How to Get Student Loans with Bad Credit

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated December 8, 2020

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April 12, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

With college tuition rates always on the rise, chances are you don’t have all the finances you need to completely pay your college tuition. Of course, student loans are always an option, and typically the most feasible means of securing funds to pay for college. But what if you’ve got bad credit? Will you be denied a student loan?

While there may be some student loan providers that have specific credit guidelines, not all providers will turn away someone with bad credit. There are a few things you can do, as well as a few lenders you can turn to for a student loan, even with bad credit.

Before seeking a student loan, familiarize yourself with the requirements of some of the student loan providers. This will give you a good idea of what they are looking for in terms of credit. Your credit might not be that high, but it might not be too low for some providers either.

Federal student loans, also referred to as financial aid, are provided by the United States Government. Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, GradPLUS, and ParentPLUS are types of federal student loans you might consider applying for. Keep in mind that while your credit history isn’t checked, you do need to meet specific income requirements to be approved for a federal student loan.

As with many types of loans, having someone with good credit co-sign with you improves your chances of being approved. A family member with a good, strong credit history is ideal.

Getting a private loan is also an option. However, different lenders will have different requirements, and you may still need to have someone with good credit co-sign the loan with you.

Paying off credit cards and other debts, and making sure bills are paid on time can steadily improve your credit score. Be sure to contact one or all of the three major credit reporting bureaus and get a complete copy of your credit report. Look it over to make sure there is no outdated information. If you have also recently taken some actions such as paying off a debt, contact the bureaus to expedite the changes to your credit.

The best thing you can do before applying for any type of loan is to try to raise your credit score. But if you aren’t able to improve your credit enough and still have bad credit, try one of the options above for getting a student loan.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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