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Student Loans

Can a 17-Year-Old Get a Student Loan?

Student loans are a common way to pay for college. But what about young students who aren’t 18 years old yet? Those students can also access loans, but you might not qualify for every type. 

A 17-year-old student can qualify for federal student loans because they have no minimum age requirement. Most private lenders, on the other hand, require borrowers to be at least 18 without a cosigner. Here’s everything you need to know about getting a student loan as a minor.

Can a 17-year-old apply for a student loan?

You can apply for federal student loans as a 17-year-old because they don’t have a minimum age requirement. However, in most states, you must be 18 years old to apply for a private student loan.

Here’s a potential workaround: Some private lenders will allow you to apply with a cosigner if you’re under the age of majority in your state. The age of majority is 18 in most states, but it’s higher in the following three: 

  • Nebraska: Age 19
  • Alabama: Age 19
  • Mississippi: Age 21

Here are the age guidelines from several top private student loan lenders.

LenderMinimum ageAlternatives
College Ave18Apply with a cosigner
Earnest18Apply with a cosigner

What if you’ll be 18 when you get the loan?

You may apply for a federal student loan if you’re under 18, but most private lenders require 17-year-olds to apply with a cosigner. That’s still the case regardless of your age when you receive the loan. 

Can a 17-year-old have a student loan taken out on their behalf?

Yes, a 17-year-old might have a student loan taken out on their behalf through a co-borrower, cosigner, or parent loan. Here’s what to consider first. 

Federal student loans

Start by exhausting your federal loan options. Federal student loans don’t have a minimum age requirement, but you must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify.

Undergraduate federal loans come with many federal benefits, including access to income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.

Once you’ve used your federal student loan options, consider taking out a private student loan to fill any funding gaps.

Private student loans

Student loan eligibility requirements vary from one private lender to the next, and lenders may have different minimum age requirements.

Some lenders, such as Citizens Bank, allow you to take out a loan with a cosigner, and you don’t need a high school diploma or GED to qualify. 

While parents and grandparents often cosign private student loans, any qualified person can cosign. Cosigning a loan is a massive responsibility; it can affect the cosigner’s credit if the borrower misses a payment or pays late. 

Parent loans

Parents can also take out private parent loans or federal Parent PLUS loans on behalf of their 17-year-old child, but this option is best for parents who intend to make the payments throughout the life of the loan or plan to refinance into the child’s name; you can’t just transfer your loan with the same terms to the child.

Can a 17-year-old get a loan with a cosigner?

Yes, many private lenders, including Citizens Bank, College Ave, and Earnest, allow 17-year-olds to apply for student loans with a cosigner

A cosigner agrees to be responsible for repaying the loan if you can’t make future payments. More than 90% of students apply for loans with a cosigner even if they meet the age requirement. 

Cosigners with good credit can help students qualify for higher loan amounts and lower interest rates. As a bonus, a qualified cosigner can ensure that a 17-year-old student qualifies for private student loans. 

Minors’ alternatives to student loans for higher education 

Before taking out a private student loan, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to confirm you qualify for free federal aid, including grants and work-study. It can help you reduce the amount you need to borrow.


A scholarship is money you don’t need to repay. You can earn scholarships due to merit, such as good grades or athletic prowess, or you can get scholarships for financial need. Colleges often offer internal scholarships for students who attend the school, but external scholarships are available to everyone.

 For a comprehensive list of scholarships, start with our scholarship guide. If you have additional questions, speak with your school’s financial aid counselor.


Grants are another way to help pay for school. Financial need often determines who receives grants, and, like scholarships, you don’t need to repay them. 

You can qualify for grants from many places, including the federal government, state and local governments, and not-for-profit organizations.

Federal work-study 

Depending on your financial need, you may qualify for the federal work-study program. The program helps you find a part-time job on or off campus while in school. If you qualify, you can use your earnings to pay for education expenses.