The Smart Option Loan provided by Sallie Mae is the only private loan currently available to American students studying at the University of Birmingham.
Who needs a private loan?
All students may apply for a private loan (subject to credit history). However, the University encourages any student eligible for a Federal Loan to utilise this type of aid in the first instance.
A comparison of Federal Loans and Private Loans is available via Federal Student Aid.
Graduates considering a private loan as an alternative to a Graduate PLUS loan can view a detailed comparison here (PDF - 71KB). Parents considering a private loan as an alternative to a Parent PLUS loan can view a detailed comparison here (PDF - 71KB).
The following students are exempt from obtaining Federal Loan at the University and are already encouraged to consider a private loan as an alternative:
- distance learners (who spend the majority of their degree off-campus);
- students studying a degree at the University's Medical School (all degrees associated with the Medical School are excluded from the University's Direct Loan participation agreement).
Are there any requirements to receive a private loan?
Before applying for a Smart Loan via Sallie Mae, we recommend you undertake an entrance counselling course to ensure you fully understand the principles of borrowing and repayment. You can undertake entrance counselling via the Federal Student Aid Student Loans webpage.
Consider taking out any Federal Stafford Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans you are entitled to before taking out a private loan.
How do I obtain a private loan?
To receive the loan you must complete a number of actions prior to applying via Sallie Mae:
Submit an online request form to the University of Birmingham, and then you will then be contacted by a member of Funding, Graduation & Awards who will finalise your Cost of Attendance (COA) figure.
Using your agreed Cost of Attendance (COA) figure as a guide, apply for the Smart Option Loan via the Sallie Mae webpage (you may borrow less, but no more than the agreed COA).
Once you have applied online, send a copy of your e-signed Promissory Note to your designated assessor from Funding, Graduation & Awards. The Promissory Note forms part of the application process.
What happens next?
The University will confirm receipt of your information and will liaise with Sallie Mae. Once your loan has been approved, your designated assessor will contact you via email to confirm it has been processed and will provide information regarding loan disbursement. You will also receive an email from Sallie Mae confirming origination.