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Student Loans

Discover Student Loans Review

Updated Dec 28, 2022   |   9 mins read

Key points:

  • Discover offers student loans to both undergraduate and graduate students as well as student loan refinancing.
  • Both cosigned and non-cosigned loans are available (if you qualify), but cosigner release is not an option.

In recent years, the skyrocketing cost of higher education has prompted more students to take out private student loans to help cover college expenses.

Discover Student Loans is one option among many when it comes to private student loans, but it offers competitive rates, terms, and benefits that borrowers will want to consider.

Below we’ll take a look at the interest rates, loan terms, and limits Discover Student Loans has to offer for undergraduate students, graduate students, and those looking to refinance existing student loans.

In this review:

What types of loans does Discover offer?

While most of us know Discover for its credit cards, Discover Student Loans is quietly one of the biggest private student loan lenders in the market.

Discover offers private student loan options for students in undergraduate, graduate, MBA, Law, Residency, Health Professions, and Bar Exam programs. It also offers to refinance student loans. We’ll take a closer look at your options below.

Discover in-school student loans

Discover Student Loans
on Discover’s website
Editorial Rating

Editorial Rating

What we like:

Cash rewards for good grades²

Fixed APR5.49% – 12.99%3
Variable APR4.12% – 11.87%3
Loan Terms15 or 20 years
Loan Amounts$1,000 to 100% of school-certified college costs1
See how Discover’s private student loan product stacks up with other options

Lowest rates shown include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments

Discover Undergraduate Student LoanDiscover Graduate Student LoanDiscover Health Professions Student LoanDiscover Bar Exam Loan
Loan amount$1,000100% of school-certified costs$1,000100% of school-certified costs$1,000100% of school-certified costs$1,000$16,000
Loan terms15 years20 years20 yearsUp to 20 years
Fixed APR4.49% – 12.39%4.99% – 12.39%4.99% – 9.74%7.74%12.74%
Variable APR1.49% – 11.49%2.74% – 11.99%3.74% – 9.37%6.37%11.37%
FeesOrigination: $0
Prepayment: $0
Late payment: $0
Origination: $0
Prepayment: $0
Late payment: $0
Origination: $0
Prepayment: $0
Late payment: $0
Monthly fee: $0
Origination: $0
Prepayment: $0
Late payment: $0
Grace period6 months9 months9 months9 months

Lowest rates shown include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments

Pros of Discover private student loans

  • Discover may cover up to 100% of your school-certified costs. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  • Discover’s undergraduate student loans have a repayment term of 15 years. This is longer than many lenders offer and graduate students get even more time to repay their loans.
  • Discover borrowers won’t pay origination, application, late payment, or prepayment fees.
  • Graduate students and those studying for the bar exam enjoy an extended grace period.
  • You can qualify for an interest rate reduction by setting up automatic payments. You can also get a rate reduction if you sign up for interest-only payments.
  • Borrowers can get a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan if they get a 3.0 or better GPA (or equivalent) in any academic term covered by the loan. The reward redemption period is limited.

Cons of Discover private student loans

  • Qualifying for a Discover student loan may be difficult for borrowers who have a low credit score, low income, or no cosigner. If you are in this situation, you may want to consider a student loan without a cosigner.
  • Many student loan lenders allow borrowers to release cosigners from their loans after a certain amount of on-time payments have been made. Discover does not currently offer this option.
  • Discover only makes approval decisions based on a hard credit check which will likely temporarily ding your score a few points.
  • Borrowers won’t enjoy any of the borrower protections provided by federal student loans, such as the potential for student loan forgiveness. So, you should always exhaust your federal options before turning to private student loans.


Private student loans from Discover are offered to students enrolled at least half-time in an eligible, accredited college or university. You can see if your school is eligible during the application process.

How to apply

You can apply for a loan easily on Discover’s website. To apply, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Social Security number (if applicable)
  • School information, including field of study and academic period of enrollment
  • Loan amount requested, as well as any financial aid you expect to receive
  • Financial information, including income, monthly mortgage/rent payments (if applicable)
  • Permanent address and temporary/in-school address

Additionally, if you’re applying with a cosigner, your cosigner will need to provide their:

  • Social Security number
  • Loan amount requested
  • Employment information
  • Financial information, including monthly mortgage/rent payments
  • Permanent address

Discover will review that information and send you a letter accepting or denying your application. If you’re accepted, it will also detail your total allowable loan amount and the repayment stipulations set forth in your agreement.

