Discover Student Loans — part of Discover Bank — offers student loan refinancing as well as private student loans to borrowers nationwide. With Discover, borrowers can take advantage of competitive rates along with multiple repayment assistance options if they find themselves facing economic hardship.
Here’s what you need to know about borrowing and refinancing student loans through Discover:
Discover student loan refinancing
- Borrowers who don’t need a cosigner
- Borrowers who might need access to payment assistance
- Borrowers who want to refinance while still in school
Discover offers student loan refinancing with both fixed and variable interest rates. Additionally, Discover allows borrowers to refinance their loans while they’re still in school.
Discover student loan refinance interest rates and loan details
Discover student loan refinancing is available for both undergraduate and graduate students who are the primary borrowers on the loans they want to consolidate. With Discover, borrowers also have access to deferment, forbearance, and other payment assistance options.
|Loan amounts||$5,000 to $150,000 limit
(higher limits might apply for certain fields of study)
|Loan terms||10, 20 years|
|Loan types||Federal, private or previously consolidated loans|
|Min. income||Verifiable income sufficient to support your debts and show a positive repayment history|
|Transfer parent loan to child?||No|
|Fees||No application, origination, or late fees|
|Education||Degree not required|
Discover student loan refinance review
With competitive interest rates as well as multiple repayment assistance options, Discover could be a good choice for student loan refinancing.
If you meet its eligibility criteria, you can refinance undergraduate and graduate student loans in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $150,000 (higher limits might apply for certain fields of study).
How to qualify
To qualify for refinancing with Discover, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Have a U.S. address
- Be 18 or older
- Pass a credit check
- Have verifiable income that can support your loan repayment
- Have positive payment history
- Be the primary borrower on the loans you want to refinance
Discover also allows cosigners for borrowers who don’t qualify on their own. However, keep in mind that Discover doesn’t offer cosigner release.
Learn More: Private Student Loan Consolidation
There are only two repayment terms available on Discover refinanced loans — 10 or 20 years. Your first student loan payment will be due within 30 to 45 days after the loan is disbursed. If you sign up for automatic payments, you could get a 0.25% rate discount.
Discover also offers several repayment assistance options for borrowers facing economic hardship or other unexpected circumstances:
- Deferment: If you return to school at least half time, work for an eligible public service organization, are on active military duty, attend a medical residency program, you might be able to defer payments for three to five years.
- Forbearance: If you’re experiencing financial hardship, you can access up to 12 months of forbearance over the life of the loan.
- Payment extension: With this option, you could bring your loan current by making three minimum monthly payments within 90 days. Must have been in repayment for at least six months or be at least 60 days delinquent without being in forbearance to qualify.
- Reduced payments: This option allows borrowers to reduce their minimum payments (though payments must be at least $50 and must cover monthly interest charges). Your loans must be less than 60 days past due to qualify.
How Discover compares to other lenders
Here’s how Discover compares to two of Credible’s partner lenders:
|Rates from (APR)||Check with lender||Check with lender||Fixed: Check with lender
Variable: Check with lender
|Loan repayment terms (Years)||10, 20||5, 7, 10, 15, 20||5, 7, 10, 15, 20|
|Loan amount||$5,000 to $150,000 limit|
(higher limits might apply for certain fields of study)
|$5,000 to $500,000||$5,000 up to outstanding balance|
|Min. credit score||Does not disclose||680||Does not disclose|
|Transfer parent loan to child?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Cosigner release?||No||Yes, applications accepted after 36 months of consecutive payments||No|
|Loan servicer||Discover Bank||Firstmark||Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA)|
How to refinance student loans with Discover
You can apply for Discover student loan refinancing on your computer, mobile device, or over the phone. Note that checking to see if you qualify and shopping for rates with Discover might require a hard credit inquiry that could impact your credit score.
Before you refinance, be sure to consider not only Discover but as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — while First Republic Bank isn’t one of our partners, you can compare your prequalified rates from other top student loan refinancing lenders in two minutes without affecting your credit.
