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 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 college, including via student loans without cosigner requirements. Here’s how you can get started.
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.
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 their own money problems.
Don’t waste time being angry. You should 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.
6 ways you can recover from losing your cosigner
Here are six ways you can continue paying for college even if your student loan cosigner is no longer on board.
1. Fill out the FAFSA
Without the FAFSA, you close the door on federal grants, work-study opportunities, and loans. Those options could come in handy as you overcome the loss of your cosigner.
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.
I won $11,000 worth of scholarships while I was attending college. I secured them because I was earning my degree in journalism while I applied for them. Here are the four sources where I found scholarship opportunities:
My school’s financial aid office
My on-campus employer
Think about how your major area of study or minor in-school accomplishments might help you score scholarships.
3. Trim your education costs
Before you consider borrowing more money without a cosigner on board, try to trim academic costs. That might offset your need for a student loan without cosigner support.
Drastic measures include transferring to a more affordable school or taking time off to save for your cost of attendance. But there also are small ways to save, such as:
- Avoiding paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks
- Saving money by living off campus
- Skipping an expensive meal plan
Despite adopting these measures, you might still need to take out student loans without cosigner support. 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 lender, thanks to your former cosigner.
But now that you’re considering student loans 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 lender 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 consider other cosigner candidates. A grandparent or other relative could stand in this time around.
But your cosigner doesn’t have to be a family member — they could be a friend. Many private student loan companies only require your cosigner to be creditworthy and have a positive debt-to-income ratio. Ask your lender about its specific criteria before putting your next cosigner through the application process.
6. Consider student loans without cosigner support
If a private lender is best for your situation, be aware that it’s possible to take out student loans without cosigner support as an undergraduate.
Over 92% of undergraduate private student loans had a cosigner in the 2017-2018 academic year to date, according to a report from MeasureOne. That number is high 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 7% minority, however. Not all lenders require undergraduate borrowers to have a cosigner. If you have a credit score near or above 700 and earn a regular paycheck, you could earn a private loan approval.
Ensure you understand the pros and cons of loans without cosigner support before signing on the dotted line. 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.
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|
|3.93% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.48% – 12.35%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|