Just a quick clarification for our students coming from the US and who plan to fund their program partially or entirely with a Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan: Sallie Mae loans cannot be used to pay Place Reservation and/or IE Foundation fees. Below is more information on this policy and our recommended alternative course of action.
Why can’t I pay my Place Reservation and IE Foundation contribution with my Sallie Mae loan?
IE has a strict policy of not returning Place Reservation or IE Foundation fees if a student ends up not joining the intake for which they have committed to. This policy is based in the fact that when a student makes their place reservation and IE Foundation payments, IE issues legal documentation which is valid for student visa processing purposes. Also, when a student commits to a given intake, necessarily the spot cannot be given to another deserving candidate and it’s not fair to other candidates if a confirmed candidate pulls out of the program.
While we have the Place Reservation and IE Foundation policy clearly in place, we also must abide by regulations and laws applicable to a partnerships, such as the one we have with Sallie Mae. Since our agreement with Sallie Mae is such that we return funds to the financial institution if the student does not attend the program, Sallie Mae loans cannot be used to pay Place Reservation and IE Foudnation fees given our policy of not refunding these payments, for the reasons stated above.
What should I do then, with regards to guaranteeing my place in my chosen intake?
What our students do is usually to use personal savings, company support or some other financial backing to bridge the short term financial need. So for example, a student may borrow the amount equal to the Place Reservation and IE Foundaiton fee from their personal savings or line of credit, a family member or even their company, and then later once they’ve begun their program and the Sallie Mae funds have arrived to IE, any funds over and above those required to pay their tuition fees in full is sent directly to the student to manage as they see fit. The excess funds can be used to repay the savings account or other source of funds used to pay the Place Reservation and IE Foundation fee. Again, keep in mind, the Place Reservation and IE Foundation fee is non-refundable.
Final point worth keeping in mind: single disbursements, tuition fees must be paid in full first.
IE’s master programs generally follow the 1-year model most common in the EU, and as students generally take out a Sallie Mae loan for both tuition and living expenses, IE has a strict policy of receiving the funds in 1 single disbursement. Why? Simply, this way you take care of your tuition pending up front, and then we can send you the balance of funds to meet your living expenses and other needs. We do not release any funds to students until they’ve paid their tuition fees in full. One of our roles as a Sallie Mae partner institution is to ensure students are being financially responsible, and this policy ensures students don’t inadvertantly find themselves in a difficult financial situation that could result in the student having to withdraw from the program before they obtain their degree.