Student LoanStudy Guide

How long does it take to get a Student Loan?

Loan applications might take weeks or months to process. 


Before you apply, it’s crucial to know how long it takes to get a student loan from approval to distribution.

College costs can be reduced with the aid of student loans, but applying for them requires some forward work. 

It won’t be quick cash flow; you’ll need to apply, get accepted, and then have the loans disbursed. 

Federal student loans can take anything from a few days to several months to process, and it may take even longer for any remaining money to be paid to you. 

Private student loans can be quicker, but they don’t always come with the benefits that federal loans do. 

As a result, if you must borrow money to pay for education, you should only do so as a last resort. 

Lastly, it is crucial to know what kind of timeframe you might be facing if you think you’ll need student loans to pay for school.

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How long does it take to get Federal Student Loans?

Everybody has a varied timeline for receiving federal student loans. 

From the time of application to loan distribution, it might often take a few weeks to a few months. 

If you’re a first-time undergraduate borrower, the process may take longer. 

When that occurs, it’s possible that the school won’t be able to release student loan money until 30 days have passed since the beginning of the enrollment term. 

It’s possible that your school will advise you to apply for federal student loans at least four to six weeks before you actually need the money to pay for your tuition and fees. 

The length of time it takes to obtain federal student loans can be more easily estimated if you are aware of the phases in the procedure.

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1. Making a Federal Student Loan Application

To begin the procedure, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

The FAFSA application process might take up to an hour, but you can expedite it by gathering the necessary paperwork beforehand. 

You’ll need to supply information such as the following. 

  • Income
  • Assets 
  • Probable net worth 
  • How many people live in your home? 
  • Number of household members that are enrolled in school 

You must supply financial information for both yourself and your parents if you are a dependent student. 

Although a credit check is necessary for graduate PLUS loans and parent PLUS loans, you won’t need to disclose any information about your obligations or credit history.

Beginning October 1, you can submit your application electronically via 

The FAFSA must be submitted no later than June 30 of the subsequent year. 

You should be aware that states and universities may each set their own application deadlines. 

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Even though submitting your application early won’t guarantee expedited approval, it will give you first dibs on student loan funds.

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2. FAFSA Processing

Three to five days may pass before your FAFSA is processed if you submit it online. 

It may take seven to ten days for the FAFSA to be processed if you mail it in. 

A Student Aid Report will be provided to you following processing (SAR). 

Your Expected Family Contribution as well as information from your FAFSA are included in this report (EFC). 

Your eligibility for government help, such as Pell Grants and student loans, is determined by the EFC.

3. Grant of Financial Aid

The SAR is sent to your school, which examines it to decide how much financial assistance to provide. 

Depending on the school, this stage can take a different amount of time. But before you get a formal award letter, it can take a month or more. 

You can proceed to the following step if you choose to accept the award exactly as it is. 

You might elect to challenge your financial aid award, though, if the quantity of aid you receive is insufficient. 

Your school may need many weeks or even several months to process an appeal.

If you have inquiries about how long it will take to put together your award package or how to appeal, you can get in touch with the financial aid office at your school. 

Additionally, the institution ought to be able to suggest any other actions you might need to take to finish your application.

Read More: How is a Student Loan Different from a Scholarship?

4. Entrance Counseling

Undergraduate and graduate borrowers must complete admission counseling in order to be eligible for federal student loans, according to the Department of Education. 

Online counseling can be done in around 30 minutes. 

Parents who borrow PLUS loans have a poor credit history, and: 

Online credit counseling for PLUS can be finished in 20 to 30 minutes after obtaining an endorser or documenting extenuating circumstances that satisfy the U.S. Department of Education.

5. Promissory note

Signing the Master Promissory Note is the last step in acquiring federal student loans. 

You hereby acknowledge your obligation to repay federal student loans in accordance with the terms of this legally binding instrument. 

The Master Promissory Note signing procedure varies from school to school. 

To learn how to sign this paperwork in person or electronically, get in touch with the financial aid office at your institution.

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How long does it take to get a Federal Student Loan Disbursement?

The school will not release funds until you have finished entry counseling whether you are applying for undergraduate or graduate student loans. 

If you live on campus, the school will use your loan money initially for room and board as well as tuition and fees. 

Any money that is left over can be paid to you directly. 

Once more, if you’re a first-time borrower and first-time student, you could have to wait up to 30 days after the start of the term to receive a student loan return. 

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If your parents take out PLUS loans for you to cover the cost of undergraduate study, they can choose to have any remaining money given to you.

