Is Sallie Mae considered a government organization for purposes of placing a lien on IRA's or 401K's?
Sallie Mae is deemed a government organization with certain privileges or considered a general creditor?
Typically, a 401k and IRA is protected from the claims of creditors. The exception would be if your creditor is a government organization, such as the IRS, then none of your accounts, not even your 401(k) plan or your pension plan accounts, is protected.
Specifically, with respect to Sallie Mae, the government has extraordinary power to collect student loans. The government can seize tax refunds, deny new student loans and grants, garnish wages without a court order, take a portion of Social Security benefits, and charge very large collection fees. Unfortunately, they can also attach an 401k and IRA.
Note: Except in rare circumstances, student loans cannot even be discharged in bankruptcy.