Chicago Student Loans by A.M. Money Review: Private Student Loans

Chicago Student Loans by A.M. Money offers private student loans to students at just over 20 schools nationwide.

Anna HelhoskiJul 13, 2021
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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Chicago Student Loans by A.M. Money is best for students who don’t have a co-signer, have a strong GPA and attend one of the schools A.M. Money works with. It is only available to students attending a small list of schools.

A.M. Money Private Student Loan

A.M. Money Private Student Loan

Fixed APR

7.08 - 8.85%

Min. Credit Score

None

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • GPA is used to determine eligibility instead of credit or a co-signer.

  • Offers a hard-to-find, temporary income-based repayment option for up to 36 months.

  • All borrowers get the same fixed rate, benchmarked to the federal PLUS loan rates.

Cons

  • Works with a limited list of schools.

  • Charges an origination fee.

  • Does not allow for bi-weekly payments via autopay.

Compare to Other Lenders

CommonBond Private Student Loan
Ascent Private Student Loan
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate
Fixed APR

3.99 - 10.99%

Fixed APR

3.34 - 14.51%

Variable APR

4.13 - 9.64%

Variable APR

2.46 - 12.98%

Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Credit Score

680

Full Review

Chicago Student Loans by A.M. Money offers a unique selling point with its private student loan product: Approval is based on academic performance, rather than credit history. Students also don’t need a co-signer to qualify.

Everyone who is approved gets the same fixed interest rate, which is benchmarked each year to federal parent PLUS loans. For 2020-21 the rate is 5.30%. When borrowers graduate and begin paying back their loans, A.M. Money also offers an income-based repayment option for up to 36 months.

To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who attends one of 22 schools that A.M. Money works with, which are located in Illinois and around the country. You must also have at least a 2.8 GPA.

A.M. Money private student loans at a glance

  • GPA is used to determine eligibility.

  • Everyone gets the same interest rate.

  • Loans are available nationwide, but the school list is small.

How A.M. Money could improve

  • Expand its eligible schools list.

  • Expand its autopay options.

A.M. Money private student loan details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: N/A. All users get the same rate and approval depends on GPA.

  • Loan terms: 10 years.

  • Loan amounts: $2,001 up to the full cost of attendance, maximum $50,000

  • Application or origination fee: Origination fee of 4.5%.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: No.

When lenders charge an origination fee, it will increase your total APR. A.M. Money says its APR ranges from 7.53% to 8.85%, depending on the number of months you have left before graduation.

Compare A.M. Money’s fixed interest rates with other . To find out if you qualify, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Not considered. GPA and school transcript are the only qualifications.

  • Minimum income: Not considered. GPA and school transcript are the only qualifications.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: N/A.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: N/A.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Information unavailable. Not considered.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Not considered.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • DACA borrowers: Not eligible.

  • Location: Available to borrowers who attend one of the schools A.M. Money works with.

  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: No, however a borrower enrolled less than half time may trigger repayment to begin.

  • Loan can be used for past due tuition: Yes.

  • Types of schools served: Borrowers must attend an eligible Title IV or nonprofit school that A.M. Money works with.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: None. A co-signer isn't required.

In-school repayment options

Many lenders are offering relief related to COVID-19. Check this list of private loan relief options to see what this lender offers.

  • Immediate repayment: Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school. There is no prepayment penalty to do this.

  • Full in-school deferment: Yes.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months.

  • Income-based repayment option: Yes, upon request for IBR, a student must identify their current annual income and household size. The income-based monthly payment is calculated based on current Household size, Poverty level in current state of residence, and total Adjusted Gross Income. This amount will be at least $50. An IBR Period may be granted for one or more time periods, not to exceed 36 months in aggregate. The loan is not forgiven after the IBR period.

  • Academic deferment: Yes.

  • Military deferment: No, they can use other deferment options.

  • Temporary economic hardship deferment: Postpone loan payments for up to one year.

  • Co-signer release: No co-signer needed for this loan.

  • Death or disability discharge: Yes.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No co-signer needed for this loan.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: No.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: AES/PHEAA.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Yes.

  • Average time from application to approval: One to two days.

Before applying for an A.M. Money student loan

Before taking out an A.M. Money student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible for an A.M. Money student loan

If A.M. Money denies your student loan application, you may want to consider other lenders. If you don't have a credit history, you'll need to apply with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider lenders that don’t require co-signers or specialize in bad or no credit student loans.

Student loans ratings methodology

NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s student loan ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Frequently asked questions