I financed the 1st out of 2 years of graduate school via Discover Student Loans. At the time my credit was pretty bad (670-ish), my cosigner had decent credit but I still got an abysmal 6.75%. My FICO has soared since then to 780 and I'm trying to figure out where to apply for my second year. I've had zero luck finding reviews or really any sort of comparison of private student loan rates online, I'm assuming most people don't really have to resort to them, but for me federal loans are not an option.
Discover's variable rate is 3.25 - 7.25% which is a better variable rate than Sallie Mae and really a better option than all other big banks. PenFed's rate is a flat LIBOR+5%, which currently is 5.31%. I didn't even consider PenFed last year as I knew how strict their credit requirements were. I've since become a member and I'm pretty sure I can qualify for their 5.31% loan.
My question is this - Discover's rate can potentially be lower this time around, as low as 3.25% but I'm not sure if even with the best credit anyone can quality for such a rate. I'm not even sure if someone with a 780 score can qualify for 5.31% with Discover. I think PenFed's rate is so low for the same reason their CC rates are so low - they are a good DoD CU. Just generally what would you recommend that I do? Do you think I could qualify for a lower rate than 5.31% with Discover this time around or do you think I should apply to PenFed, or can you recommend another private loan provider whose rates are consistently lower and is likely to give me a lower APR?
This is a really big decision as I'm talking about pretty significant amounts, so ANY input is greatly appreciated. Thanks!!