What To Do If You’re Denied For a Student Loan

If you’ve applied for a private student loan and were denied, it’s not the end of the road for your college education. You may feel like you won’t be able to attend college, but don’t panic. There are still plenty of potential avenues to pursue when looking for ways to pay for college.

Apply with a co-signer

If you apply for a private student loan on your own and are denied, it may be because you have insufficient personal credit history, which is common for full-time college students. Many students in this position will find a qualified co-signer to apply with them. A co-signer could be a parent or other guardian, a grandparent, an older sibling, an uncle or aunt, or anyone who is willing and financially qualified. By co-signing your loan, they're agreeing to personally step in and help repay the loan in the event you cannot. At the same time, it doesn't remove your role as the primary borrower as both you and the co-signer are equally responsible for repaying the debt.


Should you apply with a co-signer and are denied a student loan, you can re-apply with another qualified co-signer. The good news is that there are benefits to serving as a co-signer, and some lenders offer a feature where the co-signer may be released after a certain number of consecutive on-time payments are made. Ask the lender if they offer co-signer release, and if so, what the requirements are.

Consider private loan options

If applying with a co-signer is not an option, you might also consider asking a financially qualified person if they are willing to take out a private loan to cover your funding gap. Some lenders offer a private student loan option for parents, guardians, or other willing participants to take out on behalf of the student, like the Citizens Bank Student Loan® for Parents. Take time to research all options before asking around, so you're able to proactively answer any basic questions they may have.

Establish a good credit history to improve your chances of approval in the future

Here are a few pointers on how you can establish good credit so that in the future you'll possibly qualify for a loan on your own:

  • Start out small—Establishing good credit takes time. Start with one credit card.
  • Pay on time, every time—Never miss a monthly payment.
  • Don't pay down, pay off—Pay your credit card bills in full each month.

Learn about other options to help pay for college

If you have questions about the decision on your application, or are interested in learning about other ways to pay for college, call 1-877-452-4147 and speak to a Student Lending Specialist.