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How to Take Out Student Loans Without Parents

By Kayla Korzekwinski

Kayla Korzekwinski is a Scholarships360 content writer. She earned her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied Advertising/PR, Rhetorical Communication, and Anthropology. Kayla has worked on communications for non-profits and student organizations. She loves to write and come up with new ways to express ideas.

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Updated: March 10th, 2022
How to Take Out Student Loans Without Parents

In some cases, your parents’ information is needed to take out student loans. However, students who cannot provide information about their parents are not out of luck. There are ways to take out both federal and private student loans without your parents. Continue reading to learn how to take out student loans on your own!

Federal student loans without a parent

Students should always try to borrow federal student loans first. This is because federal student loans, from the Department of Education, have more benefits. These benefits include Income-driven Repayment Plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. There are also options to remedy late payments and defaults. 

However, if you are considered a dependent student, you must provide information about your parents on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to have access to need-based federal financial aid. Your parent’s financial information is used to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). 

See also: FAFSA 101 guide

If a dependent student cannot provide their parent’s financial information, they will not have an EFC, and will not be eligible for need-based financial aid such as Direct Subsidized Loans, Pell Grants, and work-study. However, they will be eligible for non-need-based federal aid: Direct Unsubsidized Loans and PLUS Loans. Non-need-based federal aid is not awarded based on a student’s EFC. These loans can be borrowed up to the annual maximum amount.

If you want to apply for federal student loans without your parents’ information, select “I am unable to provide information about my parent(s)” when you reach that point in the FAFSA.

Borrow from a private lender

You don’t necessarily need a parent to borrow private student loans. Private student loans are disbursed by privately owned organizations such as banks. Companies that award private student loans can set their own requirements for eligibility. Often, a high credit score is a requirement. Students with good enough credit, higher than 670, can take out a private student loan on their own.

There are some lenders that do not have a credit score requirement. Others may consider more factors in their decision such as your employment and income. Be sure to do your research and choose a private lender that fits your financial needs!

See also: What is a student loan credit score?

Find a cosigner

Students who don’t have a high credit score are not totally ineligible for private student loans. Students can use a creditworthy cosigner–someone who is equally responsible for the repayment of the loan. A cosigner with an exceptional credit score can help a student qualify for a private student loan. Often, a parent is a cosigner. However, a parent doesn’t have to be your cosigner. Ask another trusted family member or friend. Be sure they know that they are taking on equal responsibility for the payment of the loan.

See also: How to find a cosigner

If you can’t receive a federal or private student loan, contact your school’s financial aid office. They may have school-specific financial aid available.

Search scholarships to fill in the gaps

There are other ways to fund your education without your parents. Search for scholarships to fill in funding gaps!

Frequently asked questions

Can an 18 year old get student loans without a cosigner?

Federal loans do not require students to have a cosigner, regardless of age. There is no minimum age for federal loans; all you need to show is a high school diploma, or an equivalent such as a GED.

Private loans, on the other hand, might require a cosigner if you don’t have a strong credit history. As an 18 year old taking out private loans, you will be better off if you can find a cosigner, because your lack of credit history will limit your private loan options. Though you may be able to find a loan that will accept you, odds are the terms will be more favorable with a cosigner.

At what age can I get my own student loan?

Federal loans don’t have any minimum age requirement; all you need to show is a high school diploma, GED, or other equivalent to a diploma. Private loans vary in their minimum age, but for the most part, they require students to be 18.

Does everyone qualify for student loans?

Any US citizen or permanent resident with a high school diploma or GED qualifies for federal student loans. The amount they qualify for, however, varies based on their financial situation. Most students also qualify for private student loans, but those with poor or undeveloped credit histories might need to find a cosigner.

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