How Discover can improve
While Discover provides valuable benefits, including generous payment assistance options, there are a few ways it could improve:
- Provide more repayment options. Many student loan refinance companies offer a wide range of terms, but with Discover, you can only choose between a 10- or 20-year term.
- Offer cosigner release. If you apply with a cosigner, you won’t have the option to release them from the loan later on.
- Provide prequalification with a soft credit check. Borrowers who want to see if they qualify with Discover must undergo a hard credit check, which can have a negative effect on their credit.
Other lenders to consider
If Discover doesn’t suit your needs, there are plenty of other lenders to consider. Here are Credible’s partner lenders that offer student loan refinancing:
|Lender||Fixed rates from (APR)||Variable rates from (APR)||Loan terms (years)|
|2.94%+||N/A||10, 15, 20|
|2.35%+||2.45%+||5, 7, 10, 15, 20|
|3.74%+1||1.99%+1||5, 7, 10, 15, 20|
|3.49%+2||3.44%+2||5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20|
|3.41%+||3.46%+||10, 15, 20|
|2.73%+3||1.86%+3||5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20|
|3.47%+4||2.45%+4||5, 10, 15, 20|
|3.45%+||N/A||7, 10, 15|
|5.49%+||N/A||5, 8, 12, 15|
|4.29%+||N/A||5, 10, 15|
|Compare personalized rates from multiple lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!
Our hope is that this will be a win-win situation for you and us — we only want to get paid if you find a loan that works for you, not by selling your data. This means Credible will only get paid by the lender if you finish the refinancing process and a loan is disbursed.
Additionally, Credible charges you no fees of any kind to compare your refinancing options.
Frequently asked questions about student loan refinancing
Here the answers to several commonly asked questions regarding student loan refinancing:
Is it better to refinance or pay extra principal?
This depends on your interest rate and whether you can afford to make extra payments. For example, if you can qualify for a lower interest rate through refinancing and could save money, then refinancing might be a better idea.
But if you can afford to make extra payments to pay down your principal and get out of debt faster, then that could be the better option for you. Keep in mind that you could also refinance while continuing to make additional payments.
Is it worth refinancing student loans?
While refinancing can be worth it in some cases, it might not be the best idea in others. For example, if you can qualify for a lower interest rate or more favorable terms, then refinancing could be worth it.
But if you have federal student loans and don’t want to lose access to federal benefits and protections — such as income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs — then it’s likely better not to refinance.
Learn More: When to Refinance Student Loans
How much does it cost to refinance student loans?
The cost of refinancing differs depending on:
- Interest rate, which a percentage of your loan principal charged by the lender
- Repayment term, which will impact how much you pay in interest over time
- Any fees charged by the lender, such as application fees or prepayment penalties
Note that each of these can vary depending on your credit, the term you choose, and the lender. Be sure to compare as many lenders as you can to keep your refinancing costs low.
Does refinancing student loans hurt your credit?
When you apply for refinancing, the lender will perform a hard credit check to determine your creditworthiness. This can cause a slight dip in your credit score — though this is usually only temporary, and your score will likely bounce back within a few months.
Additionally, keeping up with your new loan through on-time payments could actually help build your credit over time — which means the positive benefits could outweigh any initial negative impact.
Learn More: How to Find Your Student Loan Balance
Is there a downside to refinancing student loans?
While there are several potential benefits that come with refinancing, it’s important to consider the possible downsides, such as:
- Loss of federal protections: Refinancing federal student loans will cost you your federal benefits and protections.
- Lack of repayment plans: Unlike with federal student loans, private student loan repayment options are generally limited. For example, refinanced loans typically don’t offer extended or income-driven repayment plans.
Discover private student loans
- Borrowers with good credit who can qualify for competitive rates
- Borrowers who want to take advantage of rewards for good grades
- Borrowers who need to pay for medical school, law school, or other advanced programs
Discover offers an array of private undergraduate and graduate loans at both fixed and variable rates with no fees. Discover provides school, military, public service, and residency deferment options, as well.
