What Student Loans Can I Get Without a Cosigner?

What Loans Can I Get Without a Cosigner-900

One of the main concerns when going to college is money. College prices for tuition and room and board have been increasing every single year. People ask themselves, “What loans can I get without a cosigner?”

The main student loans that are available without a cosigner are going to be the loans offered to you by FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

FAFSA takes all of the financial information regarding you are whoever you are dependent on to determine how much money they think that you and your family will be able to put towards your college education.

This number is called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which helps the federal government determine how much in grants and loans to offer you. 

In 1960 a school that was once $2,000 for an entire year is now $27,000. Because of this huge increase in prices in college tuition, student debt is a problem across America.  

You need to get a degree for certain career paths and there are no ways around that. After looking into all scholarship and grant possibilities, you will need to take out the rest in student loans.  

There are some student loans that are better than others and there are some loans that require cosigners while others do not.  

It is important to understand when you need a co-signer vs. when you don’t and what that means exactly.  

Loans can be very confusing especially if you have no previous experience with these types of financial situations.  

This is going to be the first big financial decision that you have to make in your life. Even if you have bought a car or another big purchase, odds are that you have not spent as much money as your total student loans will be.  

This is a huge step for you and start to you figuring out how to actually deal with your financials.  

Even if you have a cosigner, this responsibility is primarily on you. Student loans are taken out when you are at a young age which is why it is important that you do your research.  

You need to talk to as many people as possible to fully understand what you are doing, what you’re getting yourself into, and how to do it the best way.  

What is a Co-signer ? 

First off let’s go over what a co-signer is. A co-signer is someone who is also promising to pay the loan if you cannot. Especially if it is a large sum of money, the lender or bank wants to know that they are going to be getting their money back.  

A cosigner could be your spouse, partner, parent, friend, etc. Basically, they are going to be just as reasonable on this loan as you are and need to be prepared for that responsibility if for some reason you can’t pay the loan back.  

Getting a co-signer can be a hassle especially if your family and friends don’t have good credit.  

Normally, a co-signer is only needed if the lender or bank feels that your credit, income, or financial situation does not meet the needs of what you are asking for with the college loan.  

If you have a stronger credit score (like 650 or above), you may not need a co-signer.  

However, many times as a student you don’t have any credit. Having no credit usually means you may need a co-signer. You just haven’t proven your financial stability yet.  

Here is some more information on what to do regarding co-signers and student loans.  

How does a cosigner work with a student loan?

More than likely if you are getting a loan from a private lender then you are going to need a co-signer. The reason for this is because you are not old enough and may not have enough credit to prove to the bank you will pay back the loan.  

Remember if you get a cosigner they are going to take on the responsibility of paying for this loan if you do not. They are also vouching for you in order to show that they trust you and back you in your financial decisions.  

Usually private lenders will consider who is eligible for what loans depending on the credit scores of the borrower and the co-signer.  

You as the student are considered the borrower because the money is for you and technically in your name. This is why it is important to know which loans require a co-signer. When looking for a loan you need to always ask the lender if you need a cosigner.  

You also want to make sure that the people you ask to be cosigners have a good credit score and are financially stable. Their financial wellness can make or break you getting a loan from the bank.  

This is why getting a credit score soon in your life can really help you out.

Even if you don’t have a score for the first year or two that you are taking out a loan.

You can attempt to get a great credit score by the time you an upperclassman or if you are going to graduate school.  

To build your credit take out a credit card and charge to it every month. You must make sure that you only charge on the credit card the amount you can pay off every month.  

If I get a credit card with a $1,000 dollar credit limit and I have a part-time job making $500 a month.

You need to understand you should not spend more than $500 on the credit card. To be honest you probably have other expenses so make sure you make more than you spend. This is what we call a budget. 

You may also need your FAFSA information, on top of the co-signer and good credit scores.  

Make sure that you have filled your FAFSA out and that you take that information just as serious as well.  

What student loan can I get without a cosigner? 

The main student loans that are available without a cosigner are going to be the loans offered to you by FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  

FAFSA takes all of the financial information regarding who you are and whoever you are dependent on. They then determine how much money they think that you and your family will be able to put towards your college education.  

This number is called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which helps the federal government determine how much in grants and loans to offer you.  

The typical amount of loans offered to a lower middle class student is somewhere around $5,500 on top of any aid that is received.  

As long as you have the correct paperwork and other things filed and finished at your university and with FAFSA, you will be awarded this loan without having a cosigner.  

This is going to be the easiest way to get a loan without a cosigner which is why it is so important to fill out the FAFSA as a student no matter how much money your family makes. 

Differences between the loans offered through FAFSA  

There are two main types of loans that they offered:  

Subsidized and unsubsidized loans  

Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while you are in school whereas unsubsidized loans do.  

