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When looking for student loans without a cosigner, you should first consider federal student loans. These do not require a cosigner and there is no credit check during the application process with most.
While federal student loans should be your starting point for all student loan needs, there are limits on the amount you can borrow. Because of these limits, many students turn to private student loans to help fill the gap.
If you don’t have someone to cosign a student loan, you can compare our partners who offer private student loans without a cosigner.
In this guide:
- Compare no cosigner student loans
- Best private student loans without a cosigner
- Steps to follow during your search
- How to choose the best option
- Income-share agreements: an alternative
- Summary of options
Compare no cosigner student loans
No cosigner student loans for all grade levels
Best for Undergraduates
- Eligibility is based on academic performance—not your FICO score
- Prequalify without impacting your credit score
- Rates (APR) from 7.99% to 14.99% for Bachelor’s degree candidates
Best for Income-Based Repayment
- Borrow from $5,000 to $20,000 per school year, and up to $30,000 lifetime
- Must be a US citizen or permanent resident that is a current college junior, senior, or grad student at a supported school
- Prequalify in minutes with no impact on your credit score
Best private student loans without a cosigner
Private student loans are offered through non-government banks and lenders. Each lender has a unique application process with its own eligibility requirements.
If you don’t have a strong credit score or a creditworthy cosigner, you likely won’t be eligible for most lenders. However, our partners below offer student loans specifically to borrowers without a cosigner.
- Best for undergraduates: Funding U
- Best repayment terms: Ascent
- Best for international students: MPOWER
- Best for income-based repayment: Edly
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 repayment terms: 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.
Best for international students: MPOWER
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
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.
Learn more about student loans without a cosigner with our video:
How to choose the best student loan without a cosigner
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to no cosigner student loans. What is best for you may not be best for someone else. That’s why it’s so important to compare your options before making a decision.
Here is a list of things that you should think about when shopping for a student loan:
- 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. Things such as credit score, income, GPA, age, and what 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 between 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 you’d like to 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 5 to 15 years. Remember, the longer you take to repay the loan, the more you’ll pay in interest.
- Benefits: Are there any benefits to borrowing from a specific company? For example, Ascent will give you 1% cash back upon graduating from college.
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.
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.
5 – 10 years
2x amount borrowed
Income before payments required
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||7.52% – 14.98%||Principal + interest||$2,001 – $100,000||Not offered|
|Edly||N/A||% of your salary||$5,000 – $25,000||Not offered|
Author: Jeff Gitlen