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Student Loans

NEA® Smart Option Student Loan® by Sallie Mae®

Flexible, competitive student loans to help pay for expenses financial aid may not cover. For bachelor’s and associate’s degrees or a certificate at a degree-granting school.

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Get the money you need to help make higher education happen

Federal loans, grants and financial aid packages don’t always cover all of the costs of higher education. The NEA Smart Option Student Loan can help you bridge the gap or pay for essentials such as lab fees and dining plans so that you or a loved one can focus on learning—with less financial stress.

  • Competitive variable and fixed interest rates
  • Borrow up to 100% of school-certified costs, such as tuition, fees and books*
  • NEA members are eligible for an exclusive 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction after 12 consecutive on-time repayments*
  • Receive an additional 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction while enrolled to make payments by automatic debit*

how it helps

Terms that help you manage the cost of a higher education

Interest rate reduction

Along with competitive rates, get an exclusive NEA member 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction after making 12 consecutive on-time payments.* Get an additional 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction when you begin repayment while enrolled in school and pay via automatic debit.* There are no hidden origination fees or penalties for prepayment.*

Easy to use

Help pay for any school-certified expense related to an undergraduate education at a degree-granting institution, for yourself or a family member.* Sallie Mae disburses funds directly to the institution.

Benefit from multiple repayment options

We offer three repayment options so you can choose to make in-school payments or defer until after school. You choose what best fits your financial needs.*

Quick application

Apply online and get a credit result in as little as 15 minutes.

Learn the 1-2-3 Approach to Paying for College

Watch a brief overview of the different programs you can use to help fund the cost of a college education.

How It Works

Find the loan that's right for you

Learn about paying for college

Sallie Mae has developed many resources to help you plan for and manage college costs. Arm yourself with information before applying for a loan.


Resources
Scholarship Search Tool
Countdown to College Planning Calendar (PDF)

Guides
How America Pays for College (PDF guide)
How America Saves for College (PDF guide)

Are you a parent or graduate student?

Learn about Parent and Graduate Student Loans
NEA® Graduate Loans by Sallie Mae®
NEA® Parent Loan by Sallie Mae®

When you’re ready to apply for your loan:

  1. Make sure you’re logged in to your NEA Member Benefits account, then click “Learn More and Apply” above, or call the number under the button to apply by phone.
  2. Click “Get Started” on the Sallie Mae website to open the online application.
  3. Find the loan that’s right for you and click on “Apply for this Loan.”
  4. Complete the application—it only takes about 15 minutes!

Help finance life’s bigger expenses

Enter the $1,000 NEA Giveaway!

This holiday season NEA Member Benefits has teamed up with Sallie Mae®,, provider of the NEA Smart Option Student Loan Program, to offer NEA members a chance to win $1,000 cash!

Terms & Conditions

* For more important information on the rate, fees and other conditions of this program, please see the Terms and Conditions.

Sallie Mae, the Sallie Mae logo, and other Sallie Mae names and logos are service marks or registered service marks of Sallie Mae Bank or its subsidiaries. All other names and logos used are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

NEA’s Member Benefits Corporation receives compensation from Sallie Mae for this program. NEA’s Member Benefits Corporation does not receive any dues dollars from NEA to support Member Benefits programs.