Begin the road to higher education and a brighter future now.
Whether you are a high school student deciding what you want to be or a parent figuring out how to pay for college, EducationPlanner.org is your one-stop career- and college-planning site.
Repaying your student loans
Sallie Mae is committed to giving you the information and tools you need to understand and evaluate your student loan payment options. We can help you find an option that fits your budget, simplifies payment, and minimizes your total interest cost.
Before you choose a repayment plan
- Understand the repayment options available to you. Sallie Mae offers standard, graduated, income-sensitive, income-based and extended repayment plans on federal student loans.
- Realize that combined billing is available for Sallie Mae-serviced loans.*
- Compare your repayment options. Estimate your monthly student loan payments for eligible Sallie Mae loans with our Loan Repayment Calculator. Or, if your loans are in repayment, you can view repayment plans that may be available for your loans at Manage Your Loans
- Know that you can prepay your loans in part or in full at any time without penalty. This will lower the overall cost of your loan.
- Realize the importance of paying back your student loans.
- Understand that choosing a plan with lower payments may result in higher costs over the life of the loan.
Lower monthly payments
Payment amount reduction may be available for those who qualify. Federal student loan repayment plans offering lower monthly payment amounts than the standard repayment plan are:
Lowest overall loan cost
Make level monthly payments of principal and interest to help control interest costs.
Postpone your payments
Private student loans
Eligibility for Sallie Mae private student loan repayment plans may vary by loan type, loan balance, and disbursement date.
The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student LoanSM first disbursed June 1, 2009 and later requires monthly interest-only payments during the in-school and separation periods. Check the terms of your loan’s specific Promissory Note and log in to Manage Your Loans to see if your loan status shows repayment. If so, and you are enrolled in school, then you are not eligible for other repayment options at this time.
Private student loans first disbursed before June 1, 2009, may be eligible for graduated repayment to lower the initial monthly loan payments.
*Combined billing is available for eligible student loans that are serviced by Sallie Mae. Some restrictions may apply.
Direct and indirect costs
There is more to college expenses than just tuition and housing bills. When you estimate how much college will cost, consider the direct and indirect costs.
Everything from books to supplies to trips back home adds to the overall price.
To estimate how much college costs, look at the direct and indirect costs.
- Tuition: If your child has selected a state school, the tuition (cost of classes) will depend on his or her residency status. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be thousands of dollars a year. Some schools base tuition on the number of credit hours taken in an academic period. Others rely on enrollment status (full time versus part time). Get details from the financial aid or admissions office.
- Fees: Most schools charge set fees for services such as activities or athletic facilities. Such fees usually appear on the tuition bill whether your child uses these services or not.
- On-campus room and board: Your child may choose to live on campus and eat in dining facilities. Meal plans prices can vary significantly.
- Books and supplies: Textbook costs are similar from school to school, but they vary greatly depending on the courses taken. Students can save by buying used books, buying online, or sharing with classmates. Some classes require more supplies than others; others have printing, copying, or computer costs.
- Computers: Many schools require students to have a personal computer. Check the admissions requirements to determine whether a basic PC will do or a more expensive laptop is required. Remember to add the costs of software, a printer, and — if your child lives off campus — connection to the Internet.
- Off-campus room and board: This category includes rent, furnishings, utilities, and meals. If you haven’t taught your child how to cook, now is the time! Even if your child lives at home, there will be expenses related to food and commuting.
- Transportation: If your student will commute to school, factor in the cost of public transportation, gas, car insurance, maintenance, and parking fees. Some schools provide free parking, while others require a paid permit. If the school is far away, don’t forget the cost of air travel to get home on breaks and holidays. Your child can lower these costs by carpooling and by shopping around for student rates on airfare.
- Personal expenses: Students have lots of small personal expenses that add up and can make a huge difference in this category. Consider clothing, laundry, haircuts, cell phone, and entertainment. Teach your child to maintain a written budget since these expenses can easily spiral out of control.
- Other costs: Count on extra expenses such as lab fees for science courses, fees for course changes, and expenses for participating in athletics or joining a sorority or fraternity. Try to keep a little extra money in the budget to cover emergencies.
Determining the cost of college
Now that you know what goes in your bill, see how much a college could actually cost.
Worksheets, Resources, and Tips
Budgeting Worksheet Manage your budget and get on the right track using this itemized worksheet.
Budget Strategies Good intentions aren’t enough. Try these strategies to save money for your future.
Managing Your Money Achieve financial wellness with these nine money-saving tips.
Credit Card Tips Credit cards help establish and improve your credit score, but only when used responsibly. Make sound financial decisions with this info.
Identity Theft Don’t be a victim. Keep your identity safe with these tips.
Explore Deferment and Forbearance Trouble making payments? Discover how you could postpone them.
2013-2014 Federal Student Loan Programs Compare your federal student loan options.
Financial Goals Worksheet Healthy financial habits start by setting sound financial goals. Get started here.
Live Life Smart Guide Your complete guide to becoming financially savvy, whether you’re graduated or just starting your education.
Financial Literacy with the Department of Education Let the Department of Education help you find a balance between your income, financial aid, and living expenses.
Use our calculators to plan your household budget, determine your monthly payment amount, and explore deferment and forbearance options to postpone your payments.
How much money will you spend on books? What about food, rent, and utilities during college? Use the Planning and Budgeting Calculator to see how your expenses add up so you can best estimate how much you may need in additional income or student loans to cover your costs. Remember, only take out the amount in loans that you need—your financial future will thank you. Calculate your college expenses.
Want a lower payment now and a larger payment when you’re making more money? This plan could be right for you. Learn more about this plan. Calculate your payments on this plan.
Want a payment based on your income, family size, and interest rate? This plan takes these factors into consideration, potentially allowing you more flexibility in your monthly budget. Learn more about this plan. Calculate your payments on this plan.
You may not be able to make monthly payments right now—and that’s okay. The federal government allows for many different deferments and forbearances that could postpone your payment, and one may be perfect for your unique situation. Learn more about deferment and forbearance options. Calculate interest that will accrue during a deferment or forbearance.
Save Time, Gain Convenience
We designed the Great Lakes Mobile app to give you another way to manage your student loans.
Make Payments and More
- Make or schedule student loan payments of any amount you choose
- Use an existing payment account or create and store a new one
- Sign up for account access—no need to visit our website to get started
- Take advantage of the app’s clean and intuitive design
- Receive payment reminders and confirmations
- View account details like your balance, interest, lender, and status
- Easily track payment history
- Secure identity confirmation
- Robust encryption technology
Get organized with College Calendar.
College Calendar is your key to tracking everything you should do to attend college and achieve your educational dreams. From choosing a school to applying for financial aid, the current calendar shows all events for high school seniors. College Calendar is powered by Trumba, an interactive web application.