Student Loans Without Cosigner

A student seeking loan may lack the required credit score which forms the basis for being eligible to be considered for a student loan. Having a cosigner is an option but we will be looking at how to obtain these student loans without the need of a cosigner

Updated by Martin Paul on 13th September 2019

Getting a student loan without a cosigner is usually difficult, however, it is possible. Some private student loan agencies and even the Federal student loan offer no cosigner student loans.

Whenever an individual seeks credit or a loan but lacks the required credit score because of a low or no income, a cosigner is usually required. Due to the rise in the costs of higher education in the U.S, students usually involve their parents or family in cosigning for a student loan.

However, it is quite risky to cosign a student loan for a current or an incoming college student and some parents are not eligible to cosign a student loan on behalf of their child.

Facts about co-signing

Recent studies have shown that nearly 90 percent of all private student loans are cosigned. The availability of a parent or guardian with the required credit score can help get your loan approved and it might as well lower the interest rate on that particular loan – which would definitely save you some money over the lifetime of the loan.

What happens to those who can’t get a cosigner or do not want one for a student loan? Fortunately, there are a number of options out there to be considered.

List of contents

Federal student loans without a cosigner

Applying for financial aid is a necessity that helps the student in maximizing some benefits of the federal financial aid before considering the private student loans. Luckily, the U.S. Education Department does offer a list of financial aid options for students. Financial aid may include scholarships, grants, and federal student loans. Different options should be provided and the best must be considered for the federal student loan and implemented before going for the private student loans.

There are many advantages when it comes to the federal student loan. One of them is the chance for a subsidized interest during school, another is the possibility of loan forgiveness as well as an income-driven repayment plan.

There are many options too to be considered when going for the federal financial aid option.


One benefit of the federal financial aid is that it does not necessarily require a cosigner to be eligible. A few of the federal student loans you could consider are the Stafford Loans and the Direct PLUS Loans. Here’s a quick overview of each of these student loans.

Stafford Loan

Ideally, the Stafford Loans (or Direct Loans) which are made available to graduate and undergraduate students are of two types.

1 - Subsidized Stafford loans  This is a Federal loan that is awarded solely on the basis of financial necessity and need for it, and the benefit of subsidized interest rates goes with it. The federal government bears the responsibility of paying for the accrued interest while the student is in school and during the deferment period.

2 - Unsubsidized Stafford loans

This kind of federal loan is not provided on a need-based. This means that any student can easily receive this aid upon submission of the FAFSA form. However, since these loans are unsubsidized, the responsibility of paying any interest which is accumulated while in school and during deferment lies on the student.

For the academic year of 2018/2019, the interest rate on subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans fixed by the Federal government and issued after July 1, 2018, was at a rate of 5.05% for undergraduates students. Graduate students do pay a higher interest rate of about 6.6% for the Stafford or the Direct unsubsidized loans.

Direct PLUS Loans

A PLUS Loan is a loan that is offered to the parent of any student who is enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program at post-secondary institutions or graduate and professional students at eligible post-secondary institutions. The PLUS Loan has a higher interest rate of 7.6% for student loans issued after July 1, 2018, compared to all other federal student loans.

The PLUS Loan rates do offer a better rate than private student loan rates. PLUS Loans are usually issued without the availability or need of a guarantor and creditworthiness isn't always considered. Which means that there is no background credit check. Instead, a parent using the PLUS Loan must have a good credit history that is free from certain adverse events.

Private student loans without a cosigner

When compared to the federal student financial aid, private student loans are usually offered through non-government banks and lenders. There are quite a number of lenders and while each lender has its uniquely different underwriting and approval criteria, there tend to exist a lot of crossovers. There are some requirements to be met when it comes to getting approved for a private student loan.

In general, the following requirements must be met in order to get approved for a private student loan without a cosigner:

Have a good credit history

Most private student loan companies and lenders seek those borrowers who have a good credit score ranging from 660 and above. For students with little or no credit history at all, this might be quite a huge challenge since having no credit history automatically disqualifies you to be considered for a private educational loan without a cosigner.

Students can start building credit as soon as possible before entering school. Some banks nowadays offer "student credit cards" with very low spending power. If you pay your bill on time each month, credits can be slowly built.

How to build your credit history

Building credit isn't the fastest solution and shouldn't be considered as an optimal solution if you are planning on starting school in the current year since you may need some time to accomplish this. But nonetheless, with a firm and solid credit history, you’ll be able to qualify for different loans on your own.

This process may take two or more years which is too small if you're hoping to get the world's highest credit score because a key factor that contributes to most scores is the amount of time you’ve been borrowing. But it should be a bit sufficient.  

Start to borrow responsibly. Even if you can’t borrow the amount needed right away for school, you could be eligible for a small loan or for obtaining a credit card. Having a part-time job could also help if you are able to deposit up to $500 at any of the credit union. Demanding for a cash-secured loan or a secured credit card are other options. Any among both will help you establish credit some credits.

1. Have a good income

Most private banks these days are willing to lend to those borrowers who earn at least $25,000 annually. Summer jobs also count as income, but most students don't earn that much during summer or academic year jobs.

2. Be a U.S. Citizen

Unfortunately, most private financing institutions are not willing to offer student financing without cosigner to non-citizens of U.S.

A higher-than-average interest rate is levied on those borrowers who seek financing from private institutions without a guarantor. Sometimes, private student loan lenders offer a fixed or variable interest rate above 10% to those borrowers who apply without a cosigner. They do this to protect themselves from loss when the student borrow enters default. They sometimes justify their actions by stating that a student with no cosigner is much more riskier to lend to.

