Best Student Loans Without a Co-Signer in March 2024

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Edited byAmy Wilder
Edited byAmy Wilder

Updated: March 22, 2024

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Taking out a student loan without a co-signer means you will be fully responsible for paying back the loan. If you intend to apply for a student loan without a co-signer, you may opt for federal loans before private student loans for various reasons. Aside from not requiring a co-signer, federal loans come with lower interest, no credit check and flexible repayment plans.

Private student loans may be the best option if you have already depleted federal student loan opportunities and other funding alternatives, such as scholarships.

To facilitate the approval of your application, ensure you understand the lender’s eligibility criteria, including enrollment and credit score requirements. You may need to provide documentation during the application.

We outlined the best student loans without a co-signer to help you understand the factors to consider before applying and the steps you need to follow during the application process.

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MoneyGeek’s Picks for the Best Student Loans Without a Co-Signer

To find the best student loans without a co-signer, MoneyGeek evaluated over 30 private student loan lenders based on more than 35 data points. The top scorers featured the best minimum credit score and income requirements, disbursement durations, loan amounts and interest rates.

You can determine the best offer for your needs by comparing prices and other features across multiple lenders.

Based on our findings, the top lender for students with no co-signers is College Ave. We also determined the top options for borrowers with different situations. For instance, the best lender for undergraduates is Ascent. The best for fair credit is Earnest, while SoFi tops the list for member benefits.

Best Student Loan Overall: College Ave


  • College Ave

    No maximum student loan limit.


    • 4.43% - 17.99%Fixed APR Range
    • 5.59% - 17.99%Variable APR Range
    • $1,000 minimum, no maximumLoan Amount Range
    • Not requiredCo-Signer

    According to our findings, College Ave is the best student loan lender for borrowers with no co-signer. Launched in 2014, College Ave provides online loans to students from all states.

    The lender charges no prepayment or origination fees and can fund parents and guardians looking for money to finance their children’s education. Interested borrowers may also find it appealing that College Ave has no minimum credit score requirement and no maximum loan limit. You can get as little as $1,000 and finance up to 100% of your education costs.

    College Ave features fixed and variable interest rates. The lender also offers a 0.25% discount if you set autopay for your account.

    A drawback of the lender is the delayed disbursement and the possibility of paying a late fee. Additionally, you must meet the SAP (satisfactory academic progress) requirements to qualify.

    Pros

    • No maximum limit. Can fund up to 100% of borrower’s education
    • 0.25% autopay interest reduction
    • No prepayment penalties
    • Flexible repayment period
    • No minimum credit score required
    • No origination fees

    Cons

    • Late fees
    • Borrowers must meet SAP (satisfactory academic progress) guidelines
    • Delayed funds disbursement
    College Ave

Best Student Loans for Undergraduates: Ascent


  • Ascent

    Allows co-signing and has varying credit score requirements


    • 4.36%–14.08%Fixed APR Range
    • 1.47%–11.31%Variable APR Range
    • $2,001–$200,000Loan Amount Range
    • Non-U.S. citizens and temporary residentsCo-Signer

    Ascent Funding originated in 2021 from a merger between Ascent Student Loans and Skills Funding. The lender offers private student loans to graduate and undergraduate students and consumer loans for living expenses and boot camp tuition. Ascent Funding is MoneyGeek’s top pick for undergraduate student loans, offering up to $200,000 to eligible individuals.

    Bank of Lake Mills funds college loans at Ascent Funding, and students with or without a co-signer are eligible to apply. The lender also offers scholarships and other financial benefits to students. The loans also cover postgraduate studies in nursing, law, dentistry, medicine and pharmacy.

    Borrowers may receive either a 0.25% autopay discount for credit-based loans or a 1% discount on outcomes-based loans. You may also get a 1% cash back reward upon graduation. Ascent Funding's credit score and income requirements differ based on your selected loan.

    Pros

    • No origination, prepayment, disbursement or application fees
    • Flexible repayment terms
    • Up to 36 months grace period
    • Cosigners are allowed
    • 0.25% discount on credit-based loans
    • Cash back rewards

    Cons

    • No refinancing allowed
    • High maximum APR
    • Slow approval and disbursement
    • Late fees
    Ascent

Best Student Loans for Fair Credit: Earnest


  • Earnest

    Offers student loan refinancing options


    • 4.43% - 14.90%Fixed APR Range
    • 5.32% - 16.20%Variable APR Range
    • $1,000 upLoan Amount Range
    • Allowed Co-Signer

    Earnest ranks as MoneyGeek’s top student loan lender without a co-signer for those with fair credit. The company launched in 2013 and started offering private student loans in 2019. It serves full-time students with a minimum credit score of 650 on their profile or that of their co-signer.

    While reviewing your application, Earnest performs a soft credit check that ensures your credit score remains unaffected. The lender charges no prepayment, origination or late fees and has a 0.25% autopay discount.

    Earnest has a minimum limit of $1,000 on student loans and offers to refinance existing loans. You can use the lender’s online tool to determine whether you prequalify. After Earnest approves your loan, you may receive the funds within two to five weeks. The grace period on repayments extends to nine months after graduation.

    Pros

    • Allows co-signers
    • Offers student loan refinancing
    • No origination or late fees
    • Initial soft credit inquiry does not affect your score
    • Extended grace period
    • Best rate match feature
    • Autopay discount

    Cons

    • State age-of-majority requirement
    • Does not operate in some states
    • Only full-time students are eligible
    • 650 credit score requirement
    Earnest

Best Student Loans for Member Benefits: SoFi


  • SoFi

    Up to 100% funding with optional co-signing.


