College Students: What to Do Before Borrowing Loans for Without a Cosigner

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 appears 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: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

student loans without cosigner
Logo

OUR PROMISE TO YOU: 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


Rates starting at 1.04%

1.04% to 11.98% 1
VARIABLE APR

Visit Lender

1.13% to 11.23% 2
VARIABLE APR

Visit Lender

3.84% to 9.40% 3
VARIABLE APR

Visit Lender

  • Variable APR

Breakups are never easy, especially if it’s with your student loan cosigner.

When your cosigner helped you take out your first private student loan for college, you probably thought they were in it for the long haul. Now you’ve learned that your cosigner is unable or unwilling to help you borrow again.

This might seem like a major setback, but you can overcome it. In fact, there are plenty of ways to pay for school, including loans for college students without cosigner support. Here’s how you can get started.

1. Fill out the FAFSA
2. Search for scholarships
3. Trim your education costs
4. Reconsider your federal loan options
5. Find a new cosigner for private loans
6. Consider student loans without cosigner support
● Plus: How did you end up without a cosigner?

1. Fill out the FAFSA

You might have leaned on private student loans to cover college costs. The most important thing to do now is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Without the FAFSA, you close the door on federal loans, governmental grants and work-study opportunities. Those options could come in handy as you overcome the loss of your cosigner.

Student Loan Rates are Rising!

Apply for a private student loan and lock in your rate before rates get any higher.

GET MY RATES

2. Search for scholarships

You might think scholarships are reserved for high school seniors, but that’s just one of the most common myths about scholarships.

There are plenty of scholarships for college students. Prioritize applications that are meant for students of your experience level and field of study.

There are many ways to win scholarships while attending college, including:

  • Your school’s financial aid office
  • Your employer
  • Contests
  • Local and national foundations

Think about how your major area of study, minor in-school accomplishments, or even your part-time job might help you score scholarships.

3. Trim your education costs

Before you consider borrowing more money without a cosigner on board, try to trim your college costs. That might offset your need for student loans for college students without cosigner support.

Drastic measures include transferring to a more affordable school, even a community college, or taking time off to save for your cost of attendance. But there are also small ways to save, such as:

Despite adopting these measures, you might still need to take out loans for college students without cosigner backing. But you’ll at least be able to lower your potential debt.

4. Reconsider your federal loan options

If you previously relied on private student loans for college, you probably had a good reason. Maybe you scored a significantly lower interest rate with a private loan company, thanks to your former cosigner.

But now that you’re considering loans for college students without cosigner requirements, there’s no better place to look than the federal government. Direct subsidized loans and direct unsubsidized loans for undergraduates don’t require a cosigner. You borrow the loans in your name, and it’s your sole responsibility to repay them.

Federal student loans come with features a private lender likely can’t match. For example, you can switch your repayment plan for a federal loan to an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, which limits your monthly payments to a percentage of your income, after you leave school.

5. Find a new cosigner for private loans

Perhaps you worked with a private loan company in the past because you maxed out your federal student loan allotment and needed to fill in the gaps.

Whatever the case, understand that you could find a new cosigner to replace your old one. If your mom or dad cosigned your previous loan, you might find a cosigner from a different branch of your family tree. A grandparent or other relative could stand in this time around.

But your cosigner doesn’t have to be a family member — it could be a friend. Many private student loan companies only require your cosigner to be creditworthy and have a positive debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Ask your lender about its specific criteria before putting your next cosigner through the application process.

6. Consider loans for college students without cosigner help

If a private lender is best for your situation, be aware that it’s possible to take out education loans for college students without cosigner support.

About 91% of undergraduate private student loans had a cosigner in the 2020-2021 academic year, according to a report from MeasureOne. This high percentage is likely because most college students don’t have the credit history and regular income to qualify for private student loans on their own.

You could be in the 9% minority, however. Not all lenders require undergraduate borrowers to have a cosigner. And if you have a credit score near or above 700 and earn a regular paycheck, you could likely earn a private loan approval on your own at most lenders.

Ensure you understand the pros and cons of loans for college students without cosigner assistance. Without the built-in support of a cosigner, you’ll be responsible solely for repayment. So, don’t borrow more than you can repay once you leave school.

Top lenders offering private loans for college students without cosigners

The table below has some private student loan lenders offering loans with no cosigner, as of March 5, 2021.

Stated eligibility criteriaNote that …
AscentTwo years of credit history, $24,000 minimum incomeIf you don’t meet those requirements, you could still qualify for an Ascent income-share agreement-like loan
Citizens BankGood credit, no prior student loan defaultNoncitizens and non-permanent residents have to find a cosigner
College AveCredit score of 660 or aboveIf you’re unsure if you can qualify on your own, try the lender’s prequalification tool
DiscoverGood creditInternational students are required to have a cosigner
EarnestCredit score of at least 650, annual income of $35,000-plus and three years of credit historyNon-citizen students without permanent resident status (who have a Social Security number) are eligible with a cosigner
Education Loan FinanceCredit score of at least 680, annual income of $35,000-plus and three years of credit historyELFI has a minimum loan amount of $10,000
Funding UniversityGPA and school graduate rates vary by your year in the degree programYour academic success, job experience and projected postgraduate income determine the fate of your loan application
MPower FinancingAttend a degree program in the U.S. or Canada and be within two years of graduationYour future earning potential, not your credit score, is used to determine your eligibility
PNC“Satisfactory” credit, meet unspecified debt-to-income (DTI) criteriaStudents must be citizens or permanent residents living in the U.S. for at least two years, enrolled at least half time; cosigner required for 17-year-olds
Prodigy FinanceAttend an eligible graduate school in an eligible stateInternational students and American students studying abroad are eligible to borrow
SoFiGood creditHalf-time enrollment is required for all SoFi loans

How did you end up without a cosigner?

Student loan cosigners carry a great deal of risk.

Your cosigner agrees to be responsible for the repayment of your loan if you fail to keep it up. They also put their credit history on the line, limiting their own ability to borrow money.

That’s why it might not be wise to have your parents cosign a loan. It could harm your relationship with them or put the family’s finances at risk.

With that in mind, a cosigner might refuse to cosign your student loan because:

  • They have a limit on the amount of debt they’re willing to cosign.
  • They want to see you repay one loan before agreeing to cosign another.
  • They have money problems.

If you currently find yourself without a cosigner, don’t waste time being angry. Thank your cosigner for the previous show of support.

Your cosigner will remain a part of your previous loan agreement (or agreements). You’ll want to keep your relationship intact.

Need a student loan?

Check out our top picks below or learn more about other ways to pay for college.
Variable APRDegrees That QualifyMore Info
1.04% – 11.98%1 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit College Ave

1.13% – 11.23%2 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit SallieMae

3.84% – 9.40%3 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.05% – 11.44%4 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.22% – 11.66%5 Undergrad & Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.76% – 7.14%6 Undergraduate
Graduate

VISIT CITIZENS

1.24% – 11.99%7 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Discover