Student Loans with No Cosigner

Q: Are there any students loans that don’t require a cosigner?

A: Yes, there are.

Keep in mind that there are two types of student loans: federal student loans that are available through your financial aid office, and private student loans that are available from banks, credit unions, and other organizations.

Federal Student Loans
Federal student aid and federal student loans never requires cosigners. Also, nearly every student qualifies to receive federal student aid regardless of their family income status. Everyone should apply for federal aid by visiting the financial aid office at their school.

Private Student Loans
Typically, all undergraduate students applying for private student loans will need cosigners to qualify. This is because the organizations lending the private loans have income, employment, and credit history requirements.

If you have limited or poor credit and income history, you will probably need a qualified cosigner to qualify for a private student loan. This will greatly increase your chances of receiving a private student loan with the most attractive terms.

Also, international students must apply with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in order to qualify for a private student loan.

Advantages and Risks of Adding a Cosigner
Applying with a cosigner can help you to qualify and receive the best interest rate on your private student loan.

But also keep in mind that your cosigner will be fully responsible for your private student loan if you fail to make student loan payments on time.

If you apply with a cosigner, there may be a cosigner release option available during repayment. For example, after you have made the first two or three years of repayment, some banks will allow your cosigner to be released from his or her repayment responsibilities upon your request.

What Is Federal Student Aid?
Federal student aid comes from the federal government, specifically, the U.S. Department of Education.

It is money that helps a student pay for education expenses at a post-secondary school (e.g., college, vocational school, graduate school). Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation.

Aid also can help pay for a computer and for dependent care. The four categories of federal student aid are:

Grants: Grant money usually doesn’t have to be repaid. Most U.S. Department of Education grants are based on the student’s financial need.

Scholarships: U.S. Department of Education scholarship money is awarded based on a student’s academic achievement and does not have to be repaid.

Work-study: Work-study money is earned by a student through a job on or near campus while attending school and does not have to be repaid.

Loans: Loan money must be repaid with interest.

For details about the federal student aid programs, including maximum annual amounts and loan interest rates, visit

Who Gets Federal Student Aid?
Our most basic eligibility requirements are that you must

- be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen,
- have a valid Social Security number, and
- show you’re qualified to obtain a postsecondary education by having a high school diploma or General

Educational Development (GED) certificate,
- passing an approved ability-to-benefit test (if you don’t have a diploma or GED certificate, a school can administer a test to determine whether you can benefit from the education offered at that school);
- meeting other federally approved standards your state establishes; or
- completing a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law.

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