How Long Does It Take for a Student Loan to Process?

How long it takes for a student loan to process can vary depending on the type of loan, the lender, your creditworthiness, and other factors.

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It can take between 1-3 weeks for your loan to be processed and disbursed to your school. Your school will then apply the funds to your tuition and other school charges. If you have any money left over, the school will send you a refund check.

The Application Process

After you have completed the FAFSA form and it has been processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR will list your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This is the number that is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid.

You will then need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Interview before your loan can be processed. The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loans. The Entrance Interview is an online session that provides important information about your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

If you are a first-time borrower, your loan will not be disbursed until 30 days after the date of your enrollment. This allows you time to drop classes or make other adjustments to your schedule without having to immediately begin repaying your loans.

Types of Student Loans

There are two types of student loans: federal and private. Federal student loans are issued by the government and usually have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms than private student loans. Private student loans are issued by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.

The first step in applying for a student loan is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA must be completed annually and takes 5-7 days to process.

After the FAFSA has been processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR will list your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and will be used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. If you have been selected for verification, you will also need to submit additional documentation, such as tax returns or W-2 forms.

Once your FAFSA has been processed and all required documentation has been submitted, your loan will be disbursed to your school. Federal student loans are disbursed in two installments, while private student loans are typically disbursed in one lump sum.

The Disbursement Process

The first thing you need to understand is that there are two steps in the student loan process: disbursement and repayment. Disbursement is when the money from your loan is first paid out to your school on your behalf. Repayment is when you begin making payments back to your lender.

For federal student loans, the disbursement process can take up to two weeks. This is because the Department of Education (DOE) first has to review and approve your loan before it can be disbursed. Once your loan is approved, the DOE will send the money to your school, which will then apply it to your tuition and other school-related expenses.

If you’re taking out a private student loan, the disbursement process may be quicker since private lenders don’t have to go through the same approval process as the DOE. However, it’s still a good idea to give yourself at least a couple of weeks for the money to come through.

Once your loan has been disbursed, you’ll start accruing interest on it (with the exception of federal Perkins Loans, which don’t accrue interest while you’re in school). You may also have to start making payments immediately depending on your repayment plan. For most federal loans, payments won’t begin until after you’ve graduated or left school.

Factors That Affect Processing Time

There are a few factors that can affect how long it takes for a student loan to process. The first is the type of loan you’re applying for. Federal loans generally take longer to process than private loans, since there are more steps involved in the application process. Additionally, the time of year you apply can also affect processing time. Student loan volume is usually highest at the start of the school year, so lenders may take longer to process applications during that time.

If you’re interested in finding out how long it will take for your specific student loan to process, your best bet is to contact your lender directly. They will be able to give you an estimate based on their current processing times.


The answer to how long it takes for a student loan to process is that it depends on the lender, type of loan, and your individual circumstances. The best way to ensure a smooth and speedy process is to be prepared with all the required documentation and to stay in communication with your lender.

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