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.
Pros & Cons
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.
Works with a limited list of schools.
Charges an origination fee.
Does not allow for bi-weekly payments via autopay.
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
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.
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.
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.