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When it comes to private student loans and student loan refinancing, the importance of shopping around cannot be overstated. That’s the only way you can reliably find the best interest rates and terms.
In this comparison, we’ll look at two of the most popular options for private student loans and student loan refinancing: College Ave and Discover. We’ll see how their rates, terms, and eligibility criteria stack up against each other and give you our pick on which lender is better for different borrowers.
Click one of the options below to compare the two companies by that product.
College Ave vs. Discover private student loans: At a glance
|Our Rating||4.9 out of 5||3.9 out of 5|
|Rates (APR)||0.94% – 12.99%||1.29% – 11.59%|
|Loan Amount||$1,000 – 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance||$1,000 – 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance|
|Term Length||5, 8, 10, or 15 years||15 years|
College Ave vs. Discover private student loans: Everything you need to know
College Ave offers lower interest rates for both fixed and variable-rate loans. Depending on the loan amount and repayment term, you may be able to save thousands of dollars with a lower interest rate.
College Ave offers student loans for undergraduates, graduates, and parents. Like other lenders, College Ave offers a 0.25% interest rate discount if you sign up for automatic payments.
The minimum loan amount is $1,000, and the maximum is the annual cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. College Ave offers more repayment term options than Discover, so borrowers can choose from a five, eight, 10, or 15-year loan. Discover only offers a 15-year term.
For Discover, the minimum loan amount is $1,000 and the maximum is the cost of attendance. While Discover’s interest rates aren’t as low as College Ave, they try to make up for it in other ways. Students who receive a 3.0 GPA can get a one-time cash bonus worth 1% of the loan amount. For example, if you borrowed $5,000, you could receive a $50 bonus.
Discover also offers a cash bonus for students who graduate, worth 2% of the total loan amount. Students can apply this amount toward their loans or have it deposited to their bank account.
Is a private student loan from College Ave or Discover more accessible?
Every student loan company has its own eligibility criteria, which usually include income, credit score, citizenship status, and attendance requirements.
Most students need a cosigner to qualify for a private student loan because they don’t often meet the credit score and income requirements. A good cosigner is an adult who meets the income, credit score, and citizenship requirements and agrees to take responsibility for your student loan payments if you default.
Read below to see the various eligibility criteria for each lender:
|Eligibility Criteria||College Ave||Discover|
|Credit score||Not disclosed||Not disclosed|
|Income||At least $35,000 per year||Not disclosed|
|Cosigner||US citizen or permanent resident||US citizen or permanent resident|
|Citizenship||Must be a US citizen or permanent resident or have a cosigner that is either of the two||Must be a US citizen or permanent resident or have a cosigner that is either of the two|
|Attendance||Full-time or part-time as long as you’re making satisfactory academic progress||Full-time or part-time|
Scenarios in which College Ave or Discover is better than the other for private student loans
There’s no one right answer when deciding between different student loan providers. The key is to figure out what you need in a lender and then find one that fits your criteria. Read below to see various situations in which one lender is better than the other:
- If you’re an international student
- If you want more options for repayment terms
- If you want the lowest interest rate
If you’re an international student: Discover
College Ave requires that international students have Social Security numbers to be eligible for a student loan, while Discover only requires that international students have a cosigner who is a citizen or permanent resident. This makes Discover a much better option for international students, who usually aren’t US citizens or permanent residents.
If you want more options for repayment terms: College Ave
College Ave offers several different repayment lengths for students, ranging from five to 15 years, while Discover only offers 15-year terms. Shorter terms usually have lower interest rates, which may be preferable for some borrowers. If you want a shorter-term loan, go with College Ave.
If you want the lowest interest rate: College Ave
College Ave offers lower interest rates than Discover, and that difference can be significant over the life of the loan. For example, if you borrow $40,000 from Discover with a 3.99% fixed interest rate and a 15-year term, the total interest over the life of the loan will be $13,221.
But if you borrow $40,000 from College Ave with a 2.99% fixed interest rate and a 15-year term, the total interest over the life of the loan will be $9,687. That’s a savings difference of more than $3,500 if you go with College Ave.
Which company is our choice between College Ave and Discover for private student loans?
