It is true. There is financial aid available without a cosigner, including federal loans. However, having a cosigner can make or break your chances of getting a private student loan. For students with a short or adverse credit history or a small income, having a cosigner—someone who agrees to repay your debt if you can’t—is sometimes the only way to be approved for a private student loan. But what options are available to students without a cosigner?
There are a variety of federal student loans available to you without a cosigner. The best part is, you only need to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to find out if you’re eligible.
You’ll need your financial and tax information, as well as your parents’ (if you’re a dependent). The U.S. Department of Education will use this to determine your financial need and how much you’re eligible to borrow in federal student loans, along with other types of aid you may qualify for, such as grants and scholarships.
Many states and colleges will use the information from your FAFSA to determine state and institutional aid. Most federal student loans (like the Direct Stafford Loan) can be obtained without a cosigner. They also give you benefits such as options for repayment plans, deferment and forbearance (a temporary stop or reduction in loan payments), and in some cases, loan forgiveness.
Check out our free PDF guide, Filing the FAFSA, to get answers to commonly-asked questions, tips for filing, and more helpful resources.
As you are exploring your options on how to pay for college, you may hear the term “gift aid.” Essentially, gift aid is free money for college. This type of funding will help you pay for college, does not need to be paid back.
Federal grants are a type of gift aid, and are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need. Federal Pell Grants are one type of grant awarded to undergraduates from the government. There are several other types of grants awarded, including Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to scholarships for college. Depending on financial need or academic merit, you may qualify for scholarships awarded directly by your school.
Your state government may also award you a scholarship based on certain factors (things like graduating from a specific high school with a certain GPA, attending a specific college, and more).
Many local, national, and even global companies, organizations, and non-profits also sponsor scholarships for students (you can take a look at what scholarships you may qualify for on sites like StudentScholarshipSearch.com).
Beyond financial need, academic merit, and specific skills or interests, there are also websites that give away college scholarships by random drawings. ScholarshipPoints (that’s us, and we’ve given away more than $1 million dollars to date!) is one example.
After signing up, you can earn points by completing online activities. Then, enter your points into one of our scholarships to win (we give away three $1,000 scholarships every month and four $10,000 scholarships per year).
Before you rule out the possibility of private student loans, explore your cosigning options. A cosigner doesn’t have to be a parent. The following video and articles cover who can be a cosigner, what makes a good cosigner, and understanding what it means to cosign a private student loan.
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