How to Get Student Loans Without a Cosigner

Finding a cosigner for a loan can be difficult, and sometimes you can't. This article explores some options if you are unable to find a cosigner.

Many people need student loans to help close the college funding gap. However, getting student loans without a cosigner can be a daunting task, potentially limiting your options. 

Even if you don’t have a credit history, or proof of income, it’s still possible to get federal and private student loans without a cosigner. Here’s what you need to know about how to get student loans without a cosigner.

How to apply for student loans without a cosigner

The easiest way to apply for student loans without a cosigner is to look into federal loan programs. With these loans, you don’t need to worry about being denied due to your credit score or income level.

Federal undergraduate student loans

The best way to get student loans without a cosigner is to apply for federal student loans. Federal loans are made by the government and available to citizens and others who meet certain residency requirements. There are even international student loans without a cosigner available for students who want to attend university abroad at eligible institutions.

To apply for federal student loans, you only need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As long as you meet the basic requirements, you’ll be able to receive a federal student loan without the need for a cosigner. 

Federal parent PLUS loans

Another option for undergraduate student loans without a cosigner is the parent PLUS loan. With this loan, your parents can apply for financing on your behalf. The debt is theirs, but even those with poor credit can get a student loan to cover your school costs. The only credit requirement is that there isn’t an adverse mark on the credit report, such as a recent bankruptcy or account in collections.

Federal graduate student loans

Graduate students also have access to federal student loans. The limits are higher for graduate students than for undergraduates as well. You still need to fill out a FAFSA in order to get a federal graduate student loan. However, you won’t have to meet credit requirements or worry about getting a cosigner.

Federal grad PLUS loans

The government also offers PLUS loans for graduate students. If your federal graduate student loans don’t cover the cost of schooling, you can use this loan to borrow more money. As with the parent PLUS loan, the grad PLUS loan doesn’t require a good credit score, although you can’t have major adverse marks in your credit report in order to take advantage of this funding.

PLUS loans have higher interest rates than other federal student loans, however. Even though they can cover the entirety of your college funding gap, they can be more costly. In some cases, it can make sense to turn to private student loans if “regular” federal student loans aren’t enough to pay for all of your college expenses.

Private student loans without a cosigner

Because federal student loan limits haven’t increased in years, there’s a good chance they won’t cover the entire cost of your schooling. Private student loans can help fill that gap, and could potentially have a lower interest rate than what you’d see with federal student loans, and especially with federal PLUS loans.

Getting private student loans without a cosigner can be a little tricky, though, especially for undergraduate students.

Private undergraduate student loans  

In many cases, because private lenders have their own criteria, you’ll likely need a cosigner. There are some lenders that will allow you to get student loans without a cosigner if you have good credit and can show that you have income, but that is usually rare. 

However, if you don’t qualify for student loans meeting that criteria, you might need a cosigner including with Juno’s partner lenders. See here to learn more about Juno’s cosigner requirements for its negotiated undergraduate student loan offer. 

Private graduate student loans

It’s also possible to get graduate student loans without a cosigner. In some cases, it might even be easier to get a graduate student loan without a cosigner. For example, while Juno’s partner lenders require a cosigner for undergraduates, they do not require a cosigner for graduate students. 

As a graduate student, you might be better off turning to private student loans after you exhaust your federal grad student loan funding, since you might be able to get a lower interest rate than what’s available with a PLUS loan. Learn more about Juno’s negotiated private grad student loan option here that does not require a cosigner

Reduce the need for student loans

Rather than worrying about how to get student loans without a cosigner, consider ways to reduce the need for student loans. Some ways you can reduce your need for student loans include:

  • Savings. If possible, set aside money for college. You can save ahead of time and use those funds for college. Tax-advantaged investment accounts, like 529s, might be one way to help you grow your savings faster.
  • Grants. This is free money based on need. When you fill out the FAFSA, you can find out if you qualify for grants. Those who have lower incomes are more likely to qualify for grants.
  • Scholarships. Many schools and organizations give out scholarships based both on need and on merit. Consider applying for scholarships to see if you can get money that doesn’t need to be paid back.
  • Work. Having a job while in college can help you earn money and reduce the need for student loans. Some employers offer tuition assistance, which can help you cover some of your college costs. Additionally, you might be able to take advantage of federal work study to reduce your need for student loans.

Bottom line

Before turning to student loans, look for different ways to pay for college. Then, before looking at private student loans, start with federal loans, which don’t require a cosigner. If you do need private student loans, be sure to compare rates and terms. Consider using an organization like Juno, which has negotiated the lowest private student loan rates for students and families

Juno can help you to find a student loan or refinance a loan at the most competitive possible rate. We get groups of buyers together and negotiate on their behalf with lenders to save them money on private student loans and private student loan refinance loans. 

Join Juno today to find out more about your options for affordable private student loans to help fund your degree.

Miranda Marquit
Written By
Miranda Marquit

Miranda has 10+ years of experience covering financial markets for various online and offline publications, including contributions to Marketwatch, NPR, Forbes, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, and The Hill. She is the co-host of the Money Tree Investing podcast and she has a Master of Arts in Journalism from Syracuse University

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