Personal Finance

Best Student Loan Without a Cosigner

With tuition consistently increasing at a rate of around 5% per year, the need to take out student loans may be a reality for most people.

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While federal student loans don’t require a cosigner, these types of loans may not provide enough funds to cover an entire year of college tuition. Private loans can fill the gap but many of these student loans require a cosigner if the student does not have any established credit.

There are ways around this. If you don’t have a cosigner or would simply prefer to borrow money without one, there are different lenders that may be willing to work with you. Below are some of our recommendations for the best student loan without a cosigner.

Doughroller’s Best Student Loans Without a Cosigner

Ascent

Ascent Lending offers both cosigned and un-cosigned student loan options for borrowers. Their maximum loan limit is $200,000 (terms apply) and you can choose a repayment term ranging from 5 years to 15 years. Most private student loans require you to either meet certain income or credit score requirements in order to get a loan.

The major problem with this is younger students may not have established credit yet and since they’re in school, they probably aren’t meeting the income requirements either. Ascent offers student loans to borrowers with no credit score and focuses on other factors like their school, program, graduation date, and GPA.

In order to qualify for a student loan, you must:

  • Be a college senior or junior enrolled full-time (or have an expected graduation date within 9 months from the date you submitted your loan application)
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a GPA of 2.9 or higher
  • Be at least 18 years old

Choose from a fixed or variable loan and get 100% of your college tuition cost covered since you can borrow up to $200,000 for undergraduate loans. Borrowers can also receive 1% cash back on their cost of attendance by setting up automatic payments. Non-cosigned undergraduate student loans start at 8.79% Variable APR and graduate student loans start at 5.52% Variable APR.

View Ascent

Ascent Disclosure: Ascent Student Loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 12/1/2022 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, and a cosigner, and are only available to our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores.

Credible

Credible is an online loan origination marketplace that offers everything from personal loans and mortgages to refinance options and student loans. That said, Credible doesn’t just offer one student loan option. You can shop around and compare different loans to see which is the best for you.

Credible makes it easier for you by providing personalized rates from different lenders when you answer a few questions about your loan needs. This service is free to use and each Credible partner doesn’t offer any origination fees or prepayment penalty fees. That way, you’re not doing all the hard work to find a quality lender that will let you take out student loans without a cosigner.

Visit Credible

Earnest

Earnest offers undergraduate and graduate student loans with or without a cosigner. Variable loans start with an APR of 3.49% while fixed-rate loans have an APR starting at 4.24%. You can get a 0.25% lower APR when you sign up for auto-pay.

The great thing about getting a student loan through Earnest is you can skip a payment once a year and you’ll get a grace period of nine months instead of six months post-college. You may even be able to get a student loan without a cosigner if you meet their basic eligibility requirements. To get a student loan without a cosigner you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a minimum credit score of 650
  • Have a minimum income of $35,000 per year
  • Have some savings to cover future expenses if your situation suddenly changed (think baby emergency fund)

Earnest also offers private personal loans through their partnership with Fiona, a loan comparison marketplace. If you’re short on some of these eligibility requirements for a private student loan, you may want to look into their personal loan options as well.

Visit Earnest

MPower Financing

MPower Financing offers no-cosigner student loans and scholarships to study in the U.S. and abroad. You can borrow up to $50,000 at a fixed interest rate and get a 6-month repayment grace period after college.

MPower Financing works with over 350 different colleges and universities to service loans to students who are enrolled. To qualify for a student loan without a cosigner, you must:

  • Be an undergraduate or graduate student within 2 years of graduating or about to begin a 2 or 1-year program
  • Be a U.S. citizen, DACA recipient, international student, or refugee or asylum-seeker
  • Admitted to or attending one of their approved schools in the U.S. or Canada

Related: How to Remove a Cosigner From a Student Loan

FundingU

If you’re looking for the best student loan without a cosigner, FundingU is a strong contender. This company is interested in funding the student so they never require a cosigner for loans. They do only offer student loans for undergraduates, but the process is very simple and you can get pre-approved in minutes.

Student loans through FundingU have fixed monthly payments and fixed interest rates. Their eligibility requirements are based on your GPA in school as well as your graduation rate. FundingUs private student loans have a higher interest rate ranging from 7.99% and 13.49% APR with an autopay discount. The terms and loan amounts vary depending on your state of residence.

A.M. Money

A.M. Money offers private student loans that are merit-based so you won’t ever need a cosigner. Each loan has a fixed interest rate of 7.08% to 8.85%. You’ll get a 6-month grace period and a standard repayment plan to pay the loan back. Even economic hardship assistance is available if you struggle with repaying your student loan after graduation which is not as common among private lenders.

Instead of focusing on credit, income, or your cosigner’s qualifications, A.M. Money focuses on investing in each student’s focus and measures eligibility by GPA. The only downside of A.M. Money’s private student loans is it only services loans for students attending select schools.

