Best Student Loans Without a Cosigner

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College is the first time many young adults get to exercise their “adulting” skills, so it can be frustrating if they’re not able to be free of help from other adults when obtaining loans for college. For starters, the application for federal student loans requires you to enter your parents’ income unless you can be considered not to be a dependent. And if you need private student loans to cover your education costs, you’ll likely need a cosigner.

The question is, do you always need a cosigner for private student loans? There are plenty of private student lenders that don’t exactly require a cosigner — but they pretty much all tout the benefits of getting one. This could be one of those cases where you can apply however you’d like, but approval will come much easier with a strong cosigner.

In the search to find out if any student loans market themselves as available without a cosigner, only one turned up.

Best Private Student Loan Without a Cosigner: Ascent

Out of all the nationally-available private student loan lenders, only one came up that specifically outlines a student loan that doesn’t require a cosigner: Ascent. Here are the details about this particular loan:

  • You must be a junior or senior in college, or you can be a full-time graduate student
  • You must also be at least 18 (or the age of majority in the state in which you live) and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA
  • The APRs on these loans are currently at 4.21 to 13.12 percent for a fixed-rate option or 3.22 to 12.54 percent for a variable rate option and these rates may require autopay
  • There’s a one percent cash back graduation reward
  • There are no application fees or prepayment penalties
  • Once you’re in repayment, you can apply for temporary hardship forbearance if you run into a financial difficulty
  • You can choose from a five or 10-year repayment plan
  • If you have two years of credit history, your credit score must be at least 680 with no 60-day or longer delinquencies in the past two years
  • Whether or not you have a credit history, you must not have defaulted on any student loans, have reported any bankruptcies in the past five years, have settled or unpaid debt of $100 or more, or judgments and the like in your name
  • There is no minimum income requirement if you have no credit history, but there is a $24,000 per year minimum income requirement if you have at least two years of credit history

Do All Private Loans Require a Cosigner?

There are a great many private student loans that don’t technically require a cosigner. That said, nearly all private student loan lenders say a cosigner can strengthen a student’s application. The fact is, it might not be that easy to get a private student loan without a cosigner.

Private student loans are credit products. They go through an underwriting process that can include a credit check, minimum income requirements, and more. The fact that these loans are used for education doesn’t change the fact that they’re hard to get without a good credit history. And, unfortunately, no credit usually isn’t much better than bad credit in this case. You need to have proven that you can handle loan repayment for a lender to feel comfortable giving you a loan.

In short, you can try to get a private student loan without a cosigner, but it might not be that easy to do.

How Can You Get a Student Loan Without a Cosigner?

If you want a private student loan without a cosigner, you can help yourself by working to build credit and income early. If you’re going straight to college from high school, there might not be much time to do this. But a way to build credit early could include having a parent or guardian with good credit add you as an authorized user for one of their credit cards. As for income, working full-time in the summer and part-time during the school year could help you reach minimum income requirements.

Another thing you can do to get a student loan without a cosigner is to focus on federal student loans first. Federal student loans don’t require a cosigner or even a credit check unless you’re applying for a PLUS loan for parents or graduate students. Therefore, if you turn to federal student loans first, you might have a chance at funding your tuition without the help of a cosigner.

Advantages of Having a Cosigner

If you need private student loans, there are many advantages to finding a cosigner. One of the most interesting advantages goes beyond getting approved for the loan. It’s that the loan could end up costing you less in interest if you have a good cosigner.

A cosigner who has good credit and a strong income can help you not only get approved for private student loans but possibly also get you approved at a lower interest rate. Achieving a lower interest rate can help keep the cost of your education from ballooning too much over years of repayment. The higher the interest rate you’re given, the more you’ll pay on top of the original balance of the loan.

And if you don’t like having someone else on your loan, rest assured that many private student loan lenders offer cosigner release. This is something you can typically apply for after you’ve made a set number of full, consecutive payments and have built up your credit and income.

Strengthening Your Application With a Cosigner

As nice as it would be to enter your college experience fully independent of other adults, that might not be possible if you need private student loans. Although many private student loan lenders don’t technically require a cosigner, your application will be greatly strengthened if you have one.

However, if the lender you’re working with also offers cosigner release, then you’ll be in a position to later earn your way to getting your loan back into your name alone. And even if that’s not an option, you can later apply to refinance your loan with another lender. Either way, your journey with a cosigner doesn’t have to be forever — so long as you work towards building your credit and income at the same time as repaying your loans after you graduate.

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