Melanie has a BS in physical science and is in grad school for analytics and modeling. She also runs a YouTube channel: The Curious Coder.
Going to college is an exciting opportunity that can secure your future. However, if you need a student loan without a cosigner to go to school, it can make going to college a little more difficult.
Not everyone is able to get a cosigner. If your parents refuse to cosign or have bad credit, then you'll have to get your loans without a cosigner. This sounds like a scary idea, but it's actually easy to get a student loan without having anyone cosign for you.
By getting an idea of how the financial aid systems work for college education, you'll not only have the money you need for school but you'll be all the smarter for it. By having the information you need, you'll have all the tools to get started with the financial aid system, thus allowing you to spend more time studying (and having fun) and less time worrying about affording your college tuition!
A Federal Loan Is Your Ticket
There are two main types of student loans. Federal student loans are available from the United States Department of Education, and since they are based on your financial need (and not your credit), a cosigner is not required to obtain this type of loan.
The other type of student loans are offered by private lenders and are often called private student loans. Like most loans, with a private lender, you'll have to go through all the red tape and are not the way to get student loans without a cosigner. This is because you'll have to show your lender your credit history. If you have bad credit or no credit, they'll need someone to cosign for you, unlike the federal student loan process.
Applying for a Federal Student Loan
The process of applying for a federal student loan is a piece of cake. This is because your credit will not be checked, no cosigner is required, and you don't even need a job (I mean, c'mon, you're going to be in college!) You don't need to be bringing in any sort of income, nor do you need references.
Federal student loans come in two flavors: subsidized and unsubsidized. Your best bet is to apply for a subsidized student loan because, with this type of loan, the government pays your loan's interest while you're in school. Don't worry about having to work while you're in school if you get an unsubsidized loan because you won't have to pay the accrued interest until after you leave school.
Federal student loans, whether they are subsidized or not, make it much easier for students to attend school without having to worry about making payments. They are the perfect way to get student loans without a cosigner and for those who do have the extra help from their family. Because of this, even those who have good credit and/or a cosigner are urged to apply for a federal student loan.
To apply for a federal student loan, you should make sure you fill out the FAFSA before your state's deadline. Your best bet is to fill it out early so you can make sure you have everything completed before the deadline. The earlier you do your paperwork, the better off you are, so get that FAFSA in as soon as you (or your parents) complete taxes. That being said, get those taxes in quickly because many states have their deadlines set as early to mid-March.
To fill out your FAFSA, you will need your and/or your parents' tax information for the previous year, your social security number, and the school codes for schools you plan on attending. You can add multiple codes if you're not sure where you'll be attending school.
Nearly all schools let you know what their FAFSA code is on their website, but if you're unsure of where to find this information, you can look up your school's code on the FAFSA website.
The idea of federal student loans being a way to get student loans without a cosigner can mean a lot of good news for those looking to go to college. Even though getting a federal student loan is easy, it's important to have everything ready to apply for the loan.
By getting your FAFSA in early, you are ensuring your chances of obtaining money for college. See, just because you didn't get accepted to a tuition-free college doesn't mean that affording a college education has to be impossible!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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John Jack George from United States on July 13, 2014:
The only problem with federal student loans is that the government ultimately decides how much you will get. If the parents make too much money, according to the government, you only get a nominal loan. While this is a great guide, that is a very real problem many students are having right now.
monicamelendez from Salt Lake City on July 14, 2012:
Federal loans are so great. I used to live in Brazil and there was no such thing. If your parents weren't absolutely loaded, you weren't going to college.
Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on January 27, 2012:
Great advice. I will admit... when I headed off to college I always hated filing out the FAFSA forms... but then again, I have never been a fan of paperwork. It seems like they ask for a whole lot of information and I am not even sure if half of it is even necessary :) Great informative hub for those looking at going back to school!
Keeley Shea from Norwich, CT on December 30, 2011:
Great hub! I will pass on to my brother who is looking into this right now. Do you know if FAFSA will cover all of the loan or just part of it? Thanks!
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on December 27, 2011:
Nunya, yes a student loan requires references, but these are references similar to those when you apply for a job.
-A 'reference' on a student loan is NOT the same as a cosigner.
-The reference on a student loan does not have to sign any paperwork nor is his or her credit tied to your student loan, so it's completely safe for them to be a reference.
-A cosigner, however, does tie their credit to your student loan, but a cosigner is not needed for the aforementioned student loans.
I hope this clarifies the issue for you. :)
Nunya on December 27, 2011:
this is a lie. Loans with no references/co-signer do not exist unless you have excellent credit. I have checked. I even applied for a student loan, but quit halfway through the application because I do not have references....and this is a student loan.
Nina on October 20, 2011:
Single parent of great kid, my credit is not good,my ex makes big bucks and w wonr help.. Thx for infi
Jun Cabandi on June 29, 2011:
Nice guide which a lot of students would find useful...you deliver!
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on January 06, 2011:
Wow, thank you for your thoughtful comment! Made my day!
Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on January 06, 2011:
Thank you for creating the overview! I appreciate your perusal of a more specific type of loan topic, too. So many guides are too generic and don't really help people enough with their specific needs. But hey- you've got co-signer free loans COVERED!