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.
Cecilia Clark
By
Last updated on January 5, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Des Toups
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating
The Nerdy headline:

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.

Jump to:Full Review
A.M. Money Private Student Loan
A.M. Money Private Student Loan

Min. credit score
None
Fixed APR
7.53-8.85%

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.

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Full Review

Chicago Student Loans' student loan program is currently suspended. Students who apply now will be notified when the program resumes.

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 2022-23 the rate is 7.08%. 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 private student lenders . 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.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s FAFSA Guide

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 LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Find the Right Student Loan

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Frequently asked questions

  • No. Academic performance (GPA) is used to determine eligibility. A co-signer is not needed.

  • There is no minimum credit score because credit is not required. Instead, academic performance (GPA) is used to determine eligibility.

  • A.M. Money is one of the few private lenders in the student loans market that offers income-based repayment for up to 36 months. But it only offers one repayment term: 10 years.

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