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Student Loans

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

Federal student loans come with standard benefits and eligibility requirements. Borrowers get federal loans by applying through the U.S. government. 

By comparison, private student loan requirements and benefits vary by lender. Borrowers may take out student loans by applying through individual lenders, including banks and credit unions.

If you’re wondering whether you can get a student loan as a 17-year-old, it depends on which type of loan you’re applying for. Here’s what you need to know about getting a student loan as a minor, including alternative options.

In this guide:

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

As a 17-year-old, you can apply for federal student loans—there’s no minimum age requirement

But in most states, you must be at least 18 years old to apply for a private student loan.

That said, certain private lenders will allow you to apply with a cosigner if you’re under the age of majority in your state—18 in most states except the following:

  • Nebraska (19)
  • Alabama (19)
  • Mississippi (21)

Below are five top private lenders’ age guidelines.

Age requirementIf under required age, may apply with a cosigner?
Citizens BankAge of majority in your stateYes
SoFiAge of majority in your state with the capacity to enter a contractNo
College Ave18 Yes (Must be at least 16)
Ascent18 or age of majority in your stateNo
EarnestAge of majority in your stateYes

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

The answer remains the same even if you’re 18 when you receive 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.

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

Several options exist if you want to take out a student loan as a 17-year-old. 

Federal student loans

For starters, we recommend exhausting your federal loan options. Undergraduate federal loans come with many federal benefits, including access to income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.

Federal student loans don’t have a minimum age requirement, but you must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify.

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

Private student loans

Whether you can take out a private student loan as a 17-year-old depends on the lender—student loan eligibility requirements vary. Specific 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. 

A cosigner agrees to be responsible for repaying the loan if you can’t make future payments. More than 90% of private undergraduate student loans were cosigned in 2022, according to the most recent Enterval Private Student Loan Report.

While parents and grandparents often cosign private student loans, any qualified person can cosign. Before someone cosigns, make sure they understand that if you make late payments, it affects their credit as well as yours. 

Minors’ alternatives to student loans for higher education 

Before taking out a student loan, we recommend seeing whether you qualify for the following types of financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Doing so can help you reduce the amount you need to borrow.


A scholarship is award money; unlike a loan, you don’t need to repay it. 

Scholarship awards are often based on merits, such as good grades and athletic prowess. They’re sometimes based on your financial need. 

You can find scholarships by accessing scholarship guides or speaking with your school’s financial aid counselor.


Applying for grants can also help you pay for school. They are often need-based. 

Similar to scholarships, you don’t have to repay them. You can get a grant from many places, including the federal government, state and local governments, and not-for-profit organizations.

Federal Work-Study 

You may qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program, depending on your financial need. The program helps you find a part-time job on or off campus while in school. You can use your earnings to pay for education expenses if you qualify.