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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