add a cosigner.

The organization focuses on direct student loans, having spun off its loan-servicing business and debt-collection unit. Making the right choice of Student loan is up to you.

Each lender will have its own requirements for taking out a loan. With most loans, credit score and income are taken into account. Higher scores and incomes get the best rates or higher borrowing amounts.

We hope this article was useful and educative, do well to share these messages with friends and loved ones. If you have a question, kindly drop your comments below.

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