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How to Get College Loans with Bad Credit

Paying for college and your needs while you’re at school is a daunting task. Even when you look for ways to cut costs, like starting your degree at a two-year school, the cost is incredibly expensive.

Getting a loan for tuition, rent, a car or other things you need for school is hard enough, but it gets harder if you have bad credit or no credit.

In a Nutshell: College Loans for Bad Credit or No Credit

When looking at college loans, you need to consider a few things:

All of these questions play a big role in where you can find a loan for school. For college students with bad credit, or if you haven’t built a credit history yet, it might be difficult to find a loan without a co-signer.

The good news is you can take steps to build your credit now, so you qualify for better loans in the future. See how you can get the money you need for school and learn how to build a credit history.

Loans for College Students with Bad Credit

Bad credit usually means a person has taken out a loan and had trouble paying it back. Credit scores are the most common way to determine if someone has poor credit. Generally, a score below 580 is considered poor.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to accidentally screw up your credit when you’re young. You’ve got a very short credit history, so a small mistake could have big consequences, at least temporarily.

Think of it this way: at the beginning of the semester, you don’t have a lot of tests or projects to average out your grade in a class. Let’s say you get 65% on your first test of the semester. You don’t have any test scores for that class yet, so your overall grade looks pretty low.

By the end of the semester, you’ve taken several more tests and completed a couple of projects. You do well on all of these, and your final grade is 90%. The first test had less effect on your overall score the longer you were in class.

If you only have one credit account like a credit card, and you miss a payment, your score could drop significantly. But, just like in class, you can improve it over time by putting in the work:

Loans for College Students with No Credit

What if you’re a college student who doesn’t have credit at all? To some lenders, having no credit is worse than a bad credit score. That’s because they have no idea what to expect when it comes time for you to pay back the loan. When someone has bad credit, they might guess that a payment could be late. When someone has no credit, they may not know if the payment will come at all.

The good news is there are options to help you pay for school and build a credit history. If you need to cover tuition, you might consider federal student loans. Unlike private student loans, federal student loans don’t usually require a credit check. Federal loans make it easier to get student loans for college students with no credit.

To get a loan for other expenses, such as buying a car to get to school, you may need to build your credit history first or get a co-signer. Some of your options include:

Building Credit to Get Better Loan Options

If you need to pay for school right away, you can ask lenders about college loans for bad credit borrowers. However, the best way to get the loans you need is to improve or build your credit score before applying for college loans. That way, you’re not stuck with higher interest rates or other consequences of a low credit score.

Start with a small, manageable account to get into the habit of making on-time payments. In just a few months, you could see improvements in your credit score.