How to Get a Student Loan Without a Cosigner

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In 2014, getting a student loan with a cosigner is extremely easy, but if you have bad credit, and can’t get a cosigner, then you may be in for a rough ride.

Lenders generally aren’t interested in offering money to people with bad credit, or no credit, because statistics have shown them that this is far riskier than lending to people with great credit scores.

Accordingly, many young people (potential students), and people of any age with credit problems, have a great deal of trouble locking down student loans without a cosigner, but we do have good news.

It’s 2014! The stock market is near all time-highs, lenders are lending, and there’s hope on the horizon!

Federal Student Loans Without Cosigner

The fastest, easiest, and by far best way to get school loans without a cosigner in 2014 is to borrow your college money from the Federal Government.

Most Federally-funded student loans do not require credit checks of any sort, making them the most accessible, affordable and reliable way to get a student loan with bad credit.

Federal student loans don’t require cosigners, and Stafford loans (for example) don’t require providing a credit history, or even any proof of income.

Another major benefit to Federally-funded college loans is that they are eligible for the best student loan relief programs, including a variety of comprehensive student loan forgiveness programs, loan defermentsloan forbearances and borrower-friendly repayment plans.

The downside to borrowing from the Federal Government is that you can only borrow so much money each semester, meaning that you may not be able to raise enough money to attend that fancy private school.

Private Student Loans Without Cosigner

If you can’t raise enough money via Federal student loans, then it’s time to look into your private lending options, though you might not like what you find.

Not only are privately-funded student loans typically more expensive than Federally-funded loans, but they’re also going to require humiliating credit checks, piles of paperwork, higher interest rates, borrowing fees and less borrower-friendly repayment plans.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t borrow from a private lender, but it does mean that you need to be extremely selective, and extremely cautious about who you choose to borrow from, and what loan terms you agree to.

Since you’ve likely got bad credit, or no credit, and can’t line up a cosigner, private lenders know that they’ve got you by the short hairs, and they probably won’t offer you good interest rates, cheap loans or an easy repayment schedule without a fight.

What Should I Do?

First, make sure that you apply for Federal student loans, and only even bother attempting to borrow Privately without a cosigner if you can’t raise enough Federal funds.

Next, if you do need to apply for Private funding, but can’t secure a cosigner and have poor credit, then only apply to two or three places, because applying too often will end up hurting your credit score even further.

Finally, make sure that you’re prepared to explain why you need the money, what you plan on doing with it, how much you’re expecting to earn once you’ve graduated, and how you plan on paying it back.

Yes, private lenders won’t want to give you money if you have terrible credit, no income, and no cosigner, but yes, some of them are understanding, some of them will take a chance, and some of them will give funds to people with no credit as long as they believe that those people can and will pay them back.

Leverage Valuable Collateral

So you’ve got credit problems, and no cosigner, but you’ve got equity in a home, your car, or some valuable family jewelry?

Sometimes, you can use that stuff as collateral to secure a personal loan, including a personal student loan, making you eligible to borrow money without a cosigner.

It doesn’t always work, and will probably only be an option with certain lenders and certain types of loans (typically those lenders who offer money to people with poor credit, and loans with high interest rates), but it is one of the easiest ways to raise money quickly.

Be careful when using collateral though, because defaulting on your loan, or sometimes even just being late on payments, can end up getting your stuff confiscated.

Be prepared to pay a lot of money in interest as well, because collateral loans are typically the most expensive ways to borrow money, but don’t be afraid to take one out if you’re sure that you’ll be able to pay it back quickly.

You probably won’t be able to pay for the entire cost of college with collateral loans, and you really shouldn’t take them out at all if you can avoid doing so, but if you’ve absolutely got to get that money, and you definitely can’t line up a cosigner, then this might be your option.

Build Up Your Credit Score

Credit scores aren’t easy to increase quickly, but over a longer period of time, you can certainly improve your credit score to make lenders more likely to offer you funding under favorable loan terms and low interest rates.

It’s not quick, and it’s not all that easy, but if you can take out a credit card that you use for daily expenses, and which you pay off on time each month, then that will help.

Other things that help include paying bills on time, taking out small loans that you pay back in time, and using store credit cards (like those from Home Depot, Kohls, Target, etc.) responsibly.

Things like buying a car, or a house, will also help, and in a big way, but since you’re already in need of money for college, those may not be realistic options for you at this time.

If you’ve got a bankruptcy, defaulted loans, or late payments on your credit history, then you’ll need to do everything you can to tidy those things up (though the bankruptcy is likely to sink you from being able to borrow at favorable rates until it is cleared from your credit record).

Keep in mind, the higher your credit score rises, the easier it will be to get that college loan without a cosigner, so don’t give up!

Tap Into Crowdfunding

There are a variety of online crowdfunding companies offering no cosigner student loans, and you just might be able to tap into one of them for funds!