Discover student loans: Interest rates and loan details
With Discover, students can borrow for undergraduate, graduate, or professional programs. It might also be an ideal lender for students who realize that their financial aid package didn’t provide them with enough funding to fully pay for college.
|Rates from (APR)||Fixed: 4.24%+
|Loan amounts||$5,000 to 100% cost of attendance|
|Loan terms||15, 20 years|
|Min. credit score||Does not disclose|
|Residency||Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or international student
(international students require a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident)
|Fees||No late fees|
|Repayment plans||Immediate full payment, interest only, full deferral, minimum payments|
|Cosigner info||Yes, after 24 months|
|Loan servicer||Discover Bank|
What is Discover Student Loans?
When most people think of Discover, they think of the company’s banking, credit cards, and personal loan options. But Discover also offers student loans at competitive rates, called Discover Student Loans, which can be extremely helpful to borrowers who don’t receive enough funding by completing the FAFSA.
What kinds of student loans does Discover offer?
Discover offers a wide variety of student loans to both undergraduate, graduate, and professional students (business, medical, and law). The loan amount ranges from $1,000 to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance (including tuition, housing, books, and other fees or expenses). Aggregate loan limits apply.
In addition to traditional student loans, Discover offers a number of program-specific loans. For example, medical students who are about to enter their residency may apply for a loan to cover their medical residency and relocation costs, and law students who are preparing for the bar exam may apply for a loan to cover the costs of Bar study classes and living expenses.
Discover has knowledgeable, U.S.-based Student Loan Specialists ready to help customers 24/7 for the life of the loan. Borrowers can check their loan balance through an online account or over the phone. Payments can be made online, over the phone, by mail, or set up to be automatically deducted from a checking or savings account.
While enrolled in automatic payments, borrowers receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction.2
Eligibility requirements for Discover Student Loans
Generally speaking, in order to qualify for a Discover student loan, you’ll need to meet these eligibility requirements:
- Be enrolled at least half-time in a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree program at an eligible college or in a Masters and Doctoral degree program at an eligible graduate school
- Be seeking a degree
- Be making satisfactory academic progress as defined by your school
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or international student (international students require a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident)
- Be 16 years or older at the time you apply
- Pass a credit check
Though Discover does not list its credit requirements, most student borrowers, especially for undergraduate studies, have a limited credit history that will make it difficult to qualify for a student loan on their own.
In these instances, applying with a cosigner who has good credit can be very helpful. The better your, and your cosigner’s, credit history, the lower your interest rate will ultimately be.
How to apply for a Discover student loan
The application process itself is fairly simple and only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. That said, you’ll need to make sure you have some information handy before you begin your application:
- Your permanent address
- Your Social Security number
- The name of the school you are applying to (or attending)
- Employment information (if applicable)
- Financial information (including any rent or mortgage payments you may have)
For borrowers who are applying with a cosigner, it doesn’t matter who begins the application. If the student has already submitted their application, the cosigner should ask the student for the Cosigner Key to complete the cosigner application. If the student has not submitted their application yet, the cosigner can start the application process as a cosigner for the student.
What repayment plans are available for Discover Student Loans?
When it comes time to repay your Discover Student Loans, it’s important to understand what options are available to you.
All of Discover’s student loan offerings come with three repayment plan options:
- Deferred repayment: No need to make monthly payments until 6 months after graduation or enrollment drops below half-time status for undergraduate, or 9 months for graduate programs. Deferred repayment is likely to result in more interest charges, and can be the most expensive repayment plan.
- In-school interest only repayment: Interest-only payments while you’re in school and during your grace period can help you avoid capitalization. You also receive an interest rate discount. This repayment plan can save you money over the life of your loan because interest charges won’t pile up while you’re still in school.
- In-school fixed: You will make fixed monthly payments of $25 a month while enrolled in school and during your grace period. This repayment plan is designed to pay down at least a portion of any accrued interest (though possibly not all), which can reduce the amount of interest that capitalizes when you enter repayment.
