Guide: How to Get Private Student Loans With or Without a Cosigner

It is true that most private student loans without a cosigner are more difficult to come by than those with a cosigner.

However, it does not mean they are impossible. You just have to do a little extra digging for the best private student loans without a cosigner.

Private loans for students are readily available should you want to skip federal funding. College is expensive, and most college students do not have enough funds available to pay for a full year of college tuition on their own. So, many look into how to get a private student loan to help make college affordable.

Best Private Student Loans

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However, even the best private student loans can be a bit trickier to qualify for and costlier than federal loans.

Still, whether you are an undergraduate searching for private student loan help or seeking to further your education with private graduate student loans, this guide will provide a few helpful tips toward funding your education with private loans for college students.

See Also: How to Get Student Loans with Bad Credit | Things to Know Before You Apply for Student Loans

Federal vs. Private Student Loans

Before covering how to get a private student loan, you should understand the difference between federal and private student loans. Simply, a federal student loan is funded by the government whereas a private student loan is funded by another lender, like a bank or credit union.

Private loans for students usually require you to make payments while you are in school. Federal student loans, on the other hand, give you a deferment period after graduation during which you do not have to pay the loan. They also do not typically require cosigners, but private student loans with no cosigner can be difficult to find.

There are several advantages to applying for federal student loans over even the best private student loans, such as possible loan forgiveness if you qualify, no prepayment penalties, repayment plan options, and tax-deductible interest.

With all of the benefits of federal student loans, why would you want to apply for private student loans? Most college students who look into how to get private student loans do so because they still owe more money for tuition than their federal loans will pay.

Private graduate student loans and private undergraduate student loans can act as gap financial coverage when your other finance options are not enough.     

Where You Can Turn for Private Student Loan Help

There seems to be a lot of information and help for those with federal student loans but not as much help with private student loans. College students, for the most part, are encouraged to turn to federal student loans before seeking private student loans without a cosigner.

private student loans without cosigner

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However, if you are persistent in wanting a private student loan, there are websites you can turn to for private student loan help. The following websites offer a wealth of resources and information for those seeking to use private loans to help cover the cost of college tuition:

  • Student Loan Borrower Assistance (SLBA). The SLBA website offers a lot of information about paying for college privately, including payment options, how to apply for private student loans, and even resources to help should you default on your private loan. 
  • Here, you will find a helpful loan payment calculator to estimate your monthly payments on your private student loans with no cosigner or with one. This website also offers information about interest rates and how your credit affects your loan.
  • Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae provides excellent information about the types of loans you can apply for as a college student, including private loans for students. Its college planning calculator can also help you create a financial plan for college so you will know not only how to get a private student loan but also make it affordable. 

Before searching for private student loans without cosigners, consider checking out the resources available on these websites to guide you in the right direction for your college financial plan. 

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Check Federal Funding Before You Apply for Private Student Loans

Before applying for private loans for college students, see what you qualify for in federal student loan funding. Your first step toward funding your college education should be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can fill this out completely online and then receive an estimate of your expected family contribution (EFC) toward your tuition.

Once you find out your EFC, you will have a more accurate idea of how much of your tuition will be covered by federal grants and loans and how much you may need to request when you apply for private student loans.

Federal student loans should still be what you borrow first because they offer so many repayment options after you graduate college and usually have lower interest rates. You also do not have to make payments on them while you are enrolled in college, unlike private student loans. Federal aid is definitely the cheaper option for financially-struggling college students.

private student loans


However, if your federal aid does not completely cover your tuition, your FAFSA information and EFC will give you a better idea of how much in private loans for college students you will need to cover your costs. Some of the best private student loans lenders will even require you to first fill out the FAFSA before applying for a private loan.   

Furthermore, if you are considering private student loans without a cosigner, remember that, usually, federal student loans do not require a cosigner and can be much easier to receive than private loans. 

