Chicago Student Loans review
No cosigner needed for this fixed-rate financing option.
- Best for academically successful students without cosigners.
- Pick something else if you don't go to an eligible school.
7.53% to 8.85%
Cost of attendance, up to $50,000
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
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Chicago Student Loans by AM Money are a good option for students attending select schools throughout Illinois and four other states. It has no cosigner requirement and relies solely on your grades — not your credit score — to determine your eligibility. And unlike other private lenders, it has one flat interest rate, although your APR will depend on how many months you still have left in school. Loans are offered on a term-to-term basis, which gives you the flexibility to borrow exactly what you need to cover varying tuition costs across semesters, including summer classes.
And to top its benefits off, it has an income-based repayment plan that can help lower your payments if you’re experiencing economic hardship — a unique feature for a private lender. But there are still drawbacks. Its limited service area means you may not qualify even if you have great grades. And it isn’t clear if you’ll need to meet other eligibility criteria, such as low income, to qualify.
To finance schooling outside the Chicago area, compare our other student loan options.
Chicago Student Loans by A.M. Money partners with Neighborhood Trust
As part of its mission to set college graduates up for success, Chicago Student Loans has recently partnered with Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners to provide TrustPlus. This financial coaching tool allows you to build credit and create a plan to manage your money after college. While the three-month trial is only available to 20 recent graduates, Chicago Student Loans plans to expand the service for all its borrowers over the next few years.
A.M. Money's free financial coaching webinars are still available to students and graduates as well.
First, am I eligible?
To qualify for financing through Chicago Student Loans, you must meet these criteria:
- Junior or senior standing
- Above-average GPA
- Enrolled in an eligible school
- US citizen or permanent resident
- Demonstrate financial need
In order to continue receiving financing for additional terms, you must resubmit your application with proof that you've been making satisfactory academic progress according to your school.
What states is Chicago Student Loans available in?
Chicago Student Loans by A.M. Money are only available to students of select schools in five states:
- North Carolina
However, you may be able to get funding for your school even if it's not on the list. For your school to qualify, it must be nonprofit and located within the United States.
Does Chicago Student Loans offer discounts?
Chicago Student Loans doesn't list any APR discounts or other discounts in its FAQs. But while it's not a discount, you can earn $50 for referring a friend — provided they take out a loan after you refer them.
What are my repayment options?
Chicago Student Loans has a fixed repayment option with a six-month grace period after you drop below half-time status. But you can make payments while you're still in school to help reduce the total interest owed and decrease your loan term. And unlike many other lenders, you won't pay any fees if you are late on a payment or miss one entirely.
Does Chicago Student Loans offer deferment or forbearance?
Yes. Beyond the six-month grace period, Chicago Student Loans has two deferment options: economic hardship deferment and an income-based repayment system. While it doesn't provide details on how to sign up for economic hardship deferment, there are details on how its income-based repayment system works.
To qualify for income-based repayment (IBR), you need to demonstrate financial hardship. Chicago Student Loans will calculate your monthly payment under IBR by taking 15% of the difference between your adjusted gross annual income and the poverty guideline set by the US Department of Health and Human Services. This is then split into 12 equal payments — and if it's less than your full monthly repayment, you may qualify.
Pros and cons
Despite its limited serviced area, Chicago Student Loans has quite a few benefits eligible students might want to consider:
- No cosigner required
- Loans issued by term, not by year
- Income-based repayment plan available
- Free financial coaching for students
- Limited schools and states serviced
- Must have junior or senior standing
- Must maintain an above-average GPA
Compare student loan offers from other lenders
How do I apply?
To check your eligibility, follow these steps:
- Visit the Chicago Student Loans website and click Apply now.
- Enter your full name, university email and cell phone number.
- Select your academic year and GPA.
- Enter the amount you need for the upcoming term and select how you heard about Chicago Student Loans.
- Click Check eligibility to see if you qualify.
Chicago Student Loans will email you with your next steps and help you confirm eligibility for its loan program.
What information do I need to apply?
To complete its online form, you will only need three basic pieces of information:
- University email address
- Estimated loan amount
- Estimated GPA
Other information, like your academic transcripts and proof of enrollment, will likely be required to finalize your application.
Who services Chicago Student Loans student loans?
Chicago Student Loans are serviced by American Education Services (AES). There have been reports of mishandling extra payments, so ensure you know how to make a payment through AES and how you can contact its customer service team in case any issues arrive.
If your school isn't part of Chicago Student Loans' serviced area, consider even more private student loan options.