The chances of getting approved for a student loan increase when you have a co-signer. However, if you can't get someone to co-sign on the loan, you will need to find loan options that will allow you to obtain financing on your own credit.

Do private student loans require a co-signer?

There are many advertisements from numerous student loan lenders that tell prospective borrowers that no co-signer is needed. However, since private student loans are not guaranteed by the federal government, lenders are cautious about the people they approve for loans. In order for a student to get approved for a private student loan without a co-signer, he/she will have to demonstrate that they have an established credit history and a decent paying job - requirements not met by the majority of young adults looking to get into college.

Do federal student loans require a co-signer?

There are federal student loan programs that don't require a co-signer. If you demonstrate exceptional financial need, you may qualify for a Perkins Loan. However, funds for Perkins loans are limited each year. Another option is the Stafford Loan. Stafford Loans are the most common type of federally-backed student loan, because the federal government guarantees payments to the lender in the even In order to qualify for federal student loans you will need to first complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Once you complete a FAFSA, your school will notify you if you qualify for any federal grants, and how much you are eligible to borrow in federally-backed student loans. If a parent's financial information was included on the FAFSA, a school may limit the amount you can borrow with federally backed student loans. They expect parents to contribute to the financial burden by applying for a PLUS loan (a federally backed loan that parents can use to pay for their child's education expenses). However, if the parent gets turned down for a PLUS loan, the student can go back to the school and request additional money for a Stafford Loan.

Ask your school about payment options

Some schools will offer monthly payment options that allow you to pay for school as you attend. So, instead of having to pay all tuition at once, it can be paid for over the course of several months throughout the school year. This option is only feasible if the student can make money while going to school. Some schools offer work-study programs that will provide students with paying jobs that can be used to offset some tuition expenses.

Related article: How do I borrow money for college?