Can I Apply For Student Loans Without a Cosigner?

November 23, 2011 – 10:28 am

Certain student loans require a cosigner if the student or parent soliciting a loan does not meet minimum credit requirements to receive a loan. This applies to both private and some federal loans; the PLUS loans for graduate students, which can be received by parents or students, have minimum credit requirements, and in either case, parent or student can use a cosigner with good credit to sign on the loan. Getting Student Loans without a cosigner is possible, and being a cosigner is a significant risk, as the cosigner will be responsible for any debt the borrower does not pay.

The Stafford federal loans do not require a credit check or cosigner, and should be the first step in your search for college funding. If you do not have any resource for receiving family assistance for attending college, you may qualify for financial aid, subsidized Stafford loans, or the subsidized Perkins loan, which is the hardest loan to attain but the best offer available.

Federal PLUS loans, on the other hand, do require a cosigner if you do not meet minimum credit requirements. These credit requirements are standardized and are not excessive, and this loan is only available to graduate students, so you may want to take advantage of your time as an undergraduate to use a credit card responsibly and build up your credit rating so you can later apply for a PLUS loan. This will also help you get better rates on private loans, which will really make a difference in expensive graduate programs.

If you have no one who could act as a cosigner or just want to go it alone, your loan, even with a low credit rating, is a valuable asset to a financial institution and they will compete for your business. The risk of loaning to students is comparatively low at the moment, because it is nearly impossible to absolve this student debts through bankruptcy.

If you have a good credit rating, lenders will offer you Prime interest rates on your student loans; if you have no credit or bad credit, they may ask that you have a cosigner. Ask at several different financial institutions what they can do to accommodate your education finance needs. Usually bad credit loans are given at a higher interest rate and/or with extra fees, but you can lower this number by calling different lenders and demanding the best possible rate. If your credit is very bad, you may have to take some time off to work and increase your credit score, and if you can keep working while you’re at school, this can be a deciding factor in receiving a private loan as well.

While many financial institutions would prefer one, it is very possible to get student loans without a cosigner.


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