Pros / It can loan you up 100% of your college costs.
Cons / Cosigners can't ever be released from a Discover student loan.
Verdict / Though it has a high loan limit and can consolidate all of your other student loans, Discover Student Loans doesn't release cosigners and only offers a moderate length of forbearance.
If you're struggling to pay for college and you've exhausted scholarships and federal student loans, you're probably considering a private student loan. Discover Student Loans can loan you up to 100% of the costs to complete your education, but its 15-year term and lack of a cosigner release after a demonstrated payment history pushes it to seventh place in our review of the best private student loans.
In addition to its high loan limit, Discover Student Loans can consolidate your federal and private loans so you make one loan payment. This won't necessarily lower your payments, but it can make it easier to manage them. The private student loans offered by Discover have a repayment term of 15 years, which is average for the student loan providers we reviewed. However, other lenders like Citizens Bank and SunTrust let you choose between several repayment lengths.
One major downside to a student loan from Discover is the lack of a cosigner release. Because most student loan providers require a credit history in order for a student to qualify for a loan, most students need a cosigner. While the other student loan services on our list release the cosigner after a certain number of on-time, consecutive payments, Discover won't release a cosigner from the loan until the loan is paid in full.
Additionally, Discover only offers 12 months of forbearance during the length of its loans, which is a shorter period of time than several lenders we reviewed. While no one should plan on entering forbearance, longer forbearance is reassuring for many students.
On the plus side, Discover offers some cash back incentives and is one of the best student loans for cash back rewards. If you get a 3.0 grade point average or better during the semester or year in which you take out your student loan, Discover will reimburse you with a 1% cash back bonus – either with a check or credited against the cost of your loan. And if you graduate and show Discover your diploma, they’ll give you a 2% cash back award. These bonuses are in addition to a 0.25% discount on your interest rate when you schedule automatic loan payments from a checking or savings account.
Discover Student Loans also has a scholarship database on its website where you can find scholarships. There are definitely better scholarship search databases, but this one is good, and it's a nice gesture from Discover.
In terms of help and support, Discover offers phone and email support. It took the company more than two days to respond to our email inquiries, but their phone support was fast and helpful.
If you need a sizable student loan, Discover's $200,000 limit is among the highest we found. The cash back bonuses for good grades and graduation are also nice features. But the lack of a cosigner release and a loan term of 15 years makes it one of our least favorite student loan options.