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 release your cosigner after you’ve proved you can repay your loan responsibly with a certain number of on-time payments.
You can make it happen
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.