Sallie Mae guarantees that you will be able to get 100 percent of the school-certified cost of attendance at your chosen university. However, this money will not all come from loans through Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae will look at all sources of funding available to you before determining how much money you will be able to borrow. This process will help you to get the money you need under the best terms possible.

Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance is how much money you need to pay both tuition at your institute and your room and board. This amount is certified by the school. Your room and board estimate will depend on whether you live on or off campus. The school will report the cost for on-campus housing and meal plans. It will also estimate how much off-campus housing costs and how much students living with family will spend each semester on books, fees and other school expenses. Sallie Mae will then use the estimate appropriate to your situation to determine how much money you need.


Scholarships generally apply directly to your tuition and rarely you may have enough scholarships to cover some or all your textbooks, fees and living expenses. Sallie Mae will subtract any scholarships you receive from your cost of attendance when determining how much you need in loans. Its goal is to minimize the debt you have upon graduation, while still ensuring you have enough funds for your education.

Federal Loans

Federal loans are the first-choice loan for students because they have a low interest rate and are guaranteed by the federal government. Additionally, subsidized federal loans are interest-free while your remain a student. Federal loans are limited in amount. Each undergraduate student may borrow $5,500 the first year, $6,500 the second year and $7,500 for each year beyond that, but no more than $31,000 total. Graduate students may borrow $20,500 a year but no more than $138,500 total. If your cost of attendance, minus scholarships, is higher than the federal loans available, Sallie Mae will give you private student loans to fill the gap.


Private loans offered through Sallie Mae do not qualify for federal student loan repayment plans, such as Income Based Repayment, which make it easier to make your loan payments. These loans also have higher interest rates. Consider whether you really need to borrow the full estimated cost of attendance. The school may over-estimate how much money you need to live off-campus, especially if you have roommates. Remember that you have to repay this money after school and just because Sallie Mae will offer you more in loans, does not mean you should accept it.

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