Sallie Mae Smart Option

About Sallie Mae Loans

Sallie Mae loans are a useful option for undergraduate and graduate students who are not eligible for Direct Loans, or for students who wish to apply for funding after a session is over.

Funding is provided up to the eligible funding limit.

Please be aware that the Sallie Mae Smart Option loans interest rates can often be higher than the rates from Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized or Plus). If you're eligible for Direct Loans, it may be in your best interest to explore that option first.


To be eligible for a Sallie Mae loan you must be:

  • A US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Registered in an eligible bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD program. Certificate and diploma programs are not eligible.
  • An undergraduate student registered in at least one course per funded term, OR
  • graduate student registered at least part-time in the Winter or Summer Session as well as in a thesis or other special project component.

Additional considerations

Sallie Mae funding is an option for students in programs that aren't eligible for Direct Loan funding:

  • Nursing and medical programs
  • Co-op terms
  • Studying abroad at non-title IV schools (see sidebar)
  • Distance courses

Sallie Mae funding can also be helpful if your cost-of-living calculations are higher than your Direct Loan funding. This typically applies to independent undergraduate students or dependent students whose parents do not apply or qualify for Parent PLUS loans. 

If you register in less than 6 credits per funded term, you may not be eligible for living costs.

Additionally, if your or your parents’ credit does not qualify for PLUS funding, Sallie Mae’s cosigner requirements allow other family members and friends to co-sign for you. 

How To Apply for Sallie Mae loans

  1. Submit an application at Sallie Mae Student Loans
  2. Make sure your email address is correct on the Student Service Centre (SSC) - this is where we will email you about your loan and application status
  3. To cancel your loan application you can contact Sallie Mae directly during the Right of Cancellation period, which is 9 business days from the date of application

Sallie Mae will automatically notify UBC that your application has been submitted. UBC will then complete a Cost of Attendance based on the specific costs related to your program of study and standard student cost of living amount. When your loan is approved we will email you your notification. 

Next steps

  • Sallie Mae will send a cheque to UBC after your Right of Cancellation period is over.
  • Your cheque will be payable to both you and UBC. UBC will have to endorse the cheque to you so that a bank will accept it.
  • UBC will contact you within 2 weeks of receiving your cheque to let you know that your cheque is ready for you to pick up.
  • You can deposit your cheque into your US or Canadian* bank account or to your UBC tuition account. 

*Please note: Sallie Mae loan cheques are in US dollars and may be held by the bank for 30 days while the funds clear.

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