Countdown to College: Sallie Mae Offers Four Options for Families That Have Not Yet Paid This Fall's Tuition Bill

August 8, 2005-- Posted 3:55 PM CDT

RESTON, Va., PRNewswire-- As the new school year approaches and tuition bills are in the mail, students and parents may think their time has run out to find affordable financing for this year's college costs. In fact, many consumers wrongly assume they have to take costly measures, such as dipping into retirement savings. Sallie Mae, the nation's No. 1 paying-for- college company, has affordable options available to help families of college- bound students meet the cost of higher education this fall.

According to a recent poll, nearly 80 percent of respondents said that, other than free money such as grants and scholarships, student loans are the most economical way to pay for college. However, many families may be in need of funding beyond the Federal Stafford Loan program, the most common type of education loan program for undergraduate students. While interest rates for these loans remain at historically low levels -- 4.7 percent for borrowers in school -- current federal loan limits allow freshman students to borrow only up to $2,625.

"The Federal Stafford Loan is not the end of the road in terms of affordable financing for education," said Martha Holler, spokesperson for Sallie Mae. "It is not too late for families to find other low-cost resources to foot this semester's tuition bill without having to tap personal savings or drain their retirement funds."

Sallie Mae offers families four ways to bridge the gap:

Sallie Mae PLUS Loan

Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) Loans are the lowest-cost way for parents to finance their child's education. While parents can use PLUS Loans to borrow as much as they need -- including money for tuition, room, board, books, supplies and even travel -- to cover their child's cost of attendance, many are missing out: Nearly 42 percent of recently polled parents had never heard of the PLUS Loan. Among their advantages, PLUS Loans are not based on income or assets and do not require collateral. Parents may take up to 10 years to repay the loan with a wide variety of repayment options, including delaying repayment for up to five years while their child is in school or once their child leaves school. Sallie Mae offers parents free, no obligation credit decisions in minutes online at or over the telephone at 1-800-891-1410, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. -- 11 p.m. ET. In addition, Sallie Mae assists parents who do not immediately qualify for a PLUS Loan in resolving outstanding or erroneous credit issues during credit review process.

Sallie Mae Signature Student Loan(R)

For students in need of funds beyond the federal loan programs, the Sallie Mae Signature Student Loan is the next best option. Sallie Mae's Signature Student Loan is a private education loan for undergraduate, graduate and health profession students attending school at least half time. Interest rates and fees are based on credit history; the better the student's or co-signer's credit, the lower the interest rates and fees. Sallie Mae's Signature Student Loan offers interest rates as low as Prime Rate plus 0 percent with zero fees. By logging onto, students can learn more about the Signature Student Loan and use Sallie Mae's online pre-approval feature to receive credit results in seconds and complete the entire application online using the e-signature process.

Sallie Mae Tuition Answer(SM) Loan

The Sallie Mae Tuition Answer Loan allows creditworthy adult student and parent borrowers to obtain up to $40,000 per year to cover education-related expenses including tuition, room and board, books, supplies and living expenses. Interest rates and fees are based on a borrower's credit history and may be as low as Prime Rate plus 1.5 percent for borrowers with excellent credit. Borrowers may select from several flexible repayment options, and may take up to 20 years to repay the loan without prepayment penalty. The Tuition Answer Loan is a fast and flexible financing option designed to meet the needs of students, working students and parents of college students. There is no requirement to meet financial aid application deadlines, complete traditional federal or school financial aid forms, or obtain school certification, and loan funds are sent directly to the borrower. Borrowers can be pre-approved in five minutes by calling 1-800-749-9100 or by visiting

Tuition Payment Plans

Many schools offer families the opportunity to make monthly tuition payments over the course of the school year, an interest-free alternative to a large, one-time payment due at bill time. For a small fee, families can reduce the amount they need to borrow to cover the cost of college. Students and their families should ask their campus bursar or financial aid office for more information.

SLM Corporation , commonly known as Sallie Mae, is the nation's No. 1 paying-for-college company, managing more than $116 billion in student loans for 8 million borrowers. Sallie Mae was originally created in 1972 as a government-sponsored entity (GSE) and terminated all ties to the federal government in 2004. The company remains the country's largest originator of federally insured student loans. Through its specialized subsidiaries and divisions, Sallie Mae also provides debt management services as well as business and technical products to a range of business clients, including colleges, universities and loan guarantors. More information is available at SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Martha Holler

Sallie Mae

CONTACT: Erin Korsvall of Sallie Mae, (703)-984-5136,

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