Compare Undergraduate Student Loans

College University CafeteriaIt is a relief to millions of people that they are eligible for some form of undergraduate student loans to finance their higher education. That relief can quickly turn to overwhelmed bewilderment at the number of different undergraduate student loans, each with their own terms and conditions. Navigating the plethora of options can be confusing and intimidating, which is why we have compared undergraduate student loans for you.

Sallie Mae

Originally the Student Loan Marketing Association, the SLM Corporation is much better known as Sallie Mae, and it is one of the first stops parents and students make when researching financial aid options. Sallie Mae spotlights the Smart Option Student Loan, which allows qualifying students to borrow up to 100 percent of the school-certified cost of attendance. Repayment of the loan comes in three options: deferred, fixed, or interest repayment, and Sallie Mae offers discounts on the loan’s interest rates for students who pay on time.

An additional undergraduate student loan offered by Sallie Mae is the Career Training Smart Option Loan. Like the Smart Option Student Loan, eligible applicants can borrow 100 percent of the cost of attendance, but the Career Training Loan allows students to save an average of 30 percent on the total loan cost if they pay the interest while still enrolled in school. The loan’s fixed repayment option offers students the chance to pay just $25 a month while in school, giving them a shorter repayment period after school, and saving an average of 25 percent of the total cost of the loan.


Discover Card is the third largest credit card brand in the United States, and it offers student loans among its many products and services. Similarly to Sallie Mae, Discover will allow students to borrow the complete, school-certified amount of tuition, but the terms of Discover’s own loans are different to those of Sallie Mae’s.

One such loan is the Certified Private Loan, which offers a 0 percent origination fee, and promises a 2 percent graduation reward if the student graduates on time and meets other criteria. The Certified Private Loan is a variable rate loan, meaning that the interest rate will fluctuate over the life of the loan, depending on the timeliness of payments.

Discover also offers 1 percent off the principal for students who maintain good grades (average GPA of 3.0 or higher). Students who enroll to have their payments automatically deducted from their bank accounts receive an interest rate reduction of 0.25 percent. Discover loan repayments don’t have to start until six months after graduation, although there are incentives for starting repayment as soon as possible.

Citizens Bank

Like Discover, Citizens Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in America; and like Sallie Mae, it is one of the largest providers of student loans in the country. One of Citizens Bank’s loans is the TruFit Student Loans program, which provides financial aid to undergraduates when federal funding is not enough to secure college attendance. The loan offers both fixed and variable interest rate options, and repayment options that allow for immediate repayment, interest only repayment, and deferred payment. Undergraduates can borrow up to $90,000, and pay off the loan for up to 15 years.

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