Many college students expect their parents to pay for a portion of their education. Parents may not always be willing or able to cosign on a student loan. Private student loans are more difficult to get without a cosigner because students generally do not have a credit history established. Federal student loans do not require a parent's signature because the government guarantees the loans for you. Other funding options are available if your parents will not cosign for you.
When Parents Will Not Cosign
If your parent will not cosign on a student loan, you will need to find a lender or other funding options to pay for school. Students can qualify for federal student loans without a parent signature on the loans because the government guarantees the loans. Banks may be willing to issue a student private student loans without a cosigner, but the interest rates will be higher if you do not have a cosigner or an established credit history. Contact your student aid office to find out what other loans you can qualify for without having your parent cosign the loan. The student aid officer may also give you other funding options and credit counseling regarding your student loans.
Less Expensive School
Another option to consider is a less expensive school, such as a state university where you have residency. Public universities may offer scholarships dependent on you agreeing to work in the state for a set number of years. One example of this is a teaching scholarship. If you want to go to an out of state public university, take the steps necessary to qualify as a resident as quickly as possible. The rules for residency vary by state and some states allow you to declare residency after attending one year. Other states may make you wait a year before enrolling in classes.
Scholarships and Grants
Try to finance your school expenses through scholarships and grants. Most universities offers scholarships and grants based on academic performance and other needs. You can learn about general scholarships offered by your school through the financial aid office. If you know your major, you can apply for department-specific scholarships to pay for school. Apply for private scholarships and grants through online databases such as FastWeb or CollegeNet. There may also be local scholarships available in your community. Try contacting local civic groups or talking to your high school guidance counselor to find extra money to pay for college.
Work Through College
Another option to help you cover your school expenses is to work while you go to school. Working while in college can give you valuable job experience that will help you once you graduate. Consider finding paid internships or jobs related to your area of study. Many companies will hire part-time college students to work for them. Another option is to go to school part-time and work full-time. Many companies will pay for one or two classes a semester while you work for them, as long as you agree to work for them for a set amount of time after you graduate.
Miriam C has been writing since 2007. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University. Among her many jobs, Miriam C has taught middle-school students. She's written for Families.com and other clients on finances, family and education.