Home Ask Student Aid FAQ How long does it take to get a student loan?

How long does it take to get a student loan?

There are two aspects to this question: How long does it take to apply for and be approved for a student loan? Once approved, how long does it take for you to get your student loan money? The answers may differ by lender and by the type of loan (federal vs. private).

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Time to Get a Federal Student Loan

With federal student loans, you must first file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Depending on when and how the FAFSA is filed, whether it is signed electronically and whether you provide a valid email address, it can take 3 days to 3 weeks for the FAFSA to be processed.

After the college financial aid office receives the FAFSA data, it will determine your financial aid eligibility. If you are determined eligible for student aid, it will prepare a financial aid award letter. The financial aid award letter for first-time, first-year students, sometimes called a financial aid notification, typically arrives in late March or early April. The financial aid award letter will include information about need-based federal student loans, such as the Direct Subsidized Loan. Some colleges also include information about non-need-based federal student loans with the award letter, such as the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Parent PLUS Loan. Some do not. However, all federal student loans are obtained through the college’s financial aid office, regardless of whether eligibility is based on demonstrated financial need.

Next, you will sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN), which covers a continuous period of enrollment of up to 10 years.

After you sign the MPN, the college will disburse the federal student loan funds. (Colleges draw down the student loan funds on a regular basis using the same Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) system as used for federal grants.) Colleges can disburse federal student loan funds within 10 days before the first day of classes. However, some colleges may be subject to a 30-day delay in disbursing federal student loan funds to borrowers who are first-time, first-year borrowers. These colleges may not disburse the federal student loan funds until 30 days after the first day of the payment period. After applying the funds to institutional charges, such as for tuition, fees, and campus-controlled room and board, the credit balance, if any, must be “refunded” to the student within 14 days.

Thus, depending on when you sign the MPN, it may take up several weeks for you to receive the money from a federal student loan.

Time to Get a Private Student Loan

Some private student loan programs advertise that they provide credit decisions in three minutes or less. In practice, this means that an ineligible borrower will be denied the loan in seconds, but final approval of an eligible borrower may take more time. The initial online approval may be followed by a secondary review to confirm private student loan eligibility.

Sallie Mae student loans offer competitive fixed and variable rates for undergraduates, graduate students and parents. Learn More

There are two main types of private student loans: school certified and direct to consumer. School certified loans require your college to confirm your eligibility and to approve of the loan amount. School certified loans are disbursed through the college. Direct-to-consumer loans do not involve any school certification and are paid directly to the borrower. Most private student loans are school certified. Few lenders offer direct-to-consumer loans anymore, despite their popularity, because these loans had a high fraud rate.

After loan approval, it can take 2 weeks to 2 months for the lender to send the loan proceeds to the college or to you, as applicable. If the money is sent directly to the college, it typically takes 1-2 weeks before the remaining money is refunded to you.

Thus, from the date the loan is approved, it can take 3-10 weeks for you to receive the student loan money from a private student loan.

Lender
Benefits

College Ave Student Loans

  • Competitive fixed and variable APRs starting at 2.84%1
  • Multiple repayment options including: full principal and interest, interest-only, deferred, and flat payment
  • Flexible payment terms ranging from 5, 8, 10, and 15 years2
  • Coverage up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance ($1,000 minimum)3
  • No origination, application and processing fees, no fees for early repayment
  • Apply online in 3 minutes and get an instant credit decision
Learn More »

Get the money you need for school quickly and at a great price.

  • Low rates, free to apply, and no disbursement fees
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction when you make payments by automatic debit1
  • Borrow up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance (minimum $1,000)3
  • The most repayment choices - and help making sense of them
  • No penalty for early repayment

We get it. You want to pay as little interest as possible and have monthly payments you can afford. That's why the College Ave Student Loan Product has low rates and multiple repayment options to help you manage the total cost of the loan.

College Ave Student Loan Full Terms and Information

Sallie Mae Student Loans

  • Variable Rates: 2.75% APR - 10.65% APR (lowest rate shown includes auto debit discount). Fixed rates also available.1
  • Choose from multiple repayment options, including no payments while in school1
  • Get 24/7, online help with our exclusive Study StarterSM benefit, which includes free access to 4 months of Chegg Study® and EasyBib® Plus and 30 minutes of Chegg® Tutors6
Learn More »

Sallie Mae® Smart Option Student Loan® for Undergraduate Students

When grants, scholarships, and federal aid are not enough, choose the Smart Option Student Loan® for Undergraduate Students. You can apply for the money you need for college, and the flexibility you want.

