This step-by-step guide will tell you everything you can expect during the Discover student loan application process.
1. Determine how much to borrow
The first step to applying for a Discover student loan is deciding how much you need to borrow. Discover allows you to borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance (aggregate loan limits apply).
If you’re applying for a consolidation loan, you can borrow a maximum of $150,000, although higher limits might apply for specific fields of study.
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 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; the more you borrow, the higher your payments will be after graduation.
2. Determine 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 (and some graduate and professional) students who don’t have much of a credit history. Discover does not 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.
Cosigning a loan has serious ramifications; your cosigner is responsible for the loan until you’ve repaid it. You need to understand the risk you’re asking the cosigner to take, and the cosigner needs to think carefully about how it impacts their 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 have already started. Students will need to provide their cosigner with a cosigner key.
3. Choose the type of Discover loans for students you need
When you know how much you want to borrow, you can move on to the application process.
Discover offers loans for different types of 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.
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 can apply by phone by calling Discover at 1-800-STUDENT.
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:
- Your social security number
- Your permanent address
- Your temporary or in-school address
- Information about the school you’ll be attending
- Information about your field of study
- Details about the academic period you’re enrolling in
- Information about your income
- Details about your monthly mortgage or rent payments
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
After you’ve clicked the “Apply Now” button, the next screen allows you to select whether you’re a student or a cosigner, and whether you want to start a new application or complete an existing one.
Select the appropriate option. If you’re coming back to complete an existing application, you’ll need to input your access code, last name, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
If you’re starting a new application for the first time, click the button to indicate you’re a student and then click “Start.”
6. Complete the Discover student loans application process
Discover will walk you through the process of how to apply for a student loan using their online system. The process starts with inputting information about your school, such as the state your school is in, selecting your school’s name from a pulldown menu, and the loan type.
You’ll also need to add:
- Your full name and date of birth
- Your email address
- A phone number
- Information about your citizenship status
- Your Social Security number
After adding this information, click “Continue.”
On the next page, you’ll need to provide additional details, including financial information. You’ll also need to select whether you’re applying for a fixed rate loan, which means the loan rate and payment won’t change for the life of the loan, or a variable rate loan, which means interest and payments can fluctuate.
If you have a cosigner, your cosigner will need to be with you to complete their part of the application or your cosigner will need to return to the website using the cosigner key you provide to finish the application.
Discover will check your credit, and the credit of your cosigner (if applicable), to determine if you can qualify for a student loan.
7. Submit supporting documents
Discover might notify you via email that you need to submit supporting documents. There are four options to submit those documents:
- Uploading your documents.
- Sending your documents via mail to Discover Student Loans, Customer Service, P.O. Box 30947, Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0947.
- 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.
- Faxing your documents to 1-801-996-2454.
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 student loan, you can visit Discover’s application page to check the status of your application 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 what supporting documents are required and how quickly your school provides your information.
9. Sign your 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 if you want to try to make payments while in school or wait until you’ve graduated to begin repaying your Discover loans.
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|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 2/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.23% – 13.23%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.20% – 11.44%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 10.11%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 13.25%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.85% – 6.99%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.95% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.42%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|