    • 3.22%–11.16%Fixed APR Range
    • 1.10%–11.68%Variable APR Range
    • $5,000 minimum, no maximumLoan Amount Range
    • OptionalCo-Signer

    SoFi started operations in 2011 and launched private student loans in 2019 to assist students in paying for school. The company was the first to provide refinancing for private and federal student loans and has so far funded borrowers with more than $50 billion.

    The loans cover college, graduate, medical, business and law school expenses. However, eligibility varies based on the loan amount, credit score, course type and school. Sponsors and parents may also apply for a loan to finance a student’s studies through SoFi.

    SoFi offers several discounts, including a 0.25% autopay discount, a 0.25% discount for returning in-school customers and a 0.13% interest reduction if your co-signer is a SoFi account holder. You can also earn points through the lender’s mobile app.

    SoFi charges no fees to those applying for student loans without a co-signer. It also has a six-month grace period and no maximum loan limit. However, you may pay over 13% interest on fixed- and variable-rate loans. SoFi may also delay disbursement for as long as six weeks. The lender may not suit students who need less than $5,000. SoFi conducts a hard credit pull if you proceed with your application (after prequalifying), which could impact your credit in the short term.

    Pros

    • Flexible repayment terms and rates
    • No prepayment, origination, late or insufficient funds fees
    • No maximum loan limit
    • 0.25% autopay discount
    • 0.25% continuing scholar discount
    • Six-month grace period

    Cons

    • High maximum APR
    • Slow funds disbursement
    • Proof of income required for some student loan types
    SoFi

How to Take Out a Student Loan Without a Co-Signer

Without a co-signer, you will be responsible for your student loan in full. These student loan application steps can guide you through the process if you do not have a co-signer.

1
Start with federal student loans

Federal student loans dominate private loans when it comes to loan amounts and flexibility. Federal loans are available in several categories and should be your top priority when sourcing funds for your college education. You can apply online through the FAFSA website, answering questions about your income and that of your parents to determine your Expected Family Contribution. You will then receive a loan limit, which also depends on the stage of your program.

2
Consider private student loan options

Another alternative for student loans without a co-signer is private financial institutions, including credit unions and banks. Go through the lender’s application process instead of the FAFSA. Eligibility varies between lenders and may require a minimum credit score and income. Private lenders are second to federal student loans since they feature higher interest rates and less flexible terms. However, you may refinance your student loans after graduation.

3
Boost your credit score and history

Although some private student loans have no credit requirements, you may need a good score to access the best student loans without a co-signer. You can improve your scores by making debt repayments on time and avoiding unnecessary debt.

4
Research and compare lenders

Loan amounts, interest rates and repayment terms for private student loans vary between lenders. You may need to compare offers from multiple companies to identify the best option for your needs. Some vital aspects to examine in a loan offer include interest rate type (which can be fixed or variable), loan terms, repayment options, co-signer addition, release options and availability of discounts.

5
Choose the most favorable terms

After reviewing the student loan details from different lenders, you can select an offer that best meets your financial goals. Find out what is required to complete the application process and provide the necessary documents. Most lenders will allow you to submit your application online.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Student Loan Without a Co-Signer

Although most lenders require students to have a co-signer when applying for loans, you may come across lenders that do not require one. Before submitting your application for a loan, you may wish to review the following factors to determine whether they suit your preferences.

  • Basic eligibility requirements: Student loan eligibility requirements differ across multiple lenders. These can include income level, credit score, co-signer and student-related factors. Assessing whether you meet these requirements before applying can help you lower the chances of rejection. Some lenders perform hard credit inquiries while reviewing your application, which may affect your credit score negatively.
  • Student loan APR: The interest rate for your loan determines how much you will repay the lender. A high APR means higher repayment costs. Some lenders offer fixed interest rates, while others feature variable interest, meaning your installments could keep changing throughout repayment. It is essential to understand the total cost of your loan and whether you will manage to pay the installments comfortably.
  • Repayment terms: Repayment terms vary across lenders, including the grace period. Some lenders allow student borrowers to select flexible payments and rates, while others don’t. Choose a lender with repayment terms that suit your financial goals and fit your ability to make payments.
  • Maximum loan amount: Depending on the lender, you may receive up to 100% financing for your education needs. You may come across companies with no maximum student loan limit. While this may be an excellent option to finance your studies, you may choose an amount that won’t pose a challenge during repayment.
  • Automatic payment discounts: Most lenders offer discounts to borrowers who set up automatic payments on their accounts. Typically, most private student lenders offer 0.25% as the discount, which can help you save on the overall repayment amount.

Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loans Without a Co-Signer

MoneyGeek responded to commonly asked questions about student loans without a co-signer to ensure you identify the right offer and terms for your needs.

What should I do if I have no one to co-sign my student loan?
Do student loans need to be co-signed?
Is it better to have a co-signer or not?
What risks does a co-signer take?
What do lenders check in a co-signer?
Do all student loans require a co-signer?
Do private student loans require a co-signer?

Methodology

We reviewed more than 30 private student loan lenders using 35+ individual data points across six key categories: loan affordability, accessibility, consumer friendliness, customer service, flexibility and lender transparency.

Within each ranking criteria category, we considered several individual data points that we feel carry the most weight when choosing a private student loan lender. These factors include APR ranges, available loan amount, minimum credit score, minimum income amount, application fees and disbursement time.

Here at MoneyGeek, we value you, the consumer, so we also factor in each lender’s customer support, business ratings and additional features that could make your experience easier and more accessible — like prequalification, payment options and mobile apps.

After careful consideration and calculation, our picks are decided and chosen with your best interest in mind. Our personal loan recommendations and expert tips are meant to help you make the best decision when choosing a lender that meets your needs.

Next Steps

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*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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