A.M. Money — also known as Chicago Student Loans by A.M. Money — is a lender dedicated to helping students pay for college and navigate the financial aid process. A.M. Money provides free financial resource guides for students, as well as financial aid appeal support and financial aid advising for an extra charge.
However, A.M. Money stands out most for the fact that its loans are merit-based rather than credit-based; because of this, it’s best for students who are academic achievers and who don’t have a co-signer to help them get approved for traditional private loans.
As of May 17, 2022, A.M. Money’s student loan program is temporarily suspended. However, interested borrowers can still complete its prequalification form and be notified when the program resumes.
A.M. Money features
A.M. Money offers private student loans to students at 23 partnering universities, largely in the Midwest. Unlike most private student loan lenders, A.M. Money bases eligibility on academic performance and GPA rather than creditworthiness. Plus, it offers income-based repayment plans for those struggling to make their monthly payments, which is a rare perk among private lenders.
While its eligibility requirements, repayment options and financial aid resources are its standout features, A.M. Money currently has limited reach — most of its partner schools are in Illinois — and it does not typically lend to students before their junior year.
A.M. Money student loan snapshot
|Loan types||Undergraduate, graduate|
|Loan amounts||$2,001 to $50,000|
|Interest rates||7.53% to 8.85% fixed APR|
|Repayment terms||10 years|
|Grace period||6 months|
Pros and cons of A.M. Money student loans
A.M. Money could be a good option for academically motivated students who are looking for guidance through the lending and repayment process. However, there are some disadvantages to be aware of when considering the lender’s offerings.
- Income-based repayment option: An income-based repayment (IBR) plan is available for eligible borrowers who are struggling to make their monthly payments. A.M. Money’s IBR plan sets your payments at 15 percent of your discretionary income, with a $50 minimum monthly payment. While this plan doesn’t have the same benefits as federal income-driven repayment plans, it’s a unique option among private lenders.
- Merit-based eligibility: A.M. Money does not consider a borrower’s creditworthiness and doesn’t require a co-signer for approval. Instead, it bases approval on GPA, time to graduation and more.
- Low rate caps: Many student loan lenders offer loans that charge over 10 percent, especially for independent students who don’t have a co-signer. While A.M. Money doesn’t offer the lowest student loan rates in the business, it does cap its APRs at 8.85 percent.
- Limited availability: Only students attending one of the 23 colleges that are currently partnered with A.M. Money are eligible to apply for its product. These schools are concentrated in Illinois and surrounding states.
- Low maximum borrowing amount: Borrowing is capped at $50,000, which could make A.M. Money a poor choice for borrowers attending school out of state or those in expensive graduate programs.
- Underclassmen not eligible: Although some second-semester sophomores may be eligible, A.M. Money typically accepts only juniors, seniors or graduate students.
A.M. Money student loan requirements
For a private student loan with A.M. Money, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Be at least the age of majority in your state of residence.
- Be enrolled at least half time in an approved undergraduate or graduate degree program.
- Attend an eligible school.
- Make satisfactory academic progress as determined by the school.
- Be in at least the third year of your undergraduate program or be in a graduate program.
- Have an above-average GPA.
- Be Pell-eligible or near Pell-eligible.
Who is this loan good for?
A.M. Money student loans are a good option for students who have already maxed out federal financial aid, especially if A.M. Money’s fixed interest rates are lower than what you’d qualify for with other lenders without a co-signer. It’s a particularly good choice for borrowers who can demonstrate financial need; A.M. Money only accepts borrowers who are (or are nearly) eligible for a Pell Grant, and its relief-based repayment plan can help those who don’t have a high income after graduation.
Interest rates and terms
A.M. Money offers only fixed interest rates on its student loans, and it does not advertise any discounts.
|Loan product||Variable rate||Fixed rate|
|Undergraduate student loan||N/A||7.35% to 8.85% APR|
|Graduate student loan||N/A||7.35% to 8.85% APR|
Fees and penalties
A.M. Money charges a 4.5 percent origination fee on all of its loans. This is a percentage of your total loan amount that is added to your balance.
Repayment terms and grace period
A.M. Money loans have a six-month grace period after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment.
When it comes to repayment terms, A.M. Money doesn’t offer as many options as some other private lenders. There’s only one 10-year repayment term, although borrowers may choose to sign up for the income-based repayment plan. Keep in mind that the income-based repayment plan does not forgive any student loan debt, so this plan could significantly increase the time it takes you to pay off your loans.
If you have questions about A.M. Money’s loans, you can call the lender at 312-262-2498 or email a customer service representative at Info@A-M.Money.
You can also send a message through the company’s online contact form or send correspondence to 192 N Wells St. #131, Chicago, Illinois, 60606.
How to apply for a loan with A.M. Money
You can apply for a student loan through A.M. Money directly on the company’s website. To prequalify, you’ll provide your name, email address, phone number, school, academic year, GPA and desired loan amount.
During the full application, you should also be prepared to provide your Social Security number, income details, financial aid information and more.
How Bankrate rates A.M. Money
|Repayment Options||2.0||A.M. Money offers funding to an extremely narrow pool of applicants, and repayment is not as flexible as with competitors.|
|Affordability||3.6||While A.M. Money’s maximum interest rate is competitive, its minimum interest rate is also high.|
|Customer Experience||3.5||A.M. Money has an online platform, though it doesn’t have defined customer service hours or a mobile app.|
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.