The best student loans without a cosigner include Funding U (top choice for undergraduates) and Ascent (top choice for deferred repayment).
Consider federal student loans before private student loans. If you have, the following student loans without a cosigner can fill any gaps.
Best student loans without a cosigner
- Best for undergraduates: Funding U
- Best for deferred repayment: Ascent
- Best for international students: MPOWER
- Best for income-based repayment: Edly
- Best borrowing limits: A.M. Money
The following private lenders were all rated highly by our editorial team and offer student loans specifically for students that don’t have a cosigner. Instead of focusing on your credit profile to determine eligibility, these lenders consider academic performance and future earnings potential.
Best for undergraduates: Funding U
- Fixed rates between 7.49% and 12.99% APR
- Borrow between $3,001 and $20,000
- Only available in AZ, AK, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, KA, MD, MA, MI, MS, NA, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WV, or WI
- Check your rate without impacting your credit
Funding U specializes in offering student loans without a cosigner. Because of this, it has created a unique eligibility model that excludes your credit history since many students haven’t yet built one up.
Eligibility is determined by your academic success in college, your likelihood to graduate on time, your projected total student debt, and your projected earnings based on your major. If this information is limited, Funding U will consider the historical data of other students who attend your school.
The application process consists of four steps. These steps include applying for the loan, Funding U reviewing the loan, a discussion with a loan officer if pre-approved, and lastly finalizing the loan and receiving your money.
All loans have a repayment term of 10 years with no prepayment penalty for paying the loan off early. In-school payment options include a $20 monthly fixed payment or interest-only payments. Full repayment will begin six months following graduation.
- Must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident over the age of 18
- Enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in a bachelor’s degree program at a Title IV-eligible four-year college (for-profit school not eligible)
- Eligible states include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
In addition to the requirements above, Funding U has minimum GPA and graduation rate thresholds that are determined by a variety of factors. Generally, students will not be approved for a loan with a GPA lower than 2.5.
If you meet the eligibility requirements above, you can apply directly with Funding U by clicking here.
Best for deferred repayment: Ascent
- Fixed or variable rates between 4.05% and 14.08% APR
- Borrow between $2,001 and $200,000
- Only no cosigner loan that allows you to defer payments until after school
- Receive 1% cash back upon proof of graduation
Ascent is a student loan lender offering multiple types of loans with a 1% cash back reward at graduation. The Ascent Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan is available to juniors and seniors without a cosigner.
If you don’t meet the credit or income requirements, Ascent will use alternative factors to determine eligibility. These factors can include your school, your program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance, and more.
There is a simple four-step process to apply for a loan. The process begins with you entering some personal information like your school and income and then applying to see your pre-qualified rate. After this, you’ll be able to customize your loan for your needs. Once you select a loan package, you’ll upload the rest of your documents, and if approved and certified, your money will be disbursed.
With the Ascent Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based loan, borrowers can choose between 10 or 15 years for their repayment term. However, if you choose a fixed rate the only repayment term available is for 10 years. You can pay off your loan early with no prepayment penalty.
With the no-cosigned loan, you’ll have the option to defer repayment up to six months after leaving school. You can also request to enroll in the Graduated Repayment plan which allows borrowers to start with lower payments after graduation that slowly increase to fulfill the loan term.
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, DACA recipient, or U.S. temporary resident
- Be a junior or senior
- 2.9 GPA or higher and meet your school’s SAP requirements
- At least 18 years old
If you meet the eligibility requirements above, you can apply directly with Ascent by clicking here.
Best for international students: MPOWER
- Rates (APR) are 15.01% for undergraduates and 13.98% for graduates
- Borrow between $2,001 and $100,000
- Available to international students, DACA recipients, U.S. citizens, refugees, and asylum-seekers
MPOWER offers student loans for those studying at certain schools in the U.S. and Canada. These loans are available to international students and U.S. citizens. Not only does MPOWER not require a cosigner, but it also doesn’t require a credit history.
Instead, MPOWER focuses on your future earnings potential to determine whether you’ll be approved. Its loans are available to students from over 190 countries, and borrowers can repay the loan online from any location with any currency.
Students will be required to make interest-only payments while in school, which will help the student begin building a U.S. credit history. Upon graduation, there is a six-month grace period before full principal and interest payments are required.
