RESTON, Va., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Sallie Mae today announced that it will provide relief for recently deployed military personnel who have Sallie Mae private education loans. This announcement follows recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Education providing similar relief to activated troops with loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Sallie Mae, the nation's leading provider of education funding, is among the first private sector lenders to extend repayment relief to non-federal student loan borrowers called to active military duty. "Sallie Mae gladly provides repayment relief in support of our customers defending freedom overseas," said Albert L. Lord, vice chairman and chief executive officer, Sallie Mae. "We are also proud to be supporting the Higher Education Relief Opportunity for Students (HEROES) Act of 2003, which would further reduce the financial burdens faced by the men and women who serve in our armed forces at this critical time." Sallie Mae Private Education Loans Upon receiving notification from the borrower, the borrower's family or another reliable source that a private student loan borrower has been ordered to active duty, Sallie Mae will invoke its relief policy for that borrower. Borrowers who are in school or in a grace period will remain in that status for up to three years while they are fulfilling active duty orders. This ensures that the borrower's loans will not enter repayment status while he or she is on active duty. Borrowers who have already entered repayment will be eligible for forbearance for the period that they are fulfilling their active duty orders, not to exceed 15 months. Forbearance allows for the temporary suspension of the borrower's student loan payments. Federal Education Loans Sallie Mae also is following guidance issued by the Department of Education on federal education loans, which provides temporary repayment relief for FFELP borrowers affected by the recent military mobilization. The guidance instructs student loan lenders to postpone upcoming loan payments for borrowers called to active duty who are still in school or in their grace period, the six months following their exit from school. The payments will be suspended for the length of the borrower's tour of duty (or duty station reassignment) plus the time needed for the borrower to re-enroll in a post- secondary institution up to three years. Additionally, if the borrower's loan is in grace status, the time served in active duty is excluded to ensure the borrower receives a full grace period before beginning repayment. If a student loan borrower is already in repayment when called to military service, lenders are required to grant forbearance, or suspension of student loan payments. Forbearance can be requested by the borrower, the borrower's family or a reliable source with no required paperwork. While in forbearance, lenders such as Sallie Mae will determine if borrowers are eligible for economic hardship or military deferments. The federal guidance also states that all collections activity on defaulted student loans will be halted for the period a borrower is deployed, and cannot resume until 30 days after the end of the borrower's military service. In addition to supporting the troops by providing student loan repayment relief, Sallie Mae also announced that its employees nationwide have undertaken campaigns to support the troops by "adopting" servicemen and women overseas, collecting donations and distributing care packages. At Sallie Mae's Fishers, Ind., office, for example, employees donated more than 30 boxes containing pre-paid calling cards, disposable cameras, soap, body powder, disposable wipes, ziplock bags, reading material, snacks, powdered drink mixes, toiletries, antacids, pain medications and stationery, which were picked up by personnel from Grissom Air Force Base for shipment overseas. "The support Sallie Mae employees have shown our troops is exactly the kind of generosity and compassion they show for those in need year round," Lord said. For more information on repayment relief for military personnel, Sallie Mae borrowers should call toll free, 1-888-2-SALLIE. Additional information can be found by visiting www.ifap.ed.gov. SLM Corporation (NYSE: SLM), commonly known as Sallie Mae, is the nation's leading provider of education funding, managing more than $81 billion in student loans for more than seven million borrowers. The company primarily provides federally guaranteed student loans originated under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), and offers comprehensive information and resources to guide students, parents and guidance professionals through the financial aid process. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the company opened its doors in May 1973 as a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) called the Student Loan Marketing Association, and began the privatization process in 1997. Since then, Sallie Mae's parent company name has changed, most recently to SLM Corporation (effective May 17, 2002). Through its specialized subsidiaries and divisions, the company also provides an array of consumer credit loans, including those for lifelong learning and K-12 education, and business and technical outsourcing services for colleges and universities. SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries, other than the Student Loan Marketing Association, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States.
SOURCE Sallie Mae