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Student Loans Without a Cosigner

While there are options to get federal student aid without a cosigner, most new private student loans require the borrower to have a creditworthy cosigner. This includes more than 90% of new private student loans to undergraduate students and more than 75% of new private student loans to graduate and professional students. However, there are options for loans that do not require a cosigner.

The Best Student Loans Without a Cosigner

Federal student loans are the best options for students who do not have a cosigner. Direct student loans such as subsidized and unsubsidized loans do not require a cosigner, and PLUS loans only require an endorser (similar to a cosigner) if the borrower has adverse credit history as defined by the federal government.

Note: The credit check for a PLUS loan is not as strict as that for a private student loan. If you did not pass a private student loan credit check, you may still be eligible for a PLUS loan.

To apply for federal loans, including Parent PLUS Loans, you must file the FAFSA®.

Direct Subsidized Loans

A direct subsidized loan is a loan offered by the federal government with a fixed interest rate and flexible repayment terms. With a subsidized loan, the government pays the interest while you are in school at least half-time, during your grace period, and during authorized periods of deferment. Demonstrated financial need is required for this loan.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

A direct unsubsidized loan is offered by the federal government with a fixed interest rate and flexible repayment terms. With an unsubsidized loan, you are responsible for the interest that accrues while you are in college, during your grace period, and during authorized periods of deferment. This is not a need-based loan.

PLUS Loans

A PLUS loan is a loan offered by the federal government for parents and graduate students. PLUS loans come with a fixed interest rate. The borrower is responsible for interest of a PLUS loan, and there is no grace period.

What Student Loans Can You Get Without a Cosigner?

If you have an excellent credit score and work history, you may qualify for a student loan on your own without a cosigner. If you fall into this category, we recommend comparing student loan lenders to find the best rates and benefits for you.

If you do not fall into this category it may be difficult for you to find a student loan that you qualify for without a creditworthy cosigner, but you can still explore federal student loans and income share agreements.

Apply for an Edly IBR, No-Cosigner, Income-Based Repayment Loan

Funding U Merit-Based, No-Cosigner Student Loan

Who Can Cosign a Student Loan?

A student loan cosigner is usually a parent, but can also be another relative or trusted adult. A good cosigner will meet the following criteria:

  • Have a good credit history
  • Have stable employment
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have no recent bankruptcies, liens or foreclosures

Once you have located a suitable cosigner, you can apply for a student loan.

What is the Minimum Credit Score for a Private Student Loan?

The minimum credit score required for a private student loan depends on the lender. Each lender sets their own requirements, but generally speaking you will need a FICO® score of 660 or better on a scale from 300 to 850. The average FICO score in America in 2020 was 711.

Income Share Agreements

An alternative to student loans and something to consider for students without a cosigner, is an income share agreement (ISA). These agreements are growing in popularity as a means for students to pay their tuition. Here’s how it works:

When you enter into an income share agreement you agree to borrow the money you need for school in exchange for a percentage of your future salary. To repay an income share agreement, you commit to pay the decided upon percentage of your salary for a set period of time. ISAs do not charge interest, and the typical repayment period is ten years or fewer.

A note of caution: taking out multiple ISAs could require you to pay a significant percentage of your income during repayment. Plan ahead for what you will be able to afford once you are out of school.

Apply for Scholarships and Grants

If you find yourself without a cosigner for a student loan, then gift aid, such as scholarships and grants may be an option. Scholarships and grants do not require a cosigner and eligibility does not depend on your income, credit score or credit history. Contact your school’s financial aid office to ask about scholarships and grants you may qualify for. Many institutions have their own in-house scholarship, grant, and aid programs for students in need, but you won’t know unless you ask. Your financial aid office may also be able to help you find additional scholarships and grants outside of the school that you qualify for, such as state aid.

You can also seek out additional scholarship opportunities on our site or apply for easy, no essay scholarships on our site

Attend a Cheaper School

This is the answer most students don’t want to hear, especially if they have the opportunity to attend their dream school. But the hard truth may be that you can’t afford to attend the school of your choice. Look at community colleges and state schools for more affordable options. They offer a competitive education at a fraction of the price of most private colleges and universities.

Ask About Tuition Payment Plans

You don’t always have to pay all of your tuition up-front. Many colleges offer tuition payment plans to make it more affordable. If you or your family can work to make payments on a schedule as set forth by your school, you may be able to eliminate the need for loans.


Can I get a student loan without a cosigner?

Federal Loans are the best options for students who do not have a cosigner as they do not require a credit history. Federal Loans also have flexible repayment options. If you have an excellent credit history and work history, it is possible to qualify for private loans without a cosigner. Private Lenders offer different rates and benefits, so we recommend that you compare to find the best fit for you.

How can I get my first loan without a cosigner?

In order to get Federal Loans, you simply need to apply for the FAFSA.

To qualify for private loans, private lenders will review your credit report and work history. Many undergraduate students don't have an established credit history, meet the minimum credit score, payment history or steady income which makes it difficult to qualify for student loans without a cosigner. However, federal loans, income share agreements, scholarships and grants are still options to pay for school.

Sallie Mae does not require a cosigner if you meet certain criteria to qualify on your own:

  • Student loan borrowers must be 18 years old at the time of application and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the country
  • Student loan borrowers must be enrolled at least part time in a college or university
  • Student loan borrowers must have good credit history and a reliable source of income

What Private Loan lenders do not require a cosigner?

There are some private student loan lenders that offer loans to students that do not require a cosigner, even if you don’t have a strong credit score. There are two types of borrowing options: Non-cosigned private student loans and Income Share Agreements

Non-cosigned loans may be offered to a student with a strong GPA, certain majors, as well as future income.

Non-cosigned Student Loan Options

Apply for an Ascent Private Student Loan

Funding U Merit-Based, No-Cosigner Student Loan

Income Share Agreements are a way to fund your education, and when it come to repayment, your payments will be based on a fixed percentage of your income for your repayment term. 

Apply for a Stride Funding ISA

Want to Know More?

Undergraduate Student Loans

Introduction to Federal Student Loans

How to Find a Good Cosigner

Private Student Loans and Credit

Student Loans for Borrowers with Bad Credit

5 Things to Consider Before Seeking a Cosigner

Income Share Agreements

Emergency Student Loans




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