- Be an undergraduate or graduate student within two years of graduating or about to begin a one- to two-year program
- Be attending one of 350+ MPOWER partner schools
- Be an international student, DACA recipient, U.S. citizen, refugee, or asylum-seeker
Best for income-based repayment: Edly
- Must be a US citizen or permanent resident that is a current college junior, senior, or grad student at a qualified school
- Income-based repayment with built-in protections, like deferred payments with job loss
- Prequalify without impacting your credit score
Edly is a new company offering income-based repayment loans that are designed to be more accessible than traditional student loans. There are no credit, income, or cosigner requirements to be eligible. Instead, eligibility criteria are mostly based on the school or program the student is attending.
Repayment on Edly loans is tied to your income rather than a predetermined interest rate. This model allows borrowers to hold off on repayment until they can afford to make payments. The minimum annual gross salary for repayment to begin is $30,000. If you can’t find a job that pays a salary over this minimum, you won’t have to repay the borrowed amount.
The total amount you repay Edly will be capped at 2.25x the borrowed amount or an amount that translates to a 23% APR.
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Be a junior, senior, or grad student at a supported school
Best borrowing limits: A.M. Money
- Only available to juniors and seniors at 16 schools
- Borrow between $2,001 and $50,000
- Optional income-based repayment plan if dealing with financial hardship
Chicago Student Loans by A.M. Money offers no cosigner student loans to students enrolled in one of 16 schools listed on its website. If you are enrolled at one of these schools and are approved for a loan, your interest rate will be fixed, between 7.53% and 8.85% APR.
Instead of focusing on your credit, A.M. Money focuses on your academic achievements to determine eligibility. If you run into financial hardship, it offers an income-based repayment program that can last for up to 36 months.
- Attend one of the following schools:
- DePaul University, Chicago, IL
- Dominican University, River Forest, IL
- Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL
- Illinois Institute Of Technology, Chicago, IL
- Illinois State University, Normal, IL
- Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL
- Judson University, Elgin, IL
- Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL
- North Carolina State University At Raleigh, Raleigh, NC
- Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
- University Of Chicago, Chicago, IL
- University Of Illinois At Chicago, Chicago, IL
- University Of Illinois At Springfield, Springfield, IL
- University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL
- Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Must be a junior or senior
How are non-cosigned student loans different from cosigned student loans?
As the name suggests, a cosigned student loan is one that is taken out with a cosigner or another creditworthy borrower who agrees to take on a legal obligation to your debt. Adding a cosigner often gives a borrower access to better loan terms and lower interest rates than they could get on their own.
However, if you don’t have a willing cosigner or want to borrow on your own, there are many non-cosigned student loan options to choose from even if you have a limited credit history or income.
What are the eligibility requirements for a no cosigner student loan?
Non-consigned student loans tend to have more flexible loan requirements, especially regarding the borrower’s income and credit history eligibility. Since student borrowers may not work and likely haven’t had many years to build up their credit, these loans take into account other factors instead.
Depending on the lender and loan product, the eligibility requirements for a non-cosigner student loan may instead be focused on the borrower’s:
- Program of study
- School cost
Steps for taking out a student loan without a cosigner
Before you apply for student loans without a cosigner, follow these steps to make sure you take all the necessary action to fund your education.
- Maximize your federal student loan options. Federal student loans do not require a cosigner and come with several benefits not available through private lenders. These benefits include low interest rates and access to income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness programs. To apply for federal financial aid, you must first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Make sure you’ve considered all of your cosigner options. Your approval odds for a private student loan will be higher if you can add a cosigner to your loan. Our statistics show that the odds of being approved without a cosigner is nearly five times less than if you have one. With this in mind, it’s important that you consider all your options for adding a cosigner to your loan. If you do find a cosigner to add to your loan, check out the best private student loans where you can likely receive lower rates.
- Improve your odds of approval. To improve your chances of being approved for a private student loan, you should stay up to date on bills, lower your credit utilization, and ensure your credit report doesn’t have any errors.
- Compare your options. You should never apply for a student loan without comparing your options first. By comparing your options, you can see which company offers you the lowest rate, what repayment options you have, and whether or not there are any fees. For a direct comparison of private options, click here.
- Put together a plan for repayment. Once you have settled on a lender and have been approved for a loan, you should put together a budget that accounts for your student loan payments so you can make sure you stay on top of them.
How to choose the best student loan without a cosigner
There is no one-size-fits-all choice when it comes to non-cosigner student loans. What is best for you may not be the best choice for another student borrower. That’s why it’s so important to compare your options before making a loan decision.
Here is a list of things that you should consider when shopping for a student loan without a cosigner:
- Eligibility requirements: Always review the eligibility requirements for each company. By doing this, you’ll make sure you aren’t wasting your time considering a loan that you won’t be approved for. Factors such as credit score, income, GPA, age, and which state you live in may affect your eligibility.
