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If you’re on your way to college or graduate school but have been turned down for a student loan (even with a cosigner), it doesn’t mean you’re out of options to pay for school.
Here’s what to do if you were denied a student loan with a cosigner (or without):
- What to do if you’ve been denied a student loan
- What to do if you’ve been denied a student loan (with a cosigner)
- Most students use a cosigner to get a private student loan
What to do if you’ve been denied a student loan
Private student loan lenders might deny applications for a variety of reasons, including credit and other financial issues. If you’ve applied for a loan on your own and had your application denied, you still have several paths to move forward.
Here are possible next steps:
- Complete the FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to apply for federal student aid, including federal student loans that, unlike private loans, don’t require a credit check. It’s worth filling out the FAFSA even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for student loans because you might qualify for other aid like grants or scholarships.
- Improve your credit: Your credit is an important part of qualifying for private student loans. If you work to raise your credit score, you can improve your odds of getting approved on a future application. The most important factors that make up your credit score are making on-time payments and keeping your revolving account balances low (such as credit card balances).
- Find a cosigner: If you apply for a private student loan with a creditworthy cosigner, their good credit could help you get approved. Having a cosigner might also mean qualifying for better loan terms (like a lower interest rate). But keep in mind that this also means the cosigner is responsible for paying the loan back if you stop making payments.
- Look for scholarships and grants: There are countless college scholarships and grants available to both undergraduate and graduate students. These are essentially free money for school that you don’t have to pay back, so it’s worth taking the time to apply for as many as you might qualify for.
When in doubt, talk to your school’s financial aid office to learn more about your options. They might even have connections to land you a part-time job on campus or know about scholarships you might not have found elsewhere.
Learn More: How to Find a Cosigner
What to do if you’ve been denied a student loan (with a cosigner)
It may feel like a double whammy if you’re denied a student loan with a cosigner. But not all hope is lost.
Here are some strategies that might help you get that loan:
- Encourage your cosigner to check their credit: Sometimes credit reports contain errors, meaning your cosigner’s credit score might not be correct. If your cosigner finds any mistakes and files a dispute, their score could go up.
- Find a new cosigner: If your first cosigner doesn’t succeed, try again. Consider asking a relative or trusted friend to cosign your loan. Just remember that cosigning can be a risk, so you might not get an enthusiastic response.
- Build your own credit: It takes time to build or repair credit, so this isn’t a quick fix. But if you’ve run out of other financing options, working on your own credit might be your best bet. For example, you might open a credit card (if you don’t already have one) and make on-time payments every month while keeping your balance low (or better yet, paid off each month) to establish a positive credit history.
If your relatives or other trusted friends have poor credit histories, your options for getting a private student loan with a cosigner might be limited. In this case, federal or other need-based student aid might be your best financial resource. Contact your school’s financial aid office if you’re not sure how to move forward.
Learn More: How to Pay for College
Most students use a cosigner to get a private student loan
Most private student loans have a cosigner — so if you need one, you’re not alone.
If you’re shopping for a private student loan, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can see your rates in two minutes after filling out just one form.