Best Student Loans Without a Co-Signer

Find great rates and flexible terms for borrowers without a co-signer

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Finding and getting approved for student loans without a co-signer isn’t always simple, especially if you don’t know where to look. Many lenders offer the ability to apply without a co-signer, but getting approved for the loan without a co-signer is a whole other story.

The best student loans without a co-signer come with flexible credit and lending requirements, as well as competitive rates, which make them more accessible than other lenders. Read on to see our top picks for student loans without a co-signer for a variety of students. We reviewed several student loan lenders, and the ones that made our list offer low rates, options for graduate and international students, and more.

Lender Why We Picked It Fixed APR
Ascent Best Overall and Best for Graduate Students

3.39% to 14.50% (undergrad) & 4.66% to 13.56% (graduate) with autopay

Earnest Runner-Up and Best for Low Rates

3.49% to 12.78% (undergrad & graduate) with autopay

MPower Financing Best for International Students

10.56%-14.63% (undergrad) & 8.52%-12.59% (graduate) with autopay

Ascent: Best Overall and Best for Graduate Students

Ascent Student Loans

Ascent is a standout among lenders that offer loans without co-signers. Its clear eligibility guidelines help you figure out how likely it is it’ll approve your application.

Ascent calls its non-co-signed loans “independent student loans,” and offers two types for undergraduate borrowers: one based on credit and another based on projected future income. 

  • Non-co-signed student loan based on credit: This loan asks borrowers for a credit history of at least two years, a minimum credit score, a salary of at least $24,000 per year, and a monthly debt-to-income ratio that meets Ascent’s requirements.
  • Non-co-signed student loan based on future income: This loan is available to applicants who do not meet Ascent’s credit history length, income, or repayment ability requirements. Instead, applicants who are at least juniors and seniors with a 2.9 GPA or higher can qualify based on their school, program, major, graduation date, and other factors. Students can borrow up to $20,000 per year.

Ascent also has non-co-signer student loans for graduate students, with specific loan options for MBA, medical, dental, and law programs. With several options tailored to specific programs and students’ needs, Ascent is also our top pick for graduate student loans without a co-signer.

Ascent’s best rates come with a 0.25% rate discount for automatic payments. A higher 2.00% discount applies to Ascent’s future income-based student loans. Ascent also provides a 1% cash-back reward to borrowers once they graduate with their degree. Note that if your loan is in deferment, you’ll need to make minimum payments of at least $1 to keep your autopay discount. 

What We Like
  • Prequalification with no hard credit check

  • Student loan for undergraduates based on future income

  • Several loan options for graduate and professional programs

  • 1% cash-back reward upon graduating

What We Don't Like
  • Annual borrowing limit of $20,000 for future income-based student loans

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status to apply without a co-signer

Ascent Student Loan Details

Loan Type APR
Undergraduate Fixed 3.39% to 14.50% with autopay
Undergraduate Variable 2.46% to 12.98% with autopay
Graduate Fixed 4.66% to 13.56% with autopay
Graduate Variable 3.65% to 12.40% with autopay

Read the full review: Ascent Student Loans

Earnest: Runner-Up and Best for Low Rates

Earnest logo

Earnest offers clear and flexible eligibility requirements. Requirements for borrowers without a co-signer include a minimum FICO score of 650, a credit history of three years or longer, and income of at least $35,000.

Both undergraduate (except freshmen) and graduate students can apply for a student loan with Earnest. These student loans also offer low costs and competitive student loan rates. Earnest also charges no fees for loan origination, prepayment, or late payments.

You might not be eligible for an Earnest loan if you have accounts currently in collections.

Earnest provides flexible options for student loan repayment. Choose between full in-school deferment, partial in-school payments of either interest-only or $25 per month, or immediate full repayment. Earnest also offers “precision pricing” that lets you set your monthly payment amount (which might alter the student loan term and rate).

Finally, Earnest may offer up to a nine-month grace period after graduating or ending enrollment in school before you have to make payments. You do not get a nine-month grace period if you choose to make regular payments while you’re enrolled. Also, you can skip a payment once a year.