- Loan amounts: Each loan has its minimum and maximum amount. If you need to borrow less than the minimum requirement for a loan, you shouldn’t consider that option. If you need more than the maximum amount offered for a loan, check other options to see if there is one that will meet your needs so that you don’t need to take out multiple loans.
- Rates (APR): The APR of the loan is the annual rate of interest that will be charged on your current balance. With most loans, you’ll have the option of a fixed and variable rate. A fixed rate stays the same during the life of the loan, while a variable rate can increase or decrease depending on market conditions. When comparing rates, a lower rate is better.
- Discounts: Many companies allow you to lower your rate with specific interest rate discounts. These discounts can include an automatic payment discount, a loyalty discount for banking with the lender, and more. Ascent has the highest potential automatic payment discount.
- Repayment terms: There are two parts to the repayment of your loan. First, you’ll need to decide whether you want to start repayment in school or defer your payments until after you graduate. Second, you’ll need to determine how long you take to repay the loan. This can typically vary between five to 15 years. Remember, the longer you take to repay the loan, the more you’ll pay in interest.
- Benefits: Many lenders offer different benefits and perks when you borrow from them and meet specific criteria. For example, Ascent will give you 1% cash back upon graduating from college while other lenders might offer rewards for good grades. Some lenders might also have extended grace periods, progressive repayment terms, or forbearance and deferment options like those typically found with federal loans.
By keeping everything above in mind when comparing your options, you can increase your chances of finding the best student loan without a cosigner for your needs.
How to improve your approval odds for a no cosigner student loan
The eligibility requirements for a non-cosigner student loan are a bit different from those of a traditional, cosigned student loan. Instead of relying primarily on the borrower’s credit score, credit history and income, non-cosigned loans take into account the student borrower’s age, grade level, degree program, school costs, GPA, and more. These will not only affect whether you’re approved, but also the amount you’re allowed to borrow.
To improve your approval odds for a non-cosigner student loan, you may want to:
- Ensure that your grades are good and that you’re meeting your school’s guidelines for satisfactory academic progress.
- Take advantage of all federal loans, grants, scholarships, and other funding options available to you. Not only will this reduce your borrowing needs (and improve your chances of being approved for your full financial needs) but it will also limit the overall cost of your student debt.
- Wait to apply until you’re an upperclassman. Many non-cosigned loans are limited to juniors and seniors, so you may need to wait until you’ve been in college for two years before applying.
An alternative to consider: Income-share agreements
One alternative you may want to consider before taking out a private student loan without a cosigner is an income-share agreement (ISA). Instead of paying back the money you owe in monthly payments, ISAs take a percentage of your income for a set period of time once you get a full-time job.
Aside from not requiring a cosigner, the main benefit of taking out an ISA is that you only repay it once you have a job or other form of income. If you are unable to find a job after graduating, or if you can’t work for another reason, you won’t owe any money.
The downside, however, is that if you are able to secure a high-paying job, you may end up paying back more than you would with a student loan.
If you are interested in an ISA, you may want to consider our partner Stride.
- Repayment term: 5 – 10 years
- Payment cap: 2X amount borrowed
- Income before payments required: $40,000
If you don’t have a cosigner and don’t want to take out a student loan, an ISA from Stride is a good option to consider.
With Stride, you pay back around 2% – 10% of your income per year once you make over $40,000, depending on the agreement you sign. The repayment period is between 5 – 10 years.
Your total repayment amount will be capped at two times the amount you borrowed. For example, if you borrow $20,000, you won’t have to repay more than $40,000.
Eligibility is based on your college, major, projected income after graduation, and more. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. Finally, students in graduate programs—especially those in STEM and healthcare fields—are preferred, but undergraduates may qualify as well.
Summary of student loans without a cosigner
|Company||Rates (APR)||Post Graduation Repayment||Loan Amounts||Cash Back|
|Funding U||7.99% – 13.49%||Principal + interest||$3,000 – $10,000||Not offered|
|Ascent||3.18% – 14.92%||Principal + interest||$1,000 – $20,000||1% at graduation|
|MPOWER||13.98% or 15.01%||Principal + interest||$2,001 – $100,000||Not offered|
|Edly||N/A||% of your salary||$5,000 – $25,000||Not offered|
|A.M. Money||7.53% – 8.85%||Principal + interest||$2,001 – $50,000||Not offered|
1 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 10/01/2022 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.