As is always the case with student loans, you have the right to pay down principal anytime you’re able — there are no penalties for prepayment. So borrowers who want to begin making full payments of interest and principal while they’re still in school have that option.
Unfortunately, Discover does not offer different loan terms. Undergraduate loans are 15-year loans, while graduate and professional loans are all 20-year loans.
Discover Student Loans review
There are some areas in which Discover stands out from the pack and other areas where they may fall a little short. Prospective borrowers and those looking for private student loans should be sure to consider both before submitting an application.
Reviews for Discover Student Loans are generally positive and focus on the fact that the company has great private loan rates with no application, origination, or late fees. You can read some reviews from Discover customers on their website, where the company maintains a record of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Discover borrower benefits
- Easy application: The company says that applying for a student loan takes as little as 15 minutes.
- A U.S.-based loan specialist: All of Discover’s loan specialists are based in the United States and are available 24/7 by phone to help you navigate customer support issues.
- Zero fees: Discover does not charge loan origination, application, or late fees.
- Multiple repayment plans: Borrowers can choose from three repayment plans to select the option that works best for their own unique financial situation.
- Full tuition coverage: Borrowers can borrow a total of up to 100% the cost of attending their school, including tuition, room and board, other school-certified expenses. Aggregate loan limits apply.
- Options for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students: No matter the level of education you are looking to fund, Discover likely has options for you, including loans for those seeking professional degrees (law, medical, MBA), and loans for law and medical students looking to cover living expenses during residency or bar exam prep.
- Competitive rates: Though higher interest rates than federal student loans, Discover’s student loans carry competitive interest rates and are offered as both fixed and variable-rate loans.
- Interest rate reduction: Borrowers who sign up for autopay may qualify to reduce their interest rate by up to 0.25%, saving hundreds of dollars over the life of a loan.
- Rewards for good grades: Students with a GPA of at least a 3.0 or equivalent can receive a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan.
- Helpful Tools: Discover has a wide library of helpful information and articles that borrowers can use to learn more about navigating financial aid.
- Scholarship opportunities: Borrowers can also enter to win a $5,000 scholarship through Discover to help afford college.
Consider the following before taking out a Discover student loan
- Higher interest rates compared to federal student loans: Though competitive amongst private lenders, Discover Student Loans may carry higher interest rates compared to federal student loans for some borrowers.
- Interest begins accruing immediately: Whereas subsidized federal student loans don’t begin accruing interest while a borrower is enrolled as a student, during their grace period, or during periods of qualified deferment, interest will begin accruing on student loans borrowed from Discover as soon as they are disbursed, as is common for most private student loan providers.
- Lack other benefits common to federal student loans: Federal student loans are preferable to private student loans for a number of reasons. In addition to low interest rates, federal loans offer borrowers benefits including student loan forgiveness possibilities and options for income-based repayment, which you won’t find with Discover (or most other private lenders).
- Students without a cosigner may be denied: If you’ve got a limited credit history (as is typical of most first-time borrowers) and no cosigner to help you apply, Discover may not approve you for a student loan. If you are approved, be prepared to pay a higher interest rate due to the increased risk you present to the company.
Like other lenders and loan servicers, Discover chooses to give back to students in various ways. Recently, the company launched a scholarship sweepstake that will give away $60,000 in scholarships between February 1, 2019 and January 31, 2020 to current, eligible high school seniors, undergraduate students, and their parents.
Overall, Discover stands out as a student loan lender with no fees required and great interest rates that offer more rewards and discounts that many of their competitors.
The bottom line
In addition to offering competitive rates and a number of repayment plans for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, Discover offers benefits like rewards for good grades which are unique amongst lenders.
Because each student loan lender determines the rate they’ll offer you on a case-by-case basis, it’s impossible to find your best rate without comparing multiple lenders first. Credible makes this easy — although Discover isn’t a Credible partner, you can request your rates from other top lenders in two minutes.
|Lender||Fixed Rates From (APR)||Variable Rates From (APR)||Get Rates Through Credible|
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