Here’s something people don’t often say: There’s cause for excitement among student loan borrowers.
Through Nov. 25, Sallie Mae is conducting a sweepstakes for borrowers who have made six or more on-time loan payments. Such borrowers can enter “It Pays to Repay” on the loan servicer’s Facebook account for a chance to receive as much as $10,000 deposited into their student loan accounts. Borrowers earn extra entries by sharing a tip for repaying student loans and sharing the contest with friends.
“The vast majority of our customers make their student loan payments on time every month, and they have much to offer from their own experience,” said Temeka Easter, Sallie Mae’s director of social media, in a news release about the contest.
Sallie Mae will select one winner each week for four weeks, which could make a huge difference for four borrowers, as the average student debt load is about $27,000. It’s exciting for Sallie Mae borrowers in repayment, especially if any of them had gotten excited about a Sallie Mae repayment scam on Instagram a few weeks ago.
Sallie Mae has one of the largest shares of loans, federal and private, among student loan servicers, and either federal or private loans can be eligible for the sweepstakes, as long as Sallie Mae is the current servicer.
Because only borrowers with a minimum of six on-time payments are eligible, borrowers in forbearance and deferment can’t win the sweepstakes. Those consumers are arguably in greater need of student loan assistance, but the contest is geared toward rewarding good financial habits, not toward borrowers with the greatest need.
It may be a bummer for those Sallie Mae borrowers who aren’t eligible, but the contest highlights the importance of timely payments. Defaulting on student loans can severely damage a consumer’s credit scores, making it more difficult to obtain other types of credit, like a mortgage or auto loan.