How to Get Student Loans for Your Advanced Degree Without a Cosigner

 June 23, 2020
How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

Student Loan Hero is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). Student Loan Hero does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

student loans without cosigner

We’ve got your back! Student Loan Hero is a completely free website 100% focused on helping student loan borrowers get the answers they need. Read more

How do we make money? It’s actually pretty simple. If you choose to check out and become a customer of any of the loan providers featured on our site, we get compensated for sending you their way. This helps pay for our amazing staff of writers (many of which are paying back student loans of their own!).

Bottom line: We’re here for you. So please learn all you can, email us with any questions, and feel free to visit or not visit any of the loan providers on our site. Read less

It’s not rocket science. The further you are in your academic career, the more financially independent you become.

That’s why just 63% of advanced-degree students have cosigners on their student loans. Compare that to 92% of undergraduate students who enjoy cosigner support, according to MeasureOne.

If you’re going to law school, seeking an MBA or considering other professional degrees, you might have already exhausted your financial aid opportunities. In the interest of independence, you could now be considering student loans without cosigner help. To give you some tips, let’s look at the following topics:

Federal student loans without cosigner requirements

Two federal loan options, which are accessible after completing the FAFSA, don’t require cosigners for graduate or professional students.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

You’re allotted $20,500 in Direct Unsubsidized Loans to put toward your graduate or professional degree. Your combined limit for your undergraduate and graduate education is $138,500. (At most, $65,500 of that amount can be in Direct Subsidized Loans from your undergraduate degree.)

Attending an MBA program could cost between $70,000 and $200,000, says private lender College Ave. So you can see why you might need help beyond unsubsidized loans.

If you maximize your unsubsidized loan allotment during graduate school, you could then resort to a Direct PLUS Loan.

Grad PLUS Loans

Like Direct Unsubsidized Loans, PLUS Loans don’t require a cosigner. But you would need to have better than an adverse credit history to qualify. That’s key among the facts to know before applying for PLUS Loans.

If your credit history fails to make the grade, you could find an endorser, which is the federal government’s equivalent of a cosigner.

But without a creditworthy cosigner, you might start considering your private student loan options.

Private student loans without a cosigner

If you took out a private loan for your undergraduate degree, you’re already familiar with applying for and securing a loan. You supply personal and financial information to lenders and shop for your best possible interest rate and loan terms.

The key difference is that when you were an undergrad, you likely rode the coattails of a cosigner. Lenders consider credit history, debt-to-income ratio and other factors when evaluating a borrower. Because you were likely a teenage or 20-something borrower without much of a credit history, your cosigner would have stood in for support.

Now that you have an undergraduate degree and possibly even some work experience, you might be able to secure a favorable loan from a private lender on your own. In fact, graduates are four times more likely than their younger peers to secure student loans without cosigner backing, according to Sallie Mae.

So if you were wondering how to get a student loan without a cosigner, now you know it’s possible.

Some lenders even offer student loans without cosigner backing specific to your degree type. For example, Sallie Mae offers loans for students seeking an MBA or pursuing a health profession, among other degrees.

Compare your federal and private student loan options

If you’re focused on student loans without cosigner requirements, you can receive one from the federal government or a private lender. Knowing which lender is best is the real challenge.

Your interest rate is a good place to start. Via the federal government, you’ll find fixed interest rates. If you’re borrowing for the 2020-2021 school year, Student Loan Hero has forecasted record-low federal loan interest rates, including:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans for graduate students: 4.30%
  • Direct Grad PLUS Loans: 5.30%

The federal government also applies a fee on these loans. For Direct Unsubsidized Loans disbursed before Oct. 1, 2019, that would be 1.062 percent. For Grad PLUS Loans lent before Oct. 1, 2020, 4.236% was the mark. The fee is taken out from your loan amount, making it important to apply for the right amount of funds.

Many private student loan companies listed on our site don’t charge loan origination fees. They also have competitive interest rates, though these could vary, depending on your creditworthiness.

Aside from offering variable interest rates — rates that can change over the life of your loan — private lenders might be more appealing for other reasons.

If you’re a dental school student, for example, you might have off-campus expenses. A private lender like Citizens Bank lends as much as $350,000 to students pursuing health professions. By comparison, a Direct PLUS Loan would only cover the cost of your school’s attendance.