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How to Find Private Loans for College Students

One of the easiest ways to search for the best private student loans is through a website with search and filter capabilities to find the best student loan that meets your needs. is one of these websites where you can search for private graduate loans, private loans with low interest rates, private student loans without a cosigner or whatever criteria meets your needs.

private student loans with no cosigner


The Private Student Loans site also lets you search with your school’s name to find loan options for your specific school. This can help you find the best private student loans in your state, and the website will also provide you with other information, like scholarship programs, that can help make your tuition more affordable.

If you want to search by specific lenders that help with private student loans, click on “Compare Lenders” at the top of the website. You will find a list of some of the most popular options to find the best private student loans with links to apply for those you are interested in.  

Related: Student Loan Forgiveness Program | Things to Know If You Want to Get Rid of Your Student Loan

How to Get Private Student Loans with No Cosigner

Qualifying for private student loans without a cosigner is usually not easy to do, unless you have excellent credit. Most college students who are fresh out of high school do not have excellent credit or even any credit history.

Adult college students with years of credit history are more apt to qualify for private student loans without a cosigner. 

Does this mean that, if you have little to no credit, you cannot get a private loan? Not necessarily, but the process can be more lengthy and difficult. Before you apply for private student loans, make sure you get a free copy of your credit report. You are entitled to a free copy once per year and should ensure that you make use of this benefit annually.

private student loan help


Make sure you understand your credit report and your credit score. Lenders of private loans for students will view you more favorably if there are no surprises and you are aware of your credit history.

You are also more likely to be eligible for private student loans without a cosigner if you have a steady job and intend to keep that job while you attend college.

Lenders want to see that you are able to make payments in full and on time, and this is usually why they require a cosigner, should you become unable to do so. However, if you have your own income that can cover your monthly payments, lenders will be more willing to provide private student loan help.

To find the best private student loans, remember to meet your lender prepared with your federal aid information. Knowing what you are eligible for and what you still need will show the lender you are serious. The lender will also be more prepared to provide you private student loans if you need a small amount to cover what federal aid will not cover.  

Build Credit for Private Student Loans Without a Cosigner

Credit history has a lot of bearing on whether or not you will be accepted for private student loans without a cosigner. You might consider using federal financial aid, if possible, for your full tuition for the first year or two of college. This will give you time to build your credit history to more easily qualify for the best private student loans later.

How can you build your credit fast and easily? Those with little or no credit should consider applying for a secured credit card. These cards give you a credit line with money you deposit to “secure” the credit line. Use it monthly for small purchases that you can afford to pay off each month. This will, over time, help you build reliable credit that could make you eligible for private student loans with no cosigner.

Or, consider opening a credit card account with a cosigner or signing up as an authorized user on your parent’s credit card account. This option may not build credit as quickly as a secured card, but will still show on your credit report as positive credit history to help with private student loans.    

Popular Article: Federal Student Loan Forgiveness | How to Get Rid of Your Federal Loan

Consider Help with Private Student Loans from Parents

Did you know that your parents can help make your college tuition affordable as well? If you are having trouble with eligibility for private student loans without a cosigner, consider talking to your parents about parental financing options for college.

The Sallie Mae Parent Loan is one option for parents to help fund their child’s education. It offers fairly low interest rates comparable to the best private student loans, 100% financing options, connection with Upromise to help you pay, and flexible loan repayment options.

The PLUS Loan is not a form of private student loan help but, instead, a federal financing option. Parents can use the PLUS Loan to pay for the cost of tuition left after any other financial aid the student has qualified for.

College students struggling to make ends meet between federal aid and leftover tuition costs but who do not qualify for private student loans with no cosigner should consider these helpful alternatives to cover costs.       


Eligibility for private student loans without a cosigner is difficult to get but not impossible. To qualify for the best private student loans, consider first applying for financial aid and then working to build and maintain a steady, positive credit history to impress potential lenders.

If you are unable to qualify for private student loans, look at leaning on your parents to help you cover tuition costs for a year or two while you work to build your credit.

We hope that this article proves to be an informative guide in your search for private loans for college. Carefully considering your options will help support your journey toward furthering your education and dreams.

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