Who Should Apply?

The proper applicant for a private loan depends on the type and level of education to be funded. Almost all private programs require the student to apply. Unlike federal student loans, there are virtually no parent-only private loan programs. For undergraduate loans, the student applicant almost always needs a cosigner, usually a parent, because there is no state or federal guaranty to provide credit support for the loan. Some graduate programs permit "credit ready" students to apply without a cosigner. A "credit ready" student is one with a modest credit history or no credit history (but no bad history) and no current income. Such a loan is based on the field of graduate study and the likelihood that study will produce a job in the future. Finally, continuing education loans (for less than half time study) are generally available to either students who have jobs or students with cosigners.

As a general matter, applying with a cosigner will reduce the price of the loan, even if the loan is available to the student alone.