How long does it take to get Private Student Loans?

Because of their low, fixed interest rates and accommodating repayment schedules, federal loans are appealing. 

However, you can think about using private student loans to make up the difference if federal loans aren’t enough to meet your educational expenses. 

The length of time it takes to obtain a private student loan is then. 

It is possible that you will get approval much more quickly than with federal loans. 

Instead of waiting weeks, you can receive a judgment the same day or a few working days later.

Private student loans have no set application date, and money is normally sent to your school within 10 days of the start of the semester. 

However, that isn’t sufficient justification for taking out private loans. 

It’s crucial to take into account any fees and interest you might accrue from borrowing money from student lenders. 

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The length of time it may take to obtain private student loans is shown below;

1. Finish the loan application

Applying for loans online is simple thanks to private student lenders. 

You can submit an application once you’ve looked into your alternatives and decided on a lender. 

You’ll need the following information to apply: 

  • Enter your name, birthdate, and Social Security number.
  • Contact details 
  • Named institution and anticipated graduation date 
  • Estimated attendance expense 
  • Loan amount requested 
  • Household earnings 

The entire application procedure can be finished in under an hour. 

Remember that you must include the personal and financial information of any cosigners if you are applying for private student loans.

2. Application processing

The lender will check your application after you submit it to see whether you qualify for loans. 

Depending on the lender, it could take as little as a few minutes or as long as several business days to receive a decision. 

Before making a final approval decision, the lender can need further details from you, which could prolong the process. 

You can go to the next stage if your application is accepted. 

If your application for a private student loan is rejected, you can try again with a cosigner or hunt for another lender.

3. Loan approval

Your lender will provide you with all the documents you need to sign in order to take out private student loans if you are authorized for them. 

It might only take a few minutes for you to sign something electronically. 

Reviewing the loan’s terms before signing, though, is a smart idea to ensure you understand the amount you’re borrowing. 

It’s crucial to comprehend your obligation to pay back the loan, the start date for payments, and any potential consequences for missing payments or defaulting.

4. Certification from the School

Your university will need to certify the cash once you take private student loans. 

In essence, the lender and the institution collaborate to validate the specifics of your enrollment and tuition costs. 

It may take a few weeks to receive certification, but during that time you shouldn’t do anything until the lender or the school contacts you for more details.

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5. Loan disbursement

The final stage is the payout if your loans have been certified. 

The lender will now deliver the funds to your school so they can be used to cover your tuition and other related expenses.

The date of disbursement is determined by the school. 

As was already indicated, private student loans are frequently dispersed within 10 days after the start of the semester. 

To find out when the disbursement will occur, you can speak with your lender. 

How loan monies will be applied should be disclosed to you by the financial assistance department of your institution.

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Can I get an Update on my Student Loan Status?

By logging into, you may find out the status of any federal student loan applications you may have made. 

Your loans’ current status is shown on the “My FAFSA” page. 

You can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID to inquire about the status of your FAFSA (1-800-433-3243). 

You should get in touch with the financial aid office at your school if you want to find out when your loans will be paid out. 

The procedure for determining the status of private student loans can differ depending on the lender. 

For instance, you might be able to access your online account or get in touch with the lender via phone or email.

Furthermore, when loan money is expected to be disbursed after certification is complete, you’ll need to inquire with the institution.

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How Early Should I Submit an Application for a Student Loan?

In order to receive priority consideration, it is best to apply for student loans as soon as possible. 

Do not forget that the FAFSA must be completed and submitted between October 1 and June 30 in order to be considered for federal student loans. 

There is no need to wait since completing and submitting the FAFSA online may be done in under one hour. 

Private student loans have no set application deadline, but it’s still vital to consider when you’ll need cash. 

You might have to wait longer for approval if you submit your application during a busy time when many students are applying for private loans, for example. 

Before applying, you might need to give yourself additional time to find a reliable co-signer.

Start the application procedure at least a few months before you want to enroll in school. 

The FAFSA must be submitted by the end of June at the latest if tuition is due in August, and private student loan applications must be submitted by the same date.

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The FAFSA should be filed as soon as possible if you want to hasten the federal student loan application process. 

By selecting a lender who provides a quick or almost instant decision on approval, you may be able to reduce the amount of time it takes to process your private student loan application. 

If doing so makes you appear to a lender to be a more appealing borrower, applying with a creditworthy cosigner may also be helpful. 

Avoiding roadblocks in the loan application process also involves responding quickly to requests for documentation or further information.


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