If you’re worried about paying for your next or last year of graduate school, you might revisit the world of student loans. After all, a loan could deliver money straight to your school before you run the risk of missing a single class.
The difference now that you’re in grad school is that you might not have (or need) a creditworthy cosigner for a private loan.
Student loans without cosigner support could help pay for your next degree. But you’ll want to brush up on your options before signing on the dotted line.
Federal student loans without cosigner requirements
If you’re looking at student loans without cosigner requirements, you might have already maximized your federal loan allotment. Or maybe you’re just looking for better loan terms than those offered by the government. Whatever the case, you could benefit from a quick refresher on your federal loan options.
As an independent student, you can take out up to $20,500 worth of Direct Unsubsidized Loans per year. You’re also limited to $138,500 total when you include any federal loans you took out to pay for your undergraduate degree.
Those restrictions might make Direct PLUS Loans appealing despite the fact they’re tagged with higher interest rates and origination fees.
The good news is that PLUS Loans allow you to borrow any amount up to the cost of your program. The bad news is that an adverse credit history would require you to document special circumstances or find a cosigner. The Department of Education uses the word “endorser.”
If you’re prioritizing student loans without cosigners, that might erase PLUS Loans from your list of options.
Private student loans without cosigner requirements
It’s also possible that you’re looking for student loans without cosigner support because your previous cosigner can’t (or won’t) cosign a new loan. Whatever your situation, you do have private loan options.
There are many benefits of going to a private lender. For one, you save on the loan origination fees of PLUS Loans. Citizens Bank, for example, claims that their average graduate student borrower saves $948 on fees.
Graduate student loans from private lenders also come with lower interest rates than those offered to undergraduates. For example, at Sallie Mae in January 2018, the highest interest rate offered to undergraduates was 11.85%. Meanwhile, the highest rate presented to grad students was 8.56%.
But there’s a hard truth. Without a cosigner, you’re less likely to score a rate at the bottom of the range.
How to find a private student loan without cosigner support
Some top lenders, including CommonBond, require you to have a cosigner for your graduate school loan. Others, such as Sallie Mae, point out that graduate students with good credit are four times more likely than an undergraduate student to qualify for a loan on their own.
So, the first step in shopping around is to identify reputable lenders that offer private student loans to grad students without requiring cosigners.
Then you can focus on making yourself the best possible applicant. For most lenders, you’ll need to meet some basic criteria. That’ll include handing over a valid ID and being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
The application itself will be decided on primarily by your credit history and your debt-to-income ratio. Those two factors will also shape the interest rate that you’re quoted.
If you have a bachelor’s degree, some job experience, and a superior credit score, you’re well-positioned. We estimate that you increase your chances of qualifying with top lenders when your credit score reaches 690. Once you’re in the 720-and-above range, you’re more likely to secure a low rate.
But maybe you haven’t had time to find employment or build your credit into those ranges. If you’re anything like the average grad student, you probably already have student loan debt, too.
Be wary of no-credit student loans without a cosigner
During your search, you might come across private student loans without cosigner requirements and no credit history needed.
That might sound appealing at first. But remember that in the world of private loans, your credit history is like currency. It helps you (or doesn’t) get a favorable interest rate and the loan terms that fit your needs.
Without your credit (or a cosigner’s) to consider, there’s no way for less reputable lenders to judge how likely you are to repay your loan. As a result, you might be stuck with some of the consequences of no-credit loans:
- A higher interest rate
- A shorter repayment term
- A lack of repayment protections
Ideally, you’ll find a private loan that matches all of your needs, from how much you need to borrow to how you repay it.
Say you have another couple years of grad school ahead of you, for example. You might hold out for a loan that allows you to defer payments until after graduation. You might also seek out lenders that offer forbearance. It could protect you if the job you have lined up after school doesn’t pan out.
If you don’t have the credit score needed for a private student loan with these friendlier terms, return to the drawing board. After all, you’ll want to avoid student loans without cosigner requirements that accept bad credit. To do so, consider spending the time necessary to improve your credit score. You might even rethink enlisting a cosigner.
Find the right graduate student loan for you
If you made it this far, you’ve already considered all the ways to get financial aid for grad school. You’re also done wondering, “Is there any way to get a student loan without a cosigner?” Now you know it’s possible.
Taking out a federal or private student loan without cosigner help probably wasn’t your top preference. But if you find the right loan from the right lender, it will do more than cover the cost of your next year of grad school. It will also set you up for a successful repayment once you receive your diploma.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or Nationwide Bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* 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.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.25% – 13.25%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.07% – 12.78%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.62% – 11.47%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.38% – 13.38%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.85% – 6.99%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.95% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.48% – 12.35%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|