Student loans 9 February 2023

11 Best Private Student Loans For Bad Credit or No Credit

This blog post reviews 11 different private student loans for people with bad credit.

Private student loans with bad credit

It can be difficult for students to find private student loans for bad credit or no credit at all. However, there are options available through private and federal state programs that can enable students to find good loan options.  These loans offer various repayment alternatives and don’t ask for a credit background in order to borrow money.

We have reviewed the top 11 lenders for students with low credit scores along with ways you can improve your credit score. 

11 Best Private Student Loans For Bad Credit

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Funding U

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5/5Great for Students With No Credit6.997.49Visit website


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4.8/5Great for Loans Without Co-signers4.625.74Visit website


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4.8/5Great for Lower-Than-Average Credit Score
4.454.99Visit website

A.M. Money

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4.6/5Great for GPA Based Loans7.53N/AVisit website


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4.5/5Great For Graduate Students4.494.99Visit website


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4.2/5Great for Co-signer Loans4.896.99Visit website

M Power

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4.2/5Great For International Students With No Credit13.98N/AVisit website


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4.1/5Great For Income-Based Private Student Loans With No CreditN/AN/AVisit website

PNC Bank

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4/5Great for automated payment discounts4.995.34Visit website

Prodigy Finance

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4/5Best for studying abroad with no-cosigner and poor creditN/A11.06Visit website

A.M. Money

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4/5Best for students with high GPA and bad credit7.08N/AVisit website

#1 Funding U

Funding U is a private lender that offers student loans without a credit check. They have flexible repayment plans, competitive interest rates, and fast approval times. Funding U also has no minimum credit score requirement, making it easier for those with bad credit to get the financial assistance they need. 


  • No credit check required 
  • Fixed-rate loan terms with repayment periods of up to 20 years 
  • Easy and convenient online application process 


  • Interest rates may be higher than other student loan providers 
  • Additional eligibility requirements may apply depending on the type of loan you are applying for. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Proof of enrollment in an accredited college or university 
  • U.S citizen or permanent resident 
  • Evidence of income to show ability to repay the loan 

Repayment Terms

  • Fixed rate interest rates and repayment periods of up to 20 years 
  • Payments can be withdrawn directly from your bank account 
  • Co-signer release option available for borrowers with good credit and repayment history.

#2 Ascent

Ascent provides many loan options for students. These include a co-signed loan, a non-co-signed credit-based option, and a non-co-signed future income-based as well. A co-signed loan is a great option for students with poor or no credit history. It also provided flexible payment terms and a 9 month grace period.


  • Among the best for payment flexibility.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.
  • Grace period of 9 months which is longer than most lenders.


  • Students enrolled at less than half-time are ineligible. 
  • International students are not eligible for co-signer release. 
  • Freshmen and sophomores are not eligible for outcome-based loans without a cosigner. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a junior or senior in college enrolled full-time (or with an anticipated graduation date within nine months of the loan application deadline) in a degree program at an eligible institution 
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in the United States. 
  • Maintain a 2.9 GPA or above in your classes. 
  • be at least 18 years old, or the age of legal majority in their state of residence.

Repayment Terms

  • Co-signers can only be dropped if the primary borrower satisfies the lender’s underwriting requirements. 
  • After making 12 qualified monthly payments, debtors can request co-signer releases. 
  • While still in college borrowers pay $25 each month. When your nine-month grace period expires after you graduate from school, you’ll be required to begin making full payments.

#3 Earnest

Earnest offers private student loans to bachelors and graduate-level students. They cover 100% school-certified costs including tuition, books and supplies, laptops, and study abroad costs without any origination fee. Their offer loans to students with below-average credit scores, low-interest rates, and with a grace period of up to 9 months after graduation.


