Private Loans

The American University in Cairo (AUC) offers private loans through Sallie Mae. The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan is a private, credit-based, school-certified loan for undergraduate and graduate student borrowers enrolled at least half-time in an eligible degree program.

A qualified student applying for Smart Option Student Loan may be eligible to borrow up to the full cost of their education (also known as the Cost of Attendance), minus any other aid received (US federal loans). The minimum loan amount is $1,000. Students may apply for the loan without a cosigner. If student borrowers do not qualify on their own, they may continue the application with a creditworthy cosigner.

  • You must be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • You must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), for Sallie Mae eligibility
  • Foreign citizen student borrowers must obtain a cosigner who is either a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Complete promissory note and meet Sallie Mae eligibility requirements
  • You must not be in default on prior loans. The student borrower may still be eligible with a creditworthy cosigner (parent, relatives, friends, guardians and so on) if they provide information showing that the defaulted student loan has been paid in full or that they are making satisfactory progress in repaying the student loan.
  • Private student loans are offered by banks and credit unions, not the government. The government offers financial aid and federal loans. Private student loans can help you pay for college after you’ve explored scholarships, and federal loans.
  • Private student loans are credit-based. This means that the lender looks at your history of borrowing money and paying it back on time. They want to know how creditworthy, or how responsible you are with credit, before approving your student loan application.
  • Your private student loan interest rate depends on multiple factors. The interest rate you’re given depends on your creditworthiness, your history of borrowing and repaying money. Depending on your lender, it may also be impacted by some of the loan-related choices you make, like the type of interest rate you choose and how you decide to pay the loan back.
  • Lenders may allow you to choose a fixed or variable interest rate. A fixed interest rate stays the same for the life of the loan. This means you’ll have predictable monthly student loan payments. A variable interest rate may go up or down due to an increase or decrease to the loan's index. Variable interest rates usually start out lower than fixed rates, but can change, so your monthly student loan payments may vary over time.
  • You can apply for a private student loan with a cosigner. Many college-bound high school students haven’t had time to build up their own credit. That’s why they apply with a cosigner, a creditworthy adult who shares the responsibility of the student loan.