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Nearly 94% of private undergraduate student loans are taken out with cosigners since it can improve chances of being approved. But we get that having someone cosign a loan isn’t always an option for everyone. Luckily, it’s possible to get student loans without a cosigner.
Here’s what you need to know about getting student loans without a cosigner:
- How to get student loans without a cosigner
- How to build credit to qualify
- How to remove a cosigner from a student loan
How to get student loans without a cosigner
Although federal student loans don’t require a cosigner, private loans require a cosigner in certain situations. Getting a private student loan without a cosigner can be difficult, especially if you haven’t begun to build your credit, but it is possible. The key to getting a private loan without a cosigner is to demonstrate that you have the ability to pay off your student loans.
Here’s how you could qualify for a student loan without a cosigner:
- Exhaust federal student loans: Always look into your federal options first because typically they have the lowest rates and great federal benefits. Plus, it’s easy to get federal student loans without a cosigner, since there’s no credit check involved. However, you do need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for federal student loans so you can get financial aid.
- Improve your credit: If you have a limited credit history or have delinquent payments in your past, you most likely won’t be able to get a private loan without a cosigner. You should take a look at your repayment history before applying. If you have any dings in your credit history, paying down your existing debt and making sure that you always make on-time payments can help you improve your credit and improve your chances of being approved for a loan.
- Have a steady job and income: You need to be able to show proof of income when you apply for a loan, so if you’re unemployed, you might need to hold off on applying for a loan. Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is also an important factor. This is calculated by dividing your total monthly debt by your total gross income and typically you want yours to be under 50%, but the lower the better.
- Compare student loan lenders: If you want to find the best rate and terms for your student loans, it’s a good idea to compare multiple lenders. Credible takes the guesswork out of finding a student loan without a cosigner by partnering with some of the top lenders. This way you can avoid checking with every lender individually and instead just check out the table below where we’ve compiled actual rates into a single dashboard.
|Lender||Fixed rates from (APR)||Variable rates from (APR)||Min. credit score|
|4.40%+1||1.95%+1||Not disclosed by lender|
|4.31%+2,3||2.69%+2,3||Not disclosed by lender|
|5.09% - 12.49%6||2.15% - 10.37%6||Not disclosed by lender|
|4.74% - 11.85%9||2.00% - 10.01%9||Not disclosed by lender|
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Lowest APRs reflect autopay, loyalty, and interest-only repayment discounts where available | 1Citizens Bank Disclosures | 2,3College Ave Disclosures | 6Discover Disclosures | 8EDvestinU Disclosures | 9Sallie Mae Disclosures
Citizens Bank Student Loan Rate Disclosure Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of April 1, 2020, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.92%. Variable interest rates range from 1.95%-10.28% (1.95%-10.13% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 4.40%-12.19% (4.40% - 12.04% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown requires application with a co- signer, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan.
Let’s get something straight, though: There’s no shame in using cosigner. Having a cosigner will usually get you better options for repayment plans and better rates. Because your cosigner backs up the loan repayment on your behalf, it’s often easier to receive loan approval, as well.
How to build credit to qualify
Lenders typically look for at least two to five years of credit history. If you have a limited credit history or a low credit score, it’s best to try and build up your credit before applying for a student loan without a cosigner. Here are some of the easiest ways to begin building credit:
- Become an authorized user: Ask a parent to add you as an authorized user on one of their credit cards. Although you are not legally responsible for the debt as an authorized user, this can still help you build credit easily and safely.
- Apply for a secured credit card: Secured credit cards let you deposit a certain amount of money that you can then borrow against — similar to a debit card.
- Keep an eye on your credit: If you ever see any errors on your credit history, make sure to dispute them and get them removed from your report. If you’re careful about paying down your debt quickly and always making timely payments, your credit score will improve over time. Because your DTI takes into account your monthly payments, paying down debts quickly can help lower your DTI, so you can aim toward a good credit score.
Want to know what your rates will look like with or without a cosigner?
Credible makes it easy to add a cosigner to your loan application and compare multiple cosigners to see which one gets you the best loan terms and a lower interest rate.
How to remove a cosigner from a student loan
If you already have a cosigned loan and want to remove your cosigner, some private lenders will offer you the option of cosigner release. It differs from lender to lender, but typically takes 12 to 48 months of consecutive on-time payments to become eligible for the option. You might also need to undergo a credit check before your cosigner can be released.
Another way to release your cosigner is by refinancing your student loans. When you refinance, you’ll essentially be paying off your old loan and obtaining a new one without a cosigner. Visit Credible to learn more about the best student loan refinance options available.