This is the main difference that you really need to take into account. Obviously, you want to try to get as many subsidized loans as you can because you will end up paying less in the end due to the fact that they do not accrue interest.  

For instance, if you are offered a subsidized loan where you do not have to accrue interest while you were in school. This will make a huge impact on the amount of money that you will be paying at the end of school.  

It may not seem like a huge deal now because you aren’t paying on it yet, but it is going to have a huge impact on your financial wellness once you graduate. 

Can I get a Sallie Mae loan without a cosigner? 

Sallie Mae has a policy where they will always look into every individual circumstance and see what is required with student loans.  

They have given out loans without a cosigner before under special circumstances.  

Your best opportunity with Sallie Mae is to call or have a consultation to explain your specific situation before making any decisions or going elsewhere.  

If the problem is a commitment from your cosigner, they also have a certain policy where they will drop the cosigner after 12 consecutive months of the borrower paying on time and following all of the rules.  

Sallie Mae is one of the top providers for student loans and has helped so many students get their education and receive financial wellness.  

Once again, it is important that you ask them about which types of loans they are offering and what the interest rate is.  

All that you can do is explain your situation and give reasons why you are capable of giving them timely payments and following all the rules that go along with student loans.  

This type of situation is always going to take some time and multiple conversations and it is important that you talk this through instead of just giving up.  

I have known students who successfully finished college having loans from Sallie Mae without cosigner because of family issues. You can make it work but you need to have a good enough reason. 

Can a student get a loan without parents? 

The main problem with not having your parents help is that companies that loan money normally need access to their financials and their credit score.  

Since you are young and probably don’t have your own house, property, credit, etc. they may need your parents information to assess the loan situation.  

Once again this is always something that you can talk over with your bank or your lender to try to resolve. If you are filling out FAFSA to get these loans, you are going to need all of your parents information as well.  

The only reasons that you wouldn’t need your parents information is if you are married or filed for emancipation before you were of the age of 18.  

The main ways that you can try to fight this is if you file as independent or if you live with someone other than your parents.  

If you live with other people or live by yourself and you can prove that then you only have to provide your information and the information of the people you are living with. Each situation is different and can usually be resolved after talking to enough people at the lending company. 

Divorce and Financials 

Another situation with parents and loans tends to be divorce.  

It is important to talk to your college advisor or with FAFSA directly to discuss if parents are divorced.    

If your parents live in different houses then you only have to have the financial information of the person that you are living with.

Parents that are divorced with the one parent that you live with is receiving child support, then they have to add that to their income as well.  

There are many different situations that people are in and some have to be dealt with differently than others. It is a hassle but this is your education and it is your job to try to resolve these issues as best as you can. 

Do you need a cosigner for a federal student loan? 

No, you do not a cosigner for a Federal Student Loan.  

These are some of the only types of loans that consistently do not require a cosigner. The reason for this is that FAFSA was created to help everyone have the opportunity to go to college.

The loans were to help people no matter the persons background, financial situation or family situation. 

They do not give you a loan to cover the entire tuition however. They may give you a decent amount of aid if you or your family has a lower income.  

Grants are examples of federal aid from the government that do not need paid back.  

The intention of FAFSA is to give as many grants as possible and then a loan is used to pay for the rest.  

If your family makes a decent amount of money, you may only be offered a loan.  

One of the main reasons that the majority do not offer students a huge loan is because of the fact that a cosigner is required.

If there is no cosigner required that means that if you do not pay them back they lose money.  

Students do struggle to pay their loans and the government does not want to lose money. They want to have as much money as possible to give away to students in financial need.  

If your loans from the government don’t cover all of the costs, you may have to get other loans. This is when you may have an issue getting a loan without having a cosigner. 

Is it easier to get a loan with a cosigner? 

In  most scenarios having a cosigner could really help you. If you are able to find a friend or family member who is financially stable, own a home, property, etc., and has a good credit score they may help you.  

You are not only showing that your cosigner is financially stable but also have someone willing to back you.  

If the bank or lender knows that this person will pay if you end up screwing up, you are way more likely to be chosen to get that loan.  

The cosigner doesn’t always have to be your parents.  

If your parents are not financially stable, don’t have a good credit score, or they are renting a home, they may not be your best option.  

It is nothing against them, you just simply need the best person to back this loan and make sure that you are able to take it out.  

You can always ask grandparents, cousins, family friends, etc. If they trust you as a person and know that you are personally responsible, they should help you.  

It is in a way of putting a small burden on them, but it shouldn’t be a huge problem.

You will have to pay this loan back and follow through on the deal.  

If you do not follow the guidelines and pay on your loan, you’re going to tank your credit.  

