The best way to get a student loan without a cosigner is to apply for federal student aid.
You do not need a cosigner or a credit history to apply for a federal student loan, but must meet a few other requirements.
- demonstrate financial need for most programs;
- be a United States citizen or eligible non citizen;
- have a valid social security number;
- be registered with Selective Service, if you are a male;
- be enrolled as a regular student in an accepted program;
- be enrolled at least half-time (for Direct Loans);
- maintain satisfactory academic progress during your college career;
- complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and sign eligibility statements;
- have a high school diploma or GED.
Types of Federal Student Loans
- Direct Subsidized Loans are for undergraduate students who show financial need. The Department of Education is the lender.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans are for undergraduate and graduate students regardless of financial need. The Department of Education is the lender.
- Direct Plus Loans are for graduate and professional students or parents of dependent undergraduate students. Borrowers cannot have a poor credit history. The Department of Education is the lender.
- Federal Perkins Loans are for undergraduate and graduate students who can show great financial need. Since the college is the lender on this loan, Perkins Loans are not available at all colleges.
Repaying Your Federal Student Loan
When it comes to repaying your federal student loan, there are many options to consider. Make sure you know when repayment starts, how to make your payments, payment options, forbearance and deferment options and more.
Repayment on most federal student loans does not begin until you have finished college or drop below half time. PLUS loans are the exception; repayment begins on them as soon as the loan is fully paid out.
Most federal loans have a grace period after college and before repayment. The grace period gives you time to become financially set before you have to begin repaying the loan.
- Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans have a six-month grace period before payments are due.
- PLUS loans do not have a grace period. Repayment begins as soon as the loan is paid out.
- Check with your school for grace periods on Federal Perkins Loans.
Deferment and Forbearance
If you are having difficulties making payments on your loan contact your loan servicer. You may be able to change your payment plan, extend the pay due date or apply for a deferment or forbearance.
- A deferment is a temporary period of time that you do not have to make payments. The Federal Government may make payments on your interest during a deferment if you have a Federal Perkins Loan, Direct Subsidized Loan or a Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan.
- With forbearance, you can stop making payments or lower your monthly payments for up to 12 months. Interest will continue to build during this time.