Comparing the Best Loan Without a Cosigner

Loan CompanyLoan CompanyMax Loan AmountInterest RateOrigination FeeGrace Period Length
AscentYes$200,000 (terms apply)Undergraduate
8.79% - 14.98% (variable)
10.20% - 16.75% (fixed)
No9 months
CredibleYesVariesVariesNoVaries
EarnestYes$31,000 Undergraduate and $138,500 GraduateStarts at 3.24% (variable) and 3.99% (fixed) (with 0.25% autopay discount)No9 months
MPower FinancingNo co-signer only$50,0006.49% to 13.99%5%6 months
FundingUNo co-signer only$10,000 per year7.99% to 13.49%NoNone - make $20 or interest-only payment while in school
A.M. MoneyNo co-signer only$50,0007.53% to 8.85%4.5%6 months

FAQ

How does applying for a no-cosigner student loan work?

Applying for a student loan without a cosigner is very similar to applying for a loan with a cosigner - only you no longer have to submit another person’s information. When you find the loan you want to apply for, you may be prompted to see your pre-qualifying rates. Some student loans with no cosigner will not consider your credit at all while others will. Regardless, the maximum loan amount you can borrow and your interest rate will vary so it’s best to get your personal rates and offer before you proceed. Once you’ve approved your loan rate, you can continue with the application and submit all the required documentation. Your loan may take a few business days to process or even weeks depending on the lender and your school. Once it’s approved, the funds will be dispersed. More often than not, the funds will go directly to your college to fund your tuition and educational expenses. With Ascent’s student loans for example, your application may take a few weeks to process depending on how long it takes your school to certify the loan.

What can funds be used for with an Ascent student loan?

Loan funds can be used for education-related expenses at an eligible school. This includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, etc. Your loan may be used to cover a past-due tuition balance at your school as long as you can verify that you will enroll in an approved institution for the previous semester/academic year.

Does Ascent offer student loan deferment?

The short answer is yes, but you may have to meet some requirements. Borrowers can request deferment through in writing here or by completing and signing a deferment form while providing all the necessary documentation.

Can you qualify for a student loan through FundingU with no credit?

Yes. Not only does FundingU not require cosigners, but you also don’t need a lot of credit history. Instead, loan approval is based on merit and your academic achievements including work experience and career path. FundingU does do a ‘soft pull’ credit check for students looking to get pre-approved. This is just to see if there are any accounts in collections, charge-offs, etc. That said, having no credit or a limited credit history may not affect your chances of getting approved, but having negative credit history and charge-offs could.

How are loan funds disbursed with FundingU?

FundingU disburses your loan funds through your school. Half of your loan will be disbursed for the fall semester with the other half being dispersed at the start of the spring semester.

What type of repayment options does Earnest have?

While Earnest offers a lengthy 9-month grace period for borrowers, if you choose to make principal or interest-only payments while you’re in school you will not get a grace period. Still, putting some money on your student loans while you’re in college can help you save money in interest over time. Earnest offers 4 flexible repayment plans to help you pay off your student loans.

How We Came Up With This List

To come up with this list of the best student loans without a cosigner, we focused on comparing some of the key features and benefits that borrowers are looking for. While most private student loan companies factor in credit score, it was important to narrow down the companies that offered more merit-based student loans or were more lenient with credit requirements.

We also believe students shouldn't pay a ton of fees on their loans as this can only hinder their ability to repay the loan after college. So loans with no or low origination fees are at the top of this list.

Another factor that helped us come up with this list is accessibility. One of the biggest obstacles with getting a private student loan is determining whether you can use it at your school of choice. While some of the loan options on this list have a limited range of accepted schools, they still offer great loan benefits while other companies on our list have a wider range of schools you can attend while receiving loan funds.

Our Pick For the Best Student Loan Without a Cosigner: Earnest

Earnest is at the top of our list because even though they don’t offer the largest borrowing amount, they do offer a lower APR and a 9-month grace period before repaying your student loan. If you are already receiving federal student loans and need a private loan without a cosigner to supplement your educational costs, Earnest is a great option.

If you don’t have a 650 credit score or can’t meet the minimum income requirements to qualify for a student loan through Earnest, consider Ascent Lending for your no-cosigner student loan.

Ascent Lending is the better option if you have no credit score whatsoever, but you will get a much higher interest rate as a result.

Visit Earnest

Final Thoughts

Finding a student loan without a cosigner does not have to be difficult. Sites like Credible even do the legwork for you by comparing the best student loan lenders. If you’re not interested in getting a cosigner or don’t have anyone to cosign your loan, draw your attention to lenders that will offer merit-based student loans and invest in your future potential.

Just make sure you carefully read the fine print and only borrow what you need and can afford to repay. Always consider federal student loans first. Then look to a private loan to make up the difference if you need extra funds for school.

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Choncé Maddox

Choncé Maddox

Choncé is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and freelance writer who loves to talk about everything personal finance. Her writing work has been featured on sites like Business Insider, Credit Sesame, and Barclaycard. She lives with her husband and son in the Midwest.


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