Credit History FAQ
Your Credit Rating and Your Options
Good credit, no credit or bad credit, there are scores of college funding options and we have the answers to many of your most Frequently Asked Questions.
My family cannot afford to pay for my college tuition, but I need to apply for loans. What types of financial aid can I qualify for with no established credit and no college savings?
First of all, the fact that you are in a financially impaired situation may bode well for you. Federal student loans are your first line of attack.
In fact, most financial aid advisors wouldn't let you out of the college loan chute without first having filled out your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application for federal loans and grants.
You should apply without question for the federal Stafford Loan. It requires no credit check and almost every student qualifies for some sort of funding. Depending on how dire your financial need, you may qualify for a Pell Grant, which is only awarded to the most financially disadvantaged students. What’s even better? A grant requires no repayment, so your credit is not even an issue.
Do Stafford Loans require a credit check?
No. It's one of the main reasons that Stafford Loans are the most common student loans.
I am trying to fund an MBA program, but I was not approved for an alternative student loan that I was hoping would cover the rest of my college costs that federal loans do not. What are my other options without proper credit?
MBA programs are hot right now with business professionals. You’ll find that many professional business associations actively and generously support members' continuing education. If you belong to a business organization, check with their education fund manager for grants and scholarships for which you may qualify. Always ask your college financial aid advisor for any applicable scholarships and grants as well. If you are a woman, minority, or non-traditional student you may qualify for any number of business grants. Check out our grants and scholarships pages.
My husband and I have three children. Our first is of college age. We have ok credit and need to apply for loans; what advice can you give us?
OK credit will depend on the lender you borrow through. However, most student loan lenders are rather flexible with student loan borrowers. This doesn't mean you can get any loan with bad credit. Your options as parents include the Parent PLUS Loan - a low-interest federal loan that does require a credit check, and an alternative or private loan from a student loan lender, which most definitely requires a credit check. Most private lenders will let you pre-qualify for loans.
I am an adult returning to college because I did not complete my four-year degree in the first place. I have bad credit and do not want to ask family or friends to co-sign a loan. What are my options for college funding without a credit check?
More people than you know are in the same boat. First you will be happy to know that you have many more funding options available to you simply because you ARE an adult returning to college. Non-traditional student grants and scholarships are in abundant supply today. Explore our Grants and Scholarship pages. You will find them categorized by Student Type or Subject-Specific. Also, do not neglect to apply for the federal Stafford Loan. These loans require no credit check.
If I have good credit what loans should I apply for?
Good Credit - have at it. You’ll likely have no problem being approved for credit-based loans. The best rule of thumb, good credit or bad credit—always apply for your federal loans first. We have comprehensive resource pages on all the various types of federal loans plus how to apply for almost any student loan. Without a second thought you must complete the FAFSA. Stafford and Perkins Loans are non-credit loans, but the Federal Parent PLUS Loans require decent credit and Graduate PLUS Loans the same. Also, you may apply without worry to your private lender. Alternative student loans can supply the remaining funds you need, but require good credit.
I have no credit, what student loans and funding options do I have?
No Credit - find a trustworthy cosigner, apply for credit-based loans regardless, or forego and look to loans and grants that require no credit check, such as Stafford Loans, Pell Grants and grants from colleges and private organizations. Also if you’re a student pursuing a degree in nursing and teaching you may qualify for nursing loan forgiveness or teacher loan repayment programs. The Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students is a need-based program that administers generous funds to students pursing approved degrees in health care professions.
If I have no credit can I get a cosigner for my student loans?
Yes, but you must look for someone you share mutual trust with, such as a parent, grandparent, other family member or very good and reliable friend. Also, many people may not want to risk the financial liability. Your cosigner must also possess good credit.