Discover Student Loans: What You Should Know & Comparison to Other Private Loans

Discover Student Loans: What You Should Know & Comparison to Other Private Loans
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If you get good grades in school, Discover Student Loans is a great option. You’ll get rewards for your educational achievements, competitive interest rates and no fees. Discover’s student loans cover a wide range of education types, including undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, MBAs and medical residencies.

Discover Student Loans Perks

Private student loans can be a great supplement to any grants, scholarships and government loans you’re getting. But there’s no shortage of options when it comes to private student loans. Discover stands out for its fee-free business model and the discounts available to students.

Here are some of the top perks Discover Student Loans offers:

  • Students with a GPA of ​3.0​ or greater can earn a one-time cash reward on each loan they take through Discover. This includes incoming freshmen who had a high school GPA of at least ​3.0​.
  • When you graduate, you’ll be eligible for an additional one-time cash reward.
  • Coverage for up to ​100 percent​ of your school-certified college costs.
  • No application, loan origination or late fees.
  • Set up autopay and earn a reduction in your interest rate of ​0.25 percent​.
  • Access to a student loan specialist who can answer any questions you have.
  • Discount on your interest rate of ​0.35 percent​ if you choose the interest-only option and pay interest while you’re in school and during your grace period.

Discover Student Loans Terms

Discover student loans interest rates are competitive, but you still should compare their terms with other options. Here are the rates and credit score requirements for Discover Student Loans.

  • Your interest rate will depend on the strength of your credit score, with the highest scores getting the lowest rates. Discover Student Loans offers variable rates of ​1.12 percent-10.87 percent APR​ and fixed interest rates of ​4.24 percent-12.39 percent APR​.
  • You’ll likely need a credit score in the high “fair” range or above to qualify for a Discover Student Loan. You can easily add a co-signer if you’re still developing a credit history, though.
  • Terms of up to ​20 years​ are available. You can use Discover’s online calculator to find the repayment term that will work for you.

Discover Student Loans Options

Discover offers student loans for a wide range of educational expenses. You can qualify for loans for education-related expenses in the following areas:

  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate
  • Health profession programs
  • MBAs
  • Law school
  • Medical residencies
  • Bar exam preparation
  • Parent student loans
  • Student loan consolidations

Discover Student Loans Competitors

Once you’ve tapped out other forms of financial aid, shopping around for a private loan can be a great way to offset the costs. Borrowers have access to a wealth of information online, but here’s a list of some of Discover Student Loans’ top competitors to help you get started on your research.

1. SoFi Student Loans

SoFi Student Loans offers flexible repayment options and no-fee loans. You’ll also get a discount of ​0.25 percent​ if you set up automatic payments, as well as a discount on your application fee or a special rate if you’re a SoFi member.

Here are some of the benefits and terms you can expect with SoFi Student Loans.

  • Rates vary depending on the loan type and term, but variable rates for private student loans are capped at ​13.95 percent​. For undergraduate loans, rates range from ​4.23 to 11.26 percent​ for fixed-rate loans and ​1.88 to 11.66 percent​ for variable loans.
  • SoFi doesn’t share its minimum credit score requirement, but you can get prequalified. To qualify, you’ll have to be currently employed or have income from other sources. If not, you can use a co-signer that fits that criteria.
  • The minimum loan amount is ​$5,000​.

2. Ascent Student Loans

A co-signer is often necessary with student loans. If you’re just starting college, you likely are working to build a credit history, so you may not qualify on your credit score alone. One of the best things about Ascent Student Loans is its co-signer release feature. After ​24​ consecutive on-time loan payments, you can apply to release your co-signer from the loan.

Here are some of the benefits and terms you can expect with Ascent Student Loans.

  • Ascent prides itself on its flexible loan options, which means you’ll see a range of repayment terms, varying from ​five to 20 years​. Interest rate varies, as well. APRs can be anywhere from ​2.80 to 14.50 percent​, depending on whether you choose a fixed or variable rate and the type of program and education level you’re pursuing.
  • You’ll need at least a two-year credit history and a score of ​680​ or above to qualify for an Ascent Student Loan.
  • Ascent Student Loans issues loans in amounts ranging from ​$1,000 to $200,000​.
  • 1 percent​ cash back and discount for autopay.

3. Wells Fargo Private Student Loans

A ​six-month​ grace period sets Wells Fargo’s student loan feature apart from others. That means you’ll have ​six​ full months after graduation to start paying back the amount you borrowed. You can use your loan to pay for the cost of tuition, books, computers and housing, and there are no fees associated with the loan or application.

Here are the benefits and terms you need to know about Wells Fargo Private Student Loans:

  • Wells Fargo covers the cost of attendance, in addition to other educational expenses, with an interest rate of ​2.68 to 9.46 percent​ APR (variable).
  • Loans are available in amounts ranging from ​$1,000 to $120,000​.
  • Discounts for having prior Wells Fargo loans or qualifying Wells Fargo accounts. Autopay discount of ​0.25 percent​.

4. Sallie Mae Student Loans

Sallie Mae Student Loans boasts a ​90 percent​ approval rate for those with co-signers. You’ll also have access to your FICO score for free, letting you monitor how your financial habits are affecting your score.

Here are Sallie Mae’s terms:

  • Sallie Mae’s undergraduate loans range from ​1.25 to 11.10 percent​ APR for variable rates and ​4.25 to 12.35 percent​ for fixed.
  • You can also take a Sallie Mae loan for career training costs.
  • Autopay discount of ​0.25 percent​.

Comparison of Student Loans

​**APR**​ Terms Discounts Offered ​**Loan Types**​

Discover Student Loans

1.12 - 10.87 percent (Variable); 4.24 - 12.39 percent (Fixed)

5 to 20 years

Good student discount, discount for autopay

Undergraduate, Graduate, MBA, Residency, Law, Parent

SoFi

For undergraduates:

4.23 to 11.26 percent for fixed-rate loans and 1.88 and 11.66 percent for variable loans

5 to 15 years

Member discount, discount for autopay

Undergraduate, Graduate, MBA, Law, Parent

Ascent Student Loans

For undergraduates: 2.69 to 12.98 percent variable and 3.77 to 14.50 percent fixed

5 to 20 years

Discount for autopay

Undergraduate, Graduate, MBA, Law

Wells Fargo Private Student Loans

For undergraduates: 2.68 to 9.46 percent variable

5 to 20 years

Member discounts, discount for autopsy

Undergraduate, graduate, parent

Sallie Mae

For undergraduates: 1.25 to 11.10 percent APR for variable rates and 4.25 to 12.35 percent for fixed.    

5 to 20 years

Discount for autopay

Undergraduate, graduate, career development

Discover Student Loans has a higher interest rate range than competitors, but you can make up for that by taking advantage of the discount for good grades. You’ll also get a discount when you graduate. It’s important to shop around and compare the cost savings you’ll get with rewards to the cost savings you’ll enjoy by opting for a loan with a lower interest rate.