How Long Does It Take to Get a Student Loan?

Abigail Eun
Abigail Eun

Abigail Eun is a freelance writer and personal finance expert. Through diligent research and continuous learning, she has honed her knowledge in budgeting, saving, investing, and debt management. Abigail is passionate about helping people get their finances in order. She believes that everyone should have access to the information they need to make sound financial decisions. Her goal is to provide clear and concise information that is easy to understand.

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December 15, 2022

If you need to take out student loans to pay for educational costs, you’re not alone. With rising college prices, it’s no surprise that one in seven Americans currently hold student loan debt. 

If you’re a first-time borrower, you may be wondering, “How long does it take to get a student loan after submitting an application?” 

While the process of loan disbursement differs between private and federal loans, it’s useful to know the general timeline of what you should expect. 

How Long Does it Take to Get a Private Student Loan?

Generally, it takes around two to three weeks for funds to be disbursed after you submit your application. In the worst-case scenario, however, it may take up to two to three months if there are any delays. 

It’s important to note that turnaround times for private loans vary by lender. You’ll want to contact your lender directly for a definitive answer. 

How Long Does it Take to Get a Federal Student Loan?

After submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it will take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for the funds to be disbursed to your school’s bursar. 

The FAFSA is an application that gauges how much federal aid you qualify for by asking you to fill in information about your family’s financial history. The application opens every year on October 1st and closes on June 30th. 

After your FAFSA is processed, your school will use the information to create a financial aid package for you. You should receive your package, which includes any federal loans you qualify for, around 3 weeks after submitting the FAFSA. If you choose to accept your aid amount, the funds will be disbursed accordingly. 

If there are leftover funds after your loans are used to pay off tuition, your college will most likely refund you the remaining balance after a few weeks. Note that some schools have a 30-day delay for first-time borrowers. 

How to Get Student Loans Faster

If you want to speed up the process of receiving your loan money, try out these quick tips. 

Use Sparrow

If you want to check what private loans you qualify for without having to send out multiple applications, consider using Sparrow. If you submit a free application with us, you can see all the private loans you prequalify for across 15+ different lenders.

In addition to comparing your options across projected totals and interest rates, you can see how different cosigners impact your loan terms. When using Sparrow, your credit score will not be impacted and you do not have to pay any fees.

Make Sure Your Application is Completely Filled Out

Before hitting submit on your loan applications, be sure to go back and triple-check that the application is completely filled out with accurate, up-to-date information. These couple of minutes will save you more time in the long run. 

With missing information, the lender will be unable to process your application and will have to contact you for any missing information. This can delay the process significantly.

Be Responsive to Emails 

Keep an eye on your emails after you submit your loan applications. If the lender(s) contacts you, you’ll want to respond as quickly as possible. After all, the quicker they have all the information they need, the quicker your loan will be processed. 

However, it is important to be alert about potential student loan scams. Your lender will never ask you to send any sensitive information over email or charge you an upfront fee. If you are contacted by a student loan scam, contact the actual lender immediately to report the incident.

How to Check the Status of Your Loan Application

For Federal Loans: Log into the account you created to submit your FAFSA to check the status of your federal loans.

For Private Loans: Contact the lender directly to check the status of your application. Depending on the lender, you will be able to check the status of your private loans online, by speaking with a worker on the phone, or via online chat.

Closing Thoughts From the Nest

The answer to the question, “How long does it take to get a student loan?,” varies between loan types and loan servicers. However, in general, expect at least 2-3 weeks minimum for your loans to be processed. If you don’t receive your loans for longer than expected, be sure to contact your loan servicer and/or your school’s student aid office.

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