What about repayment assistance options on federal and private student loans?

Even the best private lenders can’t match the federal government’s potential offer of loan forgiveness. With that said, there are nationally-, state- and employer-funded loan repayment assistance programs for lawyers, doctors and other health care professionals.

A final word on student loans without cosigner support

Being a graduate or professional student makes you independent in the eyes of the federal government. That status allows you to borrow more for your education than a dependent undergraduate. It’s one of many differences between undergraduate and graduate school loans.

But just because you could borrow from the government without a cosigner doesn’t mean you should do the same with a private lender.

If you find yourself Googling the words “student loans without cosigner bad credit,” for example, you might be better off relying on your federal loan options or finding a good cosigner. For example, you can explore ways to find a cosigner when your parents aren’t options.

But you might still be prioritizing private student loans without a cosigner and no credit history required. In that case, ensure that you get your lowest possible interest rate by improving your credit first.

Need a student loan?

Here are our top student loan lenders of 2022!
LenderVariable APREligibility 
2.49% – 13.85%1Undergraduate

Visit College Ave

2.55% – 11.44%2Undergraduate

Visit Earnest

3.25% – 13.59%3Undergraduate

Visit SallieMae

0.00% – 23.00%4Undergraduate

Visit Edly

3.25% – 9.69%6Undergraduate



Visit FundingU

* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.

1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community Bank, member FDIC, or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC.. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

  1. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.
  2. Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
  3. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 9/15/2022. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.

2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 3.47% APR to 13.03% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 2.80% APR to 11.69% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.

3 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

4 Important Disclosures for Edly.

Edly Disclosures

1. Loan Example:

  • Loans from $5,000 – $20,000
  • Example: $10,000 IBR Loan with a 7% gross income payment percentage for a Senior student making $65,000 annually throughout the life of the loan.
    • Payments deferred for the first 12 months during final year of education.
    • After which, $270 Monthly payment for 12 months.
    • Then $379 Monthly payment for 44 months.
    • Followed by one final payment of $137 for a total of $20,610 paid over the life of the loan.

About this example

The initial payment schedule is set upon receiving final terms and upon confirmation by your school of the loan amount. You may repay this loan at any time by paying an effective APR of 23%. The maximum amount you will pay is $22,500 (not including Late Fees and Returned Check Fees, if any). The maximum number of regularly scheduled payments you will make is 60. You will not pay more than 23% APR. No payment is required if your gross earned income is below $30,000 annually or if you lose your job and cannot find employment.

2. Edly Student IBR Loans are unsecured personal student loans issued by FinWise Bank, a Utah chartered commercial bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to eligibility criteria and review of creditworthiness and history. Terms and conditions apply.

5 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  • Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates are based on the 30-day average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) index, as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As of September 1, 2022, the 30-day average SOFR index is 2.23%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the SOFR index, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable interest rate is the greater of 21.00% or the prime rate plus 9.00%.
  • Fixed Rate Disclosure: Fixed rate ranges are based on applicable terms, level of degree, and presence of a co-signer.
  • Lowest Rate Disclosure: Lowest rates are only available for the most creditworthy applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, immediate repayment, a graduate or medical degree (where applicable), and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.


    Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.25%-10.35% (3.25% – 9.69% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.24% – 10.59% (4.24% – 9.93% APR). 

    Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.75%-9.90% (3.75% – 9.68% APR). Fixed interest rates range from  5.22% – 10.14% (5.22% – 9.91% APR). 

    Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.75%-9.35% (3.75% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 5.20% – 9.59% (5.20% – 9.39% APR).

    Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.75%-9.02% (3.75% -8.98% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 5.18% – 9.26% (5.18% – 9.22% APR). 

    Parent Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.25%-9.21% (3.25% – 9.21% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 3.96%-9.50% (3.96%-9.50% APR).

    Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 6.58%-11.72% (6.58% – 11.62% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.40% – 12.82% APR). 

    Medical Residency Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 5.67%-9.17% (5.67% – 8.76% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.99% – 10.49% (6.97% – 10.08% APR).

6 Important Disclosures for Funding U.

Funding U Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are made by Funding University which is a for-profit enterprise. Funding University is not affiliated with the school you are attending or any other learning institution. None of the information contained in Funding University’s website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by Funding University or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.