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Student Loans

Student Loans Without a Cosigner

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 all rate well according to our editorial team’s rating system and offer student loans 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 38 states (listed below).
  • Check your rate without affecting 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. Funding U will consider the historical data of other students who attend your school if this information is limited.

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 preapproved, finalizing the loan, and receiving your money.

Repayment options

All loans have a repayment term of 10 years with no prepayment penalty for paying off the loan early. In-school payment options include a $20 monthly fixed payment or interest-only payments. A full repayment schedule will begin six months following graduation; the monthly payments will include interest and principal.

Eligibility requirements

  • 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, Oklahoma, 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 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

* Minimum of $6,001 for borrowers with a Massachusetts permanent address.

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, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance, and more.

Ascent has a simple four-step process to apply for a loan. You’ll start by entering personal information, such as your school and income, and apply to see your prequalified rate. After this, you can 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.

Repayment options

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 10 years. You can pay off your loan early with no prepayment penalty. Remember: The variable-rate term repayment will result in fluctuating payments, which can be challenging when planning and maintaining your budget.

With the no-cosigned loan, you can 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.

Eligibility requirements

  • 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 with Ascent by clicking here.


Best for international students: MPOWER

  • Rates (APR) range from 13.98% to 17.08%
  • 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 it not require a cosigner, but MPOWER 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 pay online from any location with any currency.

Repayment options

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, a six-month grace period applies before full principal and interest payments begin.

Eligibility requirements

  • Undergraduate or graduate students within two years of graduating or about to begin a one- to two-year program
  • Attend one of 350+ MPOWER partner schools
  • International students, DACA recipients, U.S. citizens, refugees, or asylum-seekers

Best for income-based repayment: Edly

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who is a college junior, senior, or grad student at a qualified school
  • Income-based repayment with built-in protections, such as deferred payments with job loss
  • Prequalify without affecting your credit score

Edly is a newer company offering income-based repayment loans designed to be more accessible than traditional student loans. Edly has no credit, income, or cosigner requirements to be eligible. Instead, eligibility is 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.

Payments aren’t required while you’re in school or during the four-month grace period after graduating or leaving school. The total amount you repay Edly will be capped at 2.25 times the borrowed amount or an amount that translates to a 23% APR.

Eligibility requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Juniors, seniors, or grad students at supported schools

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 offer no-cosigner student loans to students enrolled in one of 16 schools listed on its website. If you enroll 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 academic achievements to determine eligibility. It offers an income-based repayment program lasting up to 36 months if you run into financial hardship.

Eligibility requirements

  • 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
  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Juniors or seniors

How are non-cosigned student loans different from cosigned student loans?

As the name suggests, a cosigned student loan 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 borrowers better loan terms and lower interest rates than they could get independently. 

However, if you don’t have a willing cosigner or want to borrow independently, many non-cosigned student loan options exist, 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:

  • GPA
  • School
  • Program of study
  • Degree
  • Year
  • School cost

Steps for taking out a student loan without a cosigner

Before applying for student loans without a cosigner, follow these steps to ensure you take all the necessary actions to fund your education.

  1. Maximize your federal student loan options. Federal student loans do not require a cosigner and come with several benefits not available through private lenders, including 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).
  2. Make sure you’ve considered all 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 the odds of being approved without a cosigner is almost five times lower than if you have one. It’s important to consider all your options for adding a cosigner to your loan. If you find a cosigner to add to your loan, check out the best private student loans to see whether you qualify for lower rates.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 fees apply. For a direct comparison of private options, click here.
  5. Put together a plan for repayment. Once you have settled on a lender and are approved for a loan, put together a budget that accounts for your student loan payments to ensure 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 comparing your options is important before making a loan decision.

Here is a list of items to consider when shopping for a student loan without a cosigner:

  • Eligibility requirements: Always review the eligibility requirements for each company to ensure you aren’t wasting your time considering a loan 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 whether one will meet your needs so you don’t need to take out multiple loans.
  • Rates (APR): The APR of the loan is the annual interest rate on your current balance, including fees. With most loans, you can choose 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: The two parts to the repayment of your loan are to decide whether you want to start repayment in school or defer your payments until after you graduate and determine how long you take to repay the loan. This can vary from five to 15 years. Remember, the longer you take to repay the loan, the more you’ll pay in interest.
  • Benefits: Many lenders offer benefits for borrowing. For example, Ascent will give you 1% cash back upon graduating from college, and other lenders offer rewards for good grades. Some lenders might also have extended grace periods, progressive repayment terms, or forbearance and deferment options like those on federal loans.

By considering everything above 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 differ from those of a traditional cosigned student loan. Instead of relying on the borrower’s credit score, credit history, and income, non-cosigned loans consider the student borrower’s age, grade level, degree program, school costs, GPA, and more. These will affect whether you’re approved and the amount you can borrow.

To improve your approval odds for a non-cosigner student loan, you may want to:

  • Ensure your grades are good and that you’re meeting your school’s guidelines for satisfactory academic progress.
  • Take advantage of all available federal loans, grants, scholarships, and other funding options. This reduce your borrowing needs, improve your chances of being approved for your full financial  needs, and 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 to apply until you’ve completed two years of college.

An alternative to consider: Income-share agreements

One alternative to consider before taking out a private student loan without a cosigner is an income-share agreement (ISA). Instead of repaying the money you owe in monthly payments, ISAs take a percentage of your income for a set period once you get a full-time job.

Aside from not requiring a cosigner, the main benefit of an ISA is that you only repay it once you have a job or other form of income. If you can’t find a job after graduating or can’t work for another reason, you might not need to repay the loan.

However, if you secure a high-paying job, you may pay more than you would with a student loan.

If you are interested in an ISA, you might consider Stride.

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 one option.

With Stride, you pay back around 2% – 10% of your yearly income once you make over $40,000, depending on the agreement you sign. The repayment period is 5 – 10 years.

Your total repayment amount is capped at two times the amount you borrowed. For example, if you borrow $20,000, you won’t repay more than $40,000.

Eligibility is based on your college, major, and projected income after graduation. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. Students in graduate programs—especially those in STEM and health care—are preferred, but undergraduates may also qualify.


Summary of student loans without a cosigner

CompanyRates (APR)Post Graduation RepaymentLoan AmountsCash Back
Funding U7.99%13.49%Principal + interest$3,000$10,000Not offered
Ascent3.18%14.92%Principal + interest$1,000$20,0001% at graduation
MPOWER13.98%17.08%Principal + interest$2,001 – $100,000Not offered
EdlyN/A% of your salary$5,000 – $25,000Not offered
A.M. Money7.53%8.85%Principal + interest$2,001 – $50,000Not offered

1 Ascent’s undergraduate and graduate student loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills or DR Bank, each 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.