Funding U Review: Private Student Loans

Funding U offers student loans to undergraduate students without credit or a co-signer at eligible four-year colleges.
Jul 29, 2022

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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Funding U student loans are best for high-achieving students who don’t have a cosigner. But only students who attend a qualifying school are eligible.

Funding U Private Student Loan
Min. credit score
None
Fixed APR
7.49-12.99%
Check rate

on Funding U's website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • You don't need a co-signer or credit history to get a loan.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren't available in 14 states.

  • Payment required while in school and during the grace period.

Compare to Other Lenders

Funding U Private Student Loan
Earnest Private Student Loan
Ascent Independent Student Loan
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score

None

Min. credit score

650

Min. credit score

Varies

Fixed APR

7.49-12.99%

Fixed APR

3.22-12.78%

Fixed APR

8.58-14.75%

Variable APR

N/A

Variable APR

1.34-11.44%

Variable APR

6.62-12.30%

Full Review

Funding U, also known as Funding University, was founded in 2016. It offers loans to students without  a cosigner in a limited number of states.

Funding U doesn’t rely on credit scores in their lending decisions. Instead, they assess borrowers based on academic success, likelihood to graduate on time, projected total student debt and projected earnings after graduation. They lend only to borrowers who attend colleges that meet their graduation rate requirements.

While freshmen and sophomores can qualify for a Funding U loan, they have stricter approval requirements. Juniors and seniors are more likely to be approved.

Only full-time students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents or DACA recipients with a work-eligible Social Security number can apply. You must also attend an eligible school, be in a qualifying year for your school, be a resident of an applicable state and meet the GPA minimum.

FUNDING U STUDENT LOANS AT A GLANCE

  • No credit required or co-signer allowed.

  • In-school payments are required, but multiple options are available for borrowers who run into trouble with repayment.

  • Maximum loan amount of $20,000 is less than many lenders.

HOW FUNDING U COULD IMPROVE

Funding U could improve by:

  • Offering more than one repayment term.

  • Allowing borrowers to fully defer payment until after graduation.

  • Providing loans to students from all 50 states.

Funding U private student loan details

Interest rates, fees and terms
  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.

  • Loan terms: 10 years.

  • Loan amounts: $3,001 up to $20,000.

  • Application or origination fee: None.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: None.

Compare Funding U's range of interest rates with other private student lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Funding U will offer you, apply on its website.

Requirements

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: No credit required, but borrowers can’t have a history of delinquency.

  • Minimum income: No minimum.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Funding U looks at salary and student loan data to project post-graduation DTI. The maximum ratio is 20%.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: No.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or DACA recipient with a work-eligible Social Security number.

  • DACA borrowers: Eligible with a work-eligible Social Security number.

  • Location: Available only to residents of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Full-time only.

  • Loan can be used for past due tuition: Yes, under certain circumstances.

  • Types of schools served: Borrowers must attend nonprofit colleges that meet the following six-year graduation rate requirements and have the following minimum GPA: 90% graduation rate for freshmen with 3.5 high school GPA; 70% graduation rate for sophomores with 3.0 GPA; 50% graduation rate for juniors and seniors with 2.75 GPA for juniors and 2.5 GPA for seniors.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: No co-signer allowed.

Repayment options

In-school repayment options:

  • Fixed repayment: Pay $20 every month while enrolled in school and during the grace period.

  • Interest-only repayment: Pay interest every month you’re in school and during the grace period.

  • Full in-school deferment: No.

  • Full repayment: There’s no official full principal and interest repayment option, but borrowers can opt to pay more than what’s required.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months.

  • Income based repayment option: No.

  • Interest-only payments: Yes.

  • Paused or decreased payments for temporary disability: Yes.

  • Military deferment: Yes, up to 24 months.

  • Forbearance to return to school: Yes.

  • Administrative forbearance: Borrowers are eligible for 24 months of forbearance, in 90-day increments, if they have an economic hardship, or are affected by a natural disaster.

  • Co-signer release available: No cosigner allowed.

  • Death or disability discharge available: Funding U discharges loans in the event of the death of the borrower. In cases of disability, Funding U offers up to 24 months of deferment for temporary disability and up to 60 months deferment for total disability.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No co-signer allowed.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: Yes.

Customer service
  • Loan servicer: Scratch.

  • 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: Preapproved immediately.

Extras
  • 0.5% interest rate discount for ACH autopay.

  • $200 Amazon Gift Card Graduation Reward Program.

Before applying for a Funding U student loan

Before taking out a Funding U student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal loan options first. 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 a Funding U student loan

If Funding U denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider other 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.

Check rate

on Funding U's website