Unsecured Student Loans
Of the 20 million Americans who attend college each year, 60 percent borrow money to pay for tuition, fees, textbooks, and other expenses. This statistic from the Chronicle of Higher Education demonstrates the intense demand for student loans, and it might also explain why so many banks offer private student loans. There is a large market for student loans, to be sure, but such loans can be a little risky for a bank, as most student borrowers have no credit history, and most students borrow what banks refer to as unsecured student loans.
Banks tend to place loans into two camps. On the one side are loans that are secured. These are the loans that are based on the value of an object that the bank could take back, if the loan wasn’t repaid. Typically, people place something big on the line when they take out a secured loan, such as:
The bank simply determines how much the item is worth, and the loan covers that amount. The borrower is then committed to pay the loan back, as the borrower typically doesn’t want to lose the item in question.
Unsecured loans, on the other hand, have no such collateral behind them. Instead, these are loans that are based only on the reputation of the person asking for money, as well as the factors that are impacting the economy at large. Obviously, most student loans fall into the unsecured category, as a student’s knowledge is the item being purchased here.
It’s important to remember that there are still consequences if you do not repay an unsecured student loan. Just because you don’t have to provide collateral to take out an unsecured loan doesn’t mean there will not be adverse affects if you default on your loan payments. Failing to repay a loan will result in an extremely negative impact on a borrower’s credit score, which would make borrowing in the future much, much more challenging.
There are two types of loans that fall into this category, and they’re differentiated by the organization that provides the money to the student. The way the loans work also varies dramatically, but the lender’s preferences make quick sorting a snap. Unsecured federal student loans are those funds that are handed out by the government. The student applies for these loans by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), detailing where the student will go to school and how much money the student might be able to contribute to his/her education in a given year. Federal student loans generally have lower interest rates than their private counterparts, and always have fixed interest rates, as opposed to the variable rates some private loans have. Additionally, federal loans come with a variety of borrower benefits, including:
- Delayed payment options due to illness or unemployment
- Fixed interest rates for the life of the loan
- Assistance with interest payments during a student’s time in school (in some cases)
- No credit check
Federal loans have borrowing limits, and some students may need to borrow more in order to cover all of their college costs. Students in this group may need to enter the private sector to find the financial assistance they need, and if they have no equity to put up, they may need to get an unsecured student loan from a bank or private lender.
Unsecured loans from private lenders usually come with higher-than-average interest rates, simply because of the risk the bank is taking on by providing a loan to someone who has not provided collateral. If you’re a student borrower looking to take out a private loan, odds are that you will need a cosigner when you apply for a loan(s). Because students usually have either an extremely limited or nonexistent credit history, banks often require students to have a credit-worthy cosigner apply with them, so the lender has the security of knowing that somebody will be able to repay the loan.
Unsecured student loans may also come with variable interest rates, meaning that the amount due is associated with the economy and the current interest rates. Sometimes, this is a bonus for borrowers, as they may not see their cost of borrowing rise over time. But a volatile market can lead to very high fees that are impossible for the borrower to control.
Unsecured federal student loans have some clear benefits, as they tend to provide borrowers with a decent amount of money with no credit check required. For some students, that’s a remarkable reason to sign up for these loans. But even unsecured student loans that come from the private sector can be helpful. These loans are often the best way for students in need to get help in a hurry with bills that are coming right now.
These loans might be just right for some. If you’d like to find out more, please check our “Compare Loans” feature and browse through the unsecured private student loan options available to you right now.
- There are many different ways to fund a college education, but we can help you understand the best combination and order of funding methods.
- First, look for “free money,” in the form of grants and scholarships. If that does not cover your financial need, look to federal student loans as a borrower-friendly, lower-cost form of student debt. If you find you still need more funding for college, look to private loans to fill the gap.
- We have a tool that can help you research your loan options, and if you find a loan that meets your needs, we can bring you to a lending partner of your choice to begin your application.
Types of Student Loans
- Student Loans Home
- 911 GI Bill
- Alternative Schools
- Credit Union
- Flight School
- For Bad Credit
- For Community College
- For Single Mothers
- Funding Graduate School
- GI Bill
- Interest Free
- Low Interest
- Medical School
- No Cosigner
- No Credit Check
- Obama Loan Forgiveness
- Parent Plus
- Part Time Students
- Post 911 GI Bill
- Private Loans with No Cosigner
- Private School
- Subsidized Loans
- Without Cosigner