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Discover Review
Discover is known for its rewards scheme, including cash rewards for maintaining good grades at school.
Discover Review
Discover is known for its rewards scheme, including cash rewards for maintaining good grades at school.
May 08, 2021 / Nadav Shemer
Discover Review
Discover is known for its rewards scheme, including cash rewards for maintaining good grades at school.
May 08, 2021 / Nadav Shemer

In a Nutshell

Discover Financial Services is more than just a major credit card provider, offering a range of financial services including private student loans. Discover is rigid on repayment terms but more flexible than rival lenders from other angles, such as acceptance of international students and the ease of applying for loans on a multi-year basis.


  • Interest-only repayment discount
  • Cash rewards for good grades
  • Accepts international students (with American co-signer)


  • No co-signer release option
  • Minimum 15-year repayment term

Discover at a Glance

Loan types: Undergraduate, graduate, parent, career

APRs: 2.99% - 13.99% variable*, 5.49% - 14.99% fixed*

Repayment terms: 15 years for undergraduates, 20 years for graduates

Loan amount: Up to 100% of cost of attendance

Origination fees: No

Loan Rates and Fees

Discover has highly competitive variable rates, although its fixed rates are significantly higher than the competition. The great thing about Discover is its transparency. On its website, it offers a full breakdown of APRs for all types of loans, even showing how MBA, health profession, and law loans vary. As with other lenders, the lowest rates are reserved for borrowers and co-signers with excellent credit. An automatic 0.25% rate discount applies when using autopay to make monthly payments. The rates below include autopay.

Loan type Variable APRs Fixed APRs
Undergraduate loans 1.24% - 11.99% 4.24% - 12.99%
Graduate loans 1.99% - 11.49% 4.49% - 11.19%
MBA loans 2.24% - 9.99% 4.49% - 10.59%
Health Professions loans 1.99% - 6.99% 4.49% - 7.74%
Law loans 1.99% - 8.59% 4.49% - 8.99%
Parent loans 3.99% - 12.99% 5.49% - 13.99%
Residency loans 5.24% - 7.34% 6.24% - 7.99%
Bar Exam loans 6.24% - 11.74% 6.99% - 12.49%

Repayment Options

The repayment period is 15 years for undergraduates and 20 years for graduates. Unlike rival student lenders, Discover doesn’t offer a choice of repayment terms. However, it does offer the following repayment options during school.

  • Interest-only. Interest-only monthly payments while you are in school and during your grace period.
  • Fixed. $25 monthly payments while you in school and during your grace period.
  • Deferred. Monthly payments not required until 6 months after you graduate or your enrolment drops below half-time. Note that interest will continue to accrue during the deferment period. If you are in school at least half-time, on active military duty, serving a public service organization or in a medical residency, you may qualify for a deferment.

Discounts and Rewards

Not surprisingly for a credit card giant, Discover offers generous rewards to student borrowers. These include:

  • Cash rewards for good grades. Get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) and receive a 1% cash-back reward for each new Discover student loan.
  • Interest-only repayment discount. Choose the interest-only in-school repayment loan option during the application process for a 0.35% interest rate discount on your loan.
  • Free scholarship search tool. Whether you’re in high school or enrolled in college, you can use Discover’s free online search tool to find college scholarships.

Application Process

It only takes around 15 minutes to apply to Discover and receive a credit decision. At the end, select your interest rate type and repayment option and add a co-signer, if needed. Then, sign and accept your loan documents. Following approval, Discover will approach your school for final loan confirmation. (This is standard for all lenders. It takes 5 days to 3 weeks, and there’s no need for you to submit any more documentation at this point).

To qualify for an undergraduate or graduate private student loan, you must:

  • Be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program at an eligible school;
  • Be seeking a degree;
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress as defined by your school;
  • Be a US citizen, permanent resident or international student (International students require a co-signer who is a US Citizen or permanent resident);
  • Be 16 years or older at the time you apply; and
  • Pass a credit check.

Discover offers a multi-year option for eligible borrowers. If eligible, you’ll find out if you are pre-qualified for future loans during the application process. Then, when you apply for your loan for the next academic year, you won’t have to fill out any paperwork and there won’t be any impact to your credit. To remain eligible for the multi-year option, you must re-apply with the same co-signer, attend the same school, and be working toward the same graduate degree.

Co-Signer Options

If you have no credit history or a low credit score, Discover recommends applying with a credit-worthy co-signer. According to Discover, applying with a creditworthy co-signer “may improve your likelihood for loan approval and may receive a lower interest rate.” Unfortunately, Discover doesn’t offer a co-signer release option for private student loans.

Customer Service

Discover’s website has everything you need to apply for a student loan. To speak to customer support, call 1-800-STUDENT (1-800-347-2683)

About Discover

Founded in 1985, Discover Financial Services is a publicly traded financial services company and the owner of Discover Bank, which offers checking and savings accounts, personal loans, home equity loans, student loans and credit cards. Discover began offering student loans in 2010 after the acquisition of Citigroup’s Student Loan Corporation and its rebranding as Discover Student Loans.


Discover offers enough unique points of difference to other lenders to make it an option worth considering. It offers generous rewards, flexible eligibility requirements, and a multi-year option that guarantees maximum convenience when applying for future academic years. Some borrowers may see the 15-year repayment term as a little restrictive, but if you can overlook this inconvenience then Discover is worth your consideration.


*APR ranges vary by loan type and the lowest available APR may be higher than what is shown here. Lowest APRs are available to the most creditworthy applicants, and include an interest-only ( repayment discount and Auto Debit Reward ( Applying with a creditworthy cosigner may improve your likelihood for loan approval and you may receive a lower interest rate.

The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan unless you are no longer eligible for one or more discounts. The variable interest rate and corresponding APR may increase over the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month CME Term SOFR index plus the applicable margin percentage less any applicable discounts. The 3-Month CME Term SOFR index value for variable interest rate loans is 2.00% as of July 1, 2022. 3-Month CME Term SOFR is administered by CME Group and is published by CME Group on its website ( Discover Student Loans may adjust the variable interest rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (each an “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month CME Term SOFR rate available for the day that is 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125), or 0%, whichever is greater. This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. If the 3-Month CME Term SOFR rate is less than zero percent, then the index will be deemed to be zero percent (as stated in the promissory note) for purposes of calculating your interest rate. Your variable interest rate (index + margin – applicable discounts) will not exceed 18%. Our lowest APRs are only available to applicants with the best credit. The APR will be determined after an application is submitted. It will be based on credit history, the selected repayment option and other factors, including a cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). If a student does not have an established credit history, the student may find it difficult to qualify for a private student loan on their own or receive the lowest advertised rate. Learn more here:

By Nadav Shemer
Nadav Shemer specializes in business, tech, and energy, with a background in financial journalism, hi-tech and startups. Nadav writes for He enjoys writing about the latest innovations in financial services and products.