How to Apply for Discover Student Loans

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If you’re looking for funding for your next year of school, you may decide that Discover is a good option. In that case, you’ll need to know how to apply for a Discover student loan.

Fortunately, the lender’s application process is straightforward and, with or without a cosigner, can take as little as 15 minutes to complete. This step-by-step how-to guide will tell you what you can expect during the Discover student loan application process.

  1. Determine how much to borrow
  2. Figure out if you’ll need a cosigner
  3. Choose the type of Discover loan you need
  4. Get your documentation ready
  5. Start the application process with Discover
  6. Complete the Discover student loans application process
  7. Submit supporting documents
  8. Receive a decision on your Discover student loan
  9. Sign your final loan documents

1. Determine how much to borrow

The first step of applying for a Discover student loan is deciding how much you want to borrow. Discover often allows you to borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance, but there are aggregate loan limits, so you’ll need to check with them when you apply.

But regardless, maxing out your federal student aid, as well as taking advantage of any available grants and scholarships, should be done first before turning to Discover student loans. Your financial aid package from your school will let you know how much financial aid has been allocated to you so you’ll know how much you would need to borrow from Discover.

It’s usually best to avoid borrowing more than you need. You’ll have to pay your Discover student loans back with interest, and the more you borrow, the higher your payments will be after graduation.

2. Figure out if you’ll need a cosigner

According to Discover, students who don’t have established credit history will need a cosigner to be approved for a loan. This requirement is common among undergraduate students who don’t have credit built up yet. Some graduate and professional students may also not have had time to build enough credit to qualify for private student loans without a cosigner.

Discover doesn’t specify what credit score you’d need to qualify on your own, but instead indicates application decisions are based on multiple factors.

The lender also explains that even if you can qualify for a private loan on your own, you might be able to qualify for a lower interest rate by adding a cosigner with a higher credit score and a longer credit history.

When you might need a cosigner to apply for a Discover student loan
● Your credit history is thin or poor
● You’re an international student (without proof of citizenship or permanent residency)
● You want to score a lower interest rate

If you have parents, close family friends or relatives willing to cosign for you, you should have a discussion with your cosigner before you begin the application process so you can include their information on your application.

Understand cosigning before applying for a Discover student loan
Cosigning a loan has serious ramifications because your cosigner is responsible for the loan until you’ve repaid it or refinanced it into your own name only. You need to understand the risk you’re asking the cosigner to take, and the cosigner needs to think carefully about how the decision to cosign will impact their own financial situation — and all this can take time.

If your cosigner isn’t ready to give you their information at the time you apply for Discover student loans, cosigners can also visit the Discover student loan website on their own to complete an application you’ve already started. Students will need to provide their cosigner with a cosigner key.

3. Choose the type of Discover loan you need

When you know how much you want to borrow, you can move on to the application process.

Discover school loans can be used for various situations, so the first step in the formal application process is selecting the right loan for you. Visit Discover and click on the tile describing the loan type for the academic program you’ll be completing, which could include an undergraduate program, a graduate program, an MBA or another specialized program.

Image: Discover

Clicking on your desired loan type will take you to a page that provides details on interest rates, fees, rewards and frequently asked questions. At the top of each loan page, there is a button that says “Apply Now.” Click it to fill out your application for Discover loans for students.

You can submit your application from your computer or mobile device, or contact Discover at 800-STUDENT to find out about obtaining an application via mail.

4. Get your documentation ready

Discover explains that the online application process takes only 15 minutes or less. However, you’ll need certain information to complete your application.

To apply for Discover student loans, you’ll need:

  • Social Security number
  • Permanent address
  • Temporary or in-school address
  • Year in school
  • School you’ll be attending
  • Field of study
  • Income details
  • Monthly mortgage or rent payment information

If you have a cosigner, you’ll also need information about your cosigner including their:

  • Social Security number
  • Employment information
  • Financial information, including monthly mortgage and rent payments
  • Permanent address

While you can save your application and return to it later if you don’t have all of your documentation, it’s helpful to gather your paperwork before you begin the process.

5. Start the application process with Discover

After you’ve clicked the “Apply Now” button, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can select whether you’re a student or a cosigner, and whether you want to start a new application or complete an existing one.

Image: Discover

Select the appropriate option. If you’re coming back to complete an existing application, you’ll need to input your access code, date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Image: Discover

6. Complete the Discover student loans application process

You will be walked through the process of how to apply for a Discover student loan using their online system. The process starts with inputting information about your school (such as the state your school is in) and selecting your school’s name from a pulldown menu, then finding the loan type.

Image: Discover

You’ll also need to input information including:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Citizenship status
  • Social Security number

After inputting this information, click “Continue” to complete the application process.

On the next page, you’ll need to provide additional details, including your:

  • Degree type, field of study and expected graduation date
  • Grade level, enrollment status and cumulative grade point average
  • Requested loan amount
  • Permanent address
  • Academic period
  • Employment status
  • Housing status while in school

If you have a cosigner, your cosigner will need to be with you to complete their part of the application; otherwise, they will need to return to the website using the cosigner key you provide to finish the application later.

Discover will check your credit, as well as the credit of your cosigner (if applicable), to determine if you can qualify for a student loan.

Discover

7. Submit supporting documents

Discovery might notify you via email that you need to submit supporting documents. There are several options to submit those documents including:

  • E-signing your documents
  • Uploading your documents
  • Sending your documents via mail to Discover Student Loans, Customer Service, PO Box 30947, Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0947, USA
  • Sending your documents via special delivery such as FedEx or UPS to Discover Student Loans, Customer Service, 5420 W 1730 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84104, USA
  • Faxing your documents to 801-996-2454.

Discover will also obtain certification of your eligibility from the school you will be attending. Your application status will show that school certification is pending until Discover receives this certification.

8. Receive a decision on your Discover student loan

After applying for a Discover student loan, you can visit the application page to check the status at any time using your access code. Just choose the “Existing Application” option on the main application page.

The length of time it takes to get a decision on your loan varies depending on which supporting documents are required and how quickly your school provides your information.

9. Sign your final loan documents

If you’re approved for Discover student loans, you’ll need to sign a promissory note. You can log in to your application to read and e-sign the documents directly from Discover’s website.

After your documents are signed, Discover will release your loans to the school you’re attending according to the disbursement date your school has set. You’ll be all set with paying for school using Discover student loans and will just need to decide whether you want to try to make payments while in school or wait until you’ve graduated to begin repaying your Discover loans.

Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.

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