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.

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.

    • 4.44% - 15.99%Fixed APR Range
    • 5.09% - 15.99%Variable APR Range
    • $1,000 minimum, no maximumLoan Amount Range
    • Not requiredCo-Signer

    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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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