College Ave is our choice between these two companies. The reason for this is the opportunity to receive a lower rate, the ability to choose your repayment term, and your choice of four different repayment options.
College Ave vs. Discover student loan refinancing: At a glance
|Rates (APR)||2.94% – 7.84%||1.87% – 6.99%|
|Loan Amount||$5,000 – $300,000||$5,000 – $150,000|
|Term Length||5 – 20 years||10 or 20 years|
|Key Benefit||You choose your repayment term||Refinance while you’re still in school|
College Ave vs. Discover student loan refinancing: Everything you need to know
College Ave and Discover both offer variable and fixed interest rates on their refinance student loans. Neither company charges any application, origination, or prepayment fees. They also both offer a 0.25% interest rate discount when you sign up for automatic payments.
Both companies offer cosigner release, which allows borrowers to remove a cosigner from a loan after meeting certain criteria. For College Ave, you can only be eligible for cosigner release after you’re halfway through the repayment term. You must also have an annual income that is double the remaining loan balance and a good credit history.
However, it’s much harder to qualify for cosigner release through Discover. The only way to qualify for cosigner release is if you have a CitiAssist Loan that was purchased by Discover at some point. This won’t apply to most borrowers.
Is a refinance student loan from College Ave or Discover more accessible?
|Eligibility Criteria||College Ave||Discover|
|Credit score||Not disclosed||Not disclosed|
|Income||At least $50,000 per year||Not disclosed|
|Cosigner||US citizen or permanent resident||You must qualify yourself before a cosigner can be added. The cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident|
|Citizenship||US citizen or permanent resident||US citizen or permanent resident|
|Attendance||Must have graduated from a selection of Title IV accredited universities or graduate programs||Only loans used for degrees that required you to be enrolled at least half-time are eligible|
Scenarios in which College Ave or Discover is better than the other for student loan refinancing
Sometimes, simply comparing terms doesn’t lead to an easy decision. Therefore, we’ve included several scenarios in which a borrower may find themselves to highlight which company would be better in that scenario.
- If you won’t qualify for refinancing by yourself
- If you want a variable-rate loan
- If you didn’t graduate from college
If you won’t qualify for refinancing by yourself: College Ave
Discover requires that borrowers qualify for refinancing by themselves, while College Ave lets borrowers add a cosigner in order to qualify for refinancing. This can make refinancing much more accessible for borrowers.
If you want a variable-rate loan: Discover
Discover offers much lower starting interest rates for variable-rate loans, at 1.99% APR compared to 2.94% APR for College Ave. While that may seem small, the difference can add up over time.
Let’s say you have a $50,000 loan with a 2% interest rate and a 10-year term. You would pay $5,208 in total interest over the life of the loan. But if you had a 3% interest rate, you would pay $7,936 in total interest over the life of the loan. That’s a difference of more than $2,000.
If you didn’t graduate from college: Discover
College Ave requires that you have graduated from college to qualify for student loan refinancing. If you didn’t get a degree, your best option is Discover. Discover lets you refinance as long as the loans were taken out while you were at least a part-time student.
Which company is our choice between College Ave and Discover for student loan refinancing?
Between College Ave and Discover, we have to recommend College Ave. College Ave doesn’t necessarily outshine Discover when it comes to interest rates but it is more accessible for borrowers because it lets them qualify with a cosigner.
Does College Ave or Discover have better customer reviews and ratings?
Before you choose a student loan provider, see who has the best customer reviews. Having a positive customer experience can have a huge impact on your experience. Read below to see which company has better reviews and more favorable ratings.
College Ave has a 2.6 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot, with only 59 reviews. This rating is lower than other notable student loan companies like ELFI.
Many of the negative reviews complained that it was difficult to receive a low interest rate. One reviewer wrote, “They advertise great rates, but when a person with an 800+ credit score and exceptional debt to income ratio gets the highest of posted rates, it’s a scam.”
Some of the positive reviews on Trustpilot say the funding process with College Ave was easy and relatively straightforward.
Discover has a 2 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot with about 135 reviews. However, many of those reviews are for Discover’s other financial products like their credit cards, bank accounts, or personal loans. It’s hard to determine how much of the rating is due to their handling of student loans and how much is related to their student loan refinancing offerings.
Author: Zina Kumok