What We Like
  • Set monthly payments by what’s affordable to you

  • Nine-month grace period is longer than what some competitors offer

  • Ability to skip a payment once a year

What We Don't Like
  • Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents may apply without a co-signer

  • Loans not available in Nevada

Earnest Student Loan Details

Loan Type APR
Undergraduate Fixed 3.49% to 12.78% with autopay
Undergraduate Variable 1.30% to 11.69% with autopay
Graduate Fixed 3.49% to 12.78% with autopay
Graduate Variable 1.24% to 11.45% with autopay

Read the full review: Earnest Student Loans

MPower Financing: Best for International Students

MPower Financing Logo

International students and those covered under the DACA immigration policy are not eligible for federal student loans. As a result, private student loans are their only option to borrow for college. Many lenders will consider private student loan applications from non-U.S. citizens—but only if they apply with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer.

MPower Financing is an exception, offering student loans without co-signers to international and DACA students. It also offers additional services, including visa support letters for I-20 forms and career services. U.S. citizens and permanent residents can also apply for these student loans.

To be eligible, you’ll need a one- or two-year degree, or be two years or less away from graduating. As part of its approval process, MPower considers your future earnings as a factor. An MPower Financing student loan can finance $2,001 up to $50,000 in total, and you make interest-only payments while in school, as well as for up to six months after graduation.

Student loan rates vary by loan type. MPower Financing offers lower rates to graduate students and DACA Dreamers, U.S. citizens, or permanent residents. Borrowers can get up to 1.50% off their rate with 0.50% discounts for:

  1. Enrolling in automatic payments
  2. Making six automatic payments
  3. Providing proof of graduation

MPower also offers scholarships of up to $5,000 to international students.

What We Like
  • Student loans for international and DACA students with no co-signer

  • Student loan rate discounts of up to 1.50%

  • Visa and career services

  • Repay your loan in any currency you’d like

What We Don't Like
  • Higher interest rates

  • No full in-school deferments

  • Aggregate student loan limit of $50,000

MPower Financing Student Loan Details

Loan Type APR
Undergraduate Fixed 10.56% to 14.63% with autopay
Graduate Fixed 8.52% to 12.59% with autopay

What is a Student Loan Without a Co-Signer?

Student loans without co-signers are loans given to students for educational expenses that don’t require a second party to co-sign the loan and agree to repay the debt in the event that the borrower is unable to do so. Most private student loans require co-signers, especially for younger borrowers. More experienced and financially strong students who go to school later in life may qualify for more loan options for their education. 

What Types of Student Loans Can You Get Without a Co-Signer?

Federal student loans often approve you without a co-signer. Most private loans require a co-signer, but some companies offer student loans to borrowers based on their credit profile. You can receive these loans regardless of whether you’re borrowing for your undergraduate degree or graduate school, but you’ll need at least two years of strong credit history. 

How Much Do Student Loans Without a Co-Signer Cost?

The costs of the loan vary based on the credit profile of the borrower. Some lenders will also charge fees that will be included in the total cost of your loan, like a loan origination fee. 

Can I Get a Student Loan With Bad Credit?

You can get federal student loans with bad credit, but you likely won’t qualify for a private student loan for your education with bad credit unless you’re able to bring in a co-signer. Bad credit makes it difficult to get any type of personal loan, including private student loans. 

Can You Refinance Student Loans Without a Co-Signer?

You may be able to refinance your student loans without a co-signer. You can only refinance federal student loans with a private student loan, so a co-signer may be required if you don't have good-to-excellent credit.

If you’re refinancing private student loans you can get approved with strong credit. Refinancing with average or bad credit, even if you’re approved, can cost you a lot of money if your interest rates go up in the process. Keep in mind that if you refinance a federal student loan with a private loan, you lose access to the federal protections associated with your student loans. 

How We Chose the Best Student Loans Without a Co-Signer

We looked at more than a dozen lenders that offer student loans to individuals without a co-signer and narrowed the list down to the top three. We evaluated the costs of each option, how likely the lender is to approve a loan without a co-signer, the features of the loan including how many times you can skip a payment if needed, and the history of the company providing student loans in the open market. 

Article Sources

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  1. Ascent Student Loans. "FAQ." Accessed Dec. 2, 2020.

  2. Ascent Student Loans. "Ascent Cash Back Graduation Award." Accessed Dec. 2, 2020.

  3. Ascent Student Loans. "Ascent Student Loans Terms & Conditions." Accessed Dec. 2, 2020

  4. Earnest. "Eligibility Guide." Accessed Dec. 2, 2020.

  5. Earnest. "Undergraduate Student Loans." Accessed Dec. 2, 2020.

  6. Earnest. "Private Student Loans." Accessed Dec. 2, 2020.

  7. MPower Financing. "Get a Loan." Accessed Dec. 2, 2020.

  8. MPower Financing. "Scholarships." Accessed Dec. 2, 2020.