This is a growing market, and a relatively new thing, so you’ll have to be extremely careful to make sure that you’re not getting screwed, but legitimate crowdfunding definitely works, and could help you pay for college.

Companies like Upstart, Piglt, CommonBond, GoFundMe, Instagrad and Vittana are all offering some incredible services to those who qualify for their programs.

Honestly though, make sure that you’re extremely careful here, because again, this is a new space, a new type of funding, and a massive magnet market for scammers and thieves.

Find Scholarships & Grants

When people start researching their student loan options, oftentimes they completely forget about all the available scholarships and grants on offer.

There are literally hundreds of millions of dollars floating around out there, just waiting to be snatched up by someone like you, who needs help paying for school!

Whether you’re a man, woman, black, white, asian, hispanic, tall, short, fat, skinny, into music, film, camping, photography, painting or anything else, it’s likely that there’s a scholarship or grant program specifically for people like you!

All you’ve got to do is stop by Google and search “scholarships for xyz” to uncover a treasure trove of opportunities.

Are you a young student? An older student? A single mom, or single dad? I guarantee that there are scholarships and grants specifically targeted to you, so get out there and start applying for that free money!

Get a Cosigner

Obviously, you don’t think this is a possibility, or you wouldn’t be reading this page, but did you know that cosigners can be literally anyone?

You can use a friend, family member, boss, employee, or random person you found on the street, or over the Internet, to cosigner for your student loan.

As long as they’ve got good credit, that’s all the banks care about!

They won’t ask what your relationship is, they honestly don’t care, they just need a warm body with a decent credit score, or they can’t lend.

It may seem impossible, but start asking around, and you might be surprised to find out that there are people who can and will be willing to step up the plate for you.

Did It Work?

Stop back to let us know what you found out when you took our advice.

Did you secure a loan without a cosigner, or did you end up having to rely on crowdsourcing, scholarships and grants to pay for school?

Were you able to lock down some scholarships and grants?

We want to know, so stop back and leave your story in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading, and if this page helped, please be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Google+!


Tim's experience struggling with crushing student loan debt led him to create the website Forget Student Loan Debt, where he offers advice on paying off student loans as quickly, and cheaply, as possible. His new website Forget Tax Debt, offers similar advice to people with back tax problems.

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  1. Im an undergraduate at Penn State university and I have less than 36 credits to get before I can obtain my bachelor’s degree. I’ve basically exhausted all of my federal aid as an undergraduate except for my work study. I’m a adult student with less than perfect credit and I’m trying to fund the remainder of my degree through scholarships and my own funds. However I’ve applied for some private loans but due to my credit I need a cosigner. Im an independent single mother and DO NOT Z have a cosigner. Is there any organizations around who could possibly assist me. I’ve come from not having a high school diploma to getting ready to graduate from college. Can someone PLEASE Help me find financiak resources.

  2. I am wondering how to work through my student loan debt. I attended an out of state school, as a child of two adults who had never attended college and I had no idea what the implications of taking out such extensive student loans would be.

    I am currently paying $705 a month, but should be paying $929, but I have deferred one loan until next year. I can afford to make the federal payments which are $330 a month, but the other $600 is going to Sallie Mae and is all private.

    To make matters worse, the $600 a month is interest only and my student loan balance has increased by several thousand dollars since I began paying. It is clear that I will never get caught up or even pay off Sallie Mae and I am wondering what my options are.

    I have made every effort to pay my loans over the course of the past three years and am current with Sallie Mae. However, I am getting to the point where I can no longer afford rent or groceries because my student loan debt accounts for nearly half of my monthly income.

    I have read about the “Brunner” test and was wondering if this could be applicable based on my current salary and the field of work I am in. I also was curious what options I have given that I do not have much money to pay for a lawyer to try to get this debt dismissed.

    Additionally, I have read some articles suggesting I discontinue paying and let the account go to collections and try to wait out the statue of limitations. However, I have also read accounts of individuals being sued for not paying.

    Please help, I am desperate for advice.

    • Hi Jessica,

      It’s possible that you could qualify for a Student Loan Discharge via Filing for Bankruptcy, but you will need to consult with a local lawyer to find out more. Bankruptcy discharges are easy in some areas, and extremely difficult in others, and only a local lawyer with actual experience in this specific type of law will be able to offer you any insight on your chances of getting a discharge request approved.

      Keep in mind that you really do need to be able to prove your student loans are the reason that you are having so much financial trouble, and that it isn’t because you’re living an extravagant lifestyle. If you’ve got an iPhone, lots of new outfits, multiple TVs in the home, are living in a really nice neighborhood, etc., then you’ve got virtually zero chances of getting your loans discharged.

      I would not recommend discontinuing paying and letting the account go to collections, as that would destroy your credit and make it virtually impossible to ever get another loan (for a car, a house, etc.). It’s definitely possible that you’d also be sued.

      Again, your best bet is going to be speaking to a lawyer, and as soon as possible.

      I wish I had better answers for you, but this is the best advice that I can offer.

      Good luck!

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