How Long Does It Take To Process a Student Loan

If you’re entering college, and wondering how long does it take to process a student loan, you’re at the right place as we’ll be answering all your questions!

We’re often told how exciting and adventurous college life is! Oh, how amazing independence is without having to always ask for permission. But, is that all college life is all about? However as most of us are aware, the BIGGEST hurdle before entering college is getting a student loan first.

From how long does a loan take to process to where does one apply a student loan, there are one too many questions.

Fortunately, we’ll be helping you in answering these questions and further elaborating on how to go about it – we’ve got you covered.

Let’s begin.

Student Loan Processing Time

Before you go ahead and start searching on student loans and its application processing time, you need to know which loan you are going for. Federal student loan or a private student loan? Hence, the entire loan process thoroughly depends on what type of loan you intend to get.

The main difference between both the loan types is their application time and approval time. So yes, the length of time varies from one type of student loan to another. Let’s dive into both the types of loans in order for you to understand the disbursement of student loans.

Federal Student Loan

Federal Student Loans are generally known to be heavily funded by the country’s federal government. It’s best to apply for it as soon as possible as there are a large number of students applying for it once high school ends. First and foremost, you have to file the FAFSA. Applying for a federal student loan is much easier than what we’ve been told or heard.

But, how long does the loan process take? Well, it depends on how your FAFSA application is submitted. It typically takes around 3 weeks or less, to process your FAFSA application in which the organization will assemble and establish a financial aid package.

If you’ve managed to submit your application online, you will have your results within a week’s time. And if you submitted it via mail, you may have to wait for a little over 2 weeks.

This financial aid package is customized in accordance to your needs. You will have a better and much clearer understanding as to what aids are you eligible for and what are the exact loan amounts available to you, keeping your monetary needs in mind.

If you managed to agree upon the loan amount and its terms and conditions, you will be required to sign a Master Promissory Note. This note, specifies the terms to which you have agreed to and especially the repayment of the loan. Federal student loans are only disbursed once you’ve signed and agreed to the information in the Master Promissory Note.

Also, it is best to keep in mind that your college will be the one disbursing the loan per term. And if you’re a first time borrower, be prepared to expect a month or less delay in the disbursement of your student loan.

However, if you have even the slightest feeling that you may not qualify for the loan, you should still go ahead and submit the free application available for federal student aid. This may allow you to find out if you’re eligible for federal aids such as work-study and grants, which may result in you not requiring the number of loans you thought you might need.

Private Student Loan

As compared to the federal student loans, private student loans are loan lenders who are nowhere linked to the government and who basically, have different sets of standards when it comes to loan disbursement. Moreover, almost every private lender has their own way of dealing with student loan applications.

From payment plans to interest rates, each private lender deals with it differently. But, the real reason you’re here is to find out how long it will eventually take. Well, to be honest, there’s no fixed timeline as to when will your loan be approved but it typically takes 3 – 10 weeks for your private lender to send the applicable loan amount to your education institution.

It is important to read and understand your loan contract, be it a federal or private student loan, before eventually signing on it. But, it is exceptionally more important to clearly go through your loan contract when it comes to a private lender, Especially the loan repayment process, we’re sure you don’t want to come about any kind of surprise after signing it.

Moreover, private student loan lenders may not necessarily grant you the same 6 month grace period that a federal loan generally offers. Be mindful of the fact that your interest rate might increase over time, so ask as many questions as possible when applying for a private school loan.

Personal Loan Approval Process

Of course, being eligible for a federal or private school loan is one of the best options. But, let’s face it, it isn’t always the case. There have been cases where a student is not eligible for a federal school loan and is further unable to afford the interest rates for a private school loan. So, what’s the next option?

A personal loan. A personal loan is not only for education purposes, but is often applied for a number of reasons, such as debt and personal expenses. Despite the fact that personal loans have a number of uses, people are often more worried about how long it will take for the loan to be approved and the terms attached to it.

There is more than one option when it comes to applying for a personal loan, in fact there are 3. We’ll be explaining all of the 3 below, so read on.

Online Lenders

If you’ve sent in your college application, been approved and your term is starting, but you’re still short on cash – then working alongside an online lender to help you in taking out a personal loan, is definitely your best option. Also, online lenders are usually much easier to reach out to once the lender has agreed to pass the loan.

Moreover, online lenders are also the least time consuming option when you require a loan in the shortest period of time. It takes just a couple of minutes to fill the loan application, and if you already have the necessary documents on hand – it’s going to be much faster.

There are some online lenders who will look over your application immediately and even grant you the loan as quick as within one business day. Whereas, others might want to give it a few days to look over your application and even ask for further documents. But all in all, online lenders are still one of the fastest methods to get a personal student loan.

You can also easily set up a repayment timeline online. For example, Discover may be one the most reliable and fastest online lending platforms when it comes to personal student loans. Still, how long do Discover student loans take to process? Discover may take just a few business days to look over and even approve your student loan.

Moreover, it simply takes 15 minutes to apply for their loan and you’re on your way to getting an approval from them! However, as good as online lenders sound, not all of them can disburse the loan amount that fast. So, do your own due diligence when looking to apply for a personal student loan via online lenders.

Bank Loan

Bank loans are the most used means to apply for a personal loan, and a number of parents or individuals get student loans for their children or siblings through banks. If you already have an existing savings or current account in a particular bank, either federal or private – your application process will be over and done with much faster.

Bank loans typically take 1-7 business days to be approved. Moreover, you may even be able to receive a much higher amount of loan as compared to an online lender. You can either apply for it online, through their customer service or in-branch.

Do note that the disbursement and approval of the loan application varies from bank to bank, so you might have to wait for a longer time or be subjected to submitting further documents.

Credit Unions

Credit unions are a nonprofit organization, which in return makes the entire application and approval process less tedious. Another pro is that credit union organizations tend to generally have a lower interest as compared to banks.

But here’s the catch – you must be a member in order to do any sort of business there. However, both credit unions and banks rarely charge any kind of loan origination fees, which is a benefit for you.

Credit unions have the same disbursement timeline as banks, which is within 1-7 business days.


We’ve established that student loan is an essential part of every college attending student. College is something every child aspires to be a part of, even those who may not have the monetary means.

Our aim here was to let YOU know that you’re not alone as millions of students around the globe look for safe and reliable monetary help when wanting to send in their college applications.

So the answer to how long does it take to process a student loan, is subjective to what your means are and how you intend to pay it off. We hope this read shed light on all the possible options out there and their processing time.

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson was a few years out of school and took a job as a life insurance agent in California, selling coverage door-to-door for Prudential. The experience taught her about the technical components of insurance and its benefits for individuals and society, as well as the misunderstandings people often have about insurance. She has over ten years’ experience in the insurance industry, having worked as both a Broker and Underwriter, assisting clients across a broad range of industries. At Insurance Noon, Sarah diligently gathers all the required information and curates up pieces to provide meaningful insurance solutions. Her personal value proposition is to demonstrate a genuine interest in always adding value for clients.Her determined approach to guiding clients has turned her into a platinum adviser to multiple insurers.

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