  • No origination fee or late fees
  • Flexible monthly payments and loan term length offered
  • Rate match feature offered
  • They cover 100% of school-certified costs including study abroad and laptops
  • Offer longer than the average grace period
  • You can skip a payment per year without any consequences


  • Borrowers or co-signers must have at least a 650 FICO credit score
  • Loans unavailable to some of the states (Nevada excluded)

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must reside in a supported U.S. state, be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. If not, then must have a consigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be the age of majority as defined by the state of residence
  • Undergraduate borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time.
  • Must be enrolled in a 4-year bachelor’s or graduate-level degree at qualified institutions
  • Minimum FICO score of 650 is required

Repayment Terms

  •  9-month grace period after graduation
  • $25/month Fixed payment option available while in school and during the grace period
  • Can make only interest payments while studying
  • No late payment fees
  • Allows consolidation of private and federal loans in one payment
  • Refinancing available

#4 A.M. Money

A.M. Money is a private student loan lender that offers loans without any credit check or cosigner requirement. They have competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms, with no minimum credit score required. A.M. Money also offers online applications and quick approval times, making it easy for those with bad credit to get the financial assistance they need.


  • No credit check or cosigner required 
  • Competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms 
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties 


  • Maximum loan amount is $50,000 
  • High-interest rates for borrowers with low credit scores or no credit history. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S citizen or permanent resident 
  • Enrolled at least half-time in an accredited college or university 
  • Evidence of income to show ability to repay the loan

Repayment Terms

  • Fixed and variable rate loan options available 
  • Repayment periods of up to 15 years 
  • No prepayment penalty or origination fees charged


SOFI offers various types of loan options including private student loans for graduate and undergraduate students. Students can borrow an amount anywhere between $1,000 to $100,000 which they can only use for Qualified Higher Education Expenses at an eligible institution. It does include credit scores in the factors it considers to accept a loan and the requirement may be around 650. However, SOFI is not clear about its minimum credit score requirements and it is only a part of the eligibility criteria.


  • Flexible repayment options and terms of up to 15 years
  • No late fee
  • Accept co-borrowers
  • A variety of in-school repayment options are available
  • Can borrow up to $100,000
  • Six-month grace period
  • Borrowers become members and are offered additional benefits
  • Rate discounts upon setting up auto-pay
  • Unemployment protection


  • Bi-weekly payments via autopay are not offered
  • No cosigner release on refinance loans
  • Only 12 months of forbearance offered
  • Requires a credit score of around mid-600s; however, the minimum credit requirement is unclear.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Reside in the United States or the District of Columbia
  • U.S. citizen, permanent resident of the U.S., or non-permanent resident alien in which case some documentation may be required as proof.
  • Age of majority in their state of residence, otherwise, a cosigner with an age of majority will be required for the loan to be approved
  • Enrolled at least half-time in an eligible and accredited school – associate degrees are not eligible
  • Enrolled at a bachelor’s or a graduate level

Repayment Terms

  • Fixed and variable-rate loan options are available
  • 5, 10, or 15 years of loan terms offered
  • No prepayment penalty or origination fee
  • No late fee
  • Allows in-school and military deferment
  • Allows cosigner release which requires two years of timely payments
  • Interest-only payment option while in school


MEFA, or the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, offers private student loans and student loan refinancing to undergraduate and graduate students in all 50 states. Its refinancing loan is best suited for borrowers with a steady income but no college diploma. Its private student loan is best suited for students who expect to earn a consistent income after graduation.


  • In comparison to other private lenders, MEFA offers low, fixed interest rates and no fees, making it easier to save money. 
  • There are no loan fees or late fees. 
  • Provides a variety of undergraduate student loan repayment plans, including deferred repayment. 
  • Allows for deferral of undergraduate loans for up to five years and graduate student loans for up to three years. 


  • Except for refinancing loans, a hard credit check is required to determine eligibility. 
  • Allows only one undergraduate repayment plan with co-borrower release and no graduate student or refinancing loans. 
  • There is no autopay discount.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting undergraduate program at an eligible non-profit college or university in the United States.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the college or university’s requirements.
  • Every borrower needs to be an American citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • Have a creditworthy co-borrower who will share repayment responsibility. Loan credit score requirements are not disclosed.

Repayment Terms

  • Allows for military deferment.
  • Death or disability discharge available
  • 10- or 15-year repayment term.
  • Beginning on the 28th day of the month following the final loan disbursement, borrowers make interest-only payments while they remain in school. 