It is, therefore, necessary to choose a lender who offers the lowest interest rates before applying for a private student loan without a cosigner

3. Use collateral

Sometimes properties can be used for obtaining loans. If you own an automobile, for example, this can be used as collateral for obtaining a personal loan.

This money can then be used for paying tuition fees and other college costs. You may not get enough to fund your entire education, but this may help you get quite a few classes under your belt as you set out to work on building your credit.

4. Drawback

Collateral loans are quite expensive and risky and must be a final choice if there’s no other option available and you want to do whatever it takes to graduate. If you wish to go down this path, be sure to borrow only from mainstream institutions like credit unions or banks since they’re more likely to offer multi-year repayment, and be sure to pay the debt off early if possible.

Private lenders offering no cosigner student loans

An advantage of having a cosigner with a good credit score is that it can really help you in securing a much lower interest rate. If you don’t have access to a cosigner, your interest rates can potentially be higher because lenders would view you as more of a risk. However, getting a private loan with no cosigner is possible.

Here are few private lenders who offer non-traditional loans to borrowers without a cosigner.

1. FundingU

FundingU is a private student loan company that specializes in lending to those students who don’t have a cosigner. They ignore the credit score or income when determining eligibility. FundingU focuses on things like class hours completed, major, internship experience and past academic record.

2. Ascent

Ascent Independent is a loan that is given to independent students, either college (juniors or seniors) or graduates who do not have a cosigner. Applicants are expected to fulfill some requirements laid out such as good credits, the school must be accredited school, loan amount should be considerate, and other factors in order to get approved for a student loan without a cosigner under Ascent.

3. Citizens Bank

You may be eligible for a student loan from citizens bank even if you do not have a cosigner but you stand a better chance of getting approved if you have the required credit score as well as a minimum income of $12,000. They also offer a cosigner release option after 36 months.

4. Commerce Bank

A student may be eligible for a commerce bank loan even without a cosigner but having a cosigner increases your chances. For those borrowers who may not have a guarantor, a cosigner release may be allowed once the borrower is able to meet up to 12 on-time payments and meets credit requirements.

5. LendKey

LendKey does not charge any loan application fees, and borrowers can also apply for loans through its online web portal. Since LendKey’s loans are funded by community banks and credit unions, they tend to charge lower rates. But it ultimately depends on the individual bank or credit union that approves the loan. However, the applicant should expect to show no less than three years of credit history and some required minimum income for them to be considered for a loan without a cosigner.

6. Sixup

Sixup if one of the private institutions that offer student loans without the need of a cosigner to help bridge the gap between financial aid and cost of attendance. The borrowers do not require credit history, but it would be considered if they do have one. And in some cases, a cosigner may be required.

Learn more on student loans

Drawbacks of student loans without co-signer

It is quite possible to apply for a private loan without the availability of a cosigner as we've clearly seen. However, there are few disadvantages involved in getting a loan without one. Since college is getting more expensive as the year passes, the federal financing limits don’t seem to be keeping up with this change. Therefore, federal loan options are the best options to be considered when it comes to student loans, but the maximum amount offered cannot sustain everyone.

Private loans can also be quite tricky. As stated before, the difficulty in getting approved, and the interest rates demanded are often very high. However, the high-interest rate demanded when a cosigner isn't involved would be relatively high.

If you are able to graduate successfully and thereon get a good job with a good income, you may be eligible for a lower refinance rate. A refinanced student loan or a consolidation loan is offered by private lenders to replace your old loans. At the end of the day, a new student loan is left pending and a new – ideally lower – interest rate too.

Applying without the help of a cosigner

To apply for a student loan without a cosigner, a free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be submitted online and offline. Many colleges and universities require filling the FAFSA form, but either way, you must file the FAFSA in order to be considered for financial aid.

A guarantor is needed for the federal financial aid and you must submit the FAFSA. It generally takes about 22 minutes for completion and this can be done online.

Understand the terms and conditions

When applying for a private student loan without a cosigner, it is necessary to consider the best options. Since there are many student loan lending companies in the industry and each offers different rates and loan terms, it is quite advisable to carefully understand their terms as well as their conditions.

Finally, borrowing a private student loan without a cosigner affects your chances of getting that loan approved. Lowering your borrow amount might make you stand a better chance of getting approved for the requested private student loan.


  What loans can a student get without a cosigner?

Thankfully, you still have options to get private student loans without a cosigner. For federal student loans, you never need a co-signer, so you don't need to worry about them. For private loans, you need to have a good credit score, which many high school graduates don't have.

  Can I get a student loan without my parents?

Unfortunately, while some students can qualify for private student loans without a co-signer if they have income and good credit, most students will need to rely on parental help to qualify for private loans. Still, getting help from your parents isn't always an option.

  How can I pay for college without a cosigner?

These loans normally don't require a credit check or a cosigner, making them the easiest student loans to obtain without a cosigner. You simply need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  Can a student apply for FAFSA without parents?

Students can't submit the FAFSA without their parents' information. For financial aid purposes, the U.S. Department of Education classifies students as either “dependent” or “independent” of their parents. Independent students file their FAFSA without their parent's financial information.

  Does Sallie Mae need a cosigner?

Yes. A cosigner is responsible for a student loan until it's paid in full. However, with some Sallie Mae loans, like the Smart Option Student Loan, the borrower can apply to have their cosigner released after meeting certain requirements.