You will need other loans like a house and a car. You have bad credit then no loan or super-high interest.

This is why you want to make sure that when you are in college you make your credit payments. This is how you build up your credit score which really matters as you get older.  

What you do now can affect you financially for a large portion of your life.  

Can I get a student loan without a job? 

If you have a cosigner who has a job, credit, property, etc, then you can probably get a student loan without a job. Most student loans do not need to be paid back until you graduate and have a job.  

What this means is that they are not concerned about whether or not you have a job during school because you will most likely not be paying on the loan until you graduate and have a job.  

Another great thing about student loans, is that they tend to give you a six month grace period to start paying on after the day you graduate.  

This means that loan providers are understanding about the job search and do not expect you to have a job the moment you graduate college.  

If you do happen to have a job, it is only going to help your case because it is going to show how responsible you are and that you are already making and saving money.  

This one just really comes down to what your specific situation is and if you have a cosigner.  

Can I get private student loans without a cosigner? 

Every private lender is going to have different rules and guidelines. The first thing that you can do is to figure out all your options to see who is most likely to offer you a loan without a cosigner.  

You are going to need to prove to them that you are going to be able to pay back this loan.  

Hopefully if you have good reasons for why you can’t get a co-signer they might understand. Anything is possible.  

I have had friends who have gotten private loans without a cosigner because of family problems.   

You will want to be able to talk to a lot of different lenders and banks to see which ones may work best for you.  

I know I have said this many times but it is the most important takeaway from learning about loans. Banks and lenders just want to make sure they are getting their money back.  

In the end no lender is out to get you and purposely wants to take away your chance of paying for your education.

They simply just want to do what is best for their company and make sure that this large amount of money they are giving you will be paid back.  

Before you start calling and meeting with different lenders, you could even look at the websites of every lender. Each lender will have information on their websites so you can do research.  

Can a 17 year old get a student loan? 

No matter what type of loan it is or where it is from, if you are under 18, you are going to need a cosigner, who is of age and financially stable.  

Even the federal loans that normally allow you to not have a cosigner will not allow a loan to be taken out without one.  

This is important to understand, especially for high school students.  

I graduated when I was 17 from high school. If I wanted to take a loan out for my first semester of college, I would have had to have a co-signer because I wasn’t 18 until school started.  

This can put you in a tough situation if you don’t have anyone who you think would be a good cosigner.  

To loan to someone under 18 years old is against a company’s rules and regulations. It is also understandable because normally student loans are for large amounts.  

If you are ever going to try to get a loan as a minor you are going to have to get a cosigner no matter your situation may be. There are a lot of things that you cannot do until you are an adult legally and this is one of them.  

You can also just wait a year and work to save money. Then go to college when you are 19 years old. I have had friends do that when they went to school.  

What are alternatives to getting a loan ? 

There are two main alternatives to getting a loan: 

  • Grants 
  • Scholarships  

These are two types of aid that do not require you to pay them back.  

Grants are usually awarded to students who show that they have a high need for financial aid and scholarships are usually passed out for achievements.  

Scholarship achievements can include academics, sports, extracurricular, drama, etc. Scholarships are the types of things that you can really focus on in order to have the least amount of loans.  

There are scholarships out there for everything. I have a friend who got a $1000 scholarship for doing 100 hours of community service. The life insurance company her dad uses offered this scholarship to students who’s ants had a policy. 

The first places that you want to start applying for scholarships are local. This would be at your high school and your county.

Then you apply to the college you have chosen for scholarships. The last place to go is websites online such as Cappex and Win2Scholarships.  

The more applications that you fill out, the better the chance you have of getting some.  

I am an average college student and I pay for my school entirely in grants and scholarships. This is because I filled out so many applications.  

Scholarships are possible if you put the time in to fill out all of the applications.  

You might as well take the time if it could end up getting you thousands of dollars.  

If you are interested in taking courses or certifications online, visit Coursera.

The biggest mistake that you can make as a college student is to not fill out FAFSA. You also need to make sure you fill out the scholarship applications.  

This is the main way that you are going to receive aid. If you are worried about getting a loan that you have to pay back.

Then apply for grants and scholarships to lower the amount you need to borrow.  

The more grants and scholarships you can get the less you pay out of pocket once you graduate. 


Overall, there are a lot of ups and downs with loans. This is a huge financial responsibility to understand. There is so much to understand and it is best to talk it over with someone you trust like a family member or school counselor.  

If you are still thinking about taking a loan out for college, click the link to read more.

Having a co-signer can help but you can still manage without one. Either way, this loan is going to be on your name and you are going to be responsible for it. Take the initiative and put in the research to make sure that everything runs smoothly.  

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