#7 MPower Financing

MPower Financing offers non-cosigner loans to international students. They help international students complete their education in the U.S. and Canada by lending fixed-rate loans of a minimum of $2,001 and a maximum of $100,000. The amount of money you are able to borrow is limited to $25,000 for an academic period. They offer competitive interest rates with discounts of up to 0.25% in the interest rate.


  • No credit check or cosigner is required
  • MPower Financing has loan options for international students
  • It offers loans to DACA recipients
  • Can apply for an MPower Financing loan alongside other loans from other lenders
  • Dedicated student loan advisor for every student
  • Rate discounts
  • Forbearance of up to 24 months
  • Up to 0.25% in interest rate discounts


  • Support 400 schools in total in the United States and Canada
  • Lend to students in the last two years before graduation or who are about to begin their one- or two-year program
  • Only one term of repayment equal to 10 years

Eligibility Requirements

  • Undergraduate or graduate students in the final two years of their program or about to begin a year or two-year program.
  • International student, refugee, asylum-seeker, DACA recipient, or United States citizen
  • Admitted to one of the approved schools

Repayment Terms

  • Payments start 45 days after the loan disbursement
  • Interest-only payments till graduation and during the grace period
  • Remaining months of payments are calculated using a 120-month amortization schedule
  • On-time payments with no pre-payment option of any principal

#8 Edly

Edly offers private student loans with income-based repayment options. They do not require a good credit score and offer noncosigner loans to students. They also offer a grace period of 4 months and payments only start if you are earning more than $30,000. It’s an affordable option for students looking for a private student loan for bad credit.


  • No credit check or cosigner is required
  • No payment is required if the borrower’s income is less than $30,000 per year.
  • Payments can be deferred in case you lose your job
  • No interest rate
  • Income-based repayment
  • Works with more than 1,700 schools


  • Unavailable to freshmen and sophomores receiving a four-year degree
  • Unavailable to borrowers in Vermont, Maine, West Virginia, and Colorado
  • Hard to predict payments upfront
  • Total loan amount limited to $25000 only with up to $15000 yearly payments

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Current college junior, senior, or graduate student
  • Studying in one of the participating schools

Repayment Terms

• Need to repay 2.25x the borrowed amount
• 5 – 12 years of repayment term length
• Deferred payments offered in case you lose your job
• Income-based repayment
• Four-month grace period after graduation

#9 PNC Bank

PNC offers both co-signed loans and non-cosigned loans. This lender does not disclose its minimum credit requirement but does consider your credit score and history when making a decision along with various other factors. If you have bad credit you can opt for their cosigned loans to improve your chances of getting the loan approved. You can even chat with one of their representatives to get an idea of the options for student loans for bad credit.


  • Flexible repayment terms
  • No application or origination fees
  • 0.50% discount on rates with automated payments
  • Cosigner Release available
  • Online application
  • Can borrow up to the full cost of tuition and college related expenses


  • No international student loans
  • Minimum credit requirement undisclosed but considered

Eligibility Requirements

  • Enrolled in an undergraduate degree program or a certificate program
  • Enrolled or enrolling at least half-time
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident
  • Satisfactory credit and income history or has a cosigner who does in case of bad credit

Repayment Terms

  • 5, 10, and 15 year repayment terms
  • Immediate repayment and interest-only payments while in school available
  • Full deferment of principal and interest options available
  • Deferred payments begin six months after you graduate

#10 Prodigy Finance

Prodigy Finance is great for students looking to study abroad, who do not have a cosigner or good credit. They approve student loans based on your future earning potential rather than credit. They also cover living costs for such students as it is usually a huge chunk of the costs they have to incur when studying overseas. They provide a convenient online platform on their site for students from eligible states and enrolled at eligible schools to apply. You can find a list of eligible states and countries they support on their website.