  • Competitive variable rate starting from 2.75% APR to 10.65% APR (Competitive fixed rates also available. Lowest rate shown includes auto debit discount.)1
  • No origination fee and no prepayment penalties2
  • Easy online application accessible on all devices
  • Get a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction while enrolled in and making monthly payments by automatic debit3
  • You can apply for the funds you need to cover all your school-certified expenses for the entire school year including tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, meals, travel, and even a laptop4
  • Applying with a cosigner may help you get a better rate
  • You may apply to release your cosigner from the loan after you graduate, make 12 on-time principal and interest payments and meet certain credit requirements5
Sallie Mae Student Loan Full Terms and Information

Discover® Student Loans

  • Cover up to 100% of your school-certified college costs including tuition, housing, books and more.1
  • Get a one-time cash reward for good grades.2
  • Variable rates: 2.80% - 11.37% APR3 (lowest rate shown includes an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments; lowest rates shown are for undergraduate loans)
  • Choose from in-school or deferred repayment options, and there is never a penalty for prepayment.
  • $0 fees for the life of your loan including no application, origination or late fees.
  • Apply now in 15 minutes or less.
Learn More »

Discover® Student Loans

  • Discover Student Loans provides options for Associate or Bachelor's degree programs at eligible colleges and for Masters and Doctoral degree candidates at eligible graduate schools.
  • You can borrow up to 100% of your school-certified costs (including tuition, housing, books and more). Aggregate loan limits apply.
  • Apply today! Choice of great fixed or variable interest rates.
  • Count on $0 fees, including application, origination or late fees.
  • You have the option to make either interest-only or $25 fixed, monthly payments while in school and during the grace period to lower the overall loan cost. However, you can also choose to defer payments, meaning that monthly payments are not required until after the grace period or enrollment drops below half-time.
  • Get a one-time cash reward for each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan when you get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent). Reward redemption period is limited. 2
  • 6-month grace period for undergraduate loans and 9-month grace period for graduate loans.
  • By adding a cosigner, you may improve your likelihood for loan approval and may lower your interest rate.
  • Applying online is quick and easy and our knowledgeable, US-based Student Loan Specialists are ready to help you anytime 24/7. Tools and information at DiscoverStudentLoans.com can help students and parents through each step of the process — from exploring financial aid to repaying student loans.
Discover Student Loan Full Terms and Information

CommonBond Student Loans

  • Competitive fixed & variable rates starting at 3.66%
  • Flexible 5, 10, or 15-year terms
  • Award-winning customer service every step of the way
Learn More »

CommonBond Private Student Loan

Student loans pay for college or graduate school at thousands of schools across the country

Get the help you need to pay for school with CommonBond. We’ve got your back with competitive rates, award-winning service, borrower protections, and multiple repayment options. No hidden fees, no double-digit APRs here. And we offer resources to help you make the right personal finance choices.

We’re on a mission to make student loans more affordable, more transparent, and easier to manage. We provide choices and support every step of the way, and take pride in being a partner on your educational journey. And the best part? With CommonBond, you’ll always receive a competitive rate. No double-digit interest rates here.

Here’s what you get when you choose CommonBond:

  • Flexibility: Since everyone's financial situation is different, we provide flexibility — so you can make the best decision for yourself –
    • Borrow up to 100% of your school's cost of attendance.
    • Loan terms of 5, 10, and 15 years, each available at both fixed and variable rates.
    • Multiple repayment options, from paying as you go while in school (in exchange for a lower rate) to completely postponing payments until you graduate.
  • Service: Our award-winning Care Team is available by phone, email, and live chat to answer any questions you have. Breathe easy — our experts know what you're going through!
  • Simplicity: With our easy online application, you can get approved in minutes. There are no pre-payment penalties and no hassles. No kidding.
  • Resources: We provide expert content, helpful webinars, and easy-to-use tools to help you understand the impact of your choices — so you can make the right decisions.
  • Social Promise: Your loan makes a difference. For every loan we fund we also fund the education of a child in need. We're the first — and only — lender to make that promise.
CommonBond Private Student Loan Full Terms and Information