Discover Student Loan repayment options

Discover student loans have three repayment options:

  • Fixed payment plan, which requires a $25 loan payment while in school and during the grace period, then full principal and interest payments after school ends.
  • Deferred payment option in which payments are not required until six months after the borrower leaves at least part-time attendance status or graduates. For graduate loans, payments are deferred until nine months.
  • Interest-only repayment plan that allows borrowers to pay any interest charges as soon as the loan is funded, while they attend school.

Discover refinance & consolidation loans

Discover Student Loans
on Discover’s website
Editorial Rating

Editorial Rating

What we like:

Zero fees

Fixed APR5.74% – 8.49%5
Variable APR4.62% – 7.62%5
Loan Terms10 or 20 years
Loan Amounts$5,000$150,000
See how Discover’s student loan refinancing product stacks up with other options

Discover also offers consolidation or student loan refinancing for qualified borrowers. You can refinance and consolidate both federal and private student loans together into one new private loan.

Refinancing can be a smart move for those looking to make only one payment on their student loans and for those looking save on their loans through a lower interest rate.

Borrowers are more likely to get approved after they have started working a full-time job, as they likely have established credit scores and a history of income and payments on other debt.

Discover Refinance Student Loan
Loan amount$5,000$150,000
Loan terms10 – 20 years
Fixed APR2.99% – 6.49%
Variable APR2.99% – 6.24%
FeesOrigination: $0
Prepayment: $0
Late payment: $0

Pros of Discover Refinance Student Loans

  • Borrowers can extend their current loan repayment term up to 20 years.
  • You’ll pay no origination, late payment, or prepayment penalties.
  • You can consolidate all of your current federal and private loans into one, simple payment.
  • You can qualify for an interest rate reduction by setting up automatic payments.
  • Discover has a great reputation for excellent customer service.
  • While not available with all private lenders, Discover offers forbearance and loan forgiveness in the event of the primary borrower’s death or permanent disability.

Cons of Discover Refinance Student Loans

Repayment Options

Students can choose to refinance while still in school, during the grace period or after the grace period expires.

If you refinance while you are still in school or during your grace period, you will lose any remaining grace period on the loans, and you will begin making principal and interest payments according to your repayment term approximately 30 to 45 days after your loan is disbursed.


As with Discover’s private student loans, borrowers will need good credit for a refinance student loan.

You may be able to qualify with a lower credit score. However, the main benefit of refinancing is securing a more competitive interest rate, which may not be possible if aren’t able to demonstrate to Discover that you’ll keep up with payments on your new loan.

Applying for a Discover Refinance Student Loan

As with its private student loans, Discover allows you to easily apply on its website in a matter of minutes. You simply need to provide basic information about yourself, such as:

  • your name, address, and birth date
  • Your Social Security number
  • Details about your current loans that you want to consolidate
  • Your current status of employment and income

If you’re applying with a cosigner, they’ll need to provide the same information as well.

Alternatives to Discover’s college loan products

See what federal aid you qualify for

The first step to paying for college is seeing what kind of financial aid you are eligible for by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is free to file the FAFSA and the majority of students may qualify for some type of financial aid, including Pell Grants, work-study programs, and federal student loans.

Look for scholarships & grants

The next step is to look for scholarships and grants from nonprofits and other organizations. Organizations typically give scholarships and grants for academic merit, financial need, or outstanding performance in sports or an art.

Consider other private student loan & refinancing options

After you have exhausted all federal and state financial aid options, scholarships and grants, and college savings, the next step is to look for other private student loans.

You can compare Discover to other top lenders in our guide to the best private student loan lenders. Or if you’d like to refinance an existing loan, check out our guide to the best places to refinance student loans.

You can also check out our comparisons of Discover vs. Earnest or Discover vs. College Ave.

Lastly, you can also check out our resource with a list of student loan companies.