How to get a student loan with no credit

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Ways to get student loans without a credit history

Credit—the ability to borrow money and then pay it back with interest — is a fact of life. Whether the lender is a bank, a store, or a car dealer, they’ll want to make sure that you’re going to pay back your loan. That’s why they’ll review your credit history when you’re applying for a car loan, mortgage—or even a student loan. The tricky thing is that many students haven’t had enough time to develop a credit history of their own before they begin college.

Here are a few ways you might be able to get a loan without any credit.

Apply for federal student loans before private student loans

Federal undergraduate student loans  are given out by the U.S. government and don’t require a credit check (though federal loans for parents and graduate students do). To apply for federal student loans, you need to fill out the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) every year you attend school. It’s your ticket to grants, work-study funds, and federal loans.

According to the Department of Education, more than $112 billion in federal student aid is given out to help more than 10 million students pay for college and career school each year.

Pro tip:
The federal student aid is given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Make sure you submit your FAFSA® as early as you can each year (usually October 1).

Make your go-to source for all things FAFSA®.

Apply for a private student loan with a creditworthy cosigner

Unlike federal student loans, private student loans come from banks and credit unions—and they require a credit check.

If you’re a high school or college student with a limited credit history, a private student loan lender may not approve your application. Don’t take it personally! If you look at it from their point of view, there’s not much proof that you’ll be able to repay a loan on time—especially if you don’t have a regular salary or other financial assets.

Consider applying with a creditworthy cosigner, an individual with strong credit who can take responsibility for the student loan with you. Cosigners are usually parents, but they don’t have to be. Your cosigner doesn’t even need to be related to you.

When asking someone to cosign a loan for you, make sure you both understand what it means. A cosigner isn’t just adding their name to a piece of paper—they’re signing a legal agreement that makes them equally responsible for repaying the loan.

You and your cosigner need to be clear on who’s going to make the loan payments each month. If it’s you, and you fall behind on your payments, your cosigner’s credit score may be affected.

Being a cosigner is a serious commitment, but it doesn’t need to be a lifelong one. Many private student loan lenders let you apply to release your cosigner after you’ve proved you can repay your loan responsibly with a certain number of on-time payments.

Getting a student loan with no credit

If you don’t have strong credit yet, you’re not alone. A lot of college students don’t. Don’t panic. Just be sure to get the most of federal student aid you can by filling out the FAFSA®, then explore other options if you need to.

Need money for college?

Consider a Sallie Mae® private student loan

  • Available for online or on-campus study
  • Competitive fixed and variable rates
  • No origination fee or prepayment penaltyfootnote 1
  • 95% of undergraduate students who’ve been approved were approved again when they returned with a cosigner the following yearfootnote 2
Photo webImage blog Cross Sell study Girl.

footnote 1. Although we do not charge you a penalty or fee if you prepay your loan, any prepayment will be applied as provided in your promissory note: first to Unpaid Fees and costs, then to Unpaid Interest, and then to Current Principal.

footnote 2. Sallie Mae loans cover enrollment periods of up to 12 months. Students must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students who were approved for a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan with a cosigner in the 2021/22 school year and were approved for another Sallie Mae undergraduate loan when they returned with the same or new cosigner in 2022/23. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2022/23.

footnote Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey financial, tax, or legal advice. We make no claims about the accuracy or adequacy of this information. These materials may not reflect our view or endorsement. Consult your own financial advisor, tax advisor, or attorney about your specific circumstances. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited.

footnote External links and third-party references are provided for informational purposes only. Sallie Mae cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided by any third parties and assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions contained therein. Any copyrights, trademarks, and/or service marks used in these materials are the property of their respective owners.

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