  • Provide student loans for studying abroad
  • No cosigner required
  • Credit is not an important factor
  • Provide loans for tuition and also cover living costs
  • Quick, easy online application
  • No hidden fees
  • Longer repayment terms offered


  • Support limited countries
  • Support students from limited states
  • Support students admitted to eligible institutions
  • Only offers a variable rate

Eligibility Requirements

  • Admitted to a supported school and program
  • Must be looking to study abroad
  • Must reside in one of the eligible countries

Repayment Terms

  • Payments 6 months after classes end
  • Flexible repayment terms from 7 to 20 years

#11 A.M Money

Chicago Student Loans by A.M. Money do not consider credit and other financial indicators as the most important factors when deciding to lend. They believe that those metrics are only partial indicators of risk. Therefore, they base their decisions on merit majorly. This makes this loan highly favorable for students with academic excellence and poor credit. They also do not require a cosigner.


  • No cosigner
  • No credit or income requirements
  • Provides merit-based loans
  • Offers flexible repayment
  • Can make in-school payments to pay off loans earlier


  • Students with poor or average GPAs may not be able to qualify
  • Charges a 4.5% origination fee
  • Does not lend to international students

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must have Juniors Or Senior Standing
  • Must have above-average GPA
  • Attend An Eligible School
  • Pell-Eligible Or Near Pell-Eligible

Repayment Terms

  • 6-month grace period
  • Income-based repayment plan offered
  • Forbearance available

How to Get Private Student Loans for Bad Credit?

Students who don’t have a credit history or have poor credit should start by exploring federal loans. Loans like direct subsidized and unsubsidized don’t require any credit history and can be available to students to further their education. However, if the federal loan options are exhausted you may still be able to find some private lenders that can provide loans without a credit check. Private student loans can provide more flexible repayment options and greater loan amounts. 

You can also consider possibilities like income share agreements that don’t have rigorous credit score criteria. Another great option is to find a co-signer that has a good credit score. Co-signers then become responsible for making your payments in case you are not able to.

The following are the main steps to getting a private student loan for bad credit:

  1. Find out your Cost of Attendance (COA) – You need to assess how much money you require to cover the full cost of your selected institution before you proceed.
  2. Consider Federal Loans first – Federal loans offer lower interest rates and are the best options for students who have bad credit. They also come with many protection plans and loan forgiveness options. You will be required to fill out a FAFSA  to determine the Federal loan options available to you. In case you are not eligible for Federal loans, you can move on to comparing private lenders and the terms they offer.
  3. Compare private lenders – check out the different private lenders available and compare their rates and terms. Getting a quote from each can help you decide which option would be the best for you in the long term.
  4. Check repayment options available to you – SOme lenders offer more flexibility in terms of their repayment options. Some have an income-based repayment plan while others have programs to help you in a situation of financial difficulty in the future. There may be deferment and forbearance offered too which might help students in certain situations. Make sure to research all the lenders well for such options and go for the safest bet.
  5. Find a cosigner if required by the lender – if your chosen lender requires certain strict eligibility requirements in terms of income and credit, you can find a cosigner who meets them and can take responsibility for your loan in case you are unable to make payments. You can approach people from friends and family to cosign the loan with you. However, keep in mind that you might be turned down by many as it is a big responsibility and if you fail to make on-time payments, it will affect the cosigner’s credit report negatively too.
  6. Collect documents – Collect all the necessary information and required documents before you start the application process. This way, the process will be quick and easy. The lenders usually have a list of what s required on their websites.
  7. Apply – You can apply for a loan through the lender’s website. Fill out the online application they have provided and submit the required documents in the correct format. You can also take help from their customer service if you get confused while completing the online application
  8. Accept the offer – Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a final offer with the rates and terms mentioned. These might be slightly different than the initial quote that you may have received. Make sure to read the terms carefully so you understand the loan and what you are supposed to do. If you agree, then sign the application and the funds will be transferred to you or your institution.

How to Choose a Private Student Loan for Bad Credit - Top Tips

While doing your research on lenders consider using the below tips to find the best private student loan for bad credit.

  • Find a lender with a lower APR rate
    The APR is what you pay above the amount you borrowed. The higher the rate, the more the loan will cost you. So, the best loan would be the one with lower APR rates. Moreover, choose loans with fixed interest rates so they don’t change over time.
  •  Avoid loans with additional fees
    Opt for loans that do not charge any origination, prepayment, application, or late fee to avoid additional costs.
  • Find a cosigner to sign the loan with you.
    Having a cosigner can help you better your chances of qualifying for a private student loan regardless of having bad credit.
  • Look for loans with multiple and flexible repayment options
    Some lenders offer more flexibility in terms of their repayment terms. Having more flexible and multiple options helps ease off the burden of the loan.
  • Look for lenders that offer hardship options
    There are various options offered by some lenders that can help you in a crisis. A few of these options may include loan deferment if you become unemployed or earn less than a certain amount of yearly income. Other options may even include forbearance, refinancing, and loan forgiveness.

You can calculate your estimated monthly payments for different lenders using the loan calculator given below. You will need the loan amount, the interest rate being offered by the lender you are considering, and the loan term they are offering.

Enter your loan information

Loan amount

Interest rate

Loan term

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score For a Private Student Loan

There are various benefits to improving credit scores like getting approved for more applications, a higher loan limit, and low interest rates. Here are four easy ways to improve your credit score.

#1 On-time payment

Because payment history accounts for such a large portion of your credit score, it’s critical that you keep up with your student loan payments. Making on-time payments is one of the best ways to use your student loans to build credit – by being consistent with your payments, you’ll notice your credit score gradually rising.

#2 Prepaid Credit Card or Secured loan

Another way to improve your credit score is to consider getting a secured loan or a secured credit card. A secured loan requires you to put up collateral in return for the money borrowed, while a secured credit card allows you to make purchases using funds placed into an account that you are responsible for repaying. Both of these options can help build your credit and make it more likely that lenders will approve your application for a private student loan.

#3 Make numerous years of on-time payments

Your credit score will rise as the average age of your accounts increases. Keeping accounts open for a long time can help your credit score over time.  Federal student loans have a standard repayment term of ten years, and private student loans frequently have repayment terms ranging from ten to twenty years. Making student loan payments for that length of time will improve your credit score, especially if you’re new to credit.

#4 Pay off your debts

Another borrowing behavior that can improve your credit score is paying your debts on time. Consider making a second (small) monthly payment of whatever extra you can contribute if you can afford it. Paying down credit card balances, in particular, can help you lower your credit utilization ratio, which is a key metric in how credit bureaus calculate your score. Working to pay off loans or other forms of debt can also help you learn how to improve your credit score.

Income Share Agreements For Bad Credit

In case you don’t find a lender that fits your situation or you don’t get approved for a loan you can consider other options like an income share agreement.

An income share agreement (ISA) is a sort of contract that enables students to get money for higher education while they are enrolled and repay it with a certain proportion of their income once they graduate. Upon signing the income share agreement, the repayment period and income % are decided. There is no interest charged in income share agreements and this is a good option for students that dont have a good credit score.

The best conditions for ISA are:

  • You are not eligible for private student loans and you have used up all of your government loan alternatives. 
  • You would be subject to hefty interest rates on student loans because of your low credit score. 
  • An ISA with appropriate terms and a small payment cap is offered by your university. 

Your income share agreement’s funder will decide your eligibility, the income share, and payback term duration. Your income share agreement funder will also assess your qualifications for college funding and the terms based on your professional goals, educational background, course of study, and future plans.

Funding education can be stressful but with the options of loans and income share agreements you will be able to find a solution that fits your unique financial situation.


These are some of the questions we are most frequently asked by students with bad credit.

How can I get private student loans for bad credit?

By reviewing different lenders such as Funding U and A.M. Money you may be able to find loans without credit. Other lenders like Ascent have flexible co-signer options.

What is the minimum credit score required for a private student loan?

Lenders of private student loans often need a credit score of at least 670. You can review our comparison chart to understand which lender works best for you as some may not require any credit score.

How can I improve my credit score?

The simplest approach to raise your credit score in the short term is to pay off your current bills, including paying off any outstanding loans, as well as the balances on your credit cards. Building a solid payment history is ultimately